Five years ago, I had no idea what a doula was. (Doula what? Doula who?) Then I saw the Ricki Lake documentary “The Business of Being Born” and was forever changed. I cried through most of it thinking about my cousin’s pregnancy and hospital childbirth via caesarian, and decided I wanted to learn more about doulas and even be one someday.
Miriam Zoila Perez, also known as Radical Doula, was one of the first people I talked to about being a doula, the training and it is really all about. As a co-founding member of the Abortion Doula Project and a radical queer woman of color, I trusted her guidance and was inspired by her commitment and encouragement. Because of her, I did an incredible doula training via the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (she also encouraged me to blog!). Much to my chagrin, I haven’t practiced as a doula YET but the things I learned and the people I met there have made a lasting impression on my respect for childbirth and the human body, and have driven my passion for reproductive justice.
Radical Doula is now a thriving blog and the go-to source for thorough and factual childbirth information with an intersectional lens. I’m so grateful, proud and excited that she has released “The Radical Doula Guide: A Political Primer for full spectrum pregnancy and childbirth support” which explains the basics of what doula are, their roles and responsibilities (including assisting with childbirth, abortion, adoption and miscarriage), and how doula work is both activist and political. Perez clearly explains how race/ethnicity, immigration status, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, ability, age and size relate to health care access; and how these things impact our pregnancy and childbirth experiences. These discussions about intersectionality are critical for continued reproductive justice building and for stronger linkages with mainstream reproductive rights and feminist communities.
I recommend this book not only for folks who are interested in being a doula or that need one for personal support but for anyone interested in understanding how childbirth is politicized in the United States. Order your copy now on Radical Doula.