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 Qiddist Ashe: Qiddist is a liberatory educator, a facilitator, a birth, postpartum and full spectrum doula, and a practitioner of herbal ancestral wisdom. She believes that we all have the capacity to become our own healers, and is passionate about making holistic, ancestral and evidence-based care especially available to Black communities and other communities of color. She currently serves the Chicagoland area with sliding-scale full spectrum doula services, including birth, postpartum, placenta encapsulation, abortion support, herbalism, reproductive wellness and more. You can reach her through her website.
What inspired you to become a doula?
My great grandmother was a midwife and medicine woman, and although I never met her, I believe her wisdom and dedication to supporting birthers has been a part of me since I was a child. As I grew up witnessing the racial disparities in our medical model and how Black folx are consistently underserved in our current system, I became motivated to offer care that affirms people’s autonomy and guides them to reclaim their own lineages of power and innate wisdom.
Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
In the words of Angela Davis, “radical simply means ‘grasping things’ at the roots.'” I identify with the term “radical doula” because my practice is centered on uncovering our own power, wisdom and knowledge about our health and our bodies that have been covered up by oppressive systems. I am a radical doula because I center marginalized bodies (Black, queer, trans, fat, disabled, etc.) and THEIR needs and wants, whether that fits within or outside our existing medical systems.
What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
I am committed to providing deeply relational support that both honors ancestral wisdom and uses evidence-based practices, and to especially make this vital support culturally responsive and accessible to Black communities as an important part our collective healing. I incorporate practices from across the African diaspora that bring opportunities to claim your own healing power, and provide informational, emotional, physical and spiritual care that holds the sacred space of your unique journey. In the realm of birth, I believe everyone should be allowed to birth in their own power regardless of where or how they birth, and I affirm all choices to do so even if they are outside the medical paradigm.
What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
What I love most about being a doula is getting to hold supportive and sacred space for people in such a transformative journey in their lives. Wherever they are at in the process, it brings me true joy to be able to nourish people in body, mind and spirit through touch, information, herbs, emotional support or just pure presence. In the words of Octavia Butler, “Kindness eases change.”
If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
My vision is for all birthers to truly believe in their innate power and birthing wisdom, and to have the supportive care of their choice to birth with autonomy and intuition regardless of access and identity.