About Me

GILLILANDA059_ColorI have been a professional doula for almost thirty years and a DONA Approved doula trainer since 1997.  My master’s and doctorate degrees are in Human Development and Family Studies, and my bachelor’s and an unfinished master’s degree are in interpersonal communications and small group dynamics.  For the last fifteen years I have researched birth doula labor support in North America. My research is supported by a fellowship from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Human Ecology’s Center for Child and Family Well-Being.

I’ve published articles in several peer-reviewed journals, speak frequently at conferences, and conduct continuing education courses for nurses. Over a thousand people have taken my Doulaing the Doula training workshops – with a 99% satisfaction rating! I have four adult children (3 bio, 1 step).  For more about my research, workshop dates, and publications, go to www.amygilliland.com. For more about me, you can read this blog post. You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

What is probably most important is that I have interviewed over 70 birth doulas, 40 parents, and 7 nurses about their experiences with doula labor support for my research studies.  This does not count my thirty plus years of listening to birth stories from mothers, fathers, and birth professionals.  My opinions in this blog are based on my experiences, research, and hard won wisdom from living the life of a doula, doula trainer and researcher for so long.

Racial Justice Statement:

In the perinatal field we face the challenge of providing care to many different kinds of people in a multicultural world.  As a White person I am also negotiating the impact of racism and decades of health care manipulation and distrust with patients and clients of color.  Understanding the social experiences and impacts of these events in today’s people’s bodies and psyches is necessary for me as an educator and researcher.  Addressing and healing racial disparities between Black, Brown and White people and their babies is central to my purpose.  I also understand that people differ in their understanding of these impacts and feelings about them.

In order to increase my racial awareness and effectiveness, I have taken several workshops and trainings, including receiving a racial justice course completion certificate from the YWCA.  I continue to engage and challenge myself on a frequent basis by reading, discussing, participating in accountability groups, and having personal relationships with people of different faiths, ethnicities, and races.  Whether I am talking to mostly White, mixed, Brown or Black participant groups my goal is to see their reality and inspire people through learning and skill development to be their best selves.

As a lifelong activist for people with diverse sexualities I thought I was prepared to deal with oppression and injustice and fear of difference.  However in some ways, I feel that my work as a catalyst for compassion and healing in social justice activism has only just begun.

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