A Doula Story

(2005)

Video Trailer: 

Thousands of educators, healthcare providers, and community organizations have screened A Doula Story for their constituents. Purchase a DVD screener for your organization here.

A Doula Story documents one woman’s fierce commitment to empower pregnant teenagers with the skills and knowledge they need to become confident nurturing mothers.

A woman of remarkable magnetism and complexity, Loretha Weisinger returns to the same disadvantaged neighborhood where she once struggled as a teen mom. She uses compassion and humor to teach the young mothers-to-be about everything from the importance of breast-feeding and reading to their babies to the practical details of communicating effectively with healthcare professionals.

A community doula for more than 10 years, Loretha knows that pregnant teens need guidance and education, not judgment or pity. In the face of overwhelming challenges—from absentee fathers and drug addiction to the disparagement of society—a doula reveals how one person can make a difference in the lives of young mothers and their babies.

A Doula Story was produced with the support of the Sundance Documentary Fund, distributed to PBS stations by APT in 2006-2007 and broadcast on about 70 stations nationwide. In addition, the film won a CINE Golden Eagle and was Best Documentary at the Director's View Festival and the Milwaukee International Film Festival. It screened in competition at the San Francisco International and Hot Springs Documentary Film Festivals and at numerous other festivals around the country.

Directed by Danny Alpert and Produced/Edited by Susanne Suffredin.

Overview

A Doula Story's strategic engagement plan inspired communities to re-examine the needs of low-income women and provide perinatal support services similar to those documented in the film.

Impact

The projects impressive outcomes include:

Replication of the community-based doula program portrayed in the film in communities across the nation. This was made possible after the project was included he 2007 federal budget as a result of Washington DC screenings and extensive conversations with sponsors Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and then-Senator Barack Obama.

Creation of innovative interactive DVD toolkit for communities to work with the film a educational guides. The DVD includes themed segments, built-in discussion questions and electronic versions of campaign materials to help organizations and individuals use the film to best meet their needs. To make it more accessible, it was translated into Spanish and tested for cultural appropriateness. Grants enabled this toolkit to reach thousands of high schools and partnerships with Doulas of North America, Healthy Teen Network and others extended its reach even further. The film and program were covered by the New York Times, People magazine, The Chicago Tribune

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