Radical Doula Profiles: Andrea Richardson

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!

IMG_3720About Andrea Richardson: I’m a Black queer Full Spectrum doula, supporting Black womxn & families in birth, pregnancy & infant loss (and abortion), pleasure & death. I’m also a reiki practioner and teacher. I support locally & remotely, as well. Located in Saint Louis, MO.

What inspired you to become a doula?
Many things have inspired me to become a Full Spectrum doula: My own birth (as a premie) inspired me to be a birth and loss doula. Not having access to much sensual pleasure & fun as a kiddo inspired me to become a pleasure doula as an adult. And understanding that death is a part of life (two sides of the same coin) inspired me to be a death doula.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
For me, there isn’t a hierarchy of support. Birth support isn’t more important that loss support. Pleasure support isn’t more important than death support. It’s all equally important & necessary.

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Radical Doula Profiles: Annana Mae

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!

UntitledAbout Annana Mae: I am mama to a rockstar adult human, a writer, and always focused on making sure we have what we need in this life. I trained as a doula with DPB’s Orgasmic Birth, and love this perspective of birthing. I reside on un-ceded Abenaki land in central Vermont with my tiny kitten pal, Daisy and I tend the garden in every breath. You can reach me via email at lindsay.mae.wilson@gmail.com.

What inspired you to become a doula?
Why am I a doula? Because life is short, and babies are always coming, and parents deserve access to the care, support, and kind of life (birth, pregnancy, parenting, all of it) they want.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
Being a doula in service of the kind of care I believe in is a radical notion and a rebellious act. I believe in offering support to every facet of what people with uteruses need support for: fertility, pregnancy, loss, abortion, adoption, and parenting in a sustainable way.

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As a Former Abortion Doula, Here’s How I’m Facing the Dawn of a Post-Roe World

It’s been four years since I’ve written about reproductive rights and justice. I took that step back for many reasons, but the end of Roe compelled me to process the main way I know how—by writing.

Being a pro-choice doula was controversial within many birth activist circles. There were many conservative Christian midwives and doulas who didn’t think doulas should support people during abortions. In this moment, as those same conservative Christians have succeeded in removing the right to abortion access nationally, the political nature of that work is even more clear.

I wish I could say this piece has all the answers. It doesn’t.

But we will find a way forward, because we have to.

Read the full article at Truthout.

Radical Doula Profiles: Emily Griffin

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!

Emily smiling with a nature backgroundAbout Emily Griffin: I’m a full spectrum doula, childbirth educator, and the owner of Unbridled Mama Doula Services (Southern Arizona). I provide trauma-informed care during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Website, Facebook and Instagram.

What inspired you to become a doula?

I believe that all women should be supported no matter where they are on the pregnancy spectrum.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?

I identify with being a radical doula because I not only support pregnant and birthing women, but also because I’m passionate about supporting those through abortions, miscarriages, and stillbirths. I believe in reproductive justice.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?

I love supporting women.

Radical Doula Profiles: Juniper Wilson

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!

Screen Shot 2022-04-29 at 1.48.17 PMAbout Juniper Wilson: Lilac Dreams is serving Washtenaw County, Michigan. I am on Anishinabewaki , Bodéwadmiakiwen (Potawatomi), Meškwahki·aša·hina (Fox), and Peoria land. Doula juju is open and down to traveling! My doula practice is holistic, community care based. I am here to assure that my communities have care that is affordable, access-centered, and honest. I aim to serve the following communities: Black, Indigenous, ND, Disabled, LGBTQ+

What inspired you to become a doula?
Being Black, being trans-femme, being queer. Intersectionality really pop, locked, and dropped it on my ass. Honestly. I realize that in this life, in this climate, in this world, my body is not naturally valued and seen as beautiful. Although I do, this world does not. I feel called to doula work because I understand the complexity of identity is not protected in health care. Too many of my community members are unseen and unheard in the health world. Too many of my siblings are unsupported and uneducated about their reproductive choices and rights. I hope to serve as an ally, advocate, and peer offering support and love to all of my clients.

My journey began with an OBGYN internship. I quickly learned that although the work was exciting, it wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted to take care of folks, provide a shoulder, prepare meals, and educate folks about their reproductive rights and choices. I led a few organizations where I stood as a peer educator for sexual assault awareness and reproductive rights specifically within Black and Queer-Trans communities.

I was inspired to become a BADT full spectrum doula because my entire life, it has been my calling. I’ve always felt pulled to taking care of community and pregnant folks. I became a doula through BADT because I wanted to learn to be inclusive with my care and serve all pregnant/birthing folks.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
Lilac Dreams offers holistic, full-spectrum doula care to all birthing people during all birthing outcomes.
Full-spectrum care includes menstruation, infertility, loss and abortion, birth and labor, postpartum and adoption. Through the use of herbs, mindfulness, and intuition, juju will holistically attend to all of your needs.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
Although this is not a healing space, there may be healing that takes place here. Our practice comes from a place of love, learning, and accountability. Black folks, particularly Black uterus owners, are vastly unprotected in this world. With that being said, this work comes with decolonizing our every day practices, holding ourselves and community accountable for anti-black, transphobia, ableism, and capitalist thinking and colonizer behavior.

Doula Care with Lilac Dreams is:
anti-racism + anti-capitalism work
honoring + venerating ancestors
bodily autonomy + informed consent
access-centered + trauma informed care
accountability and boundaries
community care
harm reduction
reproductive justice
Black, LGBTQIA2S+ affirming
this is a pro-hoe, pro-fat space.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
I enjoy creating connections with folks and being a safe space for them to come vent, seek resources, and just exist in their natural form.

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
Black birthing folks getting the support, education, and deliveries they deserve!

Radical Doula Profiles: Alex Barr

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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 Alex: I’m a doula and childbirth educator located in Phoenix, AZ. I was trained in March 2020 and certified in March 2021 through a local birth center. I’m passionate about providing inclusive and safe spaces for pregnant people in my community.

You can find more about me at alexbarrdoula.com or on Instagram.

What inspired you to become a doula?
I became a doula because there is a persistent lack of support for people in general, but specifically in the birth experience. The transition to pregnant person and the transition to parenthood is not treated with any of the care, love, or support needed to sustain us. I felt that becoming a doula and childbirth educator was a way to provide that community support that is so desperately needed.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
As I’ve dived into the birth work community there aren’t very many people providing inclusive practices and support.I’ve made it my goal to make my practices trauma informed, inclusive in language, and focused on people that don’t ‘fit’ in the typical idea of birthing person.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
My doula philosophy is all about community support. I provide the support, I connect pregnant people together, I provide resources so my clients feel supported even after they’re no longer working with me. This fits into my belief about helping the people who need it the most helps everyone around us, we all rise together.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
I love seeing people come into themselves in pregnancy and birth, whether that’s standing up for themselves, getting the birth they desired, or simply asking for the help they need.

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
I would change the community around it. So many people walk into pregnancy, birth, and parenthood alone and unsupported in their choices.

Radical Doula Profiles: Summer Diegel

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!
Summer

About Summer: Summer Gail Diegel is a children’s minister and full spectrum doula in Duwamish Tribal lands that have come to be known as Seattle, WA. ​Summer has prioritized continued education to develop their artistry in communication, body care, spiritual guidance, and all-ages wellness education. Summer develops curriculum, facilitates workshops, courses, and offers doula care services– but is most at home cozied up with a sci-fi or fantasy novel. They use their love of story to create imaginative methods of facilitating connection through skilled planning, soothing techniques, on-call care, and education for children and adults. Check out their website.

What inspired you to become a doula?
Even as a child I was drawn to people who were skilled in de-escalation, who were kind hearted, who were artists, and often people that were spiritual. I had really authentic relationships with the people in my community who cared for me, a lot of them have been teachers, ministry, and community cooks at churches I grew up attending. So I knew that I wanted to care for people the way that I saw those people caring for people. The first doulas I knew were and are in queer communities, in churches, feeding their neighbors, supporting overdose prevention programs, organizing healing & first aid support on the streets, and making poetry, jewelry, art.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
I am drawn to full spectrum support because it centers the values of clients’ choice. The idea of full spectrum care is to provide non judgemental support regardless of a person’s outcome. In pregnancy that includes birth, miscarriage, abortion, or adoption. In WA state we have a lot of legal choices in death too, including various disposition methods, and end-of-life supports like Medical Aid in Dying, and Voluntary Stopping of Eating and Drinking.

I’ve worked in death care for several years. But I only began learning the doula model of care three years ago. I think I may have said this earlier, but it’s most important to me to learn doula care and grow my personal toolbox so that I can be prepared for my elders, my friends, and my family. And I really enjoy this work, so if really anyone chooses me as their doula, I would like to make my services accessible to them. Sometimes my doula work is relational, other times it is volunteer, barter based, or sliding scale. That’s what intertwines my doula work with my activism. It’s up to each person how they make it fit their needs.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
I really believe that a lot of doula work happens all the time, in small moments and transitions. So I think to offer doula care it’s important that I slow down and find what is authentic to me, to recognize this work as community-centered, and to honor it as such without creating gates or replicating patterns that keep others from care. And I encourage people to learn with others and seek long-term mentorship rather than try to practice alone, because accountability in care work is really important to keeping our clients and community members safe.

My Irish and Polish ancestors shared traditions and cultural stories of life transitions such as pregnancy and end-of-life– they had community roles, wisdom, and sacred medicines for that to teach one another and share in accountable care work. But because of a number of things, including several hundred years of European colonization and American imperialism, that knowledge has shifted out of my family, this is one way of re-learning those skills. That’s what I consider the doula model of care to be– a re-introduction to knowledge that is my right as a human in a body.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
I love that I can become more prepared with skills for my disabled community members, my elders, my friends, and my family. So I love that it can prepare me to love people more. I am growing my skills for doula care in so many different ways currently. My favorite thing is being young and in a position of learning with my teachers– which is a privilege. It feels sacred to me to be a young person who feels pulled to work at the threshold, where I have been invited to witness experts at work and practice among them.

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
If I could change one experience of pregnancy and birth then every person would be receiving long-term postpartum support in their tradition or preferences; regardless of their pregnancy outcome.

Radical Doula Profiles: Karma

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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 Karma: Karma is a Traditional Birth Attendant and a Guide for women to reclaim and cultivate their personal power. Her work is to be with women and mothers that are navigating their life by offering support, care, nourishment, love and healing through: herbal medicine; prenatal, birth, spontaneous or intentional pregnancy release and postpartum support; bodywork; coaching; pelvic health education; sister circles, online courses and more.

She’s continuing to grow her community of like-minded women all over Vancouver Island, Canada and you can contact her through instagram, through her website: SacredBEarthkeeping.com or through email: SacredBEarthkeeping@hotmail.com

What inspired you to become a doula?

This is my life’s work as I’m passionate about women reclaiming and cultivating the power that has been taken from them and the best place to start is with mothers birthing our new generations.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?

I identify with this term, but more so Traditional Birth attendant or Traditional Midwife because I do my work completely outside of patriarchal influence. I guide women to live their life in that way and to recognize the benefit of self responsibility. There is no one on earth that knows more about a woman’s body or what is needed for her birth process than that woman herself. I’m educating women to know that their body isn’t broken and that they can absolutely birth their baby on their own terms.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?

MY philosophy is that the female body isn’t inherently broken and birth isn’t inherently a medical event. Every woman had within her the power to safely birth her baby where and whenever she wants to with whomever she wants present.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?

I love seeing women connect to and fully understand the power within themselves and when its not suppressed they literally can do anything.

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?

I would change the fact that women are so reliant on the industrialized medical system to “save” them, which only leaves them with the trauma of birth violence and OB or medical Midwife betrayal.

Radical Doula Profiles: Harley Banfield

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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 Harley: I was awakened to my passion towards birth and the finding out of my 2nd pregnancy and have been educating myself on all things birth ever since. 6+ years. I reside in Central/southern Indiana. You can reach me anytime by email Harleybanfield@mtdiyonbirthkeeping.com
864 407 8909
Mt Diyon Birthkeeping

What inspired you to become a doula?
My life changed when I discovered a whole new world about health and wellness which led me down the rabbit hole to birth and all the options there were that I didn’t know about and as soon as I became educated about them I wanted to share them with other mommas as well! I’ve now been a *Formal* birth doula for 4yrs.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
Skip the ordinary doula! Invest in someone truly worth it is my motto, I myself have had 2 free births. I’m the Holistic/unorthodox/natural alternative type. Prenatal education and birth support to the fullest ability of truth, love and evidenced based care.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
Prenatal education and birth support to the fullest ability of truth, love and evidenced based care. Skip the ordinary doula! Invest in someone truly worth it. I’m the Holistic/unorthodox/natural alternative type.
Mothers should be supported no matter what they choose! Non judgmental birth support to the fullest ability of truth, love and evidenced based care. & p.s YES, Advocacy IS a small but highly integrative accessory to birth support, should that be your desire! Bring faith-based Professional maternal support to you birth team!

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
Experiencing the empowerment of free births!

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
It would be to change natural primal feelings or assumptions relating to the physical feelings or pain of giving birth.

Radical Doula Profiles: Darlene Nava Muñoz

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 Darlene Nava Muñoz: I’m 34, latinx and a third generation birthworker serving my hometown Chicago, Illinois. I created LaPlacenta.org to connect with you and share information about my services. I enjoy being a full spectrum doula and assisting with birth, placentas and post-surgery aftercare!

What inspired you to become a doula?
A third generation birthworker, I come from a long heritage of parteras. My great grandmother would ride horse back in middle of the night into villages to support labor and delivery in home births. With the same fierceness, my commitment is to intentionally and respectfully advocate for your agency in your body. All people deserve informed quality care and attention in a time of big life changes!

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
I’m a radical doula because I believe in social reform for the betterment of marginalized communities. I want to center the care of lgbt and bipoc folks to promote better birth and healing outcomes.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
As a doula it is my honor to be by your side and advocate for you. Enthusiastic consent is the guiding principle of my work. I am in your corner, listening deeply and collaborating with you to support you knowing your options and making informed decisions.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
Knowing I can support people in community through tough moments of pain in concrete ways of emotional and physical support is the most gratifying thing about being a doula ❤

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
I wish for queer and trans families to be respected and cherished. Transgender men and nonbinary people have I wish for Black birth outcomes to be just as viable as the statistics of other demographics which starts with how people are treated in consults and during labor and delivery.