You can email me at email@example.com.
Just read your article in Campus Progress (I have been out of the college scene for awhile myself, but as a mom to one college student, another college-bound student this fall, and a 10th grader, I like to keep up on things)…I think the abortion issue needs to be addressed with midwives. I am a Labor and Delivery nurse in a somewhat open-minded hospital (we have 2 midwives and are supporting the training of a third one who plans to join us, and 2 tub rooms for labor…we also have doulas and offer doula workshops @ our hospital). I have noticed that at least HALF of our mothers who come in with a birth plan and a birth team have a history of having had an abortion in their past, a rough statistic but one I find interesting. I never find it appropriate to discuss this with any of them…obviously, when I am working with them it is toward the goal of giving birth, not with issues from the past. Most of them don’t even acknowledge the prior pregnancy when I interview them on admission..probably because their families and or partners may not know about it. The only reason I know is from the prenatal records we receive from the office. Our midwives have never really commented on it, but I wonder if they should at least screen for how these women are feeling and if they have any unresolved issues about these past abortions.
I am pro-choice, and have never had to make that decision for myself, but I am concerned about long term emotional issues that women may go through when they have abortions, and if having another child later in life can cause those issues to come to the front for them, especially if they don’t feel like they can be honest about it.
There does seem to be a conflict between abortion and birth activism, but really the two are connected by the whole idea of taking charge and making choices. While midwives are obviously focusing on the birth part of things, many of them are providing well woman care also, which puts them in contact with women for whom giving birth is not the agenda. I think it would be very valuable to explore the area of abortion in terms of being able to make referrals when needed and for emotional assistance (which is an area midwives are MUCH better at than are OB-GYN’s)
Just read your post about abortion and doulas. It struck me as reading it that I never thought of this connection either. As a doula and social worker I always thought the two would be on the same side. Interesting that they are not always. It makes sense to me: Lets have WOMEN make the decisions about their bodies. Period, end of sentence.
I checked out the organsmic birth project. It looks awesome. This was my first time on your blog. Seems really cool. Thanks for what you do!
My name is Samantha Graham, and run a website called youngmummies.info, its fairly new with just over 65 members since April 2007 from allover the world.
I developed this website along with my partner as i am a young mother myself, and i felt a site dedicated to help specifically young mothers would be wonderful, an the website has been doing really well, better than i expected to tell you the truth.
Why i am writing to you to day is because we just opened a chat room on our website, and i am trying to make scheduled chats with many different people who will be able to help our young mothers to be, and our mothers who already have given birth, what i am looking for is a Doula to take part in a scheduled chat, where they will just be asked to join in the chat, and answer any questions my members may have about labour, etc.
I would be glad if the Doula (or yourself) would be able to participate in a once a month scheduled chat at a time of their convenience of course, but i know this may not be possible, and even if it was just once they participated, i would greatly appreciate it.
As i am not profiting form the website i am unable to pay the midwife for participating, which im deeply sorry about. But all we want to do at youngmummies.info is try and get all our members fears of labour etc to a minimum, and have all questions possible answered.
If you would like to participate please contact me and we shall organise things, and also if i can give you any further information please contact me and i will be more than happy to inform you. Also if a midwife has a website she wishes to promote for doing the scheduled chat ill be more than happy to do so.
Thank-you for taking the time to read my email.
Hey, I found you’re blog via Feministing, and I just wanted to say thanks. Thanks for putting yourself out there, and showing that it’s okay to be part of lots of different groups. When I was in HS I got pregnant, and opted to not have an abortion, despite pressure from my family. Instead I chose to give the baby up for adoption. I can not tell you how many people have heard this,and automatically assumed that because of this I’m pro-life. Just becasue I personaly don’t think abortion was the right choice for me, doesn’t mean I think it may not be the right choice for someone else. I really wish more people would realize that. I also chose to use the Bradley method, another choice that made people look at me funny, especially since I was a 17 year old pregnant high schooler. But I liked that the Bradley method left me in control, at least in theory. However, when the time came, I did end up having an epidural, and I was given an episiotmy without my knowledge. The doctor who delivered the baby was not my regular doc, but instead some creepy old man who was covering rounds for my regular doc, who was not on call that night. At no point in my prenatal care was it ever suggested that I might have a different ob attending. I was so very mad about that – hell I still am.
But the next time I was pregnant, I was ready for that. At first I went to a traditional ob, but after many months of her telling me that if I kept putting on weight the baby would be too big, and I would have to have a c-section, I switched to a pair of midwives. In my state, kentucky, there are some very weird laws, and so the closest midwives to me were across the river in Indiana. They worked with an ob, who was only called in for major emergencies. I went with the Bradley method again, and overall the whole birthing experience was so very much better. My midwife was simply amazing. And, I am happy to say that despite having a large baby(just shy of 10 lbs) I was able to have a vaginal delivery. There are only two things I would change about the birth of my daughter: I didn’t get to have a water birth, becasue once my kid decided to come, she made a very speedy entrance, and I didn’t have a doula, mostly due to the fact that I was 20 years old, and barely making ends meet, so I couldn’t afford one. I was however lucky enough to have a wonderful pediatrician who has a lactation consultant on staff. I was very close to giving up on breastfeeding, becasue it was causing me a lot of pain, and I know in my heart that if it hadn’t been for the quick access to a lacatation consultant I would have given up. I’ve told that to many people, and even had one friend, who did give up breastfeeding becasue it hurt, become very offended when I mentioned that if she had been able to see a lactation consultant, she may not have quit. This friend was very upset that I was critizing her choice to not breastfeeed, and no matter how I tried to explain that it wasn’t her I was critizing, it was the stupid society we lived in that gave new moms so little help with nursing, she didn’t want to hear that. So now I’m the fanatical breastfeeding mom among my freinds. Becasue I had the gall to suggest that the help you recieve in the hospitol with breastfeeding wasn’t adequate. So what was my origianl point? Oh yeah, thanks for being a voice for the radical ladies/gents out there who don’t agree with, gasp, the status quo. – Stephani
I just wanted to give you a shout out and say thanks for putting this stuff out there. The disconnect between the movement for progressive reproductive health choices and the women’s movement is frightening and too often, the most vulnerable women are those slipping through the gaps. I’ve linked you on my blog – hope you don’t mind.
Peace. I am really excited that I came across your page. I feel we are of the same cloth. I have been a doula since 2000 and perhaps have been on my midwifery mission since 1999. I had a midwife for both my births and felt each time I was empowered in different ways. The first time I was 21 and still in college and STRUGGLING. I remember my first trimester I only ate WIC cereal and not out of choice and my last months were the same pair of pants everyday. In my fourth month, I had a comrade of mine push to get me a job in an organization that I had been volunteering at since 98′. At that point i transitioned from an activist to an organizer and a SALARY. And all though the organization was “mom-friendly” some judged me more on my pregnancy rather than the work I had already contributed to the organization. I was in an unhealthy place and my midwife, Jennifer Dohrn- a midwife at a Bronx Birthing Center, gave me serenity. The support and love she showed me I carried through my labor and until today. In the radical community, I feel like the understanding of how the push for women of color to have access to birthing choices is not clear. People sometimes don’t get me. We can talk about foriegn policies and war but birthing just seems trivial to folks. The fact that the birthing communtiy are crunchy granola white women make people think that maybe its not our issue that we have “realer” issues to tend to. So my mission is to create a short film to distribute free to doula, childbirth educators, clinics, and folks to give voice as to why it’s important that “birthing” issue is paid attention to. The website is a resource with basic definitions and a starting place for women and expectant moms. I am just starting it and it needs much more. That dangerous drugs are used that aren’t FDA approved for those uses causing disastrous results. Women are being abdominal cavities stretched open unnecessarily. And where there should be beauty there is trauma.
I would love to interview or hear any story or comment you’d like to share. I really hope we can collaborate and support one another. I am mos definitely putting you on my site because your blog is full of important information. Check out http://www.daraluzproject.com. Btw sidebar are you a professor. I remember taking a BLPR/Latina Health Class in College and I think one of the three adjuncts was named Miriam. Sorry if I confused you.
I sent you an email but forgot to mention that I LOVE NAPW- their mission, their stance, their willingness to take on the issues. I tried to get my pro-choice organization to pay attention to them and the response was something along the lines of “oh well, we don’t really get involved with pregnancy advocacy groups because they’re likely pro-choice”. Needless to say I didn’t last long there. I consider myself a radical – but I believe in sitting down to a table to talk, not assuming that we have nothing to talk about!
I was wondering what your thoughts on Doulas helping educate pregnant women about their different options. I think abortion doulas are great but what about those who need support when making other choices. I have been reading a few adoption blogs (http://wetfeet.typepad.com/)
And it seems that a party there just for the woman/ birthmother involved would be ideal. Maybe then some women wouldn’t feel like they had to give their baby up because they bonded with the prospective adoptive couple.
Just some thoughts….I’d love to hear what you think
Just wanted to say that I found your blog during the past couple weeks as I’ve decided to become a doula, in that first flush of excitement and a sense of calling after attending my first birth, and that I find your work and your writing inspiring. Thanks for being out there, making doulas look as level-headed and smart as most of us are, in the face of some pretty sad preconceptions and invisibility in the current birthing system.
Hi Miriam! This is Kathryn Kooistra; I work with Janna Zinzi at the Guttmacher Institute. I am a doula-in-training, and I’m interested in knowing if there are any groups in NYC that
specifically provide doulas for low-income women or teenager moms, or in the prison system. I’m sure that you know people I should talk to…thanks!
Hey there Miriam,
Thanks for mentioning our conference… you seem klike quite a badass yourself!! We should connect! Love your blog! Carrie
Hello! My name is Carrie. I’m the tandem nursing mother of two boys and an Artist from San Antonio. I wanted to let you know that I’m planning an exhibition of artwork painted with breastmilk. I have researched and I have yet to find another artist who has done the same thing. I would like to bring awareness to breastfeeding as well as showcase its useful and versatile nature. If you have any questions please let me know. :)
Hi Miriam, I just found your blog and am blown away. You are embodying so many of my own beliefs. And I thought I was the only one out there! Thanks for your good work and I will check back here often.
Thank you for being such a potent and wonderful example of how life has a place in the right to choose.
Thought you might get a kick out of this article….Sarah Palin and the Apocalypse….written by Merle Hoffman owner of Choices Medical Clinic, long time feminist and Choices Champion
Hello Radical Doula and all other Doula-Midwife-Momma-Baby-Family-Safe Birth Advocates!
It has come to my attention that at change.gov, President-Elect Obama’s new site, there is an invitation to participate in shaping our collective future by sharing our stories and ideas – check it out:
It’s Your America: Share Your Ideas : http://change.gov/page/content/americanmoment
In my submission(s) I plan to mention how midwives and doulas offer quality, comprehensive and cost-effective evidence based maternity care that has far reaching implications for our society’s collective health and well-being. I am going to cite Childbirth Connection’s 2008 Evidence Based Maternity Care Report http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10575 and its key findings. I will further encourage the President-Elect to take a part in ensuring access to such care for American mothers by re-considering policies and laws that so far limit accessibility, by funding education programs for midwives and doulas as well as through funding community based programs utilizing such services. I will be sure to point out how affordable such care is, especially given its capacity for long-term healthy outcomes. By including this in his health care plan, I will suggest that he can keep the high risk, high intervention and high cost care for those women and babies for whom it is medically indicated – thus creating a win-win situation for all who are involved.
I would like to invite all you and all of your readers to do the same! I would further encourage you to involve the mothers and families around you to do so as well. The more healthy mother-baby-family topics we can all write on the better (breastfeeding, GLBTQ issues, PPD, women in prison issues, homeless women’s issues, immigrant women’s issues, postpartum doulas and mother care, health disparities)! Please spread the word far and wide:)
All of my absolute best,
Tara Lane Cardinal
Thanks for all the work you do here and at Feministing. I would be so uninformed without such amazing sources, and at my fingertips, no less! I was writing because I moved to Los Angeles a few months ago, and am looking to find an organization here in the spirit of NAPW, Dar la Luz, or the abortion doula project. I am a doula, and haven’t been able to find a social justice/birthing rights/women’s rights group to volunteer with. Do you know of anybody based out here? I’m sure there are amazing groups in this city, but so far I haven’t found them. Any suggestions would be a great help,
I am in love with your blog. I am a student midwife, doula, reproductive justice advocate, abortion clinic escort, queer, feminist who finds the disconnect between birth and abortion unacceptable. I write a blog about being a clinic escort here in Louisville Ky at everysaturdaymorning.wordpress.com i would love your feedback. I am constantly gratified to find others who see the continuum of reproductive experiences as more than an either or scenario; heteronormative vs. queer, good vs. bad, sex vs. procreation, body and sex positive vs. moralistic fervor. So thanks. keep it up. and say hi anytime you are in my neck of the woods.
While researching for Doula-Client Agreements for my first doula client, I saw your blog mentioned. I had never thought to search “Radical Doula” because I thought that me and my friends were the only ones :)
I am a mama of twins who is anarchist, queer and who grew up as a product of the Social Service Industrial Complex. I am working on starting an organization in my community to provide labor and breastfeeding support to women who are teenaged, homeless, addicted and/or sexual assault survivors. I dream of adding abortion doula support services as well.
Sometimes, in Internetland, it is easy to forget why you are putting energy into something that can seem like no one is listening to. But thank you so much, just your presence on the internet has given me another surge of empowerment for action.
Thanks so much Sfirah! It’s so inspiring to hear from other like-minded birth activists. Good luck with your local org, it sound amazing.
Would be down for being part of my “radical doula profiles”? I’d love to interview you. If so, email me at radicaldoulaATgmail.com
hello i am currently studying A2 media and im doing a project on racial sterotyping and tokenism within the Harry Potter films i would be greatfull if you could email me some of your opinons as i would like to include them in my course work
I’m midwife since 1971. I got to train many. I’m starting a massage style prenatal that teaches the expectant parents how to do fetal positioning getting the mom ready to cradle birthing head with her hands as it emerges and birth her baby. Bonding and the memory of the birth will be savored longer if the experience can be remembered by touch and feelings in the hands. No wonder the pressure point that is said to be powerful in labor is found in the web of the hands. Doulas could be very good at this since they are do most of this work anyway.
Love always Carol
Found another mainstream article I wanted to share with you, about the amazing work you are doing :)
Eileen in Marin County, Ca says:
I had my 3 babies with midwives at home in 1972, 1980 & 1985 in San Francisco. Midwives should be given gold medals. They are heroes & deserve respect & support from all of society. However, I am disturbed by some Certified Nurse-Midwives who are nothing more than obstetrical nurses, do not pracitice natural (unmedicated, active) birthing. They are as bad as doctors (some or most) of whom do not respect the woman’s body & the natural process of birth. It is my wish that many more women could experience home birth with midwives. My children are now 24, 29 & 37. My grandson is 10. When my daughter had her child, she was afraid of home birth, went to a hospital, had a Nurse-Midwife, & a cesarean. Later she had an antibiotic resistant infection which could have killed her. She has had many complications & several surgeries to correct overgrowth of scar tissue in the area of the incision. She has had pain for the entire 10 yrs. & will never be as she was before the cesarean surgery. I wish she had chosen home birth. I did not circumcise my son. I breastfed all of my kids in spite of problems getting started (all 3 times) but with help from LaLeche League it all worked out beautifully. My daughter did breastfeed her son & did not have him circumcised. For more info on circumcision go to NO-CIRC.org which is the acronym for National Org. of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (long name) Love to all, Eileen Aug.2009
A political primer for full spectrum pregnancy and childbirth support written by Miriam Zoila Perez.
Purchase your copy here.
More info and a list of bookstores that carry the guide is here.
Becoming a Doula
Volunteer Doula Programs
Radical Doula Profiles
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