Many of us in the birth work world know that DONA International has a troubled history with racial politics, which I won’t recount here. A tangible action step towards de-centering and withdrawing support from DONA is to learn reproductive care work elsewhere, so I’m compiling a list of trainers of color and organizations that are led by people of color. If you know of other trainers/organizations that should be featured here, please comment or let me know so I can add them!
Note: if you are a white person looking to begin or expand your birth work practice, please consider your presence in these spaces. Ask if you are welcome first (and respect POC-only spaces!), do not center yourself or your whiteness, and learn with humility.
POC trainers and POC-led organizations
Grace Roman, The Bronx Doula (the Bronx): placenta alchemy (includes PAIL and LGBTQ+ competency)
Mayte Noguez, The Womb Doula (Dallas): closing of the bones, postpartum care
Ashanti Rivera, Woman’s Choice Perinatal Service (Waterbury, CT): placenta encapsulator training
Devin Nicholas, Divine Birth Wisdom (Opelousas, LA): pregnancy and postpartum herbs and nutrition in the Southern tradition
Mars Lord, Abuela Doulas (UK): doula training, wisdom of the abuelas course, cultural competency, loving the multiple parent course, doula mentoring
Shafia Monroe, SMC (Portland, OR): doula training, webinars, keynote and motivational speaking, and cultural competency training for healthcare professionals ***update: gender-diverse people, please approach with caution.***
Ancient Song Doula Services (Brooklyn, NY): full spectrum labor and postpartum doula training
Jennie Joseph, Commonsense Childbirth/the JJ Way (Orlando): doula training, childbirth educator training, lactation educator training, midwifery school
Layla B., The Nafsa Project (Morocco): traditional postpartum birthworker training based on Moroccan medicine and healing, sisterhood retreat
Kira Kimble, Birth Arts International trainer (Charlotte, NC): doula training towards BAI certification
Doula Caribe (Puerto Rico): birth and postpartum doula training, perinatal educator training, breastfeeding training, “denied motherhood” (loss and grief) training, workshops on lots of topics like water birth, microbiomes, birth crises, etc.
Uptown Village Cooperative (Upper Manhattan and the Bronx): perinatal professional development and new parent skills like cloth diapering, babywearing, and nutrition
Sumayyah Franklin, Sumi’s Touch (Oakland): online and in-person POC-only doula training, birthworker retreats
Sista Midwife Productions (Louisiana): birth sister/doula training and black doula/midwife directory
Tracie Collins, National Black Doulas Association (Atlanta): rebyrth doula training (birth and postpartum) and holistic fertility training
Malika Muhammad, Doula Trainings International (online and all over): birth and postpartum doula trainings for people of color, educator training, ongoing/continuing education on advanced topics, annual born into this conference ***DTI is repro justice focused and run by a mix of white people and POC, so please do your own research on who is running each training
Earth’s Natural Touch (Bridgeport, CT): doula training
SisterSong (Atlanta): reproductive justice trainings and workshops
Nneka Hall, QUILT NH (Boston): pregnancy and infant loss advocate training, fertility doula training
Uzazi Village (Kansas City, MO): perinatal doula training and lactation consultant training
Note: I haven’t learned from these people myself and so can’t vouch for their politics around queer, trans, and nonbinary reproduction. Please do your due diligence before choosing someone to learn from!
Here are a few other black birthworkers to support financially by purchasing their products or artwork.