In 2021, we’re profiling DTI doulas who are shaping the world through birth work, doula work and reproductive health advocacy.
What does it mean to live and work as a doula day-in and day-out?
Today, we’re featuring Ashlan Alderton a DTI-trained, full-spectrum doula based in Commerce, Michigan, USA.
Ashlan Alderton (she/her) is a DTI-trained, full-spectrum doula in Commerce, Michigan.
“Educating, advocating, supporting, and holding space are just a few things I do as a full-spectrum doula. A doula is a support person who provides physical and mental support through pregnancy and childbirth for the birthing person and their families,” Ashlan says. “I work with people through any reproductive event they might need support with. I strongly believe that all bodies matter, all birth experiences matter, and everyone deserves to feel empowered and supported. I support ALL birthing people and pride myself for being inclusive to all bodies and all outcomes.”
1.) What brought you to doula work?
My own experience with childbirth really kickstarted my research into birth work. Since becoming a doula, advocacy and education have been at the forefront of my practice.
2.) What are you working on within your doula practice right now?
I’m currently unlearning, re-educating, and re-learning when it comes to being inclusive and actively anti-ractist. Trying to create a safe space for all birthing people is important to me right now.
3.) What’s in your doula support bag?
I carry a water bottle, snacks, a change of clothes, toiletries for myself and for the birthing person, tennis balls for massage, massage oil, essential oils, LED lights and candles, a copy of The Birth Partner, a notebook, my camera, and a cold cloth that stays cool. My hands are my best tool, though.
4.) What’s your favorite doula book?
I really like The Birth Partner because it’s packed with really useful information that I can use for reference when I attend births.
5.) Describe your doula journey in two words.
6.) What’s one thing you’d like to say to new doulas?
Birth work is absolutely about community over competition. Reach out to other birth workers!
7.) Any words you live by when providing doula support?
I do not empower you—I recognize that you are powerful.
8.) What’s one interesting thing you’ve learned about the human body, thanks to doula work?
I simply cannot choose one thing! The human body is absolutely amazing and I have been in awe of how our bodies give birth.
9.) Your favorite tip for new parents?
Don’t listen to just anyone’s advice. Also, invest just as much as time, energy, and money into your postpartum plan as you do your prenatal and birth plan.
10.) Your one wish for the birth world / reproductive health world at-large?
Keep moving forward with activism in reproductive justice.