Midwifery and Racial Oppression, #BlkBFing Chat Highlights, Black Women and Medicaid Podcast and More!


I’m going to try my best to post weekly/bi-weekly links to articles I come across. I forget that not everyone uses Facebook and Twitter, and that’s where I post most of the things I come across.

Anti-Racism and Anti- Oppression Work In Midwifery – Letter To Midwifery Today: Real Talk About Midwifery and Racial Oppression.
This powerful letter was collaboratively drafted by 97 BirthWorkers from around the globe.

While the article is gone from the Midwifery Today site, the discussion it has engendered is too important to disappear without a trace. It is important to us that your readers understand why the comparison between the anti-slavery struggle and the midwifery movement is wrong and profoundly hurtful. Even more than this, however, we hope to show that the struggle to provide a full range of birthing options must address our history of racial oppression if we really want to change birth in this country.

ChildBirth Connection Transforming Maternity Care – Urge Women To Question Elective Deliveries.

Don’t schedule elective, non-medically indicated inductions of labor or cesarean deliveries before 39 weeks 0 days gestational age.

MomsRising Blog – Breastfeeding: Obesity, Diabetes and Asthma Prevention.

Breastfeeding decreases the risks for obesity, diabetes and asthma. As a nephrology social worker, I see firsthand the consequences of obesity that can lead to diabetes and ultimately chronic kidney disease.

Healthy Black Women – Podcast on Why Black Women Should Care About Medicaid and It’s Expansion.

Twitter – #BlkBFing Twitter Chat Highlights.

Every Mother Counts via Jennie Joseph – Black History Month: Midwifery Matters.

As a Black midwife, newly arrived in 1989, I had no understanding of the history or legacy of midwifery in the USA, let alone the foundational role that African-American midwives played in the provision of maternity care for both Black and White women from slavery on upwards.

More Business of Being Born Online Screening: LIVE Q & A with Ricki Lake

Executive Producer Ricki Lake and Filmmaker Abby Epstein present an Online Screening of

“Special Deliveries: Celebrity Mothers Talk Straight on Birth” on The Huffington Post

Film Streaming and Live Q&A on Monday, March 5th features Ricki Lake,
Abby Epstein, Kellie Martin and Special Guests

More Business of Being Born Classroom Edition Premieres Same Date at UCLA

LOS ANGELES, CA – Executive Producer Ricki Lake and Filmmaker Abby Epstein present an online screening of Special Deliveries: Celebrity Mothers Talk Straight Talk on Birth from their highly influential four-part DVD series More Business of Being Born on Monday, March 5th at 6:00pm PST on The Huffington Post. Lake, Epstein and special guests from the film including Kellie Martin will host a live Q&A chat following the film beginning at 7:10pm PST. Viewers are encouraged to ask questions and engage in conversation with Lake, Epstein, and Martin by directing messages via twitter to @rickilake with #mbobb as the hash tag.

More Business of Being Born, a follow up to their landmark documentary, The Business of Being Born, offers a practical look at birthing options as well as poignant celebrity birth stories from stars. The virtual screening will air on HuffingtonPost.com and MyBestBirth.com. BabyCenter will host the virtual screening on their Facebook fan page:

Other sites are invited to host the screening by embedding the player.


Streaming Live by Ustream

Social Stream:


More Business of Being Born Classroom Edition premieres March 5th from 4:00-5:30pm at UCLA’s Lenart Auditorium, Fowler Museum, located at 308 Charles E. Young Drive North, Los Angeles, CA 090095. The half-hour screening will be followed by an hour-long Q and A discussion with Ricki Lake, Abby Epstein, Dr. Suzanne Gelberg-Lenz, MD, Kellie Martin and Alyson Hannigan. This free event is open to the public and is sponsored by Choices in Childbirth. For information or to RSVP: E-mail Julia@ChoicesInChildbirth.org

Special Deliveries: Celebrity Mothers Talk Straight on Birth

Featuring celebrity moms Laila Ali, Gisele Bundchen, Cindy Crawford, Alyson Hannigan, Melissa Joan Hart, Kellie Martin, Alanis Morissette, Christy Turlington-Burns and Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Special Deliveries is a collection of intimate birth stories from a diverse group of mothers. Whether they chose to deliver at a hospital, home or birthing center, these heartfelt and humorous testimonies speak to the lasting power of the birth experience. True inspiration for any mother-to-be, this group of women trusted their bodies and intuitions, taking responsibility for their birth decisions even when things didn’t go according to plan. None of these courageous women has ever spoken on the record in such compelling detail, and, on this DVD, the filmmakers weave together their passionate narratives as a celebration of the journey to motherhood that will leave viewers with a renewed sense of amazement about the power of women.
(Running Time: 74 min)


More Business of Being Born is available now as a four-DVD set; or as a “Mother Load” package, including all four of the new DVDs, The Business of Being Born, a signed, hardcover copy of the best-selling book Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, a baby onesie and digital downloads of More Business of Being Born. All configurations can be purchased at The Business of Being Born .


Inspired by their own unique birth experiences, Executive Producer Ricki Lake and Director Abby Epstein teamed up in 2007 to provide a nation of mothers-to-be with insight into the process of childbirth and the various options available when preparing for life’s most special event. From pregnancy to the miraculous moment of birth, The Business of Being Born continues to be an entertaining and informative celebration of the road to motherhood that “should be seen by every pregnant woman in America” (Jack Mathews, New York Daily News).

For more information: visit The Business of Being Born.

How you can have the ‘Goddess Treatment’ aka ‘The Beyonce Treatment’ too

Beyonce gave birth to a baby girl, Blue Ivy Carter this past weekend. The world had been waiting on this arrival since she rubbed her belly on stage several months ago.
People were wondering, will she have a natural childbirth? Will she breastfeed?

Once the news came out, the nasty comments, tweets, and blog posts started. I posted this link on my FB page.
I haven’t found anything saying this did not happen. For that, I am sad that the hospital kept parents from seeing their children.

Still, why can’t women support each other instead of tearing each other down? We say such mean, hateful, and hurtful things to and about each other. It’s quite sad, really.

I’m thankful for these posts here….

This post from Sistah Midwife on Bey Bashing. My Brown Baby talks about Glory the song J wrote for his little girl. And Crunchy VT Mommy talks about all the judgey ladies. I highly suggest you read these posts, they’re pretty powerful.

Every pregnant and laboring mom is a goddess in my book. Pregnancy is beautiful, and so is giving birth!
So to truly feel like the star you are try some of these.


Do you wear makeup? Take a makeup kit to the hospital/birth center with you. If I have another kid I am totally putting on some makeup for a few pics. It makes me feel extra pretty.

Ask if you can have candles, low lights, and soft music in your room.

Buy yourself a new gown to wear during or after the birth.

Bring your favorite jewelry.

Hire a doula if you can, can’t afford one? Maybe you have a close friend, or family member you trust to be by your side. You can also find a doula who isn’t certified yet, but has been through training at a lower cost.

Thinking about homebirth? Then you can make your home exactly the way you want!

With my first, and second births, I had candles and music, and with the last Charles had played the sound of the waves during the last stage of labor for me.


These are just a few suggestions, but think of things that make you feel good, and see how you can incorporate them into your birthing experience.

You are beautiful, you are a Goddess, and you deserve to be treated like one! Especially during one of the most sacred times of your life.

What are your suggestions for feeling like a Goddess during birth?

Informed Birth is Empowered Birth

Welcome to the Empowered Birth Week Blog Carnival
This post is part of the Empowered Birth Week Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Betsy Dewey. For this special event the carnival participants have shared their perspective on Empowered Birth. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


After the birth of my first daughter, I knew things would be different the second time around.We were living in a different city at the time, and I knew what I did not want out of my second birthing experience.

At my 20 week appointment with the midwife in the hospital, she told me that they were going to schedule me for a cesarean at 38 weeks. The reason – macrosomia with my first and shoulder dystocia. I didn’t bother explaining to her that that was so far from what I wanted. I left feeling quite anxious, but I never returned to that office. Here we are in this new city with a toddler and one on the way. What were we going to do! I went home and searched online “switching midwives” that search term brought me to homebirth midwives.

From that point on, I decided to take control and read as much as I could. I became informed, and it felt so good.
I learned that birthing in a squatting, or hands and knees position can open your pelvis up to 30% more. I learned that there were childbirth classes other than Lamaze. I learned about birth affirmations, and I learned how strong the mind/body connection is.

Too many times we women will put our pregnancy and birth in the hands of the professionals. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t trust your care provider, but I don’t think it’s right to place them in full control. I think it would be better to look at it as a partnership. There is nothing wrong with questioning your OB or Midwife.

With my first I went along with what my friends were doing. I didn’t bother looking into other options because I didn’t think there were any.
This isn’t about home vs hospital birth. I believe women can have an empowered birth experience anywhere –  home, hospital, birth center.
We need to know what we want and don’t want. We need to learn as much as we can about pregnancy and birth.
Doing some research before becoming pregnant is a wonderful thing.I wish I had done that, and I know that more women are doing that these days.

I was on Twitter the other day talking with a friend. She asked me if I was still thinking about becoming a midwife. I told her yes – but it was a matter of when would be the right time. Her response was “before I have children”
I told her how great it was that she was looking into all of her options before pregnancy. She said after seeing all that she did working as a STNA(state tested nursing assistant) in the hospital, her experiences swayed her to go the natural route.

It’s so easy to access information these days –  you can hop online pretty much anywhere. I think the best way to be informed is to seek out all different types of women if you can, to talk about their birth experience(s).
I’m not talking scare tactic stories either, but a real mama village. Women who will support you and cheer you on throughout your pregnancy and birth.

You may be wondering what types of things you need to be informed about – Everything! Here’s a list to get you started.

Policy and Procedures for the place you’ve chosen to give birth

Childbirth classes


Your Midwife or OB’s Cesarean rate

If your planning a Homebirth – you want to know the transfer rate – also can your midwife carry drugs with her. They can’t in certain states.

Medications: pitocin, cytotec, epidural to name a few

Gestational Diabetes

Questions to ask your chosen care provider

Interventions and the snowball effect they can have on birth. Also the benefits of interventions in certain situations

Antepartum and Post-partum Depression

What kind of Postpartum care will be provided

You can read more on Informed Decision Making at Childbirth Connection.


Women are strong, and we need to take responsibility for our own births. We research what kinds of cloth diapers were going to use for the baby, do we co-sleep or not? Where should I register? Baby names, baby furniture, the list goes on and on.

We need to take all of that energy and put it into gaining all that we can on pregnancy and birth.
I know I have felt a certain level of calm during my last two pregnancies and births. It was because I had informed myself, and I created a village. If you can, ask your Grandmother, or Great Grandmother about her births. We learn so much by simply sharing with others our joys and fears, and also by listening to others tell their stories.

It’s time to stop treating pregnancy and birth as a serious medical condition. It’s normal and natural. Birth is beautiful, and it is truly a life changing experience. The way we birth impacts us in ways we often can’t begin to imagine. The birth of your children is something you will carry with you for life.

When you do your own research and go with what works best for you, you’ll feel like a mama bear. For me it felt like I was in on something that my ancestors knew. I feel like I belong to this amazing tribe of women from all over the world.

I’ve gone on long enough…what are some other things women need to know to have an empowered birth?

The Empowered Birth Blog Carnival was lovingly hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Betsy Dewey


We invite you to sit, relax and take time to read the excellent and empowering posts by the other carnival participants:

Empowered Birthing – Amy at Anktangle shares a simple list of things that support an empowered birth experience.

Little Miss Green’s Home, Water Birth Story – Mrs Green at Little Green Blog shares her (home, water) birth story. Even though it happened 10 years ago, the empowering feelings are the same to this day (and yep, it STILL makes her cry!). This post is also a tribute to her husband who was there mind, body and soul throughout.

Save Birth, Change The World – Toni Harman, mum and film-maker talks about the highs and lows of creating the ONE WORLD BIRTH film project dedicated to helping more women around the world have empowered births.

12 Steps to an Empowered Natural Birth – Terri at Child of the Nature Isle wants to talk to all pregnant women and tell them YES they can have an Empowered Birth! This is her personal 12 step guide.

The Blessingway: a sacred blessing for birth – The Blessingway is a sacred ceremonial circle of women gathered with the intention of blessing and preparing a pregnant woman and her child to give birth. Betsy Dewey describes the beauty and the how-to of a modern Blessingway.

Informed Birth is Empowered Birth – Darcel at The Mahogany Way Birth Cafe tells us why it’s important to take control and be responsible for our own births. She says Informed Birth is Empowered Birth.

Empowering Birth in the Trenches – Over at Belly Tales enjoys the Midwife explores what empowered birth looks like in an urban hospital with a vulnerable population.

An Empowered First Birth – Zoie at TouchstoneZ follows the path she took to her first homebirth and finds she may not have been started out the best candidate for an empowered birth.

And this one to be published on Sept 12th :
Empowered Birth: From the Personal to the Universal – Zoie at TouchstoneZ questions the criteria for what makes an empowered birth and finds she has to let them all go.