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

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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.

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Interview With A Postpartum Doula

I am so excited to bring you this series: Interview With A Doula and Interview with a Midwife. I would like to thank my first guest, Laila for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions. My hope is that we can all learn more about what a Doula is and isn’t, the different types of Doula’s, what a Midwife is and isn’t, and the roles they play in the Black Community.

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What is the importance of a Doula in the Black Community?

Doulas can play a vital role in the Black Community because they help support the family. It’s imperative that we seek resources that are going to help nurture and support our families. I think the work of Postpartum Doulas is particularly important because we can provide resources and care for the whole family. This helps the family get adjusted to their new member and new roles.

What is the role they{doulas}play in Maternal and Infant Health?

Doulas play an important role in supporting maternal and infant health. While we can’t diagnose or treat any health issues, we can help families become aware of what is healthy and normal and what isn’t. We can help families develop an awareness of the body and how it does a pretty good job of alerting us when something isn’t right.

Tell us a little about your journey to becoming a Postpartum Doula.

My journey to becoming  Postpartum Doula began over a year ago after watching the film ‘The Business of Being Born’.
Watching this film opened my eyes to the history of birth in American Society and the possibilities that exist when you think of childbirth as something that is normal not a disability. After watching the film I began to reflect on my own birth and postpartum experience. I had a stressful pregnancy and wasn’t able to devote a lot of time into researching my birth options. My obstetrician, who was a Black woman, induced me and for whatever reason I felt powerless to say “no”. I am happy that I was able to have a vaginal delivery and that my son was healthy, but, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I refused to be induced. What if I had a Labor Doula to help me manage my pain and anxiety? When I brought my son home I remember being in awe and exhausted. I was almost a thousand miles away from my family and had to figure a lot of things out on my own.

Because of my own birth experience I realized it would not be a good idea for me to be a Labor Doula. I was very concerned about transference and decided to pursue Postpartum work. I began researching options for training and came across a wonderful organization that provided Labor and Postpartum Doulas and Childbirth Education for women in the Chicagoland area. I was immediately drawn to the community of women and the fact that they offer ongoing training.

What are the ages/ethnicity of most of your clients?

The majority of the families I have worked with have been White in their mid 20’s to early 40’s.

Question you get asked the most?

I find that a lot of people don’t understand how a Postpartum Doula is different from a night nurse or nanny. I always make it clear that a Doula is concerned about the well-being of the family as a unit not just the child. We want to help the family make a smooth transition for the new family member.

What is the one question you think women don’t ask enough?

I don’t think women ask “why” enough. Often times we are giving a lot of information about our bodies or are told that we have to do certain things by medical professionals and we don’t ask “why”. Asking this question is very important and will help you evaluate your options.

Does certification matter? Why or why not?

I am not certified. The organization I work with provided my training and I’ve never had a client ask me if I was certified. If I were to work on my own, I would probably pursue certification to help with marketing my business.

What is the most difficult and rewarding parts of being a Postpartum Doula?

The most difficult part of being a Doula for me has been managing my own family commitments. The most rewarding is working with new families. I also get to spend time with amazing newborns, what could be better than that!

Any tips for working with all types of care providers?

Never stop asking questions. Throughout my pregnancy, labor and delivery, I did a lot of listening and not a lot of questioning. There are no stupid questions when it comes to creating the birth experience you want.

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Laila is the mother of one and has been a Postpartum Doula to many. As a Mother and Doula she hopes to help Moms and Dads trust themselves and know their inner strengths as parents.

You can follow Laila on Twitter @BrownBellyDoula and on her blog Brown Belly Doula.

Beyonce Breastfeeding {In Public} Is A Big Deal

If you haven’t heard yet –  Beyonce was spotted breastfeeding Blue Ivy at a restaurant with Jay -Z.
The internet has been buzzing with the news for the past two days. There is an article in the Huffington Post and USA Today.

Kimberly Seals Allers’ of Mocha Manual wrote an excellent post titled – Dear White Women: Beyonce is Our Breastfeeding Moment. Please Step Aside. She makes some powerful statements to white breastfeeding advocates in her post. If  you don’t read anything else I’ve linked to in this post, Kimberly’s is the one to read.

You may sit there thinking “Why should I care what a celebrity does or doesn’t do?” I guess you shouldn’t care, but there are many people who do. So many young women with and without kids look up to Beyonce. She’s been a role model for a very long time. I’m enjoying the comments talking about how wonderful it is that she’s breastfeeding her baby, how beautiful, and natural it is. I’m bothered by the comments saying that women need to cover up when nursing in public.

I’m sure she’s not breastfeeding Blue in public to make a statement, but she’s made a big statement. Every woman who nurses her baby in public is making a statement. I know that’s not what nursing in public is about…but this is 2012 and we are still having the same old argument. To cover or not while nursing in public? I still don’t understand why people get so offended by nursing in public, and why is it even called that! Nursing in Public. When we are eating lunch at the park no one says “oh look, that mom is eating her lunch in public”  Then there is “Why can’t they do that in the bathroom?”  Well, why don’t YOU go eat YOUR food in the bathroom?

Babies get hungry and we feed them. It’s really as simple as that. If my or any mother meeting her child’s needs in public bothers you, by all means look the other way.

I nursed my first baby in the bathroom many times. I was ashamed and scared to nurse her at the table with my friends. Do you know how I wish all of these women that are in my life now were there back then? It sure isn’t a problem I have now….and thanks to Beyonce, hopefully it won’t be a problem for other women, especially black women.

Yes, Beyonce Breastfeeding {In Public} Is a BIG Deal!

p.s. love that she’s babywearing too.