My name is Danielle Mason and I am raising money to hire a doula to support me with my third birth during the time of Covid-19. These are truly unprecedented times and I have to say I am embarking upon the hardest journey of my life thus far.
I am a mother of two, a full-time grad student, homeschooling my daughters with little to no outside support. My partner has made lots of sacrifices to pay for my tuition out of pocket, which results in him traveling for work often. It’s pretty much safe to say that I am the sole caregiver of our children and bombarded by the impossible frustration of having to keep up with the never-ending tasks of raising a 2 and 6 year-old, while pursuing a writing degree in one of the most expensive regions of America.
I have not been able to work due to not having childcare for my children and though I’ve always maintained a hustle mentality of producing and selling my own craft-based wares, it has not been feasible to continue during this time of strenuous deadlines.
I’ve always been a firm believer that though I may not have what I want, I will always have what I need. Yet, it turns out that sometimes what you want IS what you need, and this is most definitely the case with my decision to hire a doula.
Depending on where you stand in your beliefs on the medical-industrial complex, you may believe that hiring a doula is a new age luxury afforded to women who can afford them. But the truth is, our communities have suffered without having dedicated doulas attend the births of Black women & I am sooo tired of the narrative that says that our conditions should be the basis of further oppression.
To keep it simple, I no longer want to believe that being broke means that you don’t have any options. Accessibility matters and I believe that through the support of our communities, no mother should have to birth alone.
Here are a few statistics:
• It’s no secret that Black women face vast health disparities. In addition to being three to four times more likely to die in childbirth or due to pregnancy-related complications than white women, Black moms also face the highest infant mortality rate among all racial and ethnic groups and the highest incidence of premature birth and low birth weight (both top factors contributing to infant mortality). Black women are more likely to be uninsured and face greater financial barriers to obtaining care.
• Doulas can help address the failings of the medical system. Their job is to provide emotional, physical, and educational support to moms throughout pregnancy, labor, and postpartum—and their impact on birth outcomes can be incredible.
• Moms who work with doulas are four times less likely to have a baby with low birth weight and two times less likely to experience complications. The positive effects of doula care were greater for women who were socially disadvantaged, low-income, and/or experiencing language and cultural barriers.
link to article
I’ve been blessed to birth twice, without having any serious interventions required. But that still doesn’t take away from the traumas that I have faced. I’ve learned to recognize that often I stand in my own way by wanting to isolate myself during times of vulnerability. And though it may be wise to keep some out, I’ve learned that it is very necessary to bring others, the right people in.
(a never before seen image of me in during a previous birth)
I’ve tried to rely on the strength of my partner to get me through birth, without realizing fully that birth is women’s work. In my past birth, I was more interested in sparing those around me from being traumatized from my laborious labor and made a decision to get an epidural to take some of the stress away.
This time, I want to experience what it feels like to birth with no medication again, similar to my first birthing experience. My goal is to channel a strength beyond me, that of my ancestors. Having a doula will remind me of my strength along the way, and will offer me tools to help ease the intensity of childbirth.
I am now in foreign territory, having moved thousands of miles away from my hometown of Houston, the place where I learned to birth and was birthed by my communities. I had the hardest time even knowing where to begin with finding birth workers in the Bay, and after intense efforts had to give up on my desire to birth at home with a midwife.
I’ve been accepted into a Centering Black program at the county hospital here in Oakland, which uniquely prioritizes black women across the board. Yet, the truth remains that it is still a hospital, and the need to protect myself is paramount.
Being so far from everything I know, during the pandemic which brings up lots of anxiety and fear, makes me realize that it is a necessity that I surround myself with community and support, even if I have to pay for it.
To be honest, I was raised to be a pull yourself up by the britches type of person and would never ask for help if I didn’t need it. The gift you’d offer me in securing a doula would be the most precious thing to happen for me in a while. It will offer me the ability to really soak up the energy of bliss during the rest of my pregnancy which is so crucial towards having a healthy birth!
I am planning to do my part to pay out of pocket as well. I needed to share my vulnerability with those that I love so that I could move beyond the isolation and feelings of doing this thing alone.
I’ve said a mouthful, but please know it’s from the bottom of my heart. Even if all you can share is a dollar and this post, your contribution means the world to me.
If you want to talk more about how my pregnancy is going and are interested in offering different types of support, please reach out.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for holding space.
- Daezha Young
- Bria Lauren
- Courtney Mccullough
- Alandra Brewington
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