Doulas are Trendy. That’s a GOOD thing!

trendy black woman researching doulas

Having a doula is a growing trend among mothers in the United States. According to Childbirth Connection, the use of doulas doubled from 2005 to 2012. Doulas have recently been featured in the New York Post, and in Essence magazine. Everyone is talking about the importance of our services.

There’s concern among some that doulas should not be seen as a trendy. Some are worred that this service will be seen as only for a certain kind of mother. Rather than being portrayed as a must-have birth service for hip millenial families, as the latest and greatest in high-end maternity care, they would prefer that doulas were seen as a necessity. They believe that everyone deserves a doula. I used to agree with this, but I don’t anymore. 

What I truly believe, is that everyone deserves support.

Support can mean having family near you, a medical team to help keep you and baby safe, and friends that you can call. I wish these things for all births, unless the mother decides she wants something different.

Support does not have to mean that someone (or a team of someones) is on call day and night for you. Nor does it mean someone will stay by your side as long as you ask, until your baby is born. Support often does not come from well educated, trained professionals who are ready with resources and information, but have no agenda or opinions. Those things come from a doula, and they ask a lot of her (though we do love doing it.) They are luxuries, and babies are born without them every day.

Personally, I love  luxury. Luxury isn’t a bad thing!  I like fancy makeup, soft towels, pedicures, a car with seat warmers, and delivery food. None of which I need, but all of which I’ve gotten used to and work my butt off to never give up. I want my clients to feel the way I do when someone shows up at my door, with a piping hot, fancy meal that I didn’t have to prepare or go get. That feeling of being taken care of, pampered, safe, and important is awesome. And most everyone can benefit from it.

Trends can be important and good too. A few years ago, there were debates about whether black women wearing their natural hair was a trend. And people didn’t want it to be trendy. But curls, kinks, and coils suddenly being in vogue, gave women options to embrace that part of themselves who wouldn’t have gone natural before. I’m all about options. The same is true of Michelle Obama and her arms, making fitness cool and encouraging us to get healthy. It seems as though both of those “trends” have been long-term and helpful!

I think it’s a good thing if making families feel safe and supported during a vulnerable time becomes a trend. My job is all about instilling confidence. I would LOVE to make that something everyone is trying to get. Maybe it will push back on the trend towards judgement and shaming so many parents feel these days, when every decision is scrutinized. 

And as for whether providing a luxury service puts doulas out of reach for some people who need support? I trust folks to prioritize their own needs. I personally have spent money on delivery food (it really is my personal favorite luxury), and in exchange took the bus for the week. And the debates over whether people who rent instead of own their homes should line up for Jordans, or drink Starbucks, suggest that other people make their own financial choices as well.

I support folks getting the things that they want, in order to make them happier. While I’m not #teammaterialism, I don’t spend time worrying about other people’s pockets. And I’m okay with being the Jordans of birth.

Doulas do tend to improve birth experiences, just like good shoes improve an outfit. Why not make that cool? I want women to know that they don’t need me to have a kick ass experience. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on doulas being a trend. Talk to me in the comments!

3 Comments

  1. Martha says:

    There are so many benefits to having unbiased support, every family needs something different, and the value of it is incredible. To me a trend is short-lived. I’m hoping doula support is more than a trend – I’d like it to grow and expand, and become more consistent along the way. One day, I’d like everyone to know what a doula is and I hope most will be just like you, Sam Olivia Griffin:)

    • That’s a good point, but trends being short-lived. I hope to be able to provide support to mothers for a long time to come, so I agree!
      When I think about health, or hair trends though, I think that many people pick up something because it’s fashionable, but then stick with it when they see the value. I have my fingers crossed that something like that happens with our work.

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