Becky Duncan, aspirational Cardi B doula

💡 Get Philly smart 💡
with BP’s free daily newsletter

Read the news of the day in less than 10 minutes — not that we’re counting.

Earlier this week, West Philly resident Becky Duncan texted Cardi B. And she answered.

Well, sort of. Apparently Cardi B, the explosively hot hip-hop artist who just released her third album, has a public cell phone number for fans to send her their thoughts and questions.

Right, it’s just a service. Once you send a text, the number immediately sends back an answer.

But when Duncan first received a response, she didn’t realize it was automated — and the buzz of her cell phone brought her to tears.

“My heart stopped,” Duncan said. “I couldn’t breathe for a second, and I started crying.”

Duncan works in prenatal care as a home visiting nurse, and she’s also a doula — someone who provides emotional support and useful information to pregnant women, in addition to the medical care they receive from their OBGYNs or midwives.

Ever since Cardi B confirmed she was pregnant on SNL last week, Duncan knew one thing for sure: she had to be the glamorous star’s doula.

So she launched a social media campaign. After all, Duncan thought, Cardi B first got famous through Instagram. Why wouldn’t she find prenatal care the same way?

Using the hashtag #BabyBardiDoula, Duncan hopes she’ll get noticed by her music idol.

But Duncan isn’t the only one vying to get inside the delivery room. Dozens if not hundreds of others have expressed on Twitter and in their blogs that they’d also like to be the diva’s doula.

“I can’t help but to imagine being Cardi B’s doula,” one blog post read. The author went on to list seven reasons she’d be the best companion for the hip-hop artist to have by her side during childbirth.

Cardi B was rumored to be pregnant for months, but she repeatedly denied the accusations. After her fans took to Instagram to ask her whether she was expecting, the hip-hop artist reportedly responded, “No bitch I’m just getting fat. Let me fat in peace.”

Statements like that are one reason Duncan has so much respect for the star.

“To me, Cardi B represents the idea of showing up in your space wholly and unapologetically,” she said. “People really connect to that access to her identity. That’s one of the main reasons that she’s so attractive to people around the world.”

Duncan’s campaign was a snap decision — but in a way, the timing works well. The #BabyBardiDoula mission started right before the beginning of Black Maternal Health Week, which aims to raise awareness of racism that black women experience in the delivery room. This implicit bias can contribute to higher rates of infant and maternal mortality among black women compared to white women.

As it turns out, research shows that doulas can help mitigate these problems. According to a 2017 study, people who use doulas reported feeling better about their birth experiences than people who didn’t use them.

“Doulas are able to decrease the risk of adverse outcomes and create a positive birth experience for families as a whole,” Duncan said. “Everybody deserves a doula.”

So…does Duncan actually think Cardi B will respond? Short answer: yes.

A few of Duncan’s friends told her they had dreams that the hip-hop artist actually took her up on the offer. Duncan’s optimism — combined with her superstition about dreams — leads her to believe that Cardi B will come around.

Even if Cardi B decides she doesn’t want Duncan in the delivery room, she hopes she’ll use her fame to publicize the importance of equitable access to good maternal care.

“Cardi B is somebody who takes the time to address a lot of social injustices that she recognizes are happening,” Duncan said. “If she would take the time to consider allowing me to be her Doula, or even just mentioning the word Doula, the power that could have for women across the country is powerful.”

Avatar photo

Michaela Winberg

Michaela Winberg is a general assignment reporter at Billy Penn. She covers LGBTQ people and culture, public spaces, and transportation and mobility. She also sometimes produces radio and web features...