My Philosophy: Accessibility
Today I’m taking some time to talk about the second core value of my doula practice: accessibility.
Accessibility and inclusivity are values that go hand-in-hand. I don’t think you can have one without the other, but I believe that accessibility is more closely tied to making doula support available to everyone regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic status.
I addressed my commitment to making doula services affordable for everyone before, but I think accessibility goes even deeper than affordability. Accessibility requires that we ask questions like “Where are doula services being promoted?” And “How are those services being promoted?” If we only share information about doula services on our personal websites or Facebook pages, people without access to computers or internet wouldn’t be able to find that information. But if we make our information available to public health nurses and other community health advocates, the people served by those resources can be connected with the support they need.
Another part of accessibility is constantly making sure we’re meeting people where they are. Everyone’s level of knowledge about pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period varies. Birth is not something that many people are familiar with. Sensitive, non-judgmental education and resource sharing can help folks, no matter where they are at, to make informed decisions that are right for their family. Education is not a tool to shame or guilt someone into making a decision. As Maya Angelou said “ Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
Finally, accessibility also means connecting people with and fostering appropriate resources and support. As I said in my post about inclusivity, there is so much work to be done in the realm of birth and I am not necessarily the right person to do it or lead it. The same applies to providing support. I need to recognize and accept when I may not be the right fit for a family or pregnant person and connect them with someone who will be a better fit. And if that someone doesn’t exist, I need to support the people and organizations who are trying to change that.
What does accessibility mean to you?