CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A baby shower is a celebrated tradition for moms-to-be. But for lower-income expectant mothers in our community, it's something they may not get the chance to experience. One Charlotte organization is changing that, one woman at a time.
For the founder of W.I.S.E. Community Doulas, Fametta Darling, supporting lower income moms of color is a labor of love.
“Our goal is really to send them back into community and feeling like whole people and knowing that they don’t have to do this alone,” she said. “That there’s a community willing and able to support them at the end of it."
The Charlotte doula says she founded the group to address our country’s black maternal health crisis.
“When I become a doula - I looked in my community and a lot of doulas range from 500- 2000 dollars and that’s just caps a lot of people out,” she explained. “They can’t even begin to consider that as an option. And so we provide free and sliding scale birth support for those women who can’t. I looked out and I didn’t see any representation. You know, I knew that our white community members knew all about doulas and the benefit of having a doula but I didn’t see it too much in our black members and so that was kind of my frustration.”
She channeled that frustration into creating a community baby shower. This year's is their third annual -- and biggest one yet -- as nearly 20 women will be the guests of honor.
“They’re going to be served,” she told me excitedly. “They’re not going to have to get up and do anything. They’ll all receive diapers and wipes because we know how expensive and wipes can be. Someone’s going to go home with a crib. We have tubs, we have boppy pillows. Our moms are all going to be able to go shopping; we have a large variety of clothing.”
Darling also points out this isn't a typical baby shower because their mission is to focus on the needs of the mother as well.
"And so here in the west, we think of baby showers and we immediately think of all the things the baby needs,” she said. “But we kind of forget about the moms. So our community baby shower is unique because we take a holistic approach. We are also providing the moms with all the things they need but we’re speaking to them: what do they need? What anxieties are you facing? How can we support you through that? We’ll have an affirmation circle. They’ll get to discuss any fears and anxieties that they’re facing.”
Finally - all of the moms will leave with a postpartum kit.
“We give so much attention to the pregnancy and we completely forget about the postpartum period and that’s where see Moms kind of face their toughest moments, um, they’re most vulnerable at that time,” said Darling. “The postpartum kits really focus on the body and the healing. If you push a baby out physically it really does a number on your body so we have some wonderful things in there to help get them back to normal.”
For more information on how to receive doula services for free or on a sliding scale, email firstname.lastname@example.org.