If you’re two years behind the times, and haven’t yet seen Disney’s animated film Moana, then you may want to skip reading this post, head straight to Netflix, and watch it immediately. You’ll probably want to watch it another 10 times after that. It’s okay, we’ll wait. Otherwise, if you’re already a fan, or don’t mind spoilers, then read on.
Moana is the story of a strong and adventurous teenage girl who embarks on a dangerous journey to save her entire island of villagers and the deteriorating environment by navigating through the ocean, defeating mythical creatures, and defying the odds, with minimal help from anyone else. Yes, there’s the demi-god Maui who begrudgingly lends a hand for selfish reasons, but Moana’s grandmother, the self-proclaimed “village crazy lady”, also plays integral role in Moana’s journey to self-discovery. We’re pretty sure Gramma Tala is a doula. Here’s why:
1. She’s all about education.
As the movie begins, you find Gramma educating toddler Moana and a group of village youngsters about their ancestors. Although many in the village may think that these stories are myths or outdated, she wants her students to be equipped for the challenges they may face ahead. Much like a doula, she provides them with the information and tools they need to make important decisions in the future.
2. She has no agenda.
As Moana grows, everyone else in her life tries to steer her toward a particular path. While well-intentioned, they don’t trust Moana to know what’s best for herself. Her father tells her it’s dangerous to leave the island and her mother tells her it’s just not meant to be; however, Gramma gives her options and tells her to follow the voice inside her. No pressure. No agenda. Only constant, unbiased support, just like a doula.
3. She gives the best pep talks.
As Gramma falls ill and prepares for her spirit to leave her human body, Moana begins to doubt that she’s capable of accomplishing the daunting task ahead. Gramma’s encouragement gives her the confidence boost she needs the leave the island and save her people. She even provides the affirming mantra that Moana repeats throughout her journey to help her push past her doubts and prevail. Doulas have tons of affirmations and positive words to remind you of all that you’re capable of, even when you may doubt yourself.
4. She’s consistently supportive.
Near the end of her journey, after being defeated by the monster Te Kā and abandoned by her partner Maui, Moana decides the path she’s been on isn’t right for her anymore, despite tremendous effort. Gramma returns in spirit form to remind her she’s been with her all along and to assure her she’ll remain by her side no matter what Moana decides to do. Gramma tells Moana without judgement, “If you are ready to go home, I will be with you.” She supports her in making the decision that is right for her in that moment, and reminds her once again to trust the voice inside, even if that means a change in plans. Moana is affirmed in her abilities and sings, “You remind me that come what may, I know the way. I am Moana!” A doula supports their clients in the decisions they make in their journey, whether it be in pregnancy, birth, or parenting.
Eventually, Moana is victorious in what she set out to do, even though there were challenges to be met and revisions to her plan. In true doula fashion, Gramma was the strong, steady presence helping her along the way, but in the end, only Moana knew the best path and put in the hard work it took to restore the heart of Te Fiti.
In birth and in parenting there are many unknowns and challenges, similar and dissimilar to what Moana faced. Despite the differences between this fictional story and your personal experience, you can be assured that with Bravo Birth DFW you will receive the same level of education, motivation, support, and non-judgment that Moana received from Gramma Tala the Doula.
*We do not own the rights to the story of Moana or the images from the film.