Every family deserves a good start, right from birth!
The Doula Support Foundation (DSF) serves low-income families in Kingston, Ontario (Canada) and the surrounding areas during one of the most vulnerable moments in a person's life—childbirth, or, in some cases, pregnancy and infant loss. We officially opened our doors to receiving clients on September 3rd, 2019, but we have been working hard now for over a year to get DSF off the ground! See below for some of the ways we are supporting low-income pregnant clients receive quality support.
The more funds we get, the more families we can serve. It is as simple as that! YOU can make a difference!
Donors giving $500 or more will receive 2 tickets for our benefit-concert on November 23th as a token of our appreciation!
To make caring and inclusive pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum services and education available to low-income families and the broader community. Our most pressing goal is to make sustainable doula services available and accessible to all those who want them but could not otherwise afford them.
Birth Doula support includes:
- Two prenatal meetings to prepare client for labour, birth, and the immediate postpartum period, including providing practical support around comfort measures for labour, strategies for informed decision-making, and evidence-based information
- Phone and email support from pregnancy through six weeks postpartum
- On-call for client from 38 weeks until birth
- Continuous support in labour and birth, until 1-2 hours postpartum
- Infant feeding support
- Two postpartum visits to provide additional support to birthing person and their family
Birth Doulas have been shown to:
· Shorten the length of labour
· Reduce the need for a caesarean birth
· Decrease need for unwanted pain medication
· Enhance bonding with baby
· Increase the likelihood of a positive childbirth experience
The Doula Support Foundation offers full-spectrum doula care through the following Doula specializations:
Birth Doulas —
Support clients during pregnancy, through labour and birth, and into the transition of life with a newborn;
Postpartum Doulas —
Help clients to thrive through the milestones of the first year of having a new baby;
Bereavement and Loss Doulas —
These incredible doulas are trained for instances of pregnancy and infant loss, to guide and support their clients on this difficult journey. This includes full-spectrum, non-judgemental support for various circumstances including termination of a pregnancy.
Folks who are from low-income, marginalized communities and/or who are more vulnerable as a result of challenges such as addiction and mental health have the most to gain from doula care, and these are populations the Doula Support Foundation is working hard to reach.
All pregnant people should have the emotional, physical, and practical support they need during their pregnancy and birth journey as well as good quality information to make the right decisions for themselves!
The DSF Board of Directors has been working hard to set up this foundation, incorporated in October 2018. Since last year we have:
Officially incorporated DSF as a not-for-profit
- Built a committed team of certified Doulas (Birth, Postpartum, & Bereavement Doulas) who have completed extra training and are ready to serve clients
- Created our website: www.doulasupport.org
- Built our social media platforms and expanded our reach to over 5,000 people! See our Facebook page
- Local press coverage: Had an article about DSF in the Kingston Whig Standard,
, Profile Magazine, Skeleton Press (upcoming), and an interview on Limestone's Lens
- Won $1000 grant from Awesome Kingston
- Created an amazing informational video
about the Doula Support Foundation
- Organized a Birth Story Contest to create a positive culture around birth. Read the three winner stories here
. Watch a reading here.
- Forged local partnerships with a variety of community services, care providers, and local businesses and provided informational packets to raise awareness about our services
- Conducted free informational sessions about doula care and participated in many community events such as the Pre-Eclampsia Walk; Community Services Fair; Pride Parade; Women’s Art Festival; Bump, Baby, and Beyond…
- Organized a big benefit concert that will feature The Lemon Bucket Orkestra, The Weather Station, and The Gertrudes to take place at The Spire on November 23th, 2019. Tickets are on sale at Eventbrite.ca
THE BOTTOM LINE
We are starting something new and exciting that fills a critical gap and serves people at one of the most vulnerable moments in their life, and we want YOU TO BE PART OF THIS MOVEMENT! What we propose is a DOULA CARE MODEL for those who need it most.
Your donation and support will go a long way in helping us to help those who could benefit most from doula care.
From our hearts to yours—THANK YOU!!!
A personal note from some of the Doula Support Foundation founders and members of the board of directors:
LAURA PASCOE - CHAIRPERSON
My name is Laura and I have worked to advance women's rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights for over 10 years now, and been a doula for three. Having had the privilege to support people in labour and birth, and also to experience the invaluable support of a doula at my own birth, I know the difference such support and expertise can bring, regardless of the outcome of the birth. I deeply believe that every person who births should be able to experience that journey as one surrounded by support and one that connects them to their own power and incredible strength. I want doula support to be something normalised and available for everyone, regardless of income, race, sexuality, or otherwise. I am so passionate about DSF because it will allow us to reach clients who would benefit most from doulas, to spread the word on how valuable doula support can be, and it also gives us a platform to engage with other health practitioners to make positive change across the spectrum of reproductive, maternal, and newborn health.
CHELSEA LOUTSENKO - VICE CHAIRPERSON
My name is Chelsea and I started my doula journey just over two years ago. When I first heard the term "Doula" I was confused and then immediately excited! This… this was what I wanted do. I’ve always loved to learn and share that knowledge with other people, but since becoming a doula I have found the sharing of knowledge and information to be EXTREMELY powerful. Seeing the confidence and excitement in my clients that can come from knowledge around birth excites me every time! Pretty early into my journey I found a group of doulas here in Kingston who had a much larger goal in mind. The mission was to provide doula care for those who cannot afford it. Aaaaand... BOOM! The Doula Support Foundation was born (heh...heh...heh...) :) I am passionate about DSF because I am passionate and confident about what I (we) can provide. I am so excited to see the impact DSF will have on our community and beyond!RACHEL ERB - SECRETARY
My name is Rachel and I’ve been a doula in Kingston for almost five years. When the idea came up to find a way to provide doula support to low-income folks in our city, while ensuring doulas would be properly compensated, I knew right away that this was a project I wanted to be involved with. The thing I love most about being a doula is building a connection with people that will help them to have the most positive birth experience possible and I feel strongly that anyone who wants that connection and support should not have to come up against barriers in accessing it. It has been a pleasure to work with this wonderful group of passionate and committed doulas to help bring this dream to life and I am so excited to see it take off and grow!EDINA MACDONALD - DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMMING
My name is Edina and I've been a doula for three years and a Community Worker for almost eight years. I provide full-spectrum birth services and I specialize in mental health and addictions. I am passionate about providing support to people who are vulnerable in their daily lives, which is why I am so excited for the creation of Doula Support Foundation. There are so many people in our community experiencing poverty, mental health challenges, and addiction who will benefit from having a support person who is entirely dedicated to their birth experience and empowerment. Finances should never have to decide whether a person reaches out for the help they need and I believe we are going to make a difference for so many members of our community in the future!
JOSÉE LEDUC - FUNDRAISING DIRECTOR
I am Josée. My name says it all, I am the French doula of the group. When I learned about the Doula Support Foundation I immediately wanted to join the group, and got increasingly involved. The mission and the values of the DSF match perfectly mine. I believe strongly that doulas makes such a huge difference in how a couple approach their birthing experience and how they live it. I always feel so privilege to attend a birth and provide emotional and physical support. I am also very happy to offer this service in French. One tend to revert to his/her first language during labour and birth!