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 Megan Othling: I am Megan Othling, a birth doula and childbirth educator in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am married and have four young children who I home school. I’m also a dancer and writer. I support birthing people and their partners and families whether they choose to birth at home, birth center, or hospital. I have always been fascinated by pregnancy and birth, and I love walking through this sacred time with expectant families. I want to provide support to anyone who wants it, regardless of race, sexual orientation, or economic status. One of my ultimate goals is to start an organization that provides childbirth education and doula support for incarcerated persons in New Mexico. My email is email@example.com and my website is womanofvalorbirth.com.
What inspired you to become a doula?
I decided to pursue becoming a birth doula after the birth of my third child. I saw the importance of not only physical support, but also emotional and informational support. I believe that birth is a normal, physiological event and that birthing people should be treated with respect and the acknowledgment that they are the experts on their own bodies. Pregnancy and birth are not diseases and ought not to be laced with fear. As a doula, I hope to ensure parents of their power and ability to make the best decisions for themselves and their children.
Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
I identify with the term radical doula because I think that how we treat birth and birthing people is a reflection and predictor of how we value all of human life and experience. I want to provide all people with the respect and support they need to make choices about their pregnancies, births, and parenting journeys. I feel this is very important for incarcerated people because they have been stripped of agency and respect in many ways.
What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
My doula philosophy is that pregnancy and birth are a normal part of being human and that birthing people and their families are fully equipped to make decisions and accomplish the births that are important to them. Of course, birth is unpredictable, but owning our decisions and realizing our strength are very important. Another large part of my philosophy is that every person deserves to be seen, acknowledged, and valued. This is also the foundation of my broader political beliefs. People need to be seen and listened to and have their humanity affirmed regardless of personal beliefs or choices.
What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
My favorite thing about being a doula is seeing pregnant and birthing people transform into parents through taking ownership of their experience. I believe that those who experience loss and those who choose to place their children for adoption are also parents, who have made real parenting decisions and a real life transformation.
If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
I would want all women to have the knowledge that they are in charge of their pregnancy, birth, and parenting decisions. There is no one who can truly “allow” or “not allow” them to do anything regarding their own health.