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KCMO father became a trained birth doula after his wife experienced pregnancy complications

The Hogue Family
Posted at 10:42 PM, Apr 12, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo — When you think of a Doula, it's traditionally a role held by women.

Doulas are trained to support pregnant woman.

James and Shunquita Hogue became new parents three years ago.

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They used a midwife, and after extensive research, decided they wanted a natural home birth.

"About six to eight weeks prior to our scheduled due date, my wife experienced complications; gestational diabetes, preeclampsia," James Hogue said.

Preeclampsia is a serious form of high blood pressure that is 60% more common in Black women than in white women, according to the Preeclampsia Foundation.

"It happens more often than not and it was like, 'What could we have done differently?' It's not much we could have. There's the saying 'Things happen the way it happens,'" Shunquita Hogue said.

An expectant mother never wants to have to change to a Plan B for their first baby, but it was the safest option for Shunquita and their son.

"There were moments where there were literal back and forths I had to have with medical staff to make sure my wife received the care she deserved," James Hogue said.

It was this experience that showed Hogue everything a woman struggles with trying to give birth.

"They're doing the heavy lifting. I don't want to switch sides or roles," he said.

Hogue decided he did want to ease the burden and became a trained birth doula.

His wife didn't need too many words to describe how that made her feel.

"Safe," she said. "To be in the middle of it and struggling and have someone speak on your behalf because they took the time to educate themselves on what’s happening, it made me feel safe."

Hogue isn't just doing it for his family.

He has his own non-profit, "Fathers Assisting Mothers," to empower men around Kansas City to do the same.

"We've seen stories and know reports of Black women not being heard in hospital settings," he said. "If you're a partner of a Black woman, you need to definitely be involved to make sure those needs are being met."

Father's Assisting Mothers will have a four-week dad doula boot camp for soon-to-be fathers starting Saturday, April 20th.

Here's where to sign up.

Donations are accepted from participants.