When I first heard the term doula, I literally spoke the words: “a what-nah?” Fast forward two years and here I am: a practicing doula. The term ‘doula’ is ancient Greek and roughly translates as “a woman who serves.” For a professional movement that aims to empower, advocate and offer caring, non-judgemental support during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period, this definition, while providing the gist, falls short. (Oh, and there’s no rule that men can’t be doulas.) If you don’t know about doulas, or if what you do know makes you scratch your head in confusion or suspicion, do me this favour and bear with me as I hopefully debunk some common myths and share what I know to be true about the doula role.
A common doula image has been the hippy-dippy, placenta eating type (while the healing benefits of this practice can be argued) the bottom line is that doulas do not force-feed their clients placentas, a myth that can create real barriers to doulas being taken seriously in broader systems of care – someone who wafts into a room ripe with patchouli oil and is dismissive of doctor’s orders.
Here are some frank but concise things to know: 1) if a doula has been trained well, they will know the role is not a clinical one, and 2) that while a ‘hippy-dippy’ approach is often scoffed at, it seems clear that our culture is starved for what might better be termed ‘holistic care.’ I feel lucky to have attended births where medical staff and holistic practitioners worked symbiotically. The outcome was stunning. Our mutual respect and willingness to complement each other’s roles disproved the notion that ‘medical births’ and ‘natural births’ must be separate entities. This type of bridging is one of a doula’s most astonishing tasks and achievements. The doula’s role is that of an impartial diplomat, offering translations, support and conflict resolution if tensions may be running high. A doula also runs interference between expectant parents and well-meaning but occasionally overbearing family members. Continue reading
How To Fix American Horror Story
Seems like just yesterday that I was extolling the virtues of a bold little show called American Horror Story.
In one of the most (unfairly) reviled and (fairly) stagnant genres, AHS was raising the bar. Ushering in a whole new flock of horror fans and giving the long-timers a much needed breath of fresh air. It offered intrinsically good stories and managed to offer cutting social justice commentary at the same time.
So what on earth happened?
We can debate where it all went wrong, but I don’t think anybody can deny that the show is suffering on all fronts, and not even the Evan Peters fanservice is enough to hold it together. [Spoilers from this point on. -Ed.]
The dude’s the be-all-end-all, if the show’s female fans are to be believed
I could spend all day listing my litany of complaints about the past couple seasons- the skull-numbing boredom of AHS: Freak Show, the abysmally scattered and campy AHS: Hotel (I will never forgive Lady Gaga’s inclusion)…
I **** you not, the woman’s so vain that her character seduced a gay guy and it was somehow supposed to be taken as her being “progressive”
…but you probably wouldn’t need me for any of that (again though, **** everything about Gaga’s role in this show).
What I’d like to do instead is offer my own armchair suggestions for recapturing that eldritch magic the first couple seasons had. Because I hope that maybe, just maybe, some bored writer will stumble across this piece and think “hey, that’s not a half bad idea!”
Because I’m also that vain.
Not as vain as Gaga though- Miss “I Need To Appear In A Different Crazy Outfit In Every ****ing Scene And Fondle My Harem of Identical Dudes.”
Okay, I promise I’m done.
So, anonymous and probably non-existent AHS employee who’ll probably never see this, here’s one horror fan’s humble recommendations for restoring one of his favorite shows to its former glory. Continue reading →
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Posted in bizarreness, science fiction, television, writing
Tagged ahs, american horror story, Asylum, cosmic horror, Coven, Fan Theory, Fant Art, feminism, freak show, horror, hotel, Lady Gaga, Lovecraft, Moira, Murder House, soap opera, Social Commentary, Southern Gothic, space, television, writing