Mother Tongue Doula Project
Mother Tongue (MT) is a project which aims to offer culturally appropriate and language-specific doula support to women who do not speak English, who are in disadvantaged situations, and are pregnant, birthing or newly mothering.
Doulas Without Borders (DWB) has created this project in direct response to interrelated crises within maternity care. Some women with refugee status are going through their ‘entire maternity care experience without language support’. (2) The lack of shared language contributes to the disparity in survival rates between women during the childbearing year. Women from ethnic minorities are twice as likely to die in pregnancy and birth compared to white women in the UK (1).
The perinatal period is one of great opportunity when, with the right support, families can make changes in their lives in order to improve outcomes for themselves and their babies.
Through this project, our objectives are to:
Work towards the improvement of maternal and neonatal wellbeing by offering continuous, language-specific and culturally appropriate support
Help populate our organisation (DWB) with linguistically and culturally knowledgeable MT Doulas, by inviting our graduates to offer some voluntary service after training
Provide the opportunity for further employment for MT Doulas via our certificated training
Support towards social inclusion, empowerment and enriched community for (and between) service-users and MT Doulas.
MT Doula training will be offered via a Zoom and E-learning package, taking place twice a week over 8-10 weeks for small groups (no larger than 6), rolling out with 3 months between cohorts. The time between trainings will be utilised for feedback reviews and improvements of the course.
The training will be facilitated by
Kate Woods (Mother Tongue project founder and director, accredited Doula Educator and course writer, DWB CEO)
Grace Collins (Arabic speaking DWB Doula and Maternity Support Worker)
Amina Hatia (specialist Midwife and DWB Community Elder)
Şebnem Susam-Saraeva (Doula and Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies, University of Edinburgh)
Hazel Williams (DWB co-director and specialist in the refugee and humanitarian sector)
The training model is accredited by Doula U.K. DWB will be offering funded places to women of ethnicity who are passionate about supporting others within the childbearing year and are willing to consider offering a few voluntary hours back to the organisation. Completion of training will also mean gaining access to DWB membership. Each graduate will be able to continue receiving support via either organisation, post-training.
MT intends to begin teaching our first cohort in March 2021. The first cohort will be a pilot and will include women less marginalised by language barriers. The pilot will be used to learn and grow towards our goal, which is to offer the training to women with refugee and recently settled status, as well as other women who are from ethnic groups and are without funds to self-pay.