Monday, March 10, 2008

Why I have come to India to volunteer as a doula

My passion for childbirth is relatively new, compared to my love for India. My passion for India emerged at the age of seven, after reading a National Geographic article chronicling the abuse of Indian women. My dreams of visiting India materialized at the age of fourteen when I had the opportunity to ride horses through North India with my aunt. My experiences on that trip hatched an insatiable enthusiasm for India that developed into a self-organized six month study abroad followed by a month spent volunteering with an NGO.
My interest in becoming a doula was sparked by an extraordinary seminar at UNC Chapel Hill. I was stirred to pursue doula training after I discovered that birth today is often more heavily orchestrated by technology and the power politics of medicine than a women’s innate ability to accomplish the biological miracle of birth. Such impersonal facets of medicine had always made me hesitant to pursue a medical profession, so I was thrilled discover that one focus of a doula is helping women rediscover their intrinsic ability to birth naturally and provide them with the resources to make informed choices about interventions and aspects of care. It was a natural progression of my interests to merge my new passion for supporting women in childbirth with my older passion of empowering women in India. I chose to complete the experiential part of my DONA certification in New Delhi, India, as this city is a haven for cutting edge technology as well as time-honored birth practices.
I arrived in Delhi on December 7, 2007 and will be living and volunteering in Delhi until the end of May 2008. I am researching how the presence of a doula can shape the birth experiences of Indian women of different socioeconomic/castes and how the cultural backgrounds of the women I serve influence my role as a doula. Working in different caste environments demonstrates that the benefits of a doula’s comfort techniques and continuous presence are not dependent upon the availability of medical knowledge and intervention. Additionally, my involvement as a doula reveals the horrendous physical and mental abuse within subsidized maternity care and more hidden, yet equally grave, exploitation of women’s rights in private hospitals.

7 comments:

wcaitlin said...

I just came across your blog. I am a doula myself and I have been extremely interested in volunteering in India. I would love to hear more about how you got started in the journey.

V said...

Hi. I just came across your blog and would like to know if you're still in ND. I am looking for a doula to support me in my pregnancy. Thanks

Tali said...

wow...
your blog is amazing and the work you have done seems incredible. I too am a doula and am very interested in volunteering in india.Any way i can get in touch with you to find out more information?

Danielle said...

I'm training to be a doula right now in Seattle, but would also love to complete the experiential piece in another country or countries. Would love to hear more about your experiences or if you have some ideas. Thanks! Danielle

Linda said...

I know I'm probably one of many doulas who've asked you this but whom did you volunteer through? I'd be interested in doing something similar.

-Linda

Unknown said...

yay for doulas and India! I am looking forward to learning about your adventures :)

Carrie Jose said...

The contents present at this web page are very informative.I don't have any kids yet but can only imagine the work and necessity of extra help.There are trained doulas Oahu who offer postpartum for the new mommies.