Radical Doula Profiles: Lyssa Kaehler

This is a series highlighting folks who identify as Radical Doulas. Are you interested in being part of the series? Email me.

Lyssa smiling with glasses holding baby.

About Lyssa: Lyssa Kaehler (CD)DONA has been assisting at births since 2010.  She has awesome tattoos and an irreverent sense of humor, and can help you make it through your birth with your soul and perineum intact.  In her spare time she enjoys making faces at babies and doing fix-it work around her house.

RD: What inspired you to become a Doula?

LK: I felt a calling to work with birth while I was in school studying psychology…funny how callings hit while you’re busy doing something else! It just felt like this was the life I was meant to be living. My eventual goal is to be a homebirth midwife, but some birth community friends advised that I become a doula first and get some real life experience before diving into midwifery school.

RD: Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
LK: Honestly, I wish I didn’t have to.  Is it so radical to believe that every person should be treated with respect, no matter what they’re going through? On the other hand, I think I’m pretty rad.   When I’m not at births, you might find me roaring around town on my motorcycle, kicking ass in martial arts,  herding chickens through my yard, or dressing up in strange costumes for science fiction conventions.  I’m your basic superhero ninja biker doula.

RD: What is your Doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?

LK: I feel like all women deserve to be treated with respect and to have their body’s processes honored at whatever phase of life she is in or what she chooses to do with it…but that’s not what happens here. What I want for all the women that I work with is to feel that they were truly informed and in control of decisions made, and comfortable with the unfolding process even when things don’t go as planned. I hate that having a good, empowering birth is an upper class privilege in our medical system, and that poor women are just supposed to take whatever they are given and be grateful. That needs to change.

RD: What is your favorite thing about being a Doula?

LK: I love seeing women conquer their fears and the rush of power that comes with a good birth. A friend of mine was telling me yesterday that she is still empowered from the birth of her first child 22 years ago. That empowerment can change lives forever.

RD: If you could change one thing about birth in the US, what would it be?

LK: Universal health care would be nice, and a system that doesn’t encourage and reward providers for doing unnecessary inductions and c-sections.

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