Catching Our Babies: Open Arms and Michelle Sarju

There should be a beautiful and stunning film right here to start this post off. For some reason, I cannot get the video to embed properly. Watch it here instead.

I grew up in western Washington and lived in Seattle for a year. I definitely have mixed feelings about the birth scene in the Seattle area, but this film highlights what I think is absolutely working there.

A beautiful piece about serving women of color and low income women in Seattle. The doula service featured in this film, Open Arms, is pretty incredible. Run primarily by women of color, as you can see in the film, Open Arms provides doula services to any woman who desires a doula, basically. As far as I understand, they use grants to pay their doulas when individual clients cannot which really is a win-win situation for everyone involved. It’s a model I highly respect, think is working well, and would love to see replicated ┬ámany, many times across the country.

Michelle Sarju is also worth a mention in her own right. She currently works for Open Arms and I don’t know if she does much midwifery work anymore. She has been a tireless advocate for women of color in the midwifery scene in Seattle. A former Seattle Midwifery School (SMS) student, she has shown up time and time again as a voice advocating for better and more inclusive midwifery education, better treatment for students of color at SMS (now Bastyr), and a staunch supporter of a fundamental change in the midwifery culture and education in Seattle – one that embraces anti-oppression work at its core. Michelle Sarju has worked hard and long in what has been largely an uphill battle. It is really fantastic to see her shining in this beautiful and well-made film.

HT to Christy Tashjian for sharing this film in her blog.