With That Comes Loyalty

I am blessed by having strong women in my life.  Some say it’s hard to live in the shadow of a strong woman, but I wouldn’t want the alternative.

If there is ever any doubt that ProDoula, my doula family, will be around for years to come, that limp belief will wither after a few minutes with Co-Founder, Randy Patterson.  And yet, many refuse to talk with her. 

Here, with these doulas of ProDoula, growing up and growing into myself means I am seen.  My struggle is appreciated.  My story is valued.

The changes that young members go through allow for connection, a shared history, and unity.  We all change.  We all grow.  We all want great things for ourselves, and our families.  We all take part in our own unique way.

Here, in ProDoula, we know each member needs to define their worth. As they work through that process, they have a safe space to ask questions, to test ideas, and to stretch out of the small box they came from.

What makes this doula organization so attractive and so different than any other doula certification organization?  It’s our matriarch.  There’s only one Randy Patterson.

The matriarch of ProDoula – she’s radiant.  Driven.  Successful.  Nurturing,…and fiercely protective of her family.  She thinks.  She listens.  She acts.  She has a talent for seeing people.  She has a gift for making each person want to shine a little brighter.

ProDoula and its matriarch make no excuses for what they are trying to accomplish.  As ProDoulas, we all know that by doing this work, we have the opportunity to elevate the role of our profession in the eyes of expectant families, care providers, and other doulas.

The point of a matriarch is about order and vision… and safety.  Members of ProDoula have a leader who has created order, has vision, and provides a safe place to land after a great or horrible experience.

Time and time again in the short history of ProDoula’s existence, there has been pushback from doulas who view ProDoula as a threat to this work.  They view ProDoula as tyrannical, and a bully.

Some doulas say fresh members have “drank the kool-aid” in an effort to make connections to a non-thinking cult experience.

ProDoulas see that weak retort from scattered and directionless fractions of other doula organizations, and invite them to come see what having support looks and feels like.  Some of the most anti-kool-aid-minded people have made the switch to ProDoula after years and years of being with other organizations.

What outsiders refuse to acknowledge is that this new loyalty comes after someone is validated, encouraged, empowered with tools to be successful, and then have real results that are life altering.

With that comes loyalty.

Loyalty is not blind faith.  Loyalty is built up, interaction, after interaction.   Where small tests and delicate underbellies are revealed, and we see what these new people will do with it.  Will they listen and encourage?  Will they help and stand together? Will they stab and run?  Will they simply disappear?

Trust is precious.  Trust keeps our family together.  Our matriarch is an example of how we can all stand in our truth and be seen, heard, and appreciated.

We can stand alone in our communities, but we won’t stand alone in our doula certification organization.

Too many doulas who have found ProDoula have felt the sting of a betrayal that comes from broken systems and promises. At ProDoula, doulas find something different.

Authored by: Ariel Swift, Doulas of Chicago