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For Black birthing people, it’s imperative ‘your persons that are going to be in this space with you are educated on what can happen.’

Provided by LaKisha Redditt

LaKisha Redditt is a Black doula and the founder of Virtuously B’Earthed Doula Services in St. Louis. She spoke about how much more education Black birthing people have to do to keep themselves and their babies safe – and about how a doula can help in that process.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words.

LaKisha Redditt: As a doula, my goal is to – in the prenatal period – to educate the client, let them know what their rights are. Educate them on the mechanics of childbirth, what that looks like, and also, educating the family in general, whether that be the birthing partner, any family members that will be in the space.

So, it looks like coming together – making the family aware that these issues exist, and then giving them the tools necessary. So, that when they go into the birthing space, they're able to advocate for themselves, and I'm just the backup person at that point.

I've seen the coercive statements where people are like, “Oh, well, do you want your baby to die if you don't do that, because what'll happen is… this will happen...”

And that’s not the -usually it's not health focused, it's more time focused, if that makes any sense?

So, it's imperative that even if you don't hire a doula, right? That at least your persons that are going to be in this space with you are educated on what can happen. So that way, there is some level of advocacy being done for the birthing person.

I think that's my goal – not just a doula, but a black doula serving black community.

People need to understand that there is a gap between the care that is received from one group to the next. Like, stop treating it like it doesn't exist. It exists. That's why you're hearing about it – because it exists.

Sometimes I think we need to step outside of our own bubbles, and be like, “You know what, there's a whole ‘nother world out there that I am unaware of that I probably need to make myself aware of.”

We all have heard the term like “representation matters.” A lot of times, you know, we look to our peers who have been there before to kind of guide us through and navigate – help us navigate certain systems we have not been a part of before, or that we've been a part of and have been abused by.

And so, if you are black birthing person, it's imperative that you have somebody to look like you because you relate differently than you would to a doula who is nonwhite.

Some of us have been there before, and so we're able to relate and then have somebody that looks like you is just even more like


“That's a relief.”

You know what I mean?

So, I think that's what it boils all the way down to is I'm not the only one that has gone through it. So yes, when we say representation matters and black doulas for black people - that's what that means.

Anna Spidel is a health reporter for the KBIA Health & Wealth desk. A proud Michigander, Anna hails from Dexter, Michigan and received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Michigan State University in 2022. Previously, she worked with member station Michigan Radio as an assistant producer on Stateside.