A doula is a trained professional that provides emotional and physical support to pregnant individuals and their partners. I am an advocate, coach, and resource for families. I have experience providing in-person and virtual support to individuals and families in Central Iowa and out of state.
Let's be clear. Black women, commonly known as granny midwives, help to birth this nation. In the rural South, these women were indispensable, and their service to their community was life-saving. Being trained by a Black midwife was the healing I needed and the fuel necessary to lead my community towards a more equitable space where they can be seen, heard, and celebrated.
I don't believe I chose to be a doula. Doula-ing chose me. I was searching for a community and a space that would help me learn and enact change in the spaces I was in. I am the great-great-great granddaughter of a midwife aid in her country. Knowing my history and revisiting the past helps me build connections to present and future work necessary to disrupt spaces that are oppressive and surveil Black bodies.
Is this your first time hearing about granny midwives? Are you interested in becoming a doula or birth worker? I encourage you to do your research. It is 'people' work and requires you to show up in ways you may not have before. Connect with doulas in your community, learn about the tradition and history of birth work, identify what communities you want to serve, and reflect on what makes you equipped to serve in communities different from you. Harm is the last thing you want to do. This work is part of a legacy of resistance. It isn't just a job.
Learn more about the tradition of granny midwives in the South. Below is a picture of Mary Coley. Coley was one of the last generations of granny midwives and provided care to families across the southern region. Click the picture to learn more about the many lay midwives that serve our country and resisted slavery and anti-blackness in the birth space.