Kristen Treat, is a childbirth educator, labor doula and postpartum support. In addition to her birth work she is also a certified school counselor and an adjunct graduate professor. She is active with the local La Leche League and works to empower all women to birth on their own terms. She is the mother of three children, three year old twin boys and a one year old daughter. She is known locally as the ‘Baby Lady’ a running joke that evolved into her business name ‘The Omaha Baby Lady.’
What inspired you to become a doula?
I was first a scared pregnant mama. I was terrified of birth and scared that my twin pregnancy would result in disaster. Therefore I was grateful my doctor suggested a cesarean birth. Two years later after much soul searching and research I chose another path for the birth of my daughter. After my empowering natural VBAC I knew need a way to harnass my newfound passion for birth. I began teaching childbirth classes and was saddened by how some of my students were being treated or worse that some couldn’t find a doula based on their birth situations and decided that no matter what every women deserved the right to have the birth of her choice and I was going to support her!
Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
In many ways I don’t think how I doula is all that radical. I simply support all women in the birth of their choice, with the partner of their choice, in the place of their choice. If a woman is giving birth, I will support her, period.
I often hear from clients that other doulas refused to work with them due to their doctor, their birth history, their sexual orientation, religious beliefs etc. I guess what makes me ‘radical’ is I simply cannot imagine ever telling a woman that she doesn’t deserve my support in her birth.
What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
As a doula I believe that every woman has the right to birth in whatever manner she wants. She should have the rights to make her own choices not encumbered by scare tactics, while being presented with evidence based information to help give her information to make these choices. Whatever choices she makes are hers to make and they deserve to be supported. Politically I support the right of a woman to give birth where ever and with whomever she chooses, I do not believe the state has any role in a women’s birth issues.
What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
Hearing that moment of empowerment in a woman as she truly realizes that not only can she do it, but that she IS doing it and that soon her baby will be in her arms. That moment is a true life changing moment in that woman’s life and to get to glimpse it is just magic.
If you could change one thing about birth in the US, what would it be?
Just one? That every woman in America had a doula, serving as an advocate to help navigate the murky waters of maternity care and help be their guide during the prenatal stages setting the stage for their personal best birth.