What is a Doula? Learn Why Social Workers Do It Best

Doulas are a new take on a very ancient African practice. Yet it doesn’t stop most of us from asking:  what is a doula?

The truth is I didn’t know what a doula was either, well that was of course until Erykah Badu became one.  I have a confession to make, when I gave birth to my son I had never even heard of a doula and I was only vaguely familiar with what midwives where and what they did. For me it was a matter of going with people who had already given birth to members of my family whom I trusted. Like a lot of us when it comes to child birth we simply take the advice of our family members and follow traditions. For me I followed the lead of my sister.

Prior to my pregnancy, I just thought the only birth options was to have a gynecologist for my reproductive health, and then go to an ob/gyn for when it was showtime, aka to give birth.

And to be honest with you I only really knew what a OB/GYN was because well of the Cosby show. It was the type of doctor Heathcliff Huxtable was, and that was where I got most of my life lessons.

So when my nephew was born and I got to take my niece to the hospital to see her baby brother. I got to meet the midwives who delivered him. It was very confusing. Midwifery was something that made me think of slavery and the movie Gone With The Wind. But a doula was a concept I had never even heard of before.

With the alarming death rates amongst women of color the rise of doulas are a necessity. To have a calming advocate in the delivery room is so necessary in such a high pressured environment. So I was happy and pleasantly surprised when that social workers  found a unique niche as doulas.

On this week’s episode we chat with Psychotherapist and Doula Shanna M Williams LCSW. Of S.W. Doulas. We discuss the necessity for the resurgence of Doula’s for women of color. We also discuss the role doula’s play into reducing anxiety and providing emotional support for new mothers. We also discuss some of the challenges of breast feeding. The need for cultural community support to help us through the rough early days of motherhood and how having a village is a more natural way of navigating new motherhood.

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