Alison (Ali) Ojanen-Goldsmith is the Lead Coordinator of Full Spectrum Doulas in Seattle, WA where she is working to expand the doula model of care to people experiencing the full spectrum of pregnancy outcomes, including abortion and adoption. She also owns and operates Healthy Family, Healthy World and provides a range of services that support and advocate for healthy women, families and communities including eco-healthy postpartum doula services. Prior to moving to Seattle and expanding her scope and impact to the grassroots level, she served as Programs and Policy Associate at Reproductive Health Technologies Project (RHTP) in Washington, DC and as a public policy researcher for NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin.
What inspired you to become a doula?
I became a full spectrum doula to provide unwavering, nonjudgmental and hands-on support to pregnant people through all of their reproductive decisions, whether that be birthing at home, having an abortion or providing a child through surrogacy or adoption and every circumstance in between. A broader goal of my doula work is to empower pregnant people to trust in themselves and each other and to develop their own sense of what it means to be an advocate.
What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
I believe that with knowledge, empowerment and natural intuition, pregnant people are the ones that make the best decisions for themselves. It is imperative that the voices of pregnant people from marginalized communities be heard, especially in the predominantly patriarchal, and often oppressive, medical environments in which most people make their reproductive decisions.
As a reproductive justice advocate, I work to challenge and change the systems of power that continue to subjugate pregnant people and deny them the social, economic, cultural and educational opportunities to fully realize their reproductive goals. Through my doula work, I hope to contribute to this change from the bottom up by supporting and empowering one pregnant person at a time.
What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
I love being a part of the amazing space between a pregnant person and their doula- the intense cooperation, respect and trust that is created. It is such a privilege to share in a their most sacred thoughts and feelings about themselves and their world and to help create a nurturing, supportive experience.
If you could change one thing about birth in the US, what would it be?
Part of my goal as a full spectrum doula is to work towards demedicalizing healthy people’s reproductive experiences, including birth, menstruation, abortion, and menopause. People should be able to access (both physically and financially) medical interventions for these experiences if they want and need them, but the medical model should not represent the entirety of options for healthy people and their bodies.