what is a doula?

Erykah Badu is going to be Slick Woods’ doula during the birth of her child.

by Ryan White
|
Jul 30 2018, 12:12pm

Images via Instagram

The model Slick Woods is having a baby, and Erykah Badu is going to help her through pregnancy and the life changing event of child birth. Badu has always been so much more than simply a Grammy-winning artist and “The Queen of Neo Soul”. A vocal anti-sexual assault activist, Twitter palm reader, #ForTheDick advocate, pro-vegan, extoller of the virtues of women drinking cranberry juice, her causes are numerous and varied. More spiritual than religious, Badu has said herself she chooses not be defined by the words of just one religion, symbol or group of words, though has been linked in the past to the Five Percent Nation philosophy -- which teaches that black people are “the original people of the planet earth”, thus are the fathers --"Gods" -- and mothers -- "Earths" – of civilization.

She’s also a long-time doula. In fact, such is her experience in the area of doula-ing, she’s affectionately referred to as The Badouler by the women who she’s assisted. Speaking to Sway in the Morning back in 2015, Badu claimed to have offered guidance and support at over 40 different births.

But what exactly does a doula do? According to NCT -- the UK’s largest charity for parents -- a doula is a woman who offers support and care for the mother and her family during the pregnancy, the birth and the beginning of parenthood. Having a doula present at the birth can reportedly “shorten first-time labour by an average of two hours, decrease the chance of caesarean section by 50% and decrease the need for pain medication”. A doula differs from a midwife in that it’s a purely supporting role, rather than a medical one.

Badu first experienced the role of a doula at the birth of two of her best friend’s children, back in 2001. During the 52-hour natural birth she offered support in whatever way she could -- “I was able to just be there for her, whatever it took, singing, coaching, walking, bouncing, massaging… After a while I felt I can do this, I can be the welcoming committee, for new spirits coming in.”

So it seems Slick Woods will be in safe hands. The breakout Fenty model and i-D cover star told ELLE magazine last week that Badu will be a doula at the imminent birth of her child with Adonis Bosso. Revealing her pregnancy on Instagram three weeks ago, the news was met with surprise by some, as she had, until recently, been dating women. Addressing these comments in the same interview, Slick went on to comment -- in a very modern, millennial way -- that her sexuality was not so easily defined. "With sexuality, when you are a public figure you have to pick a side, black or white. But I’m grey."

One thing’s for certain though -- if your parents are Slick Woods and Adonis Bosso, and your arrival into this world of sin is overseen by a singing, dancing Erykah Badu, then game over. You’re officially the coolest baby on the block.

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

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