Call in the Doula: When Your Pregnant Students Need More

Brooklyn, NY (Female) —A few years ago, I worked as an instructor for a youth literacy program run by the City of New York and held at a public library here. It was intended to prepare participants who have graduated from work and high school for a course that awards a degree equivalent to high school.

One of my students was a young woman expecting a baby. She quickly turned out.

I didn’t know how far she was going until the day she seemed distracted and asked if she could use the phone. She thought “something might be happening”, so she had to call her mother. After her call, she asked me to talk to me personally. She graduated from high school because she felt that her school condition was not safe for young pregnant women. During our screening process, she did not reveal how close her term was because she thought it could prevent her from participating in the program.

The moment I sat with her waiting for her mother to arrive, I wish I had more advice than how to improve her reading and math scores.

When her mom arrived, I escorted her down the stairs. She took me to the car service waiting for her daughter, she spoke quietly in Spanish, and then thanked me. I called after them and let me know how everything went. I tried to contact her several times on her cell phone, but all I got was her recording: “Subscribers are not currently accepting calls.”

The student never contacted me, but I never forgot her. One day, when I received a leaflet from the Hope and Healing Family Center, a relatively new organization whose mission is to increase maturity births in the areas around Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant, East New York, and Brooklyn. She was in my head. ..

The most oppressed area

These are some of New York’s most oppressed areas, with good signs of: City statistics on infant mortality in 2013.. Infants born in the city’s wealthiest areas, such as the Upper East Side of Manhattan, have a five-fold higher mortality rate for babies in Bedford-Stuyvesant. In East New York, it’s seven times higher. In Brownsville, it’s eight times higher.

The city’s sudden infant death rate is highest among colored young mothers and the highest among young mothers who do not have a high school diploma. That is, the exact group of young women who appeared in my class.

“We support the birth you want,” said the Hope and Healing Family Center flyer. “Provides physical and emotional health … can help you deal with unexpected things.” My eyes zoomed in on the word “unexpected”.

At that point, I changed jobs and worked as a student advisor for the Brooklyn Public Library’s Young Adult Literacy Program for a year and a half.My role required me to design a workshop for all kinds of realities faced by participants: Stop and Frisk Policing, Alcoholism, Urban Agriculture, Healthy Relationships, HIV / AIDS, and New high school equivalence test, secondary completion test, or TASC..

But the new and unexpected maternal challenge has raised questions beyond me. Some of my applicants were freshmen from other countries. How can they successfully navigate their new motherhood with limited money? What about abusive relatives? Should they stay in those living conditions? Where else can they go?

A foster parent-raised young woman is now out of the system, but not yet 21 years old, but is afraid to return. Her expansion With little support from her family, she struggles to keep a baby and avoids repeating the tragic cycle of taking her child away.

A young woman with little knowledge of the health care system and, in some cases, no basic knowledge of what is happening to her body, navigates a new city and arrives in the United States at risk of preterm birth. Will be higher.

A young mother with a young baby takes her toddler to understand parenting classes in child development, reading, active play, and how and why preschool children benefit throughout their lives. You may need someone to lead you to the period.

A young woman who has no support system in her childhood and may have lost her mother during the formation period knows she is not ready, but does not even know the correct question to ask.

Doula required

I knew that these students needed a special kind of support, and my direct boss agreed. I needed a doula..

I called the Hope and Healing Family Center and decided to meet Suzette Jules Jack, The founder of Panama and the practitioner of Doula. Her center is on the border between Crown Heights and East New York in Brooklyn. In addition to herself, there are also caseworkers who help Jules Jack manage some of the problems that occur with her active clients. They can count up to 15.

The center offers an 11-week group course on pregnancy and childbirth and preparation for newborn arrivals. Classes are offered only in English, but her Spanish-speaking Jules Jack is becoming more interested in the center in the Spanish-speaking community, and her young mother is amazed at her fluency. increase.

She added that she experienced a lot of colorism in her childhood in Panama, which also helps to build relationships with many young mothers in Brooklyn.

After meeting her, we decided that instead of requiring to attend our own workshop, we could guide the students who expected the Doula workshop at the center and accept it as a credit.

So far, I have introduced three young women to Jules Jack. She was as long as she could imagine, including attending a family court hearing to keep her child.

Jules-Jack defines himself as a “practitioner of community birth services.” This is the person who provides emotional, physical and informational support to women during and after childbirth.

Her service is free and funded by a grant from the local community committee. Jules-Jack promotes the center as much as possible, including hospital prenatal units, public housing units, local malls and libraries.

“Many young mothers don’t know what Doula is,” Jules Jack told me. “And with the first approach, they often turn down service,” she said, young women are not so open to Doula’s ideas. “Older women are more embracing this program.”

As a doula, Jules Jack can help young women in different ways. She can accompany her prenatal visits, develop birth plans, provide physical and mental support during delivery and childbirth, and run support groups for new moms and dads. increase.

She keeps in touch with her mom and her family and provides ample support in early childhood. That is, she advises on her childcare and helps with day care and preschool arrangements. She also finds services that support her mother’s academic and career goals and support those aspirations.

The story of Shanice

One of the young women we mentioned Jules Jack is Shanice. To protect her online privacy, she omits her name. She joined our literacy program when she was four months pregnant, a new arrival from Jamaica.

Recently she visited me and bought a 4-month-old boy. Jaquan’s eyes are shining and smiling, his head is full of hair, and the young mom is careful about the halo of the ponytail puff.

19-year-old Shanice lives with her mother, but decides that the support provided by Doula is also available.

As a result, she learned the pros and cons of circumcision. She is reading a book to her baby because she knows it’s better than sitting her baby in front of the TV. She is now learning how to give him a bath without the help of her mother, her beloved grandmother.

Shanice told me that Jules Jack had a luncheon at the center for her and a few other young women. Two other young women were there with the baby. The other was a newborn baby. The other was still pregnant.

Gift bags provided by Bath & Body Works, a retailer based in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, were distributed. With a small raffle, Shanice won a food gift basket.

When I asked her what was going on, she smiled brightly and sang a song and said, “Good!”. She said she was working on a passport for him. They are still in the West Indies and visit his dad who just saw the baby through her phone video.

“I don’t know if I could have done this without her,” she said, asking about the help she got from Doula.

She said her mother helped, but Doula did something else. “She encourages me. She’s there for me when there’s no one around her.”

What do you think?

Written by Fem Society

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