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 Becca Spence Dobias: Becca is a doula serving the Inland Empire in Southern California. She is certified through Childbirth International and has an M.A. in Applied Women’s Studies. She is a member of Seasons Within Doula Group. She enjoys yoga, hockey, lady-centric comic books, and writing. She is a mom to a wonderful two-year-old. She can be found at continuationsdoula.com.
What inspired you to become a doula?
I had to do an internship for my Applied Women’s Studies program. A friend who is also a doula (and is also featured on this site– hi Lauren!) had just posted something about The Doula Project and I decided to contact them. I interned with them for a summer and learned how awesome doula work is, but I wasn’t sure if it was for me. When I got pregnant, I became more interested. I didn’t hire a doula but I was lucky enough to have an amazing nurse who gave me wonderful support. I decided I wanted to provide that kind of support for others.
Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
I identify as a radical doula for many reasons. I support people of any gender identity and sexuality. I try not to use gender-specific terms or tropes as I offer support. I also consider myself radically evidence-based. Doula work is about way more than having babies. It’s about helping people have access to information and choices and to their own voices and power. In a realm where that isn’t always encouraged, it’s radical.
What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
I believe deeply in mindfulness as a powerful tool for helping families stay present in each moment— to more effectively meet the challenges and more fully experience the joy of their transitions and transformations.
In Zen Buddhism, birth and death are not beginnings and endings the way we normally think about them. Instead, they are referred to as “continuations” because we do not come from nothing when we are born or become nothing when we die. Rather, we continue from one moment to the next, in different forms each moment, depending on the existing conditions.
As a birth doula, I strive to help folks stay present and mindful for this exciting continuation. As a termination doula, I want to help people explore what this continuation means to them– without pressure to define it in any particular way, and to remain present and compassionate with themselves.
Mindfulness is totally a political practice. I think the practice of real presence and compassion for ourselves and others can change the world.
What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
I love really getting to know my clients and seeing them light up as we prepare for their birth. I leave client meetings glowing from great conversations.
If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
The fear! For everybody. I would take away all the horror stories pregnant and birthing people hear. For providers, I’d take away the fear of being sued and the fear of doing something outside the norm. If everyone was less afraid, the whole experience of pregnancy and birth would feel less antagonistic and more like the amazing phenomenon it is.