Becoming a Doula, Finding the F-Word the Long Way

Dear M,

I have been trying to write for a while on my experience as a doula. It was through my doula work that I realized feminism matters, and that activism comes in all shapes and sizes.  I’m going to cut up my thoughts into a few parts for the ease of reading, and hope they remain readable and interesting.  Doula-ing and even writing about doulawork is absolutely navel-gazing, but with real navels.  Think of the next set of posts as a kind of mini-series, with sprawling plots, melodrama, and declarations of love.



For starters, here are some prefaces.

Part 1: I have so many prefaces

I am not pregnant, or interested in becoming pregnant.  I don’t get on very well with babies, but do feel lucky when they make intense eye contact with me.  I also love seeing happy parents and happy children, but motherhood often looks like a giant con to me–one where you plunk down all your capital and find out that you paid to get a huge demotion that comes with a lot more grunt work.  The majority of my fears are either about catastrophe (sharks, bent metal) or palimpsests of mediocre living.  But this is not about that.

The next preface: I am a shoddy activist.  My history in making a difference can be broken down into half-assed moments heavily informed by television:

  • Watching the episode of The Wonder Years where Fred Savage rips paper out of his notebook in rebellion, inciting his entire class to do the same.  It made me want to start a revolution.
  • Putting a pin that said “Homophobia is a social disease” on my bag in seventh grade, admiring the compression of the statement.  I didn’t realize that this meant I had inadvertently outed myself until about 15 years later.  This might explain why I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was in my twenties. That pin got thrown out the bus window by a dickwad 7th grader.  It was one of the first times that somebody had done something directly mean to me or my property.  Even my friends laughed.  Fucking middle school.
  • Bob Saget hosted a TV special about saving the rainforests, and recycling.  There were a lot of kids involved, and it seemed representative, as if we were having a teleconference.
  • But, then there was the episode of Family Ties where Tina Yothers freaks out because she can’t do enough to save the environment–I think she starts crying about a shampoo bottle.  This always seemed like a cautionary tale against activism, because it will just make you unhappy.
  • My freshman year in college I was part of a program that had lots of hotshot students coming up with sexy projects.  My friend and I found out that our professor was good friends with Dave Matthews.  We decided that our way of saving the world (and more so, making a name for ourselves) would be to get ten kids from all different backgrounds and fund them for college as long as they gathered once every year.  We didn’t know about the 7 Up series, but it was along those lines with the incentive of free college.  We thought we would break down some serious shit.  We wanted Dave Matthews to fund it.  I remember my face flushing violently as we proposed our idea to our professor.  He told us he almost mentioned it on the phone to Dave, but didn’t.  I also wrote about the project in my hated composition class, and got a B on the paper because the idea seemed “under-developed.” Our other ideas included getting everybody on campus to give us one dollar each so that we could go to Paris.

Next up: ignoring feminism, adulthood, and professors with nice offices…Part 2

4 Responses to Becoming a Doula, Finding the F-Word the Long Way

  1. Pingback: How I Became a Doula, pt. 2 « Millicent and Carla Fran

  2. Pingback: Doula Times, pt. 3 « Millicent and Carla Fran

  3. Pingback: Sinking, Swimming, Not Hugging, Pt. 5 « Millicent and Carla Fran

  4. Pingback: Unselfish Female Feminists: True or False? « Millicent and Carla Fran

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