My Philosophy: Inclusivity

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I want to take some time every few weeks to talk about what I stand for in my doula practice. As you’ve probably guessed, I don’t do this work just to earn a paycheck. Birth work and education are my calling and my career. I am passionate about all parts of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period, but there are a few aspects that make up the core values of my work. The first core value I want to talk about today is inclusivity.

I’d like to start by saying that the arenas of birth and birth work are very gendered. But we cannot forget that not all people who give birth or become parents are women or have a uterus. We are so incredibly lucky that there are so many avenues by which people can become parents. The language that I use on my blog, with my clients, and in my classes is meant to reflect that. I use “birthing people/folks” instead of “mamas,” “support people” or “partners” instead of “dads.” It’s a little thing, but language is so powerful. It’s important o me to make sure my work supports and reflects the lived experiences of everyone.

I work in Madison, WI and Madison is a very white city. Many (read: most) of clients are white. But I cannot work in the field of birth without addressing the racial disparities in prenatal care and birth outcomes. There are incredible people making change in their own communities (see here, here and here), and I am not here to do the work that I think is right. It’s not my place. But I want to lift those voices up and support my clients of color as they navigate obstacles other families don’t.

I also want to acknowledge that doulas can be expensive, and insurance is not catching up quickly enough to help pay for them. I charge the fee that I charge to put food on my table and provide for myself and my family, but I never want to turn away a family in need of support because of finances. I am always happy to discuss a plan that works for you and your family. It’s also why I attend births for free in our community and why I’m working on revitalizing an affordable doula organization in Madison. Everyone who wants a doula should have one.

I try to own my privilege every day. I educate myself. I am not perfect. If you can see ways that I need to improve and you have the energy and motivation, let me know. But it is not the job of the excluded to educate the privileged, so I am always learning.

Thank you for learning with me!

Maggie Mehr