I just got off the phone with a reporter working on an article about religion and spirituality in connection to home birth. Our conversation got me going, particularly when she told me of the Christian midwife who said that she doesn’t think pro-choice people should be doulas or midwives. That it’s a contradiction to work with birth and hold pro-choice beliefs. It makes my blood boil.
People often assume that radical politics go hand in hand with atheism, or a rejection of religious beliefs. The Religious Right in this country has furthered that idea by claiming the realm of religion, of God, of spirituality even, as their own. They promote the idea that being religious means certain things about your political beliefs and actions.
My doula work is about providing non-judgemental support to a person during pregnancy. Period. Just like I don’t bring my judgements about how the birth should happen, what tools should be used, or even how or when the pregnancy should happen, I don’t bring my judgements about the choices the pregnant person makes about their pregnancy.
I know that many of you who identify as radical doulas bring a sense of spirituality to your work, and I want us to claim that. I want us to reject the idea that radical politics (which, by the way, in an ideal world wouldn’t be so damn radical) are inherently atheist, or anti-religion, or anti-spiritual. Inherent in that rejection is that we get to claim, rightfully, that a belief in God or some sort of higher power doesn’t go hand in hand with anti-choice views. Anyone who studies the Bible, the Old Testament, knows that the beliefs that the Religious Right holds up as so clear, so self-evident, are not. It’s all about interpretation.
I want us to talk about values. I hold dearly the fact that my VALUES as a doula are based in the principle of non-judgmental support. My values are that I don’t know what is best for anyone but myself, and as a doula I serve folks during pregnancy by remembering that, always, and simply searching for the best way to validate and support someone’s experience.
I wholeheartedly reject the idea that family values are based in principles of hatred, discrimination, non-acceptance and judgement. Those are the anti-choice, anti-sex, anti-woman and anti-gay family values are being promoted in the US.
I’ve got my own version of family values—helping people build the families they want to create, however they define family, in the most loving and supportive environment possible. My family values include empowering every family member to make decisions about what’s best for them—whether those decisions are about how to dress, when and how to begin romantic relationships, how to be sexual, what to do when they are pregnant, what pronouns to use, damn even what food to eat every day. Again, I don’t know what’s best for anyone but myself. My values center on creating an environment where everyone can make the absolute best, educated and supported decisions about their lives.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a shit ton of opinions. I’m a blogger! But my opinions stop where your choices begin. I can express them from here til kingdom come, but YOU know what’s best for you. Period.
I’m sick of the left being painted as rational or logical but values-less. That’s complete and total bullshit. I’ve got an incredible set of values right here, and I think you do too. We just need to start talking about them.