Meet Rochelle, Doula and Midwifery Student, New York

Rochelle juggles college classes with her work as a doula to provide support to women in need.

Rochelle James, a 21-year-old doula and college student, says she knew right after high school that “babies and moms are where I need to be.” She made a commitment to be there for “the women who go through pregnancy by themselves.” Rochelle works at Ancient Song Doula Services providing support, information and advocacy for women like Lissette, a 24-year-old single mom with a history of depression. When Lissette’s pregnancy becomes complicated, Rochelle helps her understand her healthcare options. Despite Rochelle’s reassurance, Lissette’s healthcare providers pressure her into abandoning plans for a VBAC.

Lissette schedules a repeat C-section and Rochelle recognizes that the best service she can provide Lissette is continuous support no matter what healthcare decisions she makes. When Lissette begins contracting and is admitted to the hospital before her scheduled surgery date, Rochelle skips her final college exams to be with her. She becomes frustrated though when hospital staff members make disrespectful and frightening comments that undermine Lissette’s confidence. Rochelle continues supporting Lissette throughout her birth, recovery and into her postpartum period, which turns out to be crucial to Lissette’s wellbeing.

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