I trained to be a doula at The Farm in Summertown TN. I met and had dinner with Ina May Gaskin. We talked about knitting socks. I had read her book Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth during my first pregnancy and found it so inspiring that I had brought not only my personal copy but my library’s copy with me to Tennessee to get signed.
Ina May struck me as both whip smart and intuitive – an excellent combination in someone who inspired a revolution in maternity care. Despite advancing years she was still a vital force in the advocacy of home birth midwifery, safe births for all and the ability of women to have amazing births with few interventions. She had the mind of an academic and the heart of a mother.
Her’s have always been the first books I recommend for preparing for birth. In the years since I’d trained at The Farm I’d gone to see her lecture a number of times and even met her fascinating husband Stephen.
So, it is was a shock to discover that Ina May was one of the signatories to an open letter to the Midwives Alliance of North America protesting their adoption of inclusive language. Confused? Let me explain.
MANA recently changed some, not all, of the language in it’s core competencies document – the document that outlines what a midwife should be skilled at and capable of doing – to use language that was more inclusive. That meant that some instances of the use of “mother” and “birthing women” were changed to “individuals” and “pregnant people”. This change in language is a reflection that not all people who give birth identify as women and is more inclusive of trans* and genderqueer persons.
Hamilton Doula Group believes that Ina May Gaskin and the group Women-Centred Midwifery are wrong. The reality is that not everyone who becomes pregnant, births and nourishes a baby is a woman and we must be flexible enough to address people in a way that encompasses the variation and fluidity of gender and identity.
We strive to provide our clients with inclusive and safe care during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. If you become a birth doula, postpartum doula or prenatal education client you will hear us make sure that all families are reflected in our language. You will hear us refer to “parents” and “partners”, “birthing parent” and “non-birthing parent” very regularly. You will receive from us caring and compassionate support that respects and honours your unique identity.
Hamilton Doula Group is LGBTQ+ friendly. Because better birthing and parenting experiences are for all families.