I dog-sit sometimes. It stands to reason if you can pay someone to dog-sit, you’re doing pretty well financially – not rich, but ya get ya bills paid. No matter how long I’m alive, I’m still struck by what middle class looks like. No matter how long I’m alive, I’m still struck by what seems the grandeur of a classic suburban home. Two bathrooms! Fancy!
I don’t know about you, but I ate a lot of mac n’ cheese with hot dogs as a kid. My parents probably didn’t even know what the word organic meant. I shared a room with my two sisters almost my entire life.
My mom didn’t see my sister for the first 3 hours of her life, along with other heavy doses of birth trauma. You see, poor women aren’t seen as deserving good care, let alone respect.
As a doula now, I walk into spaces that remind me of my humble beginnings. Birth trauma is generational. I talk about the cascade event of interventions, what interventions exist, and how you can say no to something a doctor tells you. People who live at the poverty line aren’t used to having options, or exercising their voice in a medical setting. It’s a challenge, on top of all the standard ones already.
Being a doula for under-resourced people heals a deep part of me. Giving women the educational, emotional, and physical support to begin their journey as parents in a positive way tips that power scale a little bit each time.
Next time at their pediatrician’s visit, they’ll know how to advocate for their kid effectively. Next time someone doubts their skills as a parent because of their income, they’ll know how to hold their head up. Next time they have a breastfeeding challenge, they’ll know where to find support. Next time they feel overwhelmed as a parent, they’ll know they aren’t alone, and they can reach out.
Next time, their child will have that empowerment before they give birth to their own child.
I can’t change my mom’s birth stories. But helping people change their generational narrative – that’s where healing is.