Radical Doula Profiles: Lisa Artis

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!

Lisa lying down with braids

About Lisa: I am originally from Washington D.C. and I have two beautiful daughters who are my world and were truly my first teachers regarding the magic of birth. I’ve worked with families in the D.C. area as well as in Tallahassee, Florida and South Florida where my girls were born. I have met and connected with some astounding doulas and families in the state of Michigan as well, where home birth is on the rise. I hope to connect with many more women and families in South Florida, especially those who desire home birth and to birth in non-traditional settings.

I like to think that my experience has and will continue to inspire birthing women. I have been pregnant four times; my first child was born via a c section due to fetal distress. After that experience, I knew I wanted things to be different the second time around and they were! I had my second daughter at home and it was a most memorable experience. Vbac rocks!!

I have two “spirit” babies; one who was born in 2006 (a miscarriage) and one who was born in 2009 (a stillbirth). All of my “births” tell my story as a mother, a doula and a strong woman who has seen and literally experienced birth in all of its glory and pain. I am a doula who “knows” the winds of change when it comes to birth and who will be there through it all. I love and support this beautiful journey and I hope to one day become a midwife.

What inspired you to become a doula?

I believe my inspiration to become a doula has been within me since I was a child! I have always loved new babies, the beautiful energy that exudes from a pregnant woman and being present in their lives. Before I knew there was a name for women who assist pregnant and birthing women, I made it my business to be there for my friends who had just given birth. A close girlfriend of mine was my doula during the birth of my second child and it was then that I knew I wanted to inquire further about becoming a doula myself.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?

I identify with the term “radical doula” with an innate knowing that since this is my calling; I must be radical about what I am doing; sharing with other women, supporting them through their own personal journey and knowing that my work is a reflection of how much I love being in the midst of birth and the postpartum period.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?

My doula philosophy is to love and support mothers from all walks of life; there are no boundaries for me when it comes to being a doula. When I am asked to join a woman at her birth or afterward; I see a new mother who I have been honored to accompany and I take this position of nurturing her seriously from day one.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?

My favorite thing about being a doula is the connections that I make with mothers and families. Looking in a mama’s eyes as I hold her hands and encourage her during labor is priceless. I have never left a birth without shedding tears of joy; watching intently as baby makes his or her way into the world; it’s a spiritual experience for me; always. Watching mama and baby connect for the first time is so energizing to me; it’s truly unforgettable.

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?

I would most definitely have more positive images of birth in the media instead of what we are typically fed. Birthing women cry, growl, laugh, and some even experience orgasm! They are all not strapped to beds screaming for drugs and wishing they could be doing anything other than giving birth.

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