The Hierarchy of Validity: A Creative Exploration of Reproductive Justice in Cross-Disciplinary Birthwork
Birthing is an intimate experience and all mothers—regardless of their race or class—deserve to have a variety of birthworker options. Birthwork covers an array of professions related to meeting the physical and emotional needs of expectant mothers and mothers in post-partum. For the purposes of my research, however, I define birthworkers as those working as a doula, midwife, or OBGYN. Without the knowledge of the multiplicity of options available to them, pregnant women of color’s autonomy suffers.<br/><br/>This project explores how birthworkers in Arizona are differentially perceived and hierarchized by expectant mothers. While doulas are assumed to be mystical, OBGYNs professional and midwives a blend of both levels of professionality, this project explores the hierarchy of validity and importance of acknowledging each birthworking discipline as beneficial to expectant and post-partum mothers.<br/><br/>Through the presentation of this work, I aim to educate readers on the benefits of each birthworking discipline, thereby raising awareness about the need for equal respect and access to all types of care providers during the pregnancy journey, as well as a need to place intimacy at the center of birthworking praxis. Throughout this ‘zine you will learn about the importance of integrating terms such as “reproductive justice” and “equity” into general discourse, the racial disparity evident in the quality of care pregnant people receive during delivery of their child, as well as anecdotal information about each birthworking sector—doulaship, midwifery, and obstetrics—from professionals in each field.