Meeting a Need in Our Community
When I started out on my journey to become a lactation professional, I was introduced to the disparities that our Black communities faced in providing human milk for our babies, receiving culturally appropriate lactation support, and in the birth and health outcomes of our mothers and babies. So, I decided to start Momma’s Village-Fayetteville, Inc, a nonprofit breastfeeding support group that provided lactation education, promotion, support and advocacy from other lactation professionals and volunteers of color. We quickly began to establish ourselves as a valuable resource in the Black natural birthing community in Fayetteville. Soon, I started to get repeated request from women in our village seeking doulas, specifically Black doulas. As I sought out this resource in our community, I found that there were no active Black doulas in our area. So, after a year of searching for a doula training that was going to place a specific focus on the importance of culturally appropriate doula support honoring the traditions from our communities of color, I was introduced to the community-based doula training offered through HealthConnect One which offered DONA International training from a trainer that honored the importance of including our traditions in the course. We were honored to receive training from Tikvah Wadley and Brenda Reyes from HealthConnect One which allowed us to have a total of 12 Black doulas trained. We have chosen to operate as a doula collective and NOT a doula agency because we wanted to make sure we appeared accessible to ALL women. Often times, many doula agencies seem to be exclusive in their language, where they offer their services, and how they market themselves. Our MVF Doula Sisters make sure that we follow the motto that Every Woman Deserves a Doula if it is desired. We have a total of seven (7) active DONA trained doulas who provide pregnancy, birth and postpartum support, placenta encapsulation, lactation support, and a host of other services that honor our families during this special, sacred time. I look forward to the work that we will do in our community as we educate, promote, protect, and support our families so that we can help improve birth and health outcomes. We hope that through our service and dedication, we make a lasting impact that will benefit generations to come because it takes a village to impact a community.