Rest Is Not a Luxury, It’s a Requirement! — Doulas of Capitol Hill

By Whitney Dula

“Girl, you need to sit down. There’s always something to do”

I’m sure this was the refrain in my house with my oldest at least 500 times a day. But it has to be the restraint I give myself. And many other parents I work with. You see, for Black folks, especially Black birthings, rest is like a luxury. Breaks are for the privileged, and the elderly. As a Millennial parent, a young Black woman, and an established lactation professional, the feeling that I needed to prove myself was strong. I NEED to be better, I NEED to work harder. But in doing all this, we are doing ourselves a disservice. The body needs rest to help stay healthy, keep the brain functioning at optimal function, and help preserve memory. Rest is not a luxury, it is a necessity. If you’re still on a plane where you’ve heard a safety speech, put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.

That’s the theme of this year’s Black Breastfeeding Week for me. This is the reminder that we all need to stop, put on our masks to help ourselves breathe. I can’t do my best work or help families if I’m burned out or sick. We need to take a break to continue to break down systemic barriers in the perinatal space- whether you are a doula, lactation, or the healthcare provider. It’s okay not to do that last project, or wash the dishes today. Taking time to rest is powerful, recognizing your physical, mental, and emotional needs as a priority. So to my fellow birthers, I hope you can encourage your clients to rest. And then you can rest.

Whitney was awarded a Black Breastfeeding Week 2021 micro grant from Doulas of Capitol Hill of $600 to cover costs associated with the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) exam.

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