Welcome to Radical Doula

Hi! Thanks for visiting my website. Since February 2007 I’ve been maintaining this website and blog as a resource for doulas and other interested in the intersections between social justice and birth activism.

The blog part of this project isn’t as active these days, so I wanted to point you in a few directions in case you came here looking for resources.

You can read more about this project, and what I mean by “radical doula” here. You can learn more about me, my background, and my work here.

If you’re looking for advice about how to become a doula, check out this page. If you’re looking for volunteer doula organizations, go here. If you’re looking for organizations that train doulas, here.

If you’re looking for info about the book I published, The Radical Doula Guide: A Political Primer for Full-Spectrum Pregnancy and Childbirth Support, go here.

If you are here because you are looking for a doula, this post has some advice for your search.

You can check out all of the fabulous self-identified radical doulas that I’ve profiled over the years here. And if you identify with the term radical doula and want to be profiled, just go fill out this questionnaire and I will publish your responses.

If you’re looking to browse the blog, check out the sidebar (to the right, and down a bit) and click on any of the categories that interest you.

I also maintain a facebook page where I post regularly with things that I’m writing, but also other doula and birth activism related links and articles. Go here to like that page.

Lastly, I have a monthly email newsletter I send out, with links to what I’m writing and working on. You can sign up here.

Thank you for visiting, and for supporting this project over the years! If you have any questions you can’t get answered on this site, you can email me.

Radical Doula Profiles: Sierra Holland

This is a series highlighting folks who identify as Radical Doulas. Are you interested in being part of the series? Go here to provide your responses to the profile questions and I’ll include you!

White woman with brown hair smiles in front of a colorful wall

About Sierra Holland: I am a queer femme-identified doula serving pregnant and birthing people and new families in the greater Boston area. My passion lies in providing affirming and inclusive support to people from marginalized groups as they navigate their reproductive pathways. I am certified by BEST Doula Training and hold a PhD in Sociology (with a Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies) from the University of Florida, where I completed a dissertation on the transition to first-time parenthood for women partnered with women. You can reach me at hello@allbodiesbirth.com or through allbodiesbirth.comfacebook, or instagram. (She/her)

What inspired you to become a doula?
I spent years doing research at the intersection of gender/sexuality, families, and medicine, but I found the knowledge I was building and my capacity for supporting pregnant people was constrained by the demands of academic life and politics. I began seeking opportunities to connect directly with pregnant people and to make real, immediate, and tangible improvements to their birth experiences, which led me to birth work. My practice is focused on two main goals: to provide support to people who are marginalized along their reproductive pathways, and to impact the culture of birth and birth work towards a more affirming, radical direction.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
My work is grounded in an understanding of how power impacts every single area of our lives and, specifically, shapes our reproductive choices, experiences, and pathways. To question systems of marginalization like our current healthcare system, the medicalization of birth, and white heteropatriarchal control of birthing bodies is, to me, a radical act that deeply informs my birth work. I seek to honor and value how differences among people – especially those that create oppression – inform experiences of the body and reproduction in ways that are deeply impactful to the mind, body, and spirit.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
I believe that all pregnant people should have access to knowledge about their bodies and available choices, as well as the resources and support to act on that knowledge with confidence and autonomy. I believe that systems of oppression are fundamentally intertwined, and so my birth work emerges from a position of reproductive justice that values and affirms the locations and identities of all birthing people and their right to birth and parent with dignity. For me, this radiates out from individual birth experiences to the health and wellness of our communities and our connections with one another.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
Besides providing empowering and affirming support during a person’s reproductive experience, I am deeply invested in creating conversation around the wellbeing of pregnant people and normalizing healthy, empowered birth experiences. Seeing a fellow birth worker move towards gender-neutral terms around birth, watching an uncensored birth video or unscripted view of postpartum life, hearing open and honest dialogue about breastfeeding, etc. are all things that replenish me to keep doing this work!

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Radical Doula Profiles: Autumn Reinhardt-Simpson

This is a series highlighting folks who identify as Radical Doulas. Are you interested in being part of the series? Go here to provide your responses to the profile questions and I’ll include you!

Brunette woman smiling with bangs in her eyesAbout Autumn: Autumn is an author, abortion doula, and feminist theologian who has been writing, appearing on television and speaking internationally about reproductive justice and feminism since 2010 when she founded Richmond Clinic Defense to help escort patients past protesters at an abortion clinic in Richmond, Virginia. She has spoken to thousands of people over the years as well as written for many popular and academic publications. In 2014, Autumn was one of four finalists for the Generation Personal Award given by the National Women’s Law Center in recognition of her work as a clinic defense founder and in 2015 Blog For Choice listed her as one of “15 Awesome Pro Choice Activists Who Work To #Protectthezone”. Autumn is an aspiring Anglican deacon and one-woman ministry that provides Albertans with transportation, housing, funds, childcare and other necessities as they seek abortion care. She is the author of The Guide to Humanist Ceremonies (Humanist Press, 2018) and is currently at work on her second book, The Companion: How To Become an Abortion Doula (2019). She is an American now living happily in Canada. You can visit her website here.

What inspired you to become a doula?
I’m not sure there was ever a single moment. I actually kind of slowly moved into the work! One of my favorite aspects of clinic defense was always when I got to interact with patients and reassure them or answer their questions. It was always most disturbing to me when I saw women in the clinic waiting around for a cab to take them home post-procedure. So, when I moved to Canada, it was only natural that I set up shop as an abortion doula so that I could work more intimately with patients. Now I’m working on setting up a formal curriculum to go along with the book I’m now writing on becoming an abortion doula.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
I think what is radical about what I do is that I do it as a Christian ministry and soon-to-be clergywoman. I am in the discernment process to (hopefully!) be ordained in the Anglican Church of Canada where I will be concentrating specifically on this work. That’s pretty crazy to most people who might be used to religion always being on the anti-abortion side.

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Radical Doula Profiles: Savannah Taylor

This is a series highlighting folks who identify as Radical Doulas. Are you interested in being part of the series? Go here to provide your responses to the profile questions and I’ll include you!

Blond woman with baby in her lap, sitting on a bench smilingAbout Savannah Taylor: I am a Birth Doula from Austin, Texas. Birth work is a true passion of mine, and I feel like it is a form of service and a form of activism. I have a degree in political science from Southwestern University. I am a mother myself, to a darling baby girl. Her birth is what inspired me to become a doula, and through my work, I hope to empower birthing persons from all walks of life through their journey into parenthood. Contact: savannahtaylordoula@gmail.com,  Facebook at Savannah Taylor, Birth Doula, Instagram at @savannataylordoula

What inspired you to become a doula?
I was inspired to become a doula by my own experience with birth. I was induced for high blood pressure at 38 weeks, and my induction led to a high intervention birth, all the way from pitocin to an episiotomy. Although it was the happiest day of my life, I do not think I was prepared for the emotional and spiritual effects birth would have on me as a mother and as a person. I decided to become a doula so I could hold the hands of others and to hopefully change the culture around birth as a whole. However you give birth, it will fundamentally deconstruct and reconstruct your entire being, and as a doula, I want to be there to support people in this time.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
Birth is inherently radical. It is spontaneous, it is pain, it is love, it is bloody, it is long, it is hard, and it creates change. Every birth changes the universe, and as a doula, it is my job to empower that radical nature of birth.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
I believe that parenthood is a political act. You are the president of your baby’s world for the first few years. You teach them how to treat others and how to treat the world. As a doula, I want to empower all birthing persons to feel secure and strong enough with themselves and their ability to make a change in this world through parenting.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
There is absolutely nothing like watching the beginning of someone’s life, be that the life of the baby or the life of the parent. Being there at that moment of birth is truly a cosmic blessing.

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
I would probably change the societal culture around the way women and non-binary birthing persons are treated in general. I think that as a culture, we do not respect motherhood and we do not value the work that is done during pregnancy and birth. I would like to see paid parental leave for up to a year, insurance coverage for doulas, midwives, and lactation consultants, more breastfeeding support, and expanded mental health services for pregnant and postpartum individuals.

Radical Doula Profiles: Samm Fonteyne-Crescioni

This is a series highlighting folks who identify as Radical Doulas. Are you interested in being part of the series? Go here to provide your responses to the profile questions and I’ll include you!

Person with dark hair sitting on a bench with a light pink scarf

About Samm Fonteyne-Crescioni: I am a full spectrum doula and childbirth educator, who uses she/her pronouns and identifies as a disabled queer femme. I reside and practice in Seattle, Washington.

What inspired you to become a doula?
My path towards clinical social work was detered by health complications and during treatment a close friend asked if I ever considered becoming a doula. After that conversation, I did some further research into the traditional practice, discovered Miriam Zoila Pérez, and found my true calling – providing non-judgemental emotinal, physical, and informational support.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
I am committed to advocating for reproductive and social justice, with a lens of intersectionality; providing culturally sensitive and trauma-informed support.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
Within my practice, I honor folks unique circumstances, intentions, boundaries, experiences, knowledge, intuition, cultural practices and rituals. I provide accessible client-centered and community-based comfort, support, and resources. As well as foster an inclusive and safe environment; while practicing radical self-love, mindfulness, non-violent communication, and boundary work. ​

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
I believe in accessible holistic community-based support for every individual. Thus, there is a need for more LGBTQ+, native, poc, and q/tpoc practioners, midwives, doulas, community-based resources, et cetera for pregnant and/or birthing individuals who identify as a LGBTQ+, native, poc, or q/tpoc.

Radical Doula Profiles: Chelsea Duckworth

This is a series highlighting folks who identify as Radical Doulas. Are you interested in being part of the series? Go here to provide your responses to the profile questions and I’ll include you!

About Chelsea Duckworth: I am working as a full spectrum doula in the Kansas City area. I have always had a passion for women’s rights and reproductive health and that interest led to me to a B.A. in Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies from Augsburg College. I also majored in Spanish and Fine arts and those played a huge role in my perspective on the courses I took and the world around me. I spent two years of my undergrad in Mexico and El Salvador and got to see first-hand the amazing impact that a group of supportive women can have on girls, new mothers, and surrounding communities. I was very drawn to the themes of gender roles and reproductive justice within social movements and finished out my time there in an internship at DDESER (Network for reproductive and sexual rights in Mexico). It was hard and amazing and I felt so enlivened by their work.  With that fire lit inside me, I returned to the U.S. and started volunteering for similar organizations. Contact: BirthSpaceKC.com BirthSpaceKC@gmail.com

What inspired you to become a doula?

My journey into the Doula began with a women’s biology class in college. This was where I first heard the word and felt drawn to all things birth. It wasn’t long after that I had two babies of my own and used doulas each time. Having their support was amazing and it became very clear that I wanted to provide this service to others. The doula world has felt like the perfect next step in living out my passion of helping women and families. to me, it is a wonderful continuation of reproductive justice. I have seen the power, determination, and potential of women shine when they have the right support. I have also seen their lives diminished and their voices stifled by limited choices, lack of support, and self-doubt. I believe that informed childbirth is just another key part of their reproductive journey and I am committed to providing evidence-based, mother-friendly birth services.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
I have a complicated relationship with this word. On the one hand, I love that I can identify as radical, I am so proud to serve communities that are often overlooked and unsupported. To be part of a community of other people who also identify this way has also been the most amazing experience and I feel so privileged to know every single one of them. On the other hand, it is unfortunate that a belief in the importance of giving all people choices, education and equal care is still considered radical. This should absolutely be the norm and we just have so far to go before that is a reality.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
My philosophy is pretty straightforward- It is my job to hold space for clients, to bring them knowledge, support their choices, and empower them in their own unique path to building a family. Everyone deserves a safe, healthy, satisfying birth experience. I think this is just a mirror of my larger political beliefs. Everyone should have access to a good education, access to good healthcare and job opportunities. All of the things that are necessary for individuals to actually have a say in their how their lives play out. Everyone deserves a life and a community that is safe, healthy, and fulfilled.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
I have a passion for working with families who are inhabiting this space of their life. It is such a beautiful and vulnerable time and making sure that they feel informed, empowered, and supported is incredibly important. I guess my favorite part would be the moment when a mother turns that corner into labor land and she gets into that amazing, instinctual rhythm that allows the body to progress and open. It is pretty powerful.

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
It would have to be all of the judgement you see through the whole process. There is so much surrounding pregnancy, birth, and parenthood and it comes from all angles. How are parents supposed to feel confident in their choices when they have so many people telling them they are doing the wrong thing, or worse, that they are harming their child. You hear about all these “mommy wars” and every friend/parent/stranger has an opinion they think is the only way and it is just so overwhelming. I would really like to see everyone have the opportunity to get real, evidence-based pregnancy and parenthood information, receive equal care, and then have everyone just mind their own business.

Radical Doula Profiles: Jordan Alam

This is a series highlighting folks who identify as Radical Doulas. Are you interested in being part of the series? Go here to provide your responses to the profile questions and I’ll include you!

About Jordan Alam: I am a trained birth and postpartum doula serving the Seattle/King County metro area. I trained with Ancient Song Doula Services, an organization devoted to racial and economic justice in birth work. Birth and early parenthood is a powerful transition in the lives of my clients. My doula work focuses on returning power to my clients – regardless of their philosophies and choices around birth, I want all birthing people to be respected, supported, and fully informed about their options. I offer my services at flat rate and sliding scale; I also work with a local organization that offers free of cost doula services. You can find more info about my work at www.jordanalam.com/doula- services or by emailing me at jordanalam7201@gmail.com.

What inspired you to become a doula?
I have been supporting people through big life transitions, professionally and personally, for years. In college is where I found the language for what I had already been doing since middle and high school: supporting others through trauma. I built on these skills by working as a peer health educator and as a domestic violence advocate. When I came across the word “doula,” it really felt like it brought together all of the skills I had been cultivating for those past years – deep listening, advocacy, bringing comfort, etc. When I graduated and had some time on my hands, I went and did my training!

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
My doula work is committed to supporting those who are traditionally left out of conversations about their rights and choices around reproductive justice – especially women of color, trans and queer-identified people. I identify as queer, South Asian American, and Muslim, and these identities shape how I walk through the world. I have also worked as a domestic violence advocate and am working towards supporting people through adoption/all-options counseling. I consider my work “radical” because, although “radical” or “activist” work at large is perceived as protests and/or changing legislation, I believe that the emotional labor, relationship building, and advocacy are important (and overlooked) parts of justice work.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
When else are you able to be so present than when you are attending a labor? I am really attuned to my client and attuned to the energy of the room; I’ve described it that time slips through my fingers during those moments. I’m also just very curious and being a doula allows me a little window onto the experiences of others. I tend to be more of a listener and facilitator in my doula role, and I’m always delighted to see how others interact with this huge moment of change.

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
I would change the way that medical interventions are presented to clients in hospitals, particularly. My view is that clients can and should make decisions on their own about their care, but too often the options are presented in a way that doesn’t respect the client’s autonomy. For example, if a client is requesting an epidural, care providers should mention that it might slow down their labor – that should not be my role to explain! Additionally, I don’t believe that medical providers saying “you’re going to love this epidural” and other personal opinions allows the client their freedom of choice either. Since the majority of my clients of color are delivering in hospital, this is especially true of their experiences and unhelpful in context.

Radical Doula Profiles: Hannah Yore

This is a series highlighting folks who identify as Radical Doulas. Are you interested in being part of the series? Go here to provide your responses to the profile questions and I’ll include you!

About Hannah Yore: I offer full spectrum, sliding scale services that include prenatal, labor, and postpartum support as well as miscarriage and abortion counseling in the New York City area. I am committed to providing advocacy and companionship to pregnant people throughout a range of reproductive experiences and support my clients holistically. I am associated with DONA International and NYC’s Healthy Women, Healthy Futures Initiative. In addition to my work as a doula, I also have experience conducting international women’s health research, advocacy, and case management services. For more information, please email me at hannaheyore@gmail.com.

What inspired you to become a doula?
I have worked for five years with reproductive justice and sexual health organizations domestically and internationally as an advocate, case manager, and researcher. I also served as a promotora’s assistant in The Dominican Republic, providing holistic healthcare services to individuals in their homes. Many of the individuals I worked with expressed anxiety over navigating pregnancy, abortion, and family planning. I decided that being a doula provided me another opportunity to both expand my knowledge around natural medicine and better support women during emotional and monumental periods in their lives.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
Personally, identifying as a radical doula means acknowledging the ways in which current socio-economic systems negatively affect the reproductive experiences of queer folks, women of color, and those living in poverty. Having a radical doula practice requires that I take into account how my clients’ histories and intersecting identities influence their feelings around and experiences of reproductive choice and agency.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
I believe doulas must take into account their clients’ mental and social realities rather than strictly the physical components of reproduction. My doula practice is an extension of my political beliefs and work as an organizer and activist around issues of social justice. As a feminist socialist organizer and international reproductive justice practitioner, I am committed to mitigating the harmful affects for-profit medical industries have on socially and economically marginalized communities.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
My favorite thing about being a doula is having the opportunity to learn from my clients. I have been fortunate to bear witness to extraordinary moments of strength, vulnerability, and resilience and each women with whom I work helps enrich my philosophy as a doula and expand my knowledge around healing, medicine, and human connection.

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
There are many issues surrounding pregnancy and birth, however, I would prioritize improving the relationship between individuals and their doctors. Unfortunately, pregnant folks are often left feeling confused and discouraged after medical appointments. I would like to see more culturally competent, individualized care models in hospital and OBGYN settings.