Alese Colehour a graduate student of biological anthropology at University of Oregon in Eugene. She works with reproductive health of the Shuar communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon. You can check out her website here.
Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
Dar a luz, meaning to give light, is the Spanish phrase meaning childbirth. Through childbearing and rearing, a woman brings forth new light to our world not only through the life of a child, but through her own life as a new mother. I am a strong believer in the rise of the feminine and I believe the way the majority of modern hospitals treat laboring women is an alarming breach of basic human rights. It is a symptom of a systemic problem that despite impressive efforts from female rights advocates continues to infiltrate many aspect of our society. Serving as labor support is my way of advocating for a change. I have a profound respect for the emotional and physical changes a woman goes through during pregnancy and labor (such an incredible thing the human body can do!) and being present to witness and cherish each moment is an incredibly powerful experience. I am very grateful for each woman and family for giving me the honor to attend such a sacred ceremony. Through my compassion and commitment to continuous support, I hope I can inspire hospital staff, new families, and my own personal community to look at childbirth practice in a new light.
What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
I love being able to love so openly and freely. I love learning so much from each of the women I serve. I love meeting other doulas, they are all so warm and wonderful and womanly!
If you could change one thing about birth, what would it be?
First impressions are extremely important, and that includes the first few moments after a baby is born. I believe those first impressions of the world are extremely influential later in the life of the child and even as an adult. Imagine the difference between strangers in latex gloves and a steel table versus a loving human hand and a warm chest!