Not Being Racist is not Enough
Birth work is activist work, and until our society breaks down systems of oppression that contribute to our high maternal and infant mortality rate, particularly for Black women, it will be so. Currently, black birthing folks are 3-4x more likely to die due to childbirth complications than white birthing folks. These birth outcomes do not happen in a vacuum, and are not the result of biology. This is an issue of institutionalized racism.
It is not enough to not be racist. We must be actively anti-racist.
Anti-racism means taking a look at the ways that living in a racist society have consciously or subconsciously shaped our beliefs. It is about taking action, showing up, listening, learning, and knowing that growth is a continuous and life-long project.
Rainbow Doula believes that:
Every pregnant person should be treated with dignity and respect
Every person deserves the right to birth where, when, and with whom they choose
The pregnant person’s bodily autonomy and bodily integrity are paramount in the care they receive
It is critical to center Black care providers in midwifery and birth work in order to adequately address anti-racism in midwifery care and health care if we are going to reduce the incidence of Black maternal mortality and morbidity in the U.S.
As a white, cisgender woman it is critical to recognize my privilege and take meaningful steps toward eradicating racism, classism, ableism, ageism, and transphobia in birth work. This means seeking out education resources, participating in anti-racist activities, listening to people of color and amplifying their voices.
There are actions any one of us can take to help make the world a safer, kinder, and gentler place for all families. Educating yourself is a great place to start.
“Advancing Birth Justice: Community-Based Doula Models as a Standard of Care for Ending Racial Disparities” by Every Birth Counts: https://everymothercounts.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Advancing-Birth-Justice-CBD-Models-as-Std-of-Care-3-25-19.pdf
The Big Push for Midwives: http://pushformidwives.nationbuilder.com
Birth for Every Body: www.birthforeverybody.org
Black Women Birthing Justice: http://www.blackwomenbirthingjustice.org/what-is-birth-justice
Black Mamas Matter: blackmamasmatter.org
Black Women’s Health Imperative: https://bwhi.org/
The Community Pooled Fund: https://www.rainbowdouladc.com/community-fund
The Doula Access Project: https://www.everyday-miracles.org/doula-access-project/
Mamatoto Village: http://www.mamatotovillage.org
Minnesota Prison Doula Project: http://prisondoulas.blogspot.com/p/what-we-do.html
Paid Family Leave: http://paidfamilyleave.org
Plus Size Birth: http://plussizebirth.com
Sister Song: https://www.sistersong.net/