by Mary Mahoney and Lauren Mitchell
Despite the US's growing awareness of doulas, no book yet exists that explores the history, philosophy, and practice of these caregivers for the general public. A search for "doula" on Amazon reveals how-to guides for setting up a doula business, manuals for women considering hiring a doula, and an academic collection of scholarship. The Doulas! is the first book to discuss this topic in an accessible non-fiction book, integrating anecdotes and memoir, as well as contextualizing the movement within the larger scope of pregnancy care and reproductive rights.
The authors are founders of the Doula Project, an organization of full spectrum doulas that operate under the guiding principle that care and support are provided during and after pregnancy, regardless of the pregnancy's outcome. The organization has grown to include more than a dozen groups around the country, and have served nearly 20,000 pregnant people in the NYC area. Because of their position as full spectrum doulas (sometimes referred to as abortion doulas), they have received a large amount of attention from policy and advocacy organizations, as well as from the medical community.
"Honest, raw, and charged. . . . The Doulas is part memoir, part how-to manual, and part political treatise. . . . It's a well-crafted, comprehensive, and compelling mix." -- Rewire
"Thoughtful... The writing is clear, and the message is too: reproductive justice for the poor starts with the "quiet brand of activism" of one-on-one support and telling other people's stories." -- Publishers Weekly
About the Authors:
Mary Mahoney, LMSW, is a full spectrum doula and Founder and Board Co-Chair of The Doula Project. She has served hundreds of pregnant people across the spectrum of choice and trained activists, doulas, clinicians, and medical students around the country on the abortion doula model of care. Mary is the former Assistant Director of the Pro-Choice Public Education Project, and a graduate of the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. She is currently a licensed social worker, focused on the intersection of trauma and child development. Over the past eight years, Mary has been a key player in several reproductive justice-focused coalitions and think tanks. In one notable role, she was appointed to the Women's Health and Leadership Network at the Center for American Progress in 2010 where she, as the sole service provider, helped inform national reproductive and economic justice policy. Mary has published pieces for the Center for American Progress and RH Reality Check and contributed to several reproductive justice briefing books and research reports, including On Our Terms: Young Women of Color, Reproductive Justice, and Activism and the Reproductive Justice Briefing Book: A Primer on Reproductive Justice and Social Change. She has spoken about reproductive justice and full spectrum doula care at conferences and workshops around the country. Mary is currently based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.
Lauren Mitchell, M.S., has been working to change the culture of medicine for the better part of a decade. In addition to being a full-spectrum doula and founder of The Doula Project, she is a certified Gynecological Teaching Associate, teaching medical and nurse practitioner students to be able to perform gentle, patient-centered physical examinations, and a teacher of literature and the humanities in medical school settings. As a co-coordinator of the Reproductive Choices Service of New York City's largest public hospital, she has been able to infuse an extremely medicalized system with compassionate patient care. She is a graduate of the Narrative Medicine program at Columbia University, and is currently pursuing a PhD in medical humanities at Vanderbilt. Lauren is a well-known and established speaker and trainer in the fields of reproductive justice and medical humanities, and has presented for a wide variety of organizations including NAF, NAPW, the Abortion Access Network, NOW (National and Regional Summits), FemSex, Hampshire College, Columbia University, the Barnard Center for Research on Women, among many others. She currently lives in Nashville, TN.