Entries in Bay Area Doula Project (4)
Dear Doulas, Reproductive Justice Advocates, and Friends,
Have you noticed? There is something in the air, an enthusiasm, a sense that change is around the corner and we are part of it... there is a movement building and we feel it too!
Join us in celebration of our accomplishments. Deepen your connections in the Bay Area Doula community. And, help us envision a better future.
When: Dec 14th from 7-11 pm
Where: 530 Hampshire St, #301, SF, 94110
What: A roundtable discussion with leadership from local doula organizations & networks followed by a celebration of our work: mix, mingle, share ideas and grow our movement.
There will be representatives from the following organizations:
Birth Justice Project
Carmel Blue Pregnancy and Parenting
SF Doula Group
SFGH Volunteer Doula Program
Working Women Doula Training
*There are lots of groups out there who we still don't have represented. Please forward this invite and let them know we'd love to add them to this list.
The Bay Area Doula Project is a full-spectrum doula organization. That means we support folks across the spectrum of their reproductive lives. We want all people to have access to compassionate support through all the possible outcomes of pregnancy, as well as for sexual and reproductive health issues that don't involve pregnancy.
But why does it make sense for us to bring these all together instead of forming an organization that focuses on a single issue? I see three major reasons: the people we serve, the volunteer energy we draw upon, and the issues involved. Let me explain.
1. Clients. The population we aim to serve doesn't necessarily keep their reproductive experiences distinct. A person giving birth is often a person who's had a miscarriage. A person seeking an abortion is often a parent who's experienced one or more births. According to the Guttmacher Institute 60% of people seeking abortions are already mothers. To a large extent, then, the abortion-seeking population is the birthing population. A full-spectrum organization can help to normalize that reality and to re-integrate a fragmented system.
2. Doulas. There are already so many great people who are bringing a practice of compassion and a knowledge of healthcare environments to their birth and postpartum doula work. It makes sense to tap that pool of experienced doulas and support them in bringing their resources to other areas where support is needed, like abortion, miscarriage, and adoption. Since there's already growing structural and cultural support in place for birth and postpartum doula training and work, we can build from that rather than reinventing the wheel. Many of the people who come to the BADP for abortion doula training already have vast experience as birth and/or postpartum doulas.
3. Interlocking issues. Reproductive concerns which may at first blush appear to be separate are actually interlinked. When we take issues of reproductive justice in isolation, we can miss the bigger picture. Here's an example: in certain cases a previous cesarean section can increase the risks of abortion, but nobody mentions that when a cesarean birth is being proposed. In the U.S. we have "a current national cesarean section rate of over 30%, despite evidence that a rate of 5% to 10% would be optimal." There's a movement to increase access to abortion and a movement to decease the cesarean rate, but the two movements rarely deliberately come together and see their common cause. A full-spectrum doula movement can help to connect issues like this.
Of course doulas and activists can do a lot of good by focusing on a single issue, and everybody has to start somewhere. The BADP started with a focus on abortion support. However, as an organization it's always been situated within the full-spectrum framework, and that gives us a special kind of power to create larger change in reproductive health.
Last Sunday, October 21 the Bay Area Doula Project welcomed thirteen new volunteers to our organization during an all-day training held in Oakland. We are very excited to work with all the amazing new doulas who bring a wide range of experiences to this work. Thanks to everyone who helped to organize and lead the training, including Lauren Rios, who gave a great presentation on surgical abortion procedures, Rani Tserotas who led the hands-on physical support part of our training, BADP volunteers Sally, Becky, and Kelly who co-facilitated the training, and of course our wonderful co-directors Holly and Poonam!
Here are a few pictures from the training:
Our new trainees participate in a values clarification exercise.
Rani demonstrates a hand massage technique on Holly.
Practicing "breaking the popsicle."
Congratulations to all the new BADP volunteers!