Posts Tagged With: Lamaze

Birthwork and Me!

As a way to bring more consciousness around the world of birthing. I’d like to feature something birth related each week. Shooting for Wednesdays. This will help me share and learn as I study so please tell me what you think (and know) and ask questions which will lead me on a search for even more answers. This should be kind of fun, empowering and insightful.

So let me start by sharing WHY I’ve decided to be a part of the village of birthworkers.

Black babies and mamas are dying at a much higher rate (almost 3x) than whites and Latinos and I believe this can change. I strongly believe that with more information about the history of birth among our people, rights as it relates to birth, support from each other and options in regards to caregivers, we can change things around.

While I was pregnant with both of my boys I was surprised and often hurt by the amount of negativity that was shared from all over, my doctor, some friends, coworkers, strangers you name it. It seemed like people just HAD to share a negative experience. WHAT THE HECK!! I just got to the point where I would just stop people in the middle of their story and politely say “I’m not even allowing that energy in my space”. I was constantly frustrated by having to leave my community in Newark, NJ to find support groups for breastfeeding, natural birth or just positive remarks.

After giving birth I loved (and still love) to share my experience because they were both positive. And yes my first boy was born in what is referred to as a ‘hood hospital AND I still had a great experience. The thing is, even with my positive story people still had negative things to say. Again WHAT THE HECK!! So I started sharing more about the facts and a little about the history that I was learning just so I could answer some questions or have a positive feedback for a negative comment. I started to realize that many of my peers were simply afraid and continuously being fed myths and reasons to fear birth and not trust their bodies. So I’ve decided to make a commitment to myself and my community to contribute to this world of birth in hopes of getting our community back to trusting our bodies, respecting our power and supporting each other.

As I continue to learn I am realizing how political this world of birthing is and how important it is to be aware of the injustices that are causing so many disparities. So I’m going to use this space as a place to share what I’m learning and hopefully start a few conversations that will normalize natural birth (or at least birth with no unnecessary medical interventions), breastfeeding, the right to choose how to birth or to birth at all and maybe, just maybe, more people in the black community will spread the word and fewer babies and mamas will die. I strongly believe that a woman’s birth experience affects the way she and her partner/community is allowed to raise her child.

So I welcome you all to participate! Are you currently a birth worker? If so how do you contribute to this work?

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Lamaze Childbirth Education

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Some of you may know that I’ve become very excited about the world of natural birth. Mixed in with this excitement has been tons of frustration with the lack of information and support in my community for a natural birth. Well since being pregnant with Bean I’ve been trying to figure out how I can contribute to the world of birthing. I’ve toyed with the idea of being a midwife, doula, childbirth educator or lactation consultant. I’ve had many conversations with some old classmates and women who are currently contributing to this world of birthing.

There is so much information out there and so many training courses that it was hard to make a decision. Plus trying to figure out what type of commitment I was willing to make was important as well. I completely understand that there is a need for more African-American Doulas and Midwives, especially with the infant mortality rates that are unbelievably high. I just don’t KNOW if I’m ready to take that leap right now. With 2 small children at home I think I would have a hard time leaving them at any given time (in the middle of the night is my biggest concern) to attend a birth. I know I know women do it all the time and my hat goes off to them, I’m just not sure if I am ready for that.

So after many conversations I have made a decision to start off by getting certified as a Lamaze Childbirth Educator. WOOHOO! It has taken 2 years to make a decision and I think part of that hesitation was me being in my own way. Not sure if I was ready for the responsibility that comes with such a role, not sure if I would be able to make a good enough impact. After working with teen moms and new moms in an urban community for the last 6 months with the googled, Facebooked knowledge, info from documentaries and birthing workshops and of course my own experiences that I’ve been able to share, I KNOW I’m ready to take on this responsibility. There are so many questions and so many myths and misinformed women, families and communities. I’m ready to contribute to changing this and helping women get enough information to make informed decisions and feel equipped enough to advocate for the birth they want AND to believe in themselves and their bodies’ capabilities.

So I must say thank you to the following people for the encouragement and answering may many, many, many questions (probably repetitive) over the past 2 years: Aza Nedhari, Asasiya Muhammad, Lakisha Dennis, Thalla-Marie Choxi, Jill Wadnick, Ina May Gaskin, Irina Ventura and of course my family. Your words have stayed with me ladies and I can’t thank you enough for doing what you do and encouraging me as you mother your own children while giving women encouragement and knowledge nonstop!! Keep it going!!

I will begin my journey at a weekend long seminar at the end of September and spend the following 7 months prepping for the certification exam in April. My goal is to become a childbirth educator then a lactation consultant and eventually a doula. Here’s to informed women, families and communities AND happy, healthy mamas and babies no matter what your ethnic and economic status is.

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