Monday, October 19, 2020

Birthing in Love with MBC Radical Doulas

"attending a birth is a political act"

Montreal Birth Companions 

radical doula organization



In 2003, I started a doula training program with my then business partner, Lesley Everest. Over the first year, I realized that our volunteer requirement had the potential to change the lives of women, and I founded Montreal Birth Companions. During the summer of 2003, two of our first doula course graduates attended 14 births. These doulas accompanied women to the hospital to give birth throughout that first summer, without any compensation except the experience and the knowledge that they were honoured guests of the families that were bringing a new life into the world. Montreal Birth Companions, or MBC as it affectionately came to be called, was a radical, unique, inspiring organization that survived for 13 years because of the power and love of the women who served there. We never got funding, although occasionally a private client would give us an extra bit of money and one of our hard-working doulas would get a small stipend. Over the years, we served hundreds of families who would never have been able to afford doula care if we had not provided it. We accompanied many women who were completely alone, and others whose partners needed to stay home to care for other children, or who needed to work. As time passed, we started to gain recognition in the non-status communities and we served many, many women who were living without legal immigration status, and hence without health insurance. It was essential for these women to have the support and guidance of a doula, so they could give birth with as little intervention as possible and thus avoid huge charges (our most expensive birth was $30,000, which was the culmination of an induction, several days in labor, an epidural and various other interventions and medications. Of course this money couldn’t be paid up front, and the woman spent months trying to pay it back.) MBC fell apart in 2016, after some internal arguments about political views. It turned out that some of the doulas wanted a traditional organization with a board, meetings and all that. My view was always that the only mandate was to provide free doula service to marginalized families in need. So what was the need for having meetings or creating unnecessary structure? Well, it turned out, the need for structure is so that if a crisis occurs, you have a predesigned way to deal with it. Starhawk talks about this in her book Truth or Dare, where she explores all sorts of things, anarchist organizations being one of the oxymorons she shines a light on. Because when two of our doulas were sexually assaulted by one of our client’s “friends”, we had no structure to deal with the fallout; no one person who was in charge of crises; no list of things to do. And so I took it all on, and decided that I had failed everyone, and I stepped down. But now, looking back, I realize that it was an amazing moment in history! We accompanied women to have their babies in love, with companionship, within a circle of care and held space that they would not have had otherwise. We did this out of pure love, a dedication to women, a desire to give the marginalized folk amongst us the same basic rights (yes, having a circle of caring women around you when you give birth is a right!) that we affluent women do. We did all this without money or financial support from anyone, which gave us the freedom to do what we needed to do. It was a fine time, and I am still getting calls from women without health care who are seeking that support. I spoke recently with Julia Gordon, who was one of our volunteers, about what it meant to be part of such a life-changing, radical group of women. Here is our chat:

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Raise Love Consciousness with Maha Al Musa

When I asked Maha to give me one word to share her message with the world, she gave me three. Raise Love Consciousness.


I was thrilled to have a couple of hours chatting with Maha about childbirth, consciousness, sovereignty, feminism, bellydancing and her work liberating childbirth, women and babies.

You can reach her on Instagram, Facebook, or check out her website

Are you pregnant and looking for a guide to uncover your inner power? Are you a Birth Keeper who wants to learn more? Maha's unique birth preparation program is for pregnant mums who innately know that giving birth is meant to be a sacred, instinctual and an embodied experience and who are seeking an immersive and expansive experience as they flow through their 9 month journey. It is also for birth keepers wanting to reframe birth's purpose, be inspired by a view of birth that will raise human consciousness and understanding the journey from a sacred, wise lens to share with mums-to-be.

I am so honored to have the chance to speak with powerful BirthKeepers, Educators, Mothers, Artiists, Rebels ... Baby Magic is magical!