Maria (Cleme) Martinez
My name is Maria Clementina, I am from Mexico and grew up in a little town where traditional medicine was common.It was normal to take children to a healer to treat certain conditions, or to use herbs to cure some diseases. One of the things that amazed me as a child was how women were cared for after birth by other women. The low voices, the “special” foods, the babies and mothers covered so that the air would not touch them, and the obligatory rest for forty days were a mystery to me. Those events became imprinted in my memory and further influenced my future careers. I became a nurse and soon after I graduated, I worked for several years in the delivery area in a hospital. In 2001, I immigrated to the USA and established my new life in Portland where I have lived ever since.
I am a Labor and Postpartum Doula that enjoys the job of taking care of women and families. All my professional life has been around maternity, I suppose that there are things that we inherit by tradition, in my case I feel this is innate. I began working as a doula due to my experience of having a baby as an immigrant. I wanted to support women like me that had difficulties with the language, the culture, and the loneliness of being away from their loved ones. I started working with Latino women as a Labor Doula, but by that time I realized that no matter where a woman is from, maternity is the same for all. There were many women in the postpartum without support, so I became a postpartum doula to support them.
Much of my work as a Labor Doula has been free or at lower price for my Latino community. Most of them are low income and are not able to pay a doula. That is why I am happy to know about the CDA program, and be part of it. With this program, more women can benefit from having a doula. I am also aware that there are very few Latina doulas, that is why I want to support other women like me who want to be doulas. I hope that the effort from all the people that are working in the improvement, formation and employment of doulas will be reflected in the community soon.
I am happy that I can serve women in one of the most important stages of their life, and I am sure that a good experience in the beginning of a life can positively impact the rest of their lives and the community surrounding. Additionally, I believe that I can integrate knowledge, experience, and culture to the service of women. Women deserve to be treated with respect, and consideration of their beliefs.