Black Birthing Project
As part of my practice, I want to focus on the whole woman as she experience childbirth and beyond emotionally, physically and mentally. But as I start this journey as a birth & postpartum doula, I am encountering a lack of birthing stories and images of Black women giving birth. All I see are troubling statistics about the death and trauma Black women face while giving birth. This should not be the first thing that comes up when Black women are searching for information, images or stories about giving birth. This affects a woman’s internalization of pregnancy—what has she already been told about her body and giving birth. Although the statistics are true and need to be heard, we must have more stories about the beauty of birthing Black.
I reached out to various organizations and non-profits and found amazing stories, images, and websites that reminded me that the wonder and beauty of women birthing Black is already present. It is now up to us to uplift these resources so more people can benefit from women standing in their all encompassing truth.
Stay tuned for additional updates!
Birth stories in color podcast
This podcast provides listeners a mixture of wonder, affirmation, and healing as community is being created for people of color. Listening to the birth stories from women of color is such a treasure because it is not norm. These podcasts are resources for you to find comfort, celebrate, and reflect upon the journey of motherhood.
Founder, Chinelle Rojas, has a simple but a powerful mission. She wants to bring awareness to women of color the options available to them through the imagery of birth. By having more women of color document their births, we can change how women of color see birthing and the narrative that surrounds women of color giving birth. If you are looking for a birth photographer, check out Birth United to find a birth photographer near you.
Weeksville Weekend: Race and Reproduction Conference Personal Reflection
I attended Weeksville's Race and Reproduction conference in Brooklyn on September 10th and became energized about my work as a doula. It was a wonderful experience for me because it provided me another opportunity to understand the importance of the "why" I am engaged in this work and the work that is left to do for women of color. The event started with a panel of women with a range of expertise in journalism, research, and birth work. What was powerful about the panel was the fluidity of experience each woman had beyond their respected profession. This was an important aspect for me because sometimes professions are siloed, especially in academia, and the work that is being done in one arena is not relatable or accessible to the other. For example, Dr. Lynn Roberts, a tenured professor at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, spoke about her birthing experience and treatment as a young mother. Her lived experiences has kept her connected to different spaces, not just academic ones. The same went for the other two panelists, Chanel L. Porchia-Albert and Dr. Linda Villarosa.
Seeing women of color occupy multiple spaces as well as enrich their professional roles with their lived experiences is vital for the healing for women of color but also for the justice that we need within the health care system.
The most impactful thing that I took away from the panel discussion was how I can broaden my views about how to serve women of color across social conditions. Pregnancy should not be my starting place of focus. I should start my practice by thinking about the following:
A woman's social conditions-personal and professional
Her ability, knowledge, and access to self-care
Her internalization of pregnancy-what has she already been told about her body and giving birth
These are important aspects to consider and reflect upon because these three points affect the emotional, physical, and mental health of the woman and child during pregnancy and after pregnancy. How a woman feels about her body before, during and after birth is important because a person can only give what they have. We often ask so much from women in regard to their children without seeking or asking women what do they need so they are able to give to themselves and others.