Rogue: a dishonest or unprincipled person who rejects conventional rules of society in favor of following their own personal goals and values.
Visually, one can’t tell the difference between a professional doula and a rogue doula. There is no difference in title, no name badges stating that a doula is rogue.
A brief historic overview: In the early 1970s, feminist movement was picking up speed and fervor in the United States. During this time, women and some men organized in one another’s homes, often grouping together across lines of class, race, sexuality, and gender to share their experiences and confront their own conditioning to sexist thinking and behavior. These meetings were called consciousness-raising sessions, as those involved not only broadened their understanding of patriarchy, but were actively working to understand issues of intersectionality amongst themselves. They had a saying, “Sisterhood is powerful.” Sisterhood was built with deliberate work to understand not only the needs and challenges of women in similar situations to themselves, but the needs and challenges of women who traversed all walks of life.
Fast forward to today: Sisterhood in the public domain is a little scattered. The word might make you think of sorority sisters, or nuns, or you might hear it casually used amongst friends or people of similar backgrounds. But if you are a doula, you probably hear a lot more sisterhood talk than the average person.
“I am hiring a doula because I don’t want (insert any birth outcome here).” How many times have we doulas heard that one? But why? For a long time, birth activists have been masquerading as doulas and promoting advocacy as one of their roles. While to some, this may sound like a good thing, allow me to explain how doulas are different from birth activists and why you may want to carefully decide which one to have attending your birth.