World Doula Week: Screening Doula!

Are you tired of all this talk about Doulas from me lately? No – that’s great! It’s World Doula Week. It started yesterday on the 22nd, which is also the Spring Equinox, which represents the return of fertility in many cultures around the world.

So what is Word Doula Week all about?¬† It’s about raising awareness of Doulas, and celebrating their work.
I first heard the term Doula when I was pregnant with my first. I like to think that two of my closest friends acted as Doulas for me.

Then I had a Doula at the birth of my second child. She was also a message therapist. She was such a lovely woman. She had a very calming spirit about her. The way she talked to me, encouraged me, and those oils…..lavender and peppermint. If I close my eyes I can smell them right now.

In case you’ve missed two of my other posts, I have an Interview With A Postpartum Doula. Laila was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions about the amazing work she does for and with families.
Then there is the Project Bellies Birth And Babies: How You Can Help Reduce The Infant Mortality Rate. Asiyah has been working on this project to raise money to train 20 Doulas in Georgia. Both articles highlight the importance of Doulas in the Black Community.

You can also read how Doulas have a significant impact on Birth and Breastfeeding.

Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford are a real life couple to a 4-year-old. They are the creators of the film Doula! A documentary of three different families and their births. The film shows up close and personal Doulas in their roles with each family at different stages of labor and birth.

There are 165 screenings of the film Doula! going on throughout the country for World Doula Week. Check the link to see if there may be a showing near you.

I have several friends that are Doulas, off and online. They inspire me. They give of their time to serve women, helping them and their families through pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period.
There are many benefits to having a Doula. I know there are a lot of links in this post, but please check them out, and feel free to share them with family and friends.

Lets show some love for the Doulas in our communities around the world.



Interview With A Postpartum Doula

I am so excited to bring you this series: Interview With A Doula and Interview with a Midwife. I would like to thank my first guest, Laila for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions. My hope is that we can all learn more about what a Doula is and isn’t, the different types of Doula’s, what a Midwife is and isn’t, and the roles they play in the Black Community.


What is the importance of a Doula in the Black Community?

Doulas can play a vital role in the Black Community because they help support the family. It’s imperative that we seek resources that are going to help nurture and support our families. I think the work of Postpartum Doulas is particularly important because we can provide resources and care for the whole family. This helps the family get adjusted to their new member and new roles.

What is the role they{doulas}play in Maternal and Infant Health?

Doulas play an important role in supporting maternal and infant health. While we can’t diagnose or treat any health issues, we can help families become aware of what is healthy and normal and what isn’t. We can help families develop an awareness of the body and how it does a pretty good job of alerting us when something isn’t right.

Tell us a little about your journey to becoming a Postpartum Doula.

My journey to becoming¬† Postpartum Doula began over a year ago after watching the film ‘The Business of Being Born’.
Watching this film opened my eyes to the history of birth in American Society and the possibilities that exist when you think of childbirth as something that is normal not a disability. After watching the film I began to reflect on my own birth and postpartum experience. I had a stressful pregnancy and wasn’t able to devote a lot of time into researching my birth options. My obstetrician, who was a Black woman, induced me and for whatever reason I felt powerless to say “no”. I am happy that I was able to have a vaginal delivery and that my son was healthy, but, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I refused to be induced. What if I had a Labor Doula to help me manage my pain and anxiety? When I brought my son home I remember being in awe and exhausted. I was almost a thousand miles away from my family and had to figure a lot of things out on my own.

Because of my own birth experience I realized it would not be a good idea for me to be a Labor Doula. I was very concerned about transference and decided to pursue Postpartum work. I began researching options for training and came across a wonderful organization that provided Labor and Postpartum Doulas and Childbirth Education for women in the Chicagoland area. I was immediately drawn to the community of women and the fact that they offer ongoing training.

What are the ages/ethnicity of most of your clients?

The majority of the families I have worked with have been White in their mid 20’s to early 40’s.

Question you get asked the most?

I find that a lot of people don’t understand how a Postpartum Doula is different from a night nurse or nanny. I always make it clear that a Doula is concerned about the well-being of the family as a unit not just the child. We want to help the family make a smooth transition for the new family member.

What is the one question you think women don’t ask enough?

I don’t think women ask “why” enough. Often times we are giving a lot of information about our bodies or are told that we have to do certain things by medical professionals and we don’t ask “why”. Asking this question is very important and will help you evaluate your options.

Does certification matter? Why or why not?

I am not certified. The organization I work with provided my training and I’ve never had a client ask me if I was certified. If I were to work on my own, I would probably pursue certification to help with marketing my business.

What is the most difficult and rewarding parts of being a Postpartum Doula?

The most difficult part of being a Doula for me has been managing my own family commitments. The most rewarding is working with new families. I also get to spend time with amazing newborns, what could be better than that!

Any tips for working with all types of care providers?

Never stop asking questions. Throughout my pregnancy, labor and delivery, I did a lot of listening and not a lot of questioning. There are no stupid questions when it comes to creating the birth experience you want.

Laila is the mother of one and has been a Postpartum Doula to many. As a Mother and Doula she hopes to help Moms and Dads trust themselves and know their inner strengths as parents.

You can follow Laila on Twitter @BrownBellyDoula and on her blog Brown Belly Doula.