The Southeast Michigan Doula Project (SMDP) was founded 3 years ago by two newly trained doulas who shared a vision of volunteering their services to low-income and homeless pregnant women and teens at a local health clinic. It became obvious that there was a need within the local community when the partners were asked to expand their services to low income women working with University of Michigan midwives. Within one month they had too many clients to handle on their own and were scrambling to find other community doulas to volunteer their time.
SMDP now has a base of approximately 50 dedicated and trained volunteer doulas who serve the nine southeast Michigan counties. These women provide evidence based, emotional, physical, and informational support to pregnant women and teens and their families, before, during, and after birth. In addition to our birth doula services, SMDP is committed to community outreach and public awareness regarding reproductive issues. We understand that many women and teens who are, or may become, pregnant are unfamiliar with the positive effects of having support during birth. We strive to increase community awareness as well as provide this support.
As an agency, we have recognized a void in our ability to provide the majority of our clients who come from marginalized groups with a doula of similar identity. Additionally, women from these marginalized groups encounter financial barriers to obtaining doula training. Though SMDP is a young and financially limited non-profit, we have made it part of our mission to bridge this gap by providing as many scholarships as possible for doula training to women who would not otherwise be able to afford it, but would be a great asset and diverse member of the local birth community. These scholarships would also provide the recipient with future entrepreneurial opportunities serving as a for hire doula to the more affluent mothers and families who can afford them.
Funded by Ann Arbor, MI (August 2017)