Vision & Mission
Orchid Doula Services (ODS) envisions a society in which parents, children & healthcare professionals work together to support the mental health & body sovereignty of birthing people in pregnancy, childbirth & the postpartum period. We believe that in order to achieve this goal, systems of oppression must be dismantled & cycles of trauma broken. By actively supporting body autonomy & informed decision-making, parents enter parenthood feeling nurtured, & confident in their ability to care for themselves & their children.
We support health for parents, who impart health onto their children, which in turn creates a healthy society.
Orchid Doula Services supports self-determination & bodily autonomy in pregnancy, birth & postpartum. We achieve this by:
Providing individualized, trauma-informed doula care to birthing people & their partners
Practicing anti-racist, anti-colonial, pro-2SLGBTQIA+, anti-ableist, & anti-classist methods of care, guided by the needs & wishes of our clients
Providing evidence-based education & information to ensure parents are able to make informed decisions regarding their health, and the health of their children
Facilitating the formation of community by connecting parents with relevant resources & like-minded individuals
Turning Values into Action
The values expressed in my vision & mission require tangible action. What do I, Deirdre Bain, do to put these values into practice?
Let’s unpack the following statement:
"ODS Practices anti-racist, anti-colonial, pro-2SLGBTQIA+, anti-ableist, & anti-classist methods of care, guided by the needs & wishes of our clients"
I apply the following commitments in all of my client & business relationships
I recognize that structures of oppression are present in our healthcare system. I educate my clients on how to advocate for themselves within that system & what I can do to support them should that advocacy not be heeded. When necessary, I use my privilege to amplify their voices & protect their bodies.
I educate myself on the principles of trauma-informed care & practice it with all of my clients
If I am not equipped or not the right fit for a client, I will refer them to an appropriate doula in my community
I support doulas working in their communities. I create relationships with other intersectional feminist doulas to collaborate & refer clients.
I do not collaborate with individuals or institutions that are deliberately inattentive or unwilling to learn how to provide appropriate care to individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Colour, 2SLGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, or low-income individuals.
There are a multitude of systems working to oppress Black, & Indigenous individuals as well as People of Colour (BIPOC) in Canada. Many of which operate within our healthcare system, & our pregnancy, birthing & parenting culture. I believe that as a white doula, my responsibility is to be not only an ally, but an accomplice in dismantling oppression. I am privileged to have spent many years learning how to be an ally, & it’s time to put that learning into action. This means that:
the voices & wishes of my BIPOC clients are centered in all of our interactions
I provide educational opportunities that do not assume a white audience & that are attentive to the experiences of BIPOC people, including collaborating with BIPOC individuals to create exciting & relevant classes and workshops.
I continue to listen & learn from experts in the field of Black maternal health, to understand the disparities that exist in their experience of healthcare
I have built my business with the guidance & direction of Sabia Wade, The Black Doula. As my business coach, Sabia has provided immeasurable support & wisdom on creating a truly anti-racist doula practice. She has also encouraged me to recognize the internal work that I have done already, and to move from learning to action.
I recently completed Birth Advocacy Doula Training's class "A LIfetime in Quarantine" which teaches BIPOC folks regulation of their nervous system through somatic awareness & invites white allies to take a back seat & hold space for BIPOC learning & healing.
I am currently working through Layla F. Saad's book "Me & White Supremacy". I highly recommend for all white & white-passing accomplices! (my family is each getting a copy for Christmas).
All of the above points apply to Indigenous individuals, however actions specific to Indigenous peoples are also necessary. For Orchid Doula Services, these include:
Recognizing that I'm a white settler doula, living & working on unceded, unsurrendered Anishnaabe territory. I continue to learn the legacy of colonization & its effects on Indigenous peoples. I recently read & highly recommend: “A Mind Spread out on the Ground” by Alicia Elliot, “Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City” by Tanya Talaga, & “Red Skin White Masks, Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition” by Glen Sean Coulthard.
Learning about Indigenous pregnancy, birth & parenting practices & honouring those practices with Indigenous clients. I recently took a Master Class offered by BirthBruja facilitated by Raeanne Madison called Indigenous Birthing: Trauma & Resilience. Raeanne is a talented & creative facilitator, I can't recommend her work more highly. I continue to seek out such educational opportunities.
Each of these learning opportunities allows me to practice more appropriate care with Indigenous clients. However, I approach each client as an individual, and encourage them to direct their care.
I understand that although I live on Anishnaabe territory, there are a multitude of Indigenous cultures present on this land (for example, Ottawa has one of the largest urban Inuit populations in Canada). When working with Indigenous clients, I do not assume their cultural practices. Instead, through respectful exchange I learn what practices they would like to incorporate into their pregnancy, birth & postpartum experience
I recognize that not all Indigenous practices & knowledge is for me. I respect the boundaries set by Indigenous folx, and do not attempt to enter spaces or acquire knowledge that does not belong to white settlers, & me.
I acknowledge that our current pregnancy, birth & parenting culture highly cis & heteronormative. I know that there are many people working to change this culture, & I am committed to being part of that change. As such:
I do not use language that assumes sex, gender or heterosexuality.
I have created packages & offer services that are attentive to the needs of 2SLGBTQIA+ families, such as adoption & surrogacy support.
I recognize that our healthcare system is often not gender affirming, & beyond that can often be a very uncomfortable and dangerous place for trans people. I educate my clients on how to advocate for themselves within the healthcare system & what I can do to support them should that advocacy not be heeded. When necessary, I use my privilege to amplify their voices & protect their bodies
I acknowledge that much more work needs to be done on my part to provide appropriate care to two-spirit & intersex individuals. I am committed to doing this additional work.
I'm currently working with a local queer artist to create apparel for queer & gender non-conforming families.
Providing services that are accessible & appropriate to individuals with disabilities is extremely important. I acknowledge that much more work needs to be done on my part to be truly anti-ableist. I'm committed to doing this additional work. In the interim, I offer the following:
Orchid Doula Services does not have a physical office or client meeting space. Initial meetings occur on Zoom or in public spaces, usually a mutually convenient coffee shop. When meeting with clients who have disabilities, I will find an appropriate & accessible venue (ensuring the building & bathrooms are accessible for wheelchair users). Subsequent prenatal meetings take place in the client’s home.
If an appropriate space cannot be found, or if the client would prefer not to meet in their home, I currently live in a wheelchair accessible housing cooperative with common spaces for meetings that I can book & use with my clients.
I'm seeking an ASL interpreter to communicate with clients who require or would like this service.
I'm seeking further education on providing doula care that is attentive to the needs of individuals with physical disabilities.
Doula work is an unregulated health profession, which means that we are not covered by OHIP or RAMQ. We are also not covered by most private health insurance. As such, we must take active steps to make our services accessible to low-income individuals.
In addition to my private business, I'm the co-founder & Executive Director of Community Doula Access (CDA). CDA is a non-profit organization providing low-barrier access to professional postpartum doula care for low & moderate-income families. It is founded on two guiding principles: 1. Every family deserves support, regardless of income. 2. Professional doulas deserve to be compensated for their work. CDA provides care to families in need of support from a professional postpartum doula at no cost to them, & pays doulas market rate for their work.
I used to pay commission, now I pay it forward. Since starting my own business, I have committed 10% of my monthly earnings to serving low income individuals. As a result, sliding scale fees, individualized payment plans, or pro-bono contracts are available to clients who require them.
My packages are flexible, & can be changed to meet my client’s budget. I will work with my clients to develop an individualized package that achieves their goals, and remains within their spending limit.
While I have addressed each of these items separately, I acknowledge that many individuals have intersecting identities which cause them to experience the compounded effects of multiple systems of oppression. I'm committed to providing care that's attentive to each client’s experience & doesn't exclude any portion of their identity.
This page was last updated in December, 2020. I'll update it regularly to remain accountable for my work.
The above is intended to inform clients & community members of my actions on these issues in my professional doula work. To learn more about how I enact these values in my personal life, see my About Me page.