The Black Birth Renaissance
of the 21st Century
of the 21st Century
"When we try to put all of our energy and time toward unraveling white issues, [we're] not gonna really deal with the Black issues. You need to heal yourself... learn your people, your culture. Learn what fits you. You are gonna be chasing something not designed for your DNA. It's not designed for your cultural experience." ~ Tayo Mbande
Listen to the MP3:
"[I want to] bring the wisdom of the grandmothers [abuelas] into modern birth... It's not about being 'the leader'. For me, it's about legacy, not fame. I want to see people rise... The legacy is far more important to me than the fame. And I meet so many people where the fame is more important than the legacy. " ~ Mars Lord
I have admired Mars Lord and followed her work for a while, and was excited about the opportunity to speak to her face-to-face. I always feel extremely blessed when I meet someone and I notice a natural connection and a kindred spirit, especially when I find these connections with African women internationally. Our conversation was full of laughter from the very beginning. My conversation with Mars confirmed my belief that if Black women are to help ourselves to heal ourselves and save ourselves, we must extend our hands to reach out to other women of African descent, both on the continent and throughout the African Diaspora. We must all connect and unify our strengths to overcome our limitations. It was my pleasure to hear her thoughts and to be able to share them with you.
Mars expresses this gratitude:
"I'm grateful to Nicola Mahdiyyah Goodall, whose knowledge of birth and the postnatal period is immense. She encourages me to continually learn more. Maisie Hill who has always pushed me to do a little bit more. Jennie Joseph and her hard work and tenacity that encourages me to continue in my birth activism. The friendship of these three women is incredible. And I cannot forget Lorna Phillip and Thando Zwane, my sistas who make me laugh whilst encouraging me and who continually believe in the work that I do. "
Listen to the MP3:
"I could not go back to accepting everything [they told] me, because I broke out of that paradigm and I saw another way... When you don't know another way, you think that's the only way and the best way. Homebirth, to me, is the best way..." ~ DeLynn Yvonne Hudson, MBA
When I first met DeLynn, she had just had her 6th baby. My husband and I had known her husband DeAndre since we were in college at Tuskegee University. At that time, I could not have imagined how much our families had in common or how close our families would become. We supported each other during our homeschooling years and Gene and I have the honor of being their children's godparents. I am so excited to share her birth stories with you.
She was the first woman who taught me that birthing in a hospital contributes to the baby and mother being "IN DISTRESS" and the mom feeling afraid (i.e. unfamiliar surroundings, doctors, nurses, IVs, heart monitors, stirrups, and the 12 hour window). Lynda shared that several or all of the above can also contribute to the "need" for c-sections.
She was the first woman who taught me that I and my baby do all the work. She was there to educate and assist me. Thank you Lynda Hitchcock for answering the call to Midwifery and our paths crossing. You were a gift to the birthing world. You transformed my life forever."
Listen to the MP3:
"I felt stuck... I couldn't move... I felt restricted and no one was holding me... My 'fear' was of being restrained again... I didn't want to 'feel' tied down... because I felt like if I could get up, I could do better... I could do so much better... I wanted FREEDOM..." ~ Christy Willis aka "Doula Mom"
Listen to the MP3 of this interview:
Zinzile Seepie, the Zulu Doula, shares her insights and experiences with birth in in South Africa
"I don't know if I would say having an unassisted birth was a decision. The more I learned about birth and the more I reflected on my first birth the more I realized that, even though it was this amazing experience, I was not free. It was a gorgeous birth, but the more I learned about birth and the more I grew in the birth world, the more I remembered my own experience as a child in rural KZN (KwaZulu-Natal), the brighter the discrepancies were in what I understood in terms of how free I was in that birth."
Prior to my unassisted birth, I had the opportunity to meet a number of women who'd had an unassisted birth. One in particular is a good friend of mine. She's had five or six unassisted home births. I'd watched a few of the home videos that her husband had made of her birthing their children. At first I thought she was crazy, but i also knew she was an incredibly spiritual person. And i recognized even then that that was not something she had done of her own human capacity or reasoning that she had. You have to be inspired and I definitely recognized that she was inspired by something than herself to make that decision.
Zinzile's First Birth
The birth of my first son was a beautiful water birth in a very well-to-do birth center. It was majestic. There was a huge king size bed, a huge birthing bath, and candle light. It was dim. It was everything that you would want. It was the perfect environment - almost romantic. And I was so fortunate to have an amazing midwife. She was young and African. I remember getting to the hospital at night. There are flowers on the bed there was candlelight. It was dim. It was dark. It was beautiful.
My work is informed by my background – experiences, expertise, exposure, education & environment – as a woman, mother, wife, sister, educator, researcher, scholar, advocate, birth ally and legacy builder. #IAmTheAnswer #WeSaveOurselves