Prison Doula- So worth it

 

For 7 years I have had the privilege of volunteering as an inspirational dance teacher in Vanier Correctional Center for Women in Milton. It has been both challenging and rewarding to dance alongside these women. I have grown in ways that I never thought possible. Two and a half years ago I made a transition to join the Vanier Doula program and help pregnant women that are incarcerated to navigate the system through pregnancy, labor and delivery. This has exposed me to even more challenging experiences but the benefits for these women have been “so worth it“.   Being the free spirit that I am along with my passion for justice and unconventional thinking, I struggle with working within institutions that have system breakdown. I have navigated my way through various institutions and have even chosen to accomplish my goals outside of the normal rules and regulations that hinder progress. I have done this because at my core beliefs I believe that the end result could possibly be worth all the sacrifice of the struggle.

Our program has seen a total of 110 pregnant women from 2014-2017.   We have assisted as Doulas for 14 Births.   We do weekly visit of an average of  4-9 pregnant women. We have assisted with mothers dealing with  Children`s Aid Society, abuse, adoption, substance usage, high risk pregnancy, miscarriage, termination, twins and fatal outcome. Due to the circumstances surrounding the pregnancies I encounter I have been trained as a Doula specialist in bereavement, loss, survivors of sexual abuse,termination and adoption.

I can still say that after all of these weekly encounters, the frustration I sometimes feel with the system breakdown and  failure, the pain I vicariously experience through the re- traumatization each women deals with, I still believe that it is so worth it.

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