Dear Birth World — I am writing my talks for the DONA conference in Cancun, Mexico and getting very excited to be there, surrounded by hundreds of doulas. Doulas are a special group of people. I have attended conferences as an anthropologist, as a grass-roots organizer, as a medical researcher, and as a midwifery student. Those conferences were all fun, but being surrounded by doulas is where I feel the most ME, the most at home.
Doulas are different from academics because they tend to be less competitive with each other, more gracious about offering praise and encouragement to one another.
Doulas have a lot in common with midwives, but when we get together we talk a lot more about the families we help and the overall emotional/psychological experiences of birth than about “in the birth trenches” tales (like, “the shoulder dystocia from hell” or “trying to get a mec baby out with the resident breathing down my back”). The skills we share with each other are quite a bit different than the skills midwives share with each other. I love nitty-gritty tales about the physical aspects of birth, but I love sharing stories about new families even more.
Doulas probably don’t usually think of themselves primarily as grass-roots organizers, but many of us do this work, too. We do it quietly, whenever we educate someone about what a doula is (at the grocery store, on a plane, at the park). And we do it publicly, whenever we speak out about birth issues in our communities.
The countdown has begun until I enter DOULA WORLD 2012!!!
See you there — Cynthia
P.S. After the conference, you can order copies of the talks through the DONA website!