Supporting Families, Mending Communities, Transforming Institutions

 
Our Purpose
 

SisterWeb is committed to building a community where Black, Latinx, and Pacific Islander pregnant women*, their partners, and their families benefit from the expertise, support, and advocacy of a birth companion (doula) to have a satisfying and dignified birth experience.

We do this in two ways. First, SisterWeb connects pregnant individuals in San Francisco with culturally compatible birth companions who can help parents-to-be receive the education, resources, and support they need to enter into their birth and parenting journeys with confidence, respect, and dignity. Second, SisterWeb strengthens and diversifies the birth provider workforce by training and mentoring birth companions and building relationships with traditional healthcare providers such as physicians, midwives, and hospitals. 


*While SisterWeb primarily uses the terms woman/women and the pronouns she/her/hers, we recognize, respect, and welcome people who identify with different pronouns, including they/them/theirs or he/him/his.

Our Goal

Culturally rich neighborhoods in San Francisco where historically underserved families have the support they need to welcome their children with joy and pride.

Our Beliefs
  • People of all cultural identification, family structure, income or citizenship deserve to have healthy and satisfying birth experiences.

  • The uniquely intimate and private nature of birth requires a diverse and culturally competent doula network so that all women can feel safe, secure, and comfortable throughout the birth process.

  • Building strong, thriving neighborhoods include sustainable employment options for its community members and we see community-based birth work, as an important and dignified way to earn a living.

  • SisterWeb is uniquely poised to provide a solution to a well-documented inequity in birth outcomes for Black, Pacific Islander and Latinx families in San Francisco.

  • Our community doula model that pays doulas for their services, rather than requiring doulas to volunteer their time and expertise will ensure that more individuals from diverse backgrounds are able to enter and remain in the doula profession.

 
What is a SisterWeb Community Doula?

SisterWeb community-based doulas use a unique, innovative program model that provides extended, intensive support to families throughout pregnancy, during labor and birth, and in the early months of parenting in communities that face high risks of negative birth and infant developmental outcomes. SisterWeb “Community Doulas” are of and from the communities we serve (Black, Latinx and Pacific Islander) and hold a vested interest in the well being of our clients. Our doulas offer culturally concordant peer-to-peer support that focuses on the perinatal year and the early months of parenting, a sensitive period in which families have a unique openness to change, learning and growth. This represents a new approach to perinatal support: one that makes use of the power of relationships and the power of birth. The presence and involvement of the community-based doula at birth, and the flexibility in the scope of the role, distinguishes “community doulas” from all other home visiting models and from fee-based and volunteer doula models. Community doulas not only impact our city by providing birth support but also by growing the trust and involvement that encourages people to come together and collectively address their health, wellness, and family resiliency.     

What We Do
  • Train, provide ongoing mentorship and financial compensation for community doulas from within the Black, Pacific Islander and Latinx communities in San Francisco.

  • Provide a professional home for birth workers from historically underserved communities to meet regularly, and establish systems for mutual support and financial stability.

  • Provide prenatal, birth and postpartum care to low-income women of color in need of doula support.

  • Cultivate partnerships and provide continuing education related to doula care with Community Based organizations, Family Resource Centers, and Labor and Delivery sites within San Francisco.

  • Create printed materials and strategic outreach plans to reach San Francisco’s most underserved birthing families.

  • Collaborate with the entirety of the Medical and Family Support landscape in San Francisco by participating in community forums, task forces, and individual partnerships.

Who We Serve

SisterWeb supports Black, Pacific Islander and Latinx expecting families in San Francisco by connecting them with doulas from within their own communities, who they can trust.

SisterWeb Staff

 

  • SisterWeb is coordinated by a leadership circle of Marna Armstead, Executive Director; Alli Cuentos, Program Director; and Deundra Hundon, Operations Manager and Laura Perez, Mentorship Coordinator.

  • The SisterWeb programs are organized by our Doula Program Coordinators: Marlee-I Mystic (Kindred Birth Companions Coordinator), Maile Chand (MANA Pasefika Coordinator) and Rudi Mondragon (Semilla Sagrada Coordinator).

  • We also count on the support of E'mani Davis as Administrative Assistant, Shannon Padlog as Program Assistant, and Jen Madanat as Communications Assistant. 

  • SisterWeb is currently upheld by

    • Seven experienced doula mentors: Asmara Gebre, Jen Madanat, Karen Acero-Lopez, Laura Perez, Mayra Lizzette Yniguez, Shannon Padlog, and Deundra Hundon. 

    • Seven Black doulas: Marlee-I Mystic, Bria Donaldson, Brianne Taylor, Yolanda Carter, Samantha Judkins, Azraa Muhammed, and Brianna Skinner. 

    • Two Pacific Islander doulas: Maile Chand and Ruta Aiono  

    • Three Latina doulas: Blanca Galicia, Elena Mariscal and Rudi Mondragon

  • SisterWeb is also weaving a network including volunteers, advisory committee members and doula trainers representing a wide range of stakeholders in the community. 

“Our doulas are ambassadors of equity in San Francisco”

- Daisy Orellana, Doula

 
Our Programs

 Each of our doula programs is being planned and designed by members of the communities they intend to serve. By centering the experiences and wisdom of each community, we are restoring our city, one birth at a time.

Click on the buttons below to learn more about each program

 

Supporting Pacific Islander families

Supporting black/African American families

Supporting Latinx families

All SisterWeb doulas are supported in their work by mentors, who are experienced birth workers within San Francisco. 

 
Why Now

A  recent article by the New York Times on racial inequities in maternal health underscored the importance of doulas for pregnant women of color – a community that continues to face a maternal health crisis due to longstanding institutionalized racism. The exposé noted that a doula’s cultural competency, strong client relationship, and patient advocacy increases a woman’s odds of receiving prompt prenatal care to address pregnancy complications, decreases the likelihood that a birth complication will go unnoticed, and ensures she receives necessary emotional support to have a satisfying birth and postpartum experience.

 
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© 2020 by SisterWeb

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