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Meet Hannah

HANNAH FATH

BIRTH + POSTPARTUM DOULA (DONA INTERNATIONAL)

I've always been a firm believer in Maya Angelou’s beloved sentiment that people always remember how they were made to feel in a vulnerable situation. Words and actions may drift on, but you never forget how someone made you feel, whether it be good or bad. 

As a doula, I am continuously conscious of that. I started out as a nursing major straight out of high school and quickly realized that becoming a professional that treats a disease or ailment was not for me. I believe that we should be preventing diseases before they become an issue, and transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study public health and social work. I had big plans to move to Boston to pursue a dual MSW/MPH degree aimed at impacting policy for maternal and child health and improving their health outcomes. I was also interested in learning why the sexuality education that is present in many schools does not include information on childbirth, body image positivity, being inclusive of all genders, menstrual care options, and a whole heap of other things relevant to sexual/reproductive health. I've worked to include some of these things into my role as a doula.

In my studies in Champaign, my peers and I learned about the disparities of health that pregnant people (and Black, Indigenous and people of color, in particular), their families, and their babies experienced. I continuously asked my professors, "What in the world is going on with this and why, as a supposed leading country in terms of healthcare, are we experiencing such low outcomes of health?" The revelation of the infantilization of womxn, systemic racism, and white caregivers being complicit in this role (and me being one of them) shook me to my core. There had to be a way to make change at the very ground level.

After my plans for Boston changed course, I serendipitously learned about the role of a doula and immersed myself into training with DONA International. I worked full-time at a fertility clinic in the city, moved in with my partner, adopted two dogs and decided to dive head first into birthwork because it's what makes my heart sing. I started freelance doula work, became a volunteer doula with Chicago Volunteer Doulas, and sought out every additional educational opportunity I could find (enhanced my skill base in the Chicago Spinning Babies Workshop, traveled to Milwaukee to audit Childbirth Prep under the incredible Amy Gilliland, Phd, completed Planned Parenthood’s volunteer training, took part in The Fifth Vital Sign: Conversations in Our Community Facilitator course and more). After falling hard for birthwork, I learned the importance of committing to what you love.

I have always wanted to be a mom and I hope that is in the works for me one day. In the meantime, I LOVE supporting those who have made that decision (and those who may have been surprised).  My current passions also include learning all there is to know about placentas, cultivating houseplants and vegetables to sustain my household’s vegan diet, and ending the stigma associated with infant loss, infertility, birth control, menstruation, and postpartum mood adjustments.

How you are treated while pregnant , when your baby is born and as you’re a newborn parent is something that you will remember forever. The birth world needs more listeners, activists, supporters, healers, and lovers to support that endeavor. I’m grateful to have found my footing in that vision.