Category Archives: Doula

Help Launch the Sycamore Family Resource Center

I don’t often post requests for funding, but sometimes there are projects that just scream for support.  This project, the Sycamore Family Resource Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, is one of them.

On a personal level, the Sycamore Center so closely resembles one of my own frequent daydreams–a grassroots community space for folks to learn about and engage in the full spectrum of their reproductive health.  My fantasy is becoming a reality, and even though it’s hundreds of miles away in a city I’ve never been to, I’m psyched to help it grow from afar.

On a support-your-community level, one of the core organizers, Stephanie Dank, is (a) a badass and (b) one seriously energetic mama and reproductive rights advocate, who I trust to make the Sycamore Center everything it can be.

So, based on those two thoughts, I busted out a debit card today and supported their Indiegogo campaign.  I hope you will, too.

Here are some of the down-n-dirty details about the project:

Our goal is to create an inclusive space that offers a wide variety of resources to help empower our community in making choices along the full spectrum of their reproductive health.

Our goal is to create access to resources that support informed consent in every stage of life.

Our ultimate goal is to restore an age-old model of care- one where community family support is rewarded and sustained by that community.

Sycamore Center is founded on these ethics:

  • inclusivity
  • diversity
  • accessibility
  • sustainability

We are advocates of:

  • peaceful parenting & fearless birth
  • healthcare for all
  • evidence-based medicine & traditional healing
  • sex-positivity

We have some real opportunities to provide education to low-income and minority childbearing families (eventually adapting a program designed by the Nebraska Dept. of Health and Human Services to provide prenatal and postnatal education and advocacy based on the doula model of care).  We are currently expanding on our events to include support groups for fathers and people with postpartum depression, childbirth education classes, women’s health workshops, and more.

We’re starting the campaign to raise enough funds to incorporate with the State of Nebraska as well as file for tax exemption with the IRS (as a 501(c)3).  We’ve met with attorneys from MEEM Consultants for Creative Endeavors and they have generously agreed to donate half of the required services for us to file.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • $400 flat fee
  • $300 filing fe

It’s been recommended to us that it would be wise to have a bit of a cushion financially, which is why our fundraising goal exceeds our legal fees.  Our goal is to raise enough money to file by January 1, 2013.

In addition to achieving tax exemption, our fundraising goals will help support the growth of our lending library, the purchase of teaching aids, and the ever-present costs of printing materials such as flyers and brochures.

We are completely volunteer driven but are working toward a future in which we can create nonprofit sector jobs for birth workers and other professioals who are dedicated to creating safer and stronger communities.

Please join us.

 

Advertisements

Dream Job Alert: The Birth Attendants are Now Hiring for Prison Doulas in Olympia, WA

It’s not often that your dream job comes along, but I just found mine.  The Birth Attendants in Olympia, WA are now hiring for Direct Service Doulas…yes, you read that right: a paid position providing doula services for incarcerated pregnant folks.

The Birth Attendants are hiring Direct Service Doulas. This includes 2 hours of weekly collective meetings in Olympia and between 16-24 hours a month of direct service support in the women’s prison in Gig Harbor – on Fridays only.

FOR AN APPLICATION PLEASE EMAIL birthattendants@gmail.com.  APPLICATION DEADLINE MIDNIGHT DECEMBER 2nd ; Interviews will be scheduled on December 9th.

Experience in Reproductive Justice, prisoner advocacy, childbirth education, family planning and as a doula are encouraged yet not required. Drivers License required. Parents are encouraged to apply.

The Birth Attendants is a grassroots collective that aims to support the human rights of reproductive freedom and self-determination for pregnant and post-partum people in prison by providing informational, physical and emotional resources and by creating dialogue and action that critically examines and resists ways the prison system divides our communities.

Why, oh why, do I live in Colorado?  If you’re in the area and feel as compelled by this opportunity as I do, please apply.  And please get the job.  And please, please, please enjoy it enough for me, too.

Spectrum Doula Collective in Piedmont Triangle, NC is Recruiting Volunteer Abortion Doulas

Are you a North Carolinian who supports every woman’s right to reproductive freedom?  Consider joining forces with Spectrum Doula Collective.  These great folks provide compassionate doula care to any person experiencing any pregnancy outcome.  And they’re recruiting new volunteers!

We have come to a point where our collective needs to expand. We are looking for new people to join us in supporting the pregnant people of the Piedmont. With all of the abortion bills being passed in the last few weeks, now more than ever we need to focus on providing the compassionate care people deserve. If you’re looking for a meaningful way to be involved please fill out the following questionnaire and email us with your responses and we will be in touch with you.

We are currently working on a curriculum and will be offering a training for new volunteers sometime in October. Because of this we ask that new volunteers have their applications in by September 16th to allow time for last minute interviews before training. No prior experience in pregnancy/health care is necessary, but a commitment to reproductive justice is.

You can find more info about them and the volunteer application here.

New Directory of Full Spectrum Doula Groups

As the full spectrum doula movement continues to grow and evolve, more and more groups are sprouting up across the U.S.  I’ve added a new page to the CUNTastic Blog, which lists a description and contact information for all of the groups I’m aware of.

At the bottom of the page, there is also a list of groups that are currently forming.  Please feel free to contact them and get involved!

If you know of any other programs that offer doula support for the full spectrum of pregnancy options, let me know at laurel@cuntastic.org.

Why was I afraid of a C-Section?

As a doula, I knew what I was up against when my homebirth turned into a hospital transfer.  To make things even worse, the on-call OB happened to be a Resident who had sent three of my birth doula clients to “emergency” c-sections that were absolutely not emergencies.

This photo and caption ran in the LA Times in April, and reminded me of why I'm so scared of ending up with a c-section.

When she walked in, we both recognized each other, and I was terrified.

Sometimes I look back and wonder why her presence made me so scared.  I am a powerful woman with a strong will and a lot of information.  So why be scared?

Because of articles like this one:  C-Sections are a Major Factor in Pregnancy-Related Deaths, Report Finds, published last month by the LA Times.

And because of pictures like the one here, which ran with the LA Times article.  I have a daughter just as young, innocent and beautiful as Matt Logelin’s, and I don’t want her to end up without a mother.

No, I’ve never known anyone who’s died from having a caesarean, or from any pregnancy-related complication, for that matter.  But the fear and the increased likelihood of something scary is still there, whether or not maternal mortality has ever touched my life.

So when that knife-happy, on-call OB walked into my room, it wasn’t her or her reputation or her bedside manner that scared me.  It was her judgment.  Her judgment that had resulted in at least three unnecessary c-sections in my presence.  Her judgment that thought that 12 hours was too long to be in labor and was dangerous for the baby.  Her judgment that placed moms under general anesthesia because they were emotionally distraught over their ’emergency’ caesarean.

What terrified me was knowing that this OB didn’t take seriously that C-Sections are a Major Factor in Pregnancy-Related Deaths.

Two Years After the Murder of Dr. George Tiller, Doulas are Standing Up for Abortion

As I reflect on the fact that today marks two years since the murder of Dr. George Tiller, I’m proud of what we’ve done in that time.  In the two years since women lost access to the abortion care Tiller provided, we’ve gained something else entirely–something that I think Dr. Tiller would be proud of, too.

What we’ve gained is the role of the abortion doula, and the immense momentum surrounding this movement.

There have always been pro-choice doulas.  And there have always been pregnant women in need of compassionate support for their abortions.  Now, finally, there are abortion doulas, who extend their compassion and skills into the abortion experience.

As a doula, I’m committed to women’s choices in pregnancy–where and how they give birth, who attends their birth, AND whether or not they give birth at all.  Dr. George Tiller was a physician who acknowledged these inextricable links between birth and abortion.  He understood the importance of access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care, and was one of the few brave folks in this country willing to risk his life to provide these critical services.

So today, while I’ve watched hundreds of pro-choice doula friends Tweeting and Facebooking in memory of Dr. Tiller, I’ve been reminded that his work has continued on, just in a different form.  Thank you to Dr. Tiller, and to every abortion doula and full spectrum doula, and to every other abortion service provider, for being so brave.

FDA Returns Birth Pools, Warns ‘We’ll be back’

The seized birthing tubs have now theoretically been returned to their owners, but this fight is far from over.  Barbara Harper, author of Gentle Birth Choices and founder of Waterbirth International, outlined the situation to me this morning.

Is this birth tub a piece of medical equipment? Photo by BirtherSage

Two of the four major U.S. distributors of birth tubs have recently received warning letters from the FDA, thus halting their sales and shipments.  A shipping container of birth tubs was temporarily held at U.S. Customs in Portland, OR earlier this week, and underwent FDA inspection before being released to the distributors.

But Barbara says the FDA made it clear that even though the distributors were allowed to take their shipments to their own warehouses, the FDA is still in control of the property.  She says their attitude was, ‘We own it.  You can’t sell it, you can’t ship it.’  They came in, inspected and counted the birth tubs, and left with a ‘We’ll be back.’

An Attack on Birth Choices?

The public response to this story seems to have been either along the lines of ‘This is one more battle in the government’s war on water birth and birth choices in general,’ or ‘The FDA is just doing their jobs trying to protect birthing women from harm.’  Perhaps the reality is somewhere in the middle.

“If there is an effort to take away water birth,” Barbara explains, “We have to enlist the hospital midwives and obstetricians.  It’s not just about home birth,” since many hospitals are allowing water births these days, with some even using portable, inflatable birthing tubs such as the ones seized in this FDA fiasco.

If this situation truly turns out to be about eliminating water birth as a choice for pregnant women, Barbara adds, “How long do you think it’s going to be before they put yellow caution tape on every hospital bathtub?” Continue reading