Today’s topic is a hot button one that has been known to cause some heated discussion amongst doulas: Are doulas advocates? In today’s blog, I am going to share my own opinion on the topic and shed some light on how I work as a doula, both in the birth space and in the community.
*These are my own views and opinions and do not reflect the views and opinions of all doulas or other bith workers. But you knew that, you’re pretty smart.*
Nope, I’m Not Your Advocate
I am often approached by parents to be that are looking for a doula to be their advocate in the birth space. They’ve researched and heard stories and are worried that they will not be able to speak up or might not know how and when to make their voices heard. They are hiring a doula to speak for them and advocate for their choices. But that’s not what I do. Not because I don’t think you need an advocate. But because I don’t think that I am the most effective advocate in the birth space. You are. You are the star of the show, you are the person that has the right to informed consent, your care provider has to listen to you. They are under no obligation to listen to me. As your doula, I meet with you before your birth to help you go over your options so that you have an idea of what choices you would like to advocate for. We go over strategies to help you advocate for yourself. In the birth space, I remind of those strategies, encourage you to take time and ask questions before making decisions, and help to ensure that your voice is heard. I don’t advocate for you, but I do help you advocate for yourself.
Also, I Am Definitely Your Advocate
Outside of the birth space, I am unmistakenly your advocate on a large scale. I will always lend my voice to advocate for birthing people’s rights. I will always fight to protect the right to informed consent. I will always share knowledge to help birthing people stay informed about evidence based care. I will use and encourage others to use inclusive language. I will always speak out against the disparities in the way that birthing people of colour are treated in our healthcare system. I will always fight against obstetric violence. I will always advocate for a better system for you to give birth in, because you deserve it. Whether I am speaking out on this blog, sharing the ways we can improve within the community, or attending larger events calling for change, I am advocating for you. We can do better, and I will be part of that change.
So there you have it, friends, my definitive opinion on doulas and advocacy: Yes, I am your advocate. But, also: No, I am not your advocate.
Interested in learning more about how a doula can help you advocate for yourself? Contact me to set up a free consultation!