Raeanne Madison is a young Ojibwe woman living, studying, working, and mothering in the deepwoods of rural northern Michigan. Her obsessions include reproductive justice, rhetoric, Powwow dancing, sewing, playing in jazz band, and greenvegetables. Raeanne is currently working towards certification as a childbirth doula.
What inspired you to be a doula?
I realized that I have been a doula since giving birth to my daughter three years ago. For some reason, many friends come to me for post-partum support, advice, and advocacy. I suppose it’s because I’m a very vocal and passionate advocate. I never realized there was a name for what I have been doing. I chose to pursue certification as a childbirth doula, and eventually I’d like to do the post-partum training, as well. I naturally gravitate towards helping pregnant and child rearing people. Doula work is a way for me to make a difference on an individual, personal level which in turn creates a better community.
Why do you identify with the term “radical doula?”
This is an interesting question. To some, I am radical because I am a pro-choice birth worker. To others, I’m radical because I support the rights to affordable and culturally competent care for all mothers, even those who have been marginalized by mainstream birth work. To others, I’m radical because I’m a young doula and a teenage mother of color. I say I’m radical because I believe in bottom up revolution and anarchy, and this includes birth work. I strongly believe that we will take back our reproductive experiences, no matter what that takes. I would like to see an eradication of all violence and oppression associated with human reproduction. I don’t put a lot of faith in the so called system. This work starts with us.
What is your doula philosophy and how does that fit into your broader political beliefs?
My doula philosophy is simple: Every birth is ideal. Every mother is a champion. Every birth is natural. What could be more natural than giving birth? It pains me to see some doulas uplifting some experiences while degrading others. We must respect all experiences. My belief is that all humans deserve respect, kindness, and equity in their choices and experiences.
If you could change one thing about birth, what would it be?
I would completely eliminate the consumerist/Capitalist models of care. Birth is not a business to be run by detached authorities whose only stake in birth is the profit it brings. This is a desecration of our sacred abilities to give and sustain life. Health care should be affordable if not free to all peoples, everywhere, every age, every color.