Meet Dustin Young: The Male Doula Guiding Black Mothers Through Childbirth

Meet Dustin Young: The Male Doula Guiding Black Mothers Through Childbirth

October 1, 2021 0

There are stark racial disparities in maternal and infant health in America. Over 25,000 women develop severe complications during childbirth. According to the American Medical Association, that number rises by up to six times if you are a black woman. Structural racism has meant that staff are consistently slow to respond when black women express pain or concerns around their special moment. It’s for this reason that having a doula – a trained professional that supports mothers before, during and after childbirth – can be lifesaving.

Dustin Young, a 37-year old from California, became a certified doula in 2020 through Kindred Space after being a first-hand witness to his sister’s stillbirth. The family had developed a thorough birth plan – complete with supporting positions and delivery method – but the family were ignored and rushed into childbirth. Fortunately, when a second chance arrived, Young hired a doula and assisted them through the process. Since then, the Carson-native has taken up the mission to reduce these horrifying events and statistics within the black community. In doing so, Young has encouraged nurses to be more compassionate and receptive to the needs of black mothers. “Just ask some questions like, ‘How do you feel today? What can I do for you right now?’ It does a lot.” In comparison, the male doula details an ideal atmosphere that he has created for his clients. For example, burning lavender oil, switching off electronic devices and giving massages during initial contractions. Relaxation is a proven method to build a safer environment for the mother and unborn child. 

Furthermore, Young is advocating for black men to educate themselves and partake in the childbirth experience. Looking back at African history, it was common practice for men to be midwives and involve themselves in birth work. While Young isn’t expecting men to go the distance like himself, the male doula believes that through knowledge, a healthier relationship and bond can be developed between their spouses and children.

Young has additionally expanded his charitable work through Our Own, a non-profit organization aiming to deliver resources to struggling communities.

BMI Staff
BMI Staff