Mahalia Sealy, the Training Coordinator for Maternity Care Coalition’s Community Doula and Lactation programs, beams with pride when talking about the birth of her youngest child. She has three children and had three healthy pregnancies and vaginal deliveries, but it is her third birth experience that had the biggest impact. When reflecting on what it means to birth with dignity, it is this labor and delivery that comes to mind.
When Shema’Yah was born, Mahalia had a dream support team that honored her wishes and helped her feel confident. This included a midwife and an MCC doula. Throughout her pregnancy, labor, and delivery, Mahalia felt in control of her body and knew her team had her back during her most vulnerable moments. Speaking specifically about her midwife, Mahalia says, “She was really so nourishing. She gave me everything I needed to feel equipped and knowledgeable and to make informed decisions. Knowing the pros and cons of every choice helped me feel empowered.”
Mahalia first became involved with MCC when she attended a doula training in 2021. She was pregnant with Shema’Yah during the training and says “taking the training was transformative. I gained so much information. It helped boost my confidence in myself and contributed to me being able to birth with dignity.”
She believes one of the ways we can ensure that all people are given the opportunity to birth with dignity is by educating families about their options and choices. When it comes to birth, Mahalia’s mantra is “knowledge is power.”
That is what makes MCC’s Community Doula training so impactful. The doulas receive comprehensive training that is trauma-informed, culturally sensitive, and emphasizes a family-led approach. Then, the doulas go out in their communities to educate and empower the families they work with.
During her own training, Mahalia was reminded that, “I do have a voice, and my opinions and experiences matter.”
As the Training Coordinator, she finds pride in instilling this confidence in others.