Radical Doula Profiles: Nicolle Kasch

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 Nicolle Kasch: I’m a mother of two (three if you include my rescue dog) married to a pretty cool guy and living in Orange County, CA. I am a certified Mongan Method HypnoBirthing practitioner and currently working towards my birth doula certification with CAPPA.

www.hypnobirthingoc.com
hypnobirthingoc@gmail.com

What inspired you to become a doula?
When I was pregnant with my first child, I knew I wanted to have a natural birth at a hospital which meant I needed a doula. I had a WONDERFUL experience birthing him naturally, but was not happy with my treatment at the hospital. It was a combination of that joy and disappointment that created this passion to help other pregnant women find their own birthing power.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
I feel like a bit of an outcast in my conservative community. I am an athiest and profoundly pro-choice, which creates a bit of discord with my contemporaries. I now realize there is a term for me, and that is “radical”!

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
I believe all women have a right to bodily autonomy in ALL situations – including abortion, miscarriage, and birth. It’s this passion that inspires me to educate myself as much as I can to better serve women who are underserved by our current maternal health care system.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
Working with pregnant women to empower themselves, and watching babies be born!

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be? The elimination of fear. I’m deeply saddened by how many women fear such a natural process, so much so that they risk their own babies’ safety by medicating the experience. If I knew an easier way to dispel these fears, I would!

Radical Doula Profiles: Grace Rivera Roman

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!

imageGrace Rivera Roman: I am a Doula, providing care and support to NYC and Westchester moms and dad’s. A recent Mercy College graduate student with a degree in Psychology. I am also a mom of three with a passion for education and reproductive arts. Currently I am heading a homeschooling group in the Bronx where families from many backgrounds come and teaching methods come together to share and inspire one another.

What inspired you to become a doula?
My inspiration is 17 yrs in the making. For I was to go into medical school but then through my high school education I became environmentally aware and began learning about holistic living, conservation and preservation of our land. A few years later I conceived my first child and from the beginning it seemed like both my body and the system did not want me to be pregnant. I had many infections and hospitalization so but the worst was going into pre term labor and the treatment I received. Fast forward 16 yrs later, now I’m better educated, and still receiving the same treatment from the hospital. Despite my last pregnancy also being high risk and pre term, I birthed naturally. Slowly on my own I educated myself on birth and what I wanted. I knew when I was in labor even though the medical staff said no. I birthed in a hospital but I did so with no interventions, I birthed my baby myself and held her first, it was the craziest thing ever. Unfortunately, I was alone. My kids where not allowed in my room, my partner had to stay home with them. I needed a gentle, quite hand and had no one. The hospital staff wanted things their way, loud, rushed and forced. This is when I decided to stop fighting what I was supposed to do a long time ago. Go back to my natural state of helping and being of service. Help other women so they are not alone during such an amazing but vulnerable time in their lives. I became a Doula and didn’t even know it.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?

I’m a radical doula because I serve a community that doesn’t even realize that they need help. Our low births rates are rising, maternal death rates are rising, unnecessary c section rates are rising. All because there is little to no birth support to women of color, worse yet if you are low income. I am a radical doula because I support a women’s right to choose and help her learn that within those choices there are even more choices. For women of color being given choices is huge, for a white women this choices are innate for us, they must be given but there done so with boundaries and with stipulations. We women are the givers, we raise humanity yet are bound by the same birth right. I am radical because I will educate, I will serve, I will help women from all socio economic status, LGBT, teen moms, single moms, older moms, VBACs, HBACs, hospital births and everything in between. I am radical because I support birth.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
My doula philosophy is simple, women’s birth rights are theirs. Women can and will decide what it is they want for their bodies, sexual pleasure and reproduction. Women have the right to choose whether they want children or not, women have the right to choose how they will birth and how many times. How does this fit into my political beliefs? I am an activist, I will and fight for women and our birth right to birth or not however we darn please. Period. I do so by teaching and providing information to all women. I do so by demonstrating it through my own actions and decisions.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
My favorite thing about being a doula is that very split second when a women suddenly releases herself, allows herself to be one with nature, that moment when she takes that breath and you know it’s game on. That’s my fave part because you know she knows, she is working with herself and has become anointed with that primal wisdom we all carry. It’s beautiful!

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
i would change how pregnancy and birth are labeled. Hospital reference material, the media, women to women they all label birth as such a scary and painful event that must be taken care of. Yes birth can be scary, yes it is painful but it’s also beautiful, it’s also fulfilling, it’s empowering, it’s bliss and can be quite pleasurable. With support birth can be quite a journey.

Radical Doula Profiles: Heather Jackson

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 Heather: A former teen, single mom, forever girl-mom educated by brave mistakes. I hail from the conservative state of North Dakota to Providence, Rhode Island. I made the choice to move last year, had the money, drove 26 hours, and did it; my daughter and rabbits in tow. I am queer, an anarchist, and a feminist. I write profusely, write zines that I sell on etsy and trade with others, I bike everywhere, and I love to cook and make crafts. I enjoy the company of others by going to dinner parties, but I also enjoy cuddling and drinking coffee. I was sober for a long time, but now I drink beer and wine moderately and occasionally and enjoy it in a healthy way! I was also in eating disorder treatment for 3 years and now I can say I enjoy food in a way I never have. I’ve had plenty of shitty things happen in life, but now my daughter is a teen, I’m in my early 30s, and I finally feel happy and content.

What inspired you to become a doula?
I got pregnant in high school. It was a really lonely time because I felt I failed my family and society. When looking back, it was not a bad thing that happened. I was pregnant! Her father and I broke up the summer I was pregnant and he was selling drugs and ended up getting arrested the day before I gave birth. I spent the day with his new girlfriend trying to find collateral to bail him out of jail. He was with me when I gave birth, but I had a lot of hospital staff coerce me into either adopting my baby or putting her in foster care. I had no one being an advocate or supporting me. I moved to Minnesota after a couple years and met some doulas and realized I wanted do that. When I moved back to North Dakota, I saw a birth doula class in a town class to where I lived. I finally decided to do it! My own experience as a teen mom with hardly no advocacy and support inspired me to turn my sad and lonely pregnancy and birth experience into a posi tive thing for others.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
I identify with the term radical doula because I believe that my existence as a single, queer, former teen mom disrupts the assumption of who a mom is. I am also an anarchist and a feminist and an activist. I support a person’s right to choose and their own autonomy. I also support the many identities a pregnant person can have and I feel that being a radical doula encompasses all that support and advocacy. For example, not all pregnant people identify as women, are married, or want a “natural” child birth. I support a person’s choice in whatever they choose for their birth because that’s their choice.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
Not only do I believe that people can birth their children without much or any medical interventions, I also believe that people need emotional and mental support during pregnancy and childbirth. However, I also believe in a person’s choice and autonomy to do what they want to do for their pregnancy. I also believe that pregnant people deserve support, no matter what they choose. If their partner is involved, I believe that they need emotional and mental support, as well, to be able to help the mother/father/partner. Sometimes people need help to find the voices that they have inside. That’s what I needed and I love bringing this to people and want to continue doing that.

This fits into my broader political beliefs because my anarchism supports a person’s autonomy to their own bodies, choices, and lives. I also am very non-judgmental when it comes to a person’s choice and I feel that my doula philosophy and anarchism fit right into that. I fully believe that people need support and advocacy when navigating a scary, hierarchical institution, as well. Sometimes the state and capitalism impede on our choices and if I can intervene in a way that provides support, I want to do that.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
My favorite thing about being a doula is being an advocate and helping a person find their voice and autonomy. Sometimes that is a scary thing to do, especially when a person is not used to it. I have been a fairly shy, soft-spoken, introverted person my whole life. So being an advocate for myself has been difficult, but it took practice. Now that I help and advocate for others, it also helps me. It’s great to see a person’s self-empowerment come in full force when finding their own voices and self-respect.

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
Trust the person who is pregnant, please! I think too many people and institutions do not do this and it has consequences. Please trust them!

Radical Doula Profiles: Stacey Davis

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!

Stacey and familyAbout Stacey Davis: Stacey has been in the birth world since 2009, when she attended her first birth as a Doula. After that first birth she knew she had found her calling. She attended 3 more births that year as a Doula, She then decided to receive Birth Doula training. Stacey trained at The Utah College of Midwifery for Birth Doula and Postpartum Doula in 2010. In 2010 she trained and added Placenta Encapsulation to her services. In 2010 she trained as a hypnodoula. Stacey is the current Southern Utah Representative for the Utah Doula Association. Stacey received her B.S. degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Utah Valley University. Visit her website.
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What inspired you to become a doula?
With my 2nd pregnancy I struggled with postpartum depression from the time I was 26 weeks pregnant. My birth journey was a typical hospital birth. I fought with the nurse to have no epidural. After coming out of the darkness that ppd creates I began my journey to find a better way. Through my research I found that reducing a mom’s risk of ppd begins during pregnancy and birth. By having a positive birth experience you can drastically reduce your risk of postpartum blues and depression! A critical difference in moms who have a positive birth journey and those who do not is having the continuous labor support.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
I march to my own drum, I carve my own way

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
Birth is the foundation for which is co-parenting is created. When two parents come together to get through the tough work and they are able to do it together they can do amazing things with parenting. this fits in with my political beliefs because one must work hard to get to the easy part.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
Empowering women with choices. Guiding them to find their own research to enable them to make choices unique to their body and their baby and their family

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

Radical Doula Profiles: Jacoba

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!

1934213_165529690657_2338217_nName: Jacoba, full spectrum doula at Mama Aicha

What inspired you to become a doula?
I was inspired on Birth Work during my Peace Corps years in Morocco (2003-05) when while working on developing a Reproductive and Sexual health Education Program for Berber rural women in Ouled Berhil with my limited Derija skills but my passionate spirit, I met Midwife Aicha. After that we both started to develop a comprehensive sexual education program for women and started doing workshops in the community, and following her to her births. She inspired me to continue my studies in Midwifery and I continued my passion for accessibility on Reproductive and Sexual health services for women of color trough Taller Salud. Women themselves on a day to day basis inspired me to continue to these days. I got more inspiration to work with trans families and variations of resources later when working on Chicago Womens Health Center, and with teen mothers on topics around shame and estigma while volunteering on Little Village, Chicago. I kept noticing the lack of affordable Doula services connected with reproductive justice and specially with a class and race perspective; so here I am, doing my part and trying to convince others to join me!

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
Because it is a political thing for me. In these days, where the system seems to have already a plan with all our time, our environment, our health and time; giving people options to become autonomous and empowered to go against it has become a radical thing itself. I believe in that power because it has done amazing things on my own life, I believe it can do the same to other people, and when done and I have seen it on other women’s lives around me, Ive seen the results and it is powerful. I believe being a Doula is political because it is a resistance of not losing ancestral practices, whichever are connected to your history and culture. It is political because out there the services keep on being inaccessible for people, meaning for us people of color too, and this has been historical and has to stop. It is, because when services are developed without considering the lack of other health services around women’s communities, you are setting their reproductive and sexual health to failure and because of this, we Doulas are an important key to help organization and critical analysis with the people and for the people, because it is a matter of justice

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
Popular Education and education for the oppressed (Freire/ Boal). Reproduction Justice and education with, by and for the people.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
Being present! I always feel, when Doula-ing that I am part of something bigger and more powerful than just one birth. I feel I am part of a bigger collective out there of women willing to make a difference not only on other women’s lives but in society. I love the feeling of working for a more justice world for us all. I love feeling it so natural, part of healthy human relations and support system that makes us better human beings into this wonderful world.

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
I would change laws that don’t let traditional Midwives in Puerto Rico and Illinois to practice autonomously their passion and cut the accessibility of resources for women and people. I would change that more Doulas could feel the urge and passion to organize by region and moving collective agendas for reproductive justice, I really wish people could understand it is a bigger people. i swear I would keep on doing it trough my work, i know were are many more out there; that makes me happy!

Radical Doula Profiles: Efe Osaren

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!

Efe OsarenAbout Efe Osaren: Full spectrum prenatal and postpartum doula located in Brooklyn, NY. I attended DONA international training workshop in Austin, TX. I am a native Houstonian and attended Alief district schools. I majored in Psychology in undergrad at a local university. I obtained my CLC and I am CD, CPD by Ancient Song Doula Services. I can be reached at eosaren@gmail.com.

What inspired you to become a doula?
I was inspired to become a doula after attending my younger sisters birth and assisting a friend with her birth planning. Both of their birth story’s were normalized tragedies with forced and unnecessary interventions. The mothers had little to no say on medication choices, what tools they used or options to give birth in non doctor friendly positions. I was introduced into the world of birth justice and was advocating without permission before I even knew there was such a thing. As a Nigerian black feminist, I knew there was something wrong with the hospital system and I wasn’t comfortable with my ignorance of the the history behind it or how to manage it. After their births I decided to do some self education on the mistreatment of WOC and non POC women in the hospital system. I watched The Business of Being Born and was immediately inspired to become a doula/birth justice activist.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
I identify with the term radical doula because I am a black feminist. I advocate for marginalized people and their intersections that are often ignored. Regardless of gender, class, sexual orientation, religions, race, disabled and mental illness. I also service those experiencing miscarriage, abortion, surrogacy and adoption.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
My doula philosophy is “Your birth, your choice”. My political beliefs are anything that dismantles all oppressive systems and to liberate those that suffer from it.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
My favorite thing about being a doula is being able to do my part to aide in my generation bringing political and social change to our society.

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth it would be creating a safe space that would bring more awareness to birth justice and holistic birth options.

Radical Doula Profiles: Franklinn 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!

franklinnAbout Franklinn Wilson: I am a recently trained doula that identifies as queer and is looking to support families that vary from the norm. Single, poly, LGBTQ+, low income, and laboring people that are ultimately going to be giving their kids up for adoption. I was born and raised in San Diego county and will eventually be moving to the pacific north west. my email is franklinnhannah@gmail.com and my phone number is (619) 270 6856.

What inspired you to become a doula?
I felt that the care I had when I was pregnant and birthing was inadequate and I feel inclined to help other people have a better experience. I also see it as a way I can do more hands on activism. There are also no radical doulas in San Diego and I’m looking to help with starting a group of full spectrum doulas in my area.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?
I identify with the term radical doula because I identify with radical-ness in general in my life, I’m also queer as fuck. I think that the polarizing of holistic vs hospital care is awful and I’m out to change that.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?
I believe in informed consent, I believe people have a right to know what they are agreeing to and what their rights actually are in a hospital setting. I believe that everyone should have access to the support they deserve, not just white upper middle class women.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
I love being connected with people in a magical way.

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?
The lack of collaboration between the midwife model of care and the typical model of care and the laboring person.