World Doula Week!
It's World Doula Week (March 22 - 28), which is an opportunity to promote the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual benefits of doula support during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. In honour of this week, I would like to acknowledge the many doulas who have supported my own personal wellness since I embarked on this journey as a doula. In my cultural tradition, I would stand these doulas up in ceremony, cover them in blankets, and tell my community how these doulas have blessed me with their hard work, wisdom, and unwavering support. I hope that one day I will have the opportunity to do just that. In the meantime, I would like to use this platform to express my gratitude for all the doulas that have blessed my journey.
ekw'i7tl Doula Collective
Being welcomed into this collective of Indigenous doulas has been like being scooped up into a hug by my favourite aunties. The sisterhood of ekw'i7tl offers friendship, mentorship, collaboration, a community of practice, and a safe space to be an Indigenous birth worker without having to explain, educate or defend what that means. I thank my ekw'i7tl sisters for holding me up and nurturing my spirit in this work, and trailblazing a path forward for Indigenous birth workers in Vancouver.
Fraser Regional Aboriginal Friendship Centre (FRAFCA) Birth Keepers Group
The time I have spent in circle with the FRAFCA Birth Keepers Group has been medicine for my spirit. I have benefited so immensely from the teachings offered in this group. How many times can you spent four hours in a circle talking about placentas, and still wish for more? I thank FRAFCA for holding space for this community of like-minded doulas.
I love the vibrant doula community of Doula Canada. There is a wealth of expertise on the Doula Canada team, as well as amongst alumni and students. Within this community, I found inspiration and confidence as I completed my doula training and certification. From coast to coast to coast across Canada (and beyond), the doulas of Doula Canada offer many different perspectives on birth work and help each other to deepen our doula practices. There is always a doula available to offer empathy, a pat on the back, or a much needed debrief. And now, I have been welcomed into the community in my new role as Indigenous Doula Consultant!
BC Doula Services Association
As a new doula, I have benefited from membership in the BC Doula Services Association (DSA). I have had the opportunity to gain experience through their volunteer doula referral service, and have fostered relationships with other new doulas in my area. This has been helpful for making sure I have back up coverage, and offering referrals to one another. Through the DSA web referral, I have also been able to connect with Indigenous families and offer my doula support through the BCAAFC Aboriginal doula grant program. And while supporting births in the hospital, my DSA name tag has gained me respect from health care providers, thanks to the doulas that have paved the way before me and built a positive reputation for DSA doulas!
I raise my hands to all the aunties, grandmothers, traditional midwives, birth workers, and doulas before me who have knocked down barriers, forged positive working relationships with health care providers, challenged nonsensical policies, advocated for person-centred care, transformed birth culture, and helped to reclaim traditional birth practices. To all those before me, all those walking with me, and all those to come, I thank you.
I want to thank the doulas that have supported me personally in my own births and postpartum transitions. Jessica Austin (Birth Takes a Village), I will forever sing your praises for supporting us to have the most perfect home birth. Morag Hastings (Apple Blossom Families) for never doubting that we could do it again (and for taking beautiful photos). And Marissa Charlie, for your gentle presence and warm friendship as our beloved postpartum doula. My most heartfelt thank you to each of you.
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