Radical Doula Profiles: Cat Ennis Sears

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 Cat: Cat Ennis Sears is a mom of two exuberant boys born 2012 and 2014, a ToLabor trained birth doula, a Birthing From Within childbirth educator and an English teacher in Richmond, VA. Adira Birth Services and Childbirth Classes website.
Cat Ennis smiling with baby

What inspired you to become a doula?
Before I even got pregnant with my first son, I completed the reading for ToLabor doula certification. For some reason, I was just so drawn to this topic and couldn’t read enough or learn enough about it. I feel like childbirth and pregnancy is the place where women’s rights, critical literacy, narratives, myth making, rituals, feminism, self-determination, personal growth, and so much more all intersect in such an amazing way. My first birth concreted this desire to learn more about birth work. I was pushing with my first son for quite a long time. The presence of my doula when we transferred to the hospital from a birth center was reassuring and grounding. I wanted to provide that for other women.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
Radical comes from the Latin word radicem, which means root. It means to form the roots, to grow, to change, to become. What better word to describe a doula, who helps guide women and partners as they form their own family roots, as they change and become?

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
I believe doulas are there to support families in whatever informed decision they would like to make. I don’t believe in imposing my own fantasy birth on them or making judgments. I feel like families will make the choices that are right for them when provided with the right information and emotional support.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
I love prenatal meetings, which is why I chose to pursue Birthing From Within childbirth education training. I love to discuss women’s fears, hopes, plans, histories, preferences, dreams.

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
I wish we would stop judging each other as parents. I don’t like the ins and outs club of parenting. I wish we would all recognize that other people are experts in their own lives, that no one knows what another woman’s pregnant body feels like or what is right for that woman and baby in childbirth, breastfeeding and beyond.
I also wish that labor tubs would fill up faster and that electronic fetal monitors were consistently and reliably waterproof! : )

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