There's more to birth than a baby coming out: a feminist phenomological examination of doula work in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Young, Christina M. (2013) There's more to birth than a baby coming out: a feminist phenomological examination of doula work in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

In this thesis I present a feminist interpretive phenomenological examination of the lived experiences of doulas in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, in relationship to three research objectives: ( 1) to investigate if membership in a collective provides doulas with particular forms of support, (2) to examine how doulas construct the significance of their relationships to their clients, and (3) to explore the potential to conceptualize the activities of doulas as a form of resistance against medicalized models of birth. Data were collected via focus groups and interviews with eight doulas in St. John's, including seven members of the Doula Collective of Newfoundland and Labrador (DCNL), and one doula who practices independently. -- Analysis and interpretation of these data resulted in four key findings: (1) the DCNL acts as a system of support for its members, but also poses particular challenges for insiders and outsiders, (2) doulas create meaningful relationships with their clients, but sometimes encounter difficulties with setting and maintaining boundaries with them, (3) doula work in St. John's is associated with overt activism for women's birthing rights, but doulas are careful to separate this activism from their care for their clients, and (4) it is possible to conceptualize the typical activities associated with doula care as forms of subtle resistance, falling along a continuum of subtle to overt acts. These findings are interpreted in relationship to the medicalization of childbirth, feminist theories of maternal embodiment, and the gendered nature of caring labour - in addition to my analytical frameworks of community and resistance. I discuss the practical and theoretical implications of my findings, and provide directions for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9999
Item ID: 9999
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 174-184)
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Gender Studies
Date: 2013
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Doulas--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's--Sociological aspects; Childbirth--Social aspects--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's; Feminist theory; Phenomenology.

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