Supporting her journey: A full-spectrum doula’s look at the politics of motherhood

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

[This post, which excerpts an RH Reality Check piece, is part of a Mama’s Day Series by The Strong Families Initiative. To follow all of the Mama's Day events, visit us on Facebook and Twitter.]

By Lauren Guy-McAlpin

Motherhood isn’t exactly what comes to mind when many folks hear the term “reproductive rights.” Even in our own movement, we sometimes forget that the right to become a mother (and to do so on one’s own terms) is inseparably tied to what it means to be pro-choice.

Of course, I’m part of a community that focuses on it plenty: as a doula, I accompany expectant mamas and their partners during labor, childbirth, and the immediate postpartum period. Not being a mother myself, what led me to pursue doula work was my background as a reproductive rights activist. However, like many of my pro-choice sisters, it wasn’t something I immediately equated reproductive rights with, either.

To be sure, the rights of childbearing women are not as publicly threatened as they are for those seeking abortions. By which I mean, the limitations on the right to be a mother don’t have their own rallies and pickets; no, these are contained, politically, within the crowds of protesters expressing their opposition to health care access, inside Congress’ bargaining sessions, and in state and local governments that restrict access to certain facets of reproductive events, from contraception to laws about where women can and cannot give birth.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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