Black Male Doula is Encouraging Men to Help Black Women Have Safer Deliveries

By: Maximillian Boudreaux

A young man from Carson, CA is creating a movement around getting men to assist Black women in having a successful labor.  

Dustin Young was curious about the labor and delivery procedure since adolescence and decided to become a certified doula in adulthood.  

“As I got older, I just kind of like look at women as gods essentially, which you guys are,” Young said. 

Although Young works in a women centered universe, he is a single Black man and has no children yet. However, he does have three sisters, and his youngest sister was the catalyst behind him discovering doula as a career path. When she became pregnant while away at college, she got frustrated at her medical team’s lack of support. Ultimately, she had to deal with a difficult pregnancy in isolation. 

RELATED: ‘Carol’s Daughter’ owner, celebrity doula create organization to combat Black maternal morbidity

“Her fifth month, she went to the doctor and had some bad news. She found out the heartbeat stopped, and she had a still birth,” Young said. 

When his sister discovered she was pregnant again a few years later, Young was determined to be there for her. He sought out a doula and trained to be a doula’s assistant. Young was able to assist his sister in her labor at home for hours until it was time to get her to a hospital where he was able to safely deliver his nephew. The cherry on top was that Young was allowed to cut the umbilical cord.  

“I felt like I wanted to be there as much as possible and guide her through that process,” Young said. 

Young currently has assisted in three births. Young was trained to be a doula at Kindred Space LA, where he continues to learn the best birthing practices. Kindred Space co-founder and doula Kimberly Durdin says men being part of the process is nothing new. 

“Many people see a male obstetrician,” said Durdin. “In fact, there are more male obstetricians than there are female, but folks think it’s kind of unusual for a male to want to be a doula. But men in birth work is actually a part of history. In terms of African history, there were African midwives, also male midwives and we see that tradition came across the Atlantic.” 

Young is bringing an old tradition back to the forefront, but has confessed his male friends made jokes about him being a dola.  

“They start clowning me like, ‘That’s not for us. That’s not our space. What are you doing?’ But I’m like, ‘Technically it is, bro. The pregnancy process is two people,'” he said. 

Making sure Black moms and their infants are safe during the delivery process is still an urgent public health issue.  Young thinks men can play a pivotal role in reducing the high rate of Black mother mortality by being aware of the birthing procedures, and being a champion advocate for their partner.  

“It’s like, how do I empower the men to be there and let them know like you are part of the process? “he said 

Click here to find out more about Young’s work. 

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