I don’t love the idea that Doulas and other birth professionals have become “saviors” for a crisis that wasn’t created by us. Don’t get me wrong, the statistics are real, Doulas can and DO have an impact on birthing outcomes in this country, but I know for me, and many others, I didn’t sign up to save anyone!
Social media, the great connector (a little too much constant connection, if you ask me), has become more and more overwhelming in the last year. With the W.H.O. (World Health Organization) recently updating the Maternal Mortality for Black Women, from 3–4x more likely to die during childbirth to 4–5x more likely, it seemed to me that Doulas and other professionals really began to step it up with posting and sharing this news. I don’t think that many people realize how seeing these statistics and images can have negative affects on a pregnant person, specifically people of color. Its the same as seeing black men and innocent people all over the world being murdered, senselessly. Those images are good for no one, but especially for those who look like the people who are dying, it hits much closer to home.
Nothing good comes out of fear mongering, and that’s what seeing those statistics and images has begun to feel like. I understand that we want to drive the point home that a Doula can help shift your birth and change outcomes, and I am also guilty of this, but this is not the way to express what we do, and to get people to join us in the fight to owning our births and experiences and taking back our power.
I’ve learned that lesson over and over again, and this weekend, it finally settled in. There is a happy medium and the ability to be able to share information and encourage support, without scaring people can happen. I plan on focusing on the positive, and how we can benefit families, while still educating the public, and less on the scary, internal fears that pregnant people, families and parents already feel and face.