Radical Doula Profiles: Linda Bennett

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 Linda Bennett: I am a retired Direct-Entry Midwife (21 years of a birth center and home birth practice, serving diverse families). Currently I assist in the training of Doulas and accept just a few Doula clients each year. This allows me to provide deeply personal support tailored to your needs. It also allows me to accept “Last Minute” clients. I think families should be supported when their plans for their births change to include Doula support even if it is only a few months before baby is “due.” (or even last minute) I have a special interest in supporting VBACs. If families plan on birthing in the hospital but want to stay home as long as possible I offer Monitrice services as well as Doula support. Monitrice while out of the hospital and Doula when under the direct care of your midwife or doctor. I sub-specialize in high-risk and other challenging circumstances and am a full-spectrum Doula. My pronouns are she/her, or they/their. Contact: Text or call 503-841-3167, email lbennett649@yahoo.com.

Geographic Location: Mid-Willamette Valley (Oregon) north to include Vancouver Washington

What inspired you to become a doula?
Becoming a family has been the most challenging and amazing experience of my life. To lend my experience and expertise to new families as they start their journeys, and as their families expand, adds to my appreciation for the warmth, love, resiliency, and importance of family.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
A defining characteristic of my life has been to challenge expectations by asking the hard questions such as “Why?” and “Why not?” I prefer logic to tradition, evidence to “accepted practice,” and support self-determinism, even if I would not do it that same way. I am continually surprised when others label this as “radical.” Now I embrace that label.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
Doula Philosophy: Our bodies are made to work if we don’t get in the way of and even facilitate their physiology. Birth happens on all of the planes of our existence i.e. physical and biologic, personal and emotional, social, and even in the broadest scheme of things, the spiritual. Identification of the social forces that have shaped our understanding of ourselves and our relationships with each other are political. The individuals and institutions that have asserted control over that understanding and personal agency are political. The colonization of others’ bodies because of their reproductive powers is the source of Patriarchy and the model for other colonizations. Racism and lack of Social Justice and Reproductive Justice kills. Justice should be the norm and not have to be fought for while in labor or while giving birth.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
When the members of the family mesh in support of these new lives, when the universe spins on its axis as this new family is created, are my favorite aspects of being there in support.

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
Too many drugs are used to ease the interventions that may not have been needed if the principles of physiologic birth had been implemented. Oh… and there is still too little actual “Informed” plus “Consent.” I have seen and facilitated true Informed Consent, and it is powerful, even in the most challenging circumstances.

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