This is a series highlighting folks who identify as Radical Doulas. Are you interested in being part of the series? Go here to provide your responses to the profile questions and I’ll include you!
About Jasmine: Jasmine is a doula in Denver, Colorado. In her free time, she likes to dance, garden, and write for Mother Wild Zine-Blog. She works as a massage therapist and is studying midwifery, women’s studies, and herbalism. Jasmine is a member of Colorado Doulas Association (CDA), Colorado Midwives Association (CMA), and Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA). She is also a member of the low-cost doula program through the CDA working with low income families.
What inspired you to become a doula?
A transformative and empowering birth experience is what inspired me to become a birthworker. I remember weeping weeks after the birth of my daughter remembering how sterile and eerily silent the labor & delivery unit was – I was the only woman moaning through contractions, the only woman to experience a natural birth in that hospital in a very long time (said the nurse). I felt heartbroken thinking of how sad the current system is. Birth is a biological process that is to be deeply respected. Women’s bodies and the mother-baby experience of birth can be so powerful when left alone to blossom in its own time, in its own way.
Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
I suppose I identify with the term “radical doula” because I’m somewhat radical in my approach to social activism, not only in the world of birth, but in human rights as well. Along with being a mom and a doula, I’m a massage therapist, student midwife, “placenta enthusiast,” amateur herbalist, and all-around birth geek. I’m also currently pursuing a degree in Women’s Studies because I feel birthworkers should know about all of women’s issues, and not just the realm of reproductive health. I run a blog and magazine and love to get involved in the street art scene (painting quotes about women’s empowerment and midwifery).
What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
I personally believe childbirth has the power to transform women and families on some of the deepest levels. As care providers, we either assist or hinder that transformation by either respecting or disrespecting her autonomy. I’m a firm believer in informed choice and the “live and let live” philosophy, meaning every birth is as unique as the woman and baby experiencing it – and we should honor that by staying present, mindful, and aware of her special desires.
What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
I’ve attended both home and hospital births, both unmedicated and medicated, both physiological and induced births – and the one thing I’ve noticed they all have in common, no matter how a labor and birth unfolds, is that families come together with strength and grace and a beauty all their own. I believe in my heart that when we celebrate new life, when we connect, laugh, weep, and rejoice – we realize what it means to be human. After all, why hush ourselves? We’re alive.
If you could change one thing about birth, what would it be?
I would remove the fear of birth from women’s hearts and minds. I’d love to see a world where women looked at birth as a creative and intensely beautiful rite of passage.