protector of laboring women

a few months ago i was on the phone with Troy and he was telling me about yet another woman whose pregnancy ended in a c-section. and he asked sort of off hand if i was going to be a midwife when i grow up. i blew him off, but as often happens with him, his comment stuck with me.

no, i don’t think i want to be a midwife. at least not at this point in my life. well, how about a doula or birth assistant? i’m not much interested in helping mitigate the awful things that hospitals do to women, not interested in bucking that tide. and women laboring and birthing at home usually have found the support they need. so where does that leave me with my experience–attending 2 births (thank you for the honor, J!) and reading 50+ books on birth and breastfeeding?

from the bus one day i saw the sign for the International Center for Traditional Childbearing. ah! a little research and i learned that the organization has worked with midwives in Africa and the U.S. to help improve infant mortality rates. african american babies die at a rate almost triple the national average. that is ridiculous. and here are women in my neighborhood who are working to change that. ICTC offers childbirth classes and doula services. they run a high school mentoring program called Sistah Care. and they train midwives and doulas. well.

here was an organization doing real work, good work in this world. and they were offering doula training in my neighborhood. and AP was off for Spring Break, so that i could be away from the little one for 25 hours with a minimal disruption to her life and routines. sounded just right.

the most impressive thing that i have learned about ICTC is that every Wednesday they host Celebrate Your Pregnancy Day. any woman can come and share a cup of tea and talk to a doula about birth plans or nutrition or breastfeeding. and it’s FREE. Mabel and i got to sit in on a meeting where we watched Birth into Being, the amazing story of waterbirth in Russia, and talked to a woman giving birth to her second child in a month. what an honor. what an opportunity. just the kind of work i would like to be involved in myself.

so at the end of this week, i’ll be becoming a doula. think good thoughts for our family as i’m away. and for the group of women i’ll be learning with.


  1. Oh, my! You are full of surprises. It sounds like a wonderful thing for you to do. How great that it is nearby. Think of all the new friends you will make and the amazing things you will learn and the opportunity to bring your experiences to the group. I’m cheering for you.

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