It’s nice to see the idea of helping women who must give birth while incarcerated is spreading. It’s a subject close to my heart. Now in Nova Scotia, Canada, doulas, or birth coaches, are available to pregnant women in its Central Nova Correctional Facility. Whether a jail or prison allows that seven women in 12 years get help or even if it’s seven women every year, supporting them through one of the most life-changing experiences in what is safe to assume a less-than-ideal place, is quite commendable. There should be more of this happening.
“Birth and parenting can literally change the way [a woman] looks at her entire life,” says Jessie Harrold, the Volunteer Doula Program co-ordinator. “Maybe that’s idealistic, but I see it. I see it in my work. That’s the great hope that many of us birth workers have when we support women who are living in vulnerable situations.”
What Harrold mentions isn’t idealistic; it’s just plain true. If we can help women be more bonded with their children from the beginning—meaning, as a woman becomes a mom and as a baby joins the world—we stand to uplift that entire family. That, in turn, boosts the extended family, their neighbors and eventually the entire community.