I am a doula and parent with privilege. I am white, married, from a dual income family, educated, employed, and have social skills.
When my clients' babies are fussy, solutions I offer include options like seeing lactation consultants across the city, teething oils bought in the next town, and sound machines. I can suggest infant chiropractic, baby massage techniques, and buying probiotics at Costco. I offer these solutions as these are choices I made from my position of privilege.
When I'm tired, I call on my partner. A privilege.
When I struggled, I sought healthcare. And medication I could easily attain. A privilege. Attended a Parent and Baby Group. Swimming. Privileges. Even when my PPD was hard, I had my iPhone. I could reach out. Connect. I can call on our friends during our home sale to help with our son. I could attend pregnancy and infant loss support groups.
How do families without cars make it to appointments easily? How do you get a tongue and lip tie revision to help with breastfeeding without benefits or disposable income to put that money out? Several appointments out on a bus with a newborn is not easy. It's not impossible. But it's not as easy as I have it. How about being racially judged as a new and breastfeeding parent? Or advocate for support when you've got an open file with CAS?
I'm a supported doula. My partner can jump in and take my son so I can work my passions. I can drop and go. I can sneak out after work for a postpartum visit. I can pay for occasional trainings, snacks for my doula bag, and a rebozo. I'm not made of money, but I have support and a vehicle to get where I need to be.
Am I judging families based on 'have and have nots'?
Am I offering a variety of realistic suggestions for my clients?
How am I phrasing my suggestions?
Am I serving people fairly?
I'm just in a reflective mood today, grateful for the position I have. I'm not sure the point of this for my blog. I am starting to reflect on the type of birthworker I am. I suppose this applies to the type of worker I am in social services, as well. I will be reaching out to Doulas smarter and more experienced than I am to help me be equitable in how I hold this space.
Jackie Anger is a London, Ontario doula, a mama to an amazing toddler, a community advocate, and a lover of coffee.