Passion and Privilege in My Profession

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Passion and Privilege in My Profession

I cannot separate myself from the reasons I do my work.  My passion became my profession 21 years ago when I took my DONA International Birth Doula Training.  And I cannot separate myself from the growth I am committed to as a human being while I am here. With honesty about what it is like to care about women and their families – including my own family, I feel torn among the vast majority of my colleagues who came to this work because we CARE.

It is not simple. It is messy and confusing. So as I watched the CNN feature, This Is Birth with Lisa Ling, these are the things that stuck out to me:

In the section on Cesarean Birth:
“Convenience and preference is not the best way to practice medicine.”
“Remove the tension between what’s the right thing to do and where ‘entrepreneurialism’ might come in (regarding paying physicians the same for vaginal and surgical deliveries).
In the section on Midwives:
When the move from home to hospital was noted as the norm for birth now and the question, “What happened?” was posed, the answer was: “Money. Birth is big business. There is a lot of money to be made.”

Comments from my colleague, Valerie Sasson whom I worked with frequently at the beginning of my career: 

“I think that everything that is problematic in this country comes from that trio…is it racism? Is it sexism? Is it classism?”

“Herein lies the absolute failure of modern midwifery….white midwifery has been thriving…” (and access to midwifery for the many who experience terrible disparity in health care options and horrible health outcomes continues to be significantly limited throughout the country).


“Intimate care is the solution for human beings. We’re not going to solve it by making ever bigger systems that are de-personalized.”

So I cannot help but look at this through the lens of the doula profession and worry about who we are leaving on the sidelines. Who will not be able to ever afford the services – which research shows improves outcomes – unless/until we have insurance reimbursement.

Or… we allow ourselves to sit in the messy middle and be creative and let doulas have autonomy over their businesses in exactly the same way women should have autonomy over their bodies.
And we do it without judging each other.  Period.

Again, it is not simple. It is messy and confusing. And, unfortunately, it has become polarizing.  And like this year’s Presidential Election…polarized camps make for great banter and ratings and interestingly, “free” exposure and advertising while leaving the families without resources – who most need the support and care – to fall through the cracks.



  • Molly Murray
    23.09.2016 at 1:36 am

    Thank you for this. Who are we leaving on the sidelines? I know who. I see them and they need us to step up and away from our computers, get out there and share, “You have options. How can I help you?”
    This has been on my mind all day and I’m glad to see your post. It comes at the right time.