All I can think when I watch this, is that I wish someone like her had been there for me at my birth.
Produced by Danny Alpert
A Doula Story documents one African American woman’s fierce commitment to empower pregnant teenagers with the skills and knowledge they need to become confident, nurturing mothers. Produced by The Kindling Group, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization, this powerful film follows Loretha Weisinger back to the same disadvantaged Chicago neighborhood where she once struggled as a teen mom. Loretha uses patience, compassion and humor to teach “her girls” about everything from the importance of breastfeeding and reading to their babies, to communicating effectively with health care professionals.
Most people wouldn’t consider these girls lucky. Their situations are dire, they’re caught in a cycle of poverty and teenage motherhood and ignorance. They have terrible home lives, the boys that got them pregnant have run for the hills in most cases, and they are well on their way to falling between the cracks and raising children in the same poverty and ignorance they grew up in.
Loretha is trying to change that. I was incredibly touched by this documentary, because but for a couple of years, I would have been a girl very similar to them. I was only twenty when my son was born, and I had barely a clue as to what I was doing. I know that if I had the support those girls have, I probably wouldn’t have had a c-section. We would have been much closer to a successful breastfeeding relationship.
I’m not envious of them, because I am blessed with so much more privilege and at least low-middle-classdom, and I have a husband who loves me and has been there for me in everything I’ve done, but I am looking at doulas in a whole new way now. Stillmog, while a loving person, had less of a clue than I did about birth, babies and all that comes with those. We have acknowledged that he could have done more and so could I, and we are focused on educating ourselves for the next hypothetical birth. But there is a secret niggling part of me that is afraid he won’t be enough support for what I need.
I always thought doulas where superfluous in many cases, kind of an extra expense just to be able to say, “I had a homebirth with my midwife and a doula. See how progressive and freespirited I am?” But now I’m reconsidering. I have met a few really nice doulas, but neither of them seem to be a good fit. It might be a good idea to look around and consider my options. It would be nice to have someone like Loretha Weisinger helping me out.