Not “your mamma”

So the interesting thing about language is we often fall into the vernacular of our communities, intending to be understood, to show we belong and communicate in a way our community understands.

This is why I totally understand how doulas use some phrases without thinking.

Because if we take the time to think about it, some of the language that has developed among doulas is problematic.

I’m talking about doulas referring to clients as “my mamma”, or “my woman” or any of these variations. “I have a woman in labour… My woman is at x hospital… I have a labourer …”

Women don’t belong to us. We can’t claim them.

As doulas working in an industry that strips women physically and metaphorically of their autonomy, we must be vigilant about the language we use. When a large part of our work is creating scaffolding around women, supporting them to maintain autonomy and agency, it makes no sense that we use language that is patriarchal and paternalistic in nature.

Women’s bodies have been claimed over time by fathers, husbands, churches, governments and doctors. Let’s not add ourselves to this list.

Please be mindful of how you discuss women in your care. If you are debriefing or talking about clients and trying to maintain anonymity (so not calling them by name) try out a few phrases that you might use instead.


 

Are you a doula interested in exploring the intricacies of the maternity system? Do you find yourself examining women’s care, the maternity system and (often lacking) maternity choices?

‘Women, the system and the illusion of choice’ is available exclusively to doulas undertaking We Birth’s Mentorship Pilot Program, in addition to 1 to 1 mentorship and an absolute cornucopia of advanced doula education.

Enrollments close August 20. For Australian doulas only.

 

 

 

The conversations we need to be having more often.

words: Jen Hazi

The problem I find most about being somewhat introverted is that I can’t abide small talk. I am sure this is what suits me well to the world of birthing and women’s spaces. I tend to dive in and talk with people about the more intimate experiences in their life.

So spending a morning with independent midwife Sheryl Sidery and Women’s Mysteries Teacher Jane Hardwicke Collings (in truth these descriptions barely touch the surface of who these mighty women are and all that they do), discussing birth, our maternity system, women’s choices and power struggles was my idea of a perfect day.

Of course, these conversations are important and best shared around. Fortunately, Jacki and I were prepared and managed to film some important and powerful dialogue that we can’t wait to share in our upcoming course: Women, the system and choice the illusion of choice.

If you are not yet on our email list now is the time to add your details and be the first to know when this is course is available.

In the meanwhile, we have put together the sneakiest of peeks for you to get a glance at what we are creating.  drop by HERE