What a Difference a Boat Ride Makes


6With SIX DAYS left before I leave, I have been thinking about the Dominican and Haitian women I will be serving. I am thinking about our similarities more than our differences… not just as women, but as women of African descent.

I know all do not acknowledge African heritage across the island, none the less, there are those who do. And I also acknowledge that there is no difference between those Africans that were sent to Hispaniola and those sent to mainland North America.

In an effort to break their wills and ensure dependency of the enslaved on their oppressors, it is well known that one of the techniques used to weaken familial bonds and resistance from enslaved Africans was to split up families and sell them in different places. That means that the greatest difference between myself and the women I will be serving is where our ancestors were disembarkedwhere they got off the boat.

Across the island, there are areas where, similar to the U.S. mainland, there is a variation of shades of complexions. In the case of Hispaniola, the delineations in hues and shades can be seen in the stark contrast between the people of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Regardless of how these separations are made in different countries based on historical political context, culture, language, etc., I still see the commonalities. And for those who are experiencing poverty and economic depravity… I am reminded that we are (literally) the same people even in our diversity.

For me, this why your financial support is so meaningful and important. You are helping me reach out to support family during “the most powerful and most vulnerable” time in these women’s lives – CHILDBIRTH.

You can contribute to this work here –> http://www.drdoula.com/dr2017-donation1.html

Here is some additional information about the work I will be doing while in the Dominican Republic. 

I will be a part of a team of nine birth professionals volunteering at Hospital Presidente Estrella Ureña in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. I and three other women will be working the night shift from 11pm – 7am shift each day.

The conditions and the treatment the women receive at the hospital is below what most would consider unacceptable. The moms and newborns have only what they walk in with unless their families provide for them. We will seek to offer material comforts through the provision of sheets for the beds, water, and some ‘luxury’ items as gifts for mom and baby. These luxury items will include a small bar of soap, underwear, sanitary pads, and a toothbrush for the mothers; and a onesie, socks, a receiving blanket and a few diapers for the newborns.

Both the mothers and their newborns are often treated in ways that many would consider inhumane. The women deliver in a room with 10 other beds, sometimes two women to a cot. They birth in their street clothes, on a plastic bed, without food or water, and with no loved ones or support at their side; and they may be separated from their babies for up to 24 hours. We will be working around the clock shifts to bring comfort, support, and love to these women and babies.

Continued blessings, love, peace and light for your path.

Dr.Doula

#DR2017 Countdown… Let’s Stay Connected!


I know… I know… I have not written a post for such a long time, but as I prepare for birth work in the Dominican Republic I realize IT’S TIME TO RECONNECT! I am writing this post to invite you to travel on this journey with me to the Dominican Republic via this blog. I would love to share my experiences with you and receive feedback from you while I am there. You can FOLLOW THIS BLOG by entering your email in the sidebar.

I will only have WiFi during certain parts of the day because of my volunteer schedule. Of course, when I was in South Africa, I hoped to be able to share more and experienced some issues with connection. The Dominican Republic is also prone to power outages, still I will do my best to keep in touch.

So many things have happened in the interim that I shall surely take time to share in due time. Right now, I have my eyes focused toward birth work I will be embarking upon in the Dominican Republic NEXT WEEK! YIKES! I will be supporting Dominican and Haitian mothers during birth in the DR from July 20 – August 3, 2017. You can learn more about the trip, the work I will be doing, and how you can support my work here.

I have been collecting material and financial donations for the past two months and the response has been OVERWHELMING! People have been SO GENEROUS toward this endeavor. You can see a partial list of the 150+ POUNDS OF MATERIAL DONATIONS that have been collected below.

Please consider making a financial donation toward this work! THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!

This is the latest #DR2017 donations update. I AM ONLY NINE (9) DAYS AWAY FROM DEPARTURE! WHOO HOO!!! LOOK WHAT YOU DID.png

So… Dr. Doula, why do you doula?


My conversations with Zinzile were rich and fulfilling while I was in South Africa. I used every available opportunity to ask questions about her work in maternal health with the Human Rights in Childbirth Summit: South Africa 2015, her experiences as the Zulu Doula, and her expertise as a town planner and the co-owner of Azania Strategic Urban & Rural Developers (Pty) Ltd in South Africa. I always find it intriguing to consider others’ processes and perspectives… Zee has much to share.

As we were awaiting our meals at a restaurant one day, we were discussing some of the experiences we had had together. We had visited some new mothers and their newborns the day before where out of the six mothers who had birthed, four had birthed by cesarean-sections, which they call caesars. Zee explained the high rates of c-sections at South Africa’s public hospitals and even higher rates at private hospitals.

Modern technological advancements in maternity care include c-sections for mothers that face medical challenges. Still, as with any major medical surgery, there are possible complications that have prompted the development of global initiatives to reduce c-section rates in an effort to improve maternal health.

At some point, Zee turned the video on me, asked me about my motivation for being a birth mentor and doula (among all of the other hats I wear), and pushed record.  Here was my impromptu response: