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  • Writer's pictureChardá Bell, IBCLC, CBE, CD

Doula For Doctors?

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

I’ve been nourishing my business since I gave birth to it about 5 years ago now. It’s finally flourishing and finding new ways of growth. I was speaking with one of my mentors just before a client came in for a lactation consult and she said to me…. “I’ve noticed the majority of your clients are like super highly educated people like folks with doctorates and medical providers themselves, I think you have something special and uncovered a niche in the birth world.”

I sat there and thought, hmmm, I never really noticed it because I do work with people from all walks of life due to my day job in the non profit world as a community perinatal patient health navigator. I then started to ponder about the last few private doula clients I’ve served and they all happen to be highly educated diverse Black women with doctorate degrees, published work, podcasts and sometimes stressful careers. The bulk of them are generationally immigrants from various countries in Africa. All first time moms with no major health concerns, and just want to be afforded their trial of labor to birth like their parents and grandparents but in order for that, they know they need continuous protection and knowledge to get them there, and that's where I come in. No where else in the world do we do birth the way the U.S. does, it's definitely not up to par and quite jarring to people from outside of our country on how we expect people to give birth and recover from it.

So this blows most people’s mind because they assume this means that they are highly educated individuals, therefore, aren’t high risk. You then might think I’m going to say well it’s because they are Black so they want a doula because Black women should have doulas right? Yes, I believe that but why? Not because of race but because of racism, that's the key, race isn't the risk factor here racism is the risk factor for Black and Brown bodies in these medical institutions. The bias whether intentional and unintentional breathes toxicity into the medical system. Even the most highly educated person cannot get around the fact that they will likely be mistreated during birth in a hospital setting due to the biases and poor judgments on staff who are not trained or equipped with all people.

These women are highly educated and they may or may not understand childbirth but they do KNOW they need a doula and come to me with a firm understanding of why. So the first conversation with me and my perspective clients is more about what they need from me and not why they need it. This is almost always followed by “are you really going to stay with me the whole time?” l chuckle at their concern for me being tired, but the answer is always followed with a yes, I will remain with you from early labor to about 1-2 hours post birth and regardless of whether you have your baby vaginally or cesarean. Yes, doulas can be present for cesareans both planned and expected, I’ve been in there with people that don’t have partners but it’s typically only one support person allowed in the surgical unit.

These women also understand that regardless of their socioeconomic or education status, they are still at risk for being a victim of the Black Maternal Health Crisis. I’m hired to make sure they are not.

I didn’t expect to develop such an awesome collection of families for my clientele and I love it! One of my favorite things about the folks I support is the fact that they typically have a lifelong passion for learning. This is great for me because I love to teach about childbirth, lactation, parenting and general health and wellness for families. I appreciate those that seek me out not just for physical support but educational support as well. I practice what I preach in the fact that basic parenting, breastfeeding and childbirth education should be free and therefore I provide it to all of my clients without question when they hire me. This is to give you the best possible opportunity at having a positive birthing outcome and to help you actually birth and breastfeed more easily and efficiently.

The best way for me to help you is for me to first explain how things are happening so that we can better understand why they are happening in order to better serve you in coping with labor and birth. I firmly believe in education for all to have a successful positive pregnancy and birthing experience. My doctorate clients definitely keep me on my toes with those research oriented brains and I applaud the research they put forth in finding me! Maybe one day soon I’ll be known as the doctor’s doula, it has a nice ring to it!

Are you a pregnant doctorate student, medical professional or other being in the realm of higher education and looking for an evidence based certified doula and lactation consultant? I’m here to answer all your birth questions, there are never too many or too strange. I provide in person services locally throughout San Diego County. I provide virtual support anywhere in the world!

Book a consult here

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