Birth Ambassadors: Doulas and the Re-Emergence of Woman-Supported Birth in America documents the development of the doula role as a newly emerging occupational niche within maternity care. It examines how the doula role evolved from a cultural practice of women-attended childbirth to a largely paid care-giving occupation. It describes why women become doulas, the meanings they give to their experiences, and how they negotiate the dilemmas embedded within doula practice. Sociologist Christine Morton analyzes the meanings and dilemmas of the doula role for doulas and their organizations from the stories that doulas told her during her research. The personal narratives, edited by Elayne Clift, are provided as a complement to the chapters offering sociological insights on doula care based on doulas’ stories. The main goals of the book are to provide a history of doulas, capture current experience and meaning of doula care, and to encourage critical reflection on the doula’s place in maternity care, today and in the future.
Written by Christine H. Morton, PhD with Elayne G. Clift, MA
Foreword by Holly Powell Kennedy, PhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN
Afterword by Mark Sloan, MD
Narratives provided by: Emme Dague Amble, Liz Wilson, Ellen Derby, Kelly Martineau, Carol Schnabel, Rebecca Flass Delgrosso, Ella Wilson and Julie E. Bloemeke
Featuring photography by Kyndal May, MFA, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA) LCCE, Baby Bump Services and Catie Stephens, Vuefinder Photography | San Diego Birth Photographer
About the authors
Christine H. Morton, PhD is a medical sociologist whose research has focused on women’s reproductive experiences and maternity care roles. Since 2008, she has been at Stanford University’s California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, focusing on maternal mortality and morbidity and maternal quality improvement.
Elayne G. Clift, MA is a writer, journalist, and Humanities adjunct professor. She has worked internationally as a health communications and gender specialist, and is an educator/advocate on maternal and child health issues. A volunteer doula and Vermont Humanities Council Scholar, she has edited anthologies and published fiction and poetry collections, a novel, and a memoir.
Praeclarus Press is a small press founded by Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett and specializing in women’s health. It features books, webinars, and products that support women’s health throughout the lifespan. Praeclarus Press is based in Amarillo, Texas, USA.