An increasing number of birthing parents are choosing to include a doula in their birth plans. For many, doulas provide additional emotional and physical support during childbirth, education and information about delivery and the delivery experience, pain management assistance and more.
Research shows that having a doula
as part of the childbirth team has resulted in shorter length of labor, reduced Cesarean sections, reduced epidural use, increased rates of successful breastfeeding and higher levels of satisfaction with birth experiences. Doulas also play a critical role in providing culturally inclusive care. Our Black Birth Empowerment Initiative
is dedicated to centering and uplifting the Black experience during birth with culturally congruent doula care.
Swedish proudly offers the annual Swedish Doula Diversity Scholarship
in an effort to aid the professional development of more doulas of color, LGBTQ doulas and doulas from underrepresented groups. The program recently announced this year’s recipients. We asked them to share a little about themselves and their hopes for their futures as doulas.
Christine Geneus-Hill, a native of Brooklyn NY, is the daughter of Haitian Immigrants, wife and mother. It is one of Christine's life missions to help as many Black mothers and those in marginalized communities transition into motherhood with equanimity. She hopes to be a support in any way that she can during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum—as well as being a support for those who have experienced pregnancy loss. Christine knows how important doula care is, because she was desperately in need of care during her pregnancy and pregnancy loss journey. Christine's main goal is to bring the life changing work of a doula work to specifically Black women, BIPOC, and underserved communities. She wants to show that this amazing support service is available to [everyone]. Christine enjoys spending her free time on a yoga mat, traveling with family, exploring new cultures and volunteering for communities of need.
Lauren Berry graduated from Iowa State University with a Master’s Degree in Higher Education and from George Mason University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Politics. At George Mason, Lauren minored in African American Studies. For Lauren, obtaining this scholarship means that she can work towards her dream of becoming a certified birth doula. Lauren sees the importance of working to counteract the health care discrepancy that impacts our BIPOC/LGBTIA community—which are two of her core identities. At the same time, this is an opportunity to hopefully bring even more awareness of how community-based birthing/health care practices that are centered in BIPOC and LGBTIA critical race and social justice theory. Lauren looks forward to working toward her goal of being a holistic doula in being able to provide birth support, postpartum birthing support, lactation support and a childbirth educator.
Nicole Muongvang is a proud mother and grandmother who, after over 20 years as a social worker, decided to take a leap of faith and pursue other ways to serve people that would be just as meaningful and impactful. After researching about doula careers, she learned about the disparities within the BIPOC community and immediately thought this was a natural choice for me. Nicole's first exposure with a doula was through her sister’s experience during her first pregnancy. The doula brought this calming and warm energy to the delivery room that helped her sister and others in the room remain calm as they supported her sister through such a life changing moment. As a doula, Nicole hopes to bring a sense of calmness, caring and empowering energy to her clients, both emotionally and physically.
Ayanna Menefee is a small business owner whose primary focus is to support other humans with holistic nurturing of the mind, body and spirit. As a certified Reiki Master, and long time childcare provider for infants and toddlers, Ayanna has a lot of experience in nurturing small humans, and their caregivers. Her passion for birth work is in line with her passion for caretaking, and comes from a place of concern as a black woman for the health and wellbeing of childbearing individuals within her community. She wants to be an advocate and place of peace and support for birthing parents and for that reason is very grateful for this opportunity to train as a doula.
Lydia Sargent has worked in the field of women’s health for six years, but it was at a young age that she knew she wanted to [work with babies and in the field of childbirth]. From the very start of her journey working in health care it was very clear that women and people of color faced a level of discrimination that made it uncomfortable for her to continue in her profession as a medical assistant. Lydia made a decision to start the next stage in life as a midwife. Lydia says that it is more important now than ever to make sure that people of color across the world have health care professionals that advocate for them and guide them into the next stage in their life feeling empowered and prepared. As a Doula Diversity Scholarship recipient, she says she is able to provide this level of comfort and care with patients as she advances and progresses through her professional journey in health care.
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