The Maternity Support Survey team is happy to announce a forthcoming volume on doulas, which will contain a chapter based on our research on nurse-doula interactions in hospital birth.
The edited collection, Doulas and Intimate Care: Bodies, Borders and Birth, (by Angela Castañeda and Julie Johnson Searcy), will be published by Demeter Press in October 2015.
From Demeter Press: The book focuses on doulas and the intimate practices involved with doula care. It raises critical questions about the social and cultural meanings of attending to women during the transition to motherhood. In her book The Tender Gift (1973), medical anthropologist Dana Raphael first applied the word doula to birth culture when describing the importance of “mothering the mother” and increasing successful breastfeeding results during the fourth trimester. Today the term doula covers a much broader field of birth work, which includes birth, postpartum and full spectrum doulas or doulas who care for women during abortion, adoption, surrogacy, miscarriage and stillbirth. This collection includes academic and personal essays written by a diverse group of scholars, including practicing midwives and doulas. This volume privileges the voices of doulas and researchers who study doulas, as we explore intimate labor, knowledge and the construction of different material realities of the birthing body. Contributing chapters focus on doulas as cultural brokers and translators during birth, doulas as mediators between birthing bodies and other care professionals such as labor and delivery nurses, the work of full spectrum doulas as birth activists working as abortion doulas, and the ways in which doulas negotiate the multiple identity transformations surrounding birthing bodies. As doulas negotiate their work, they represent a community in constant negotiation of borders and boundaries, one where we can turn as scholars to think through the process of birthing and what it means for the kind of work mothering entails.