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:
"You can never, ever, ever be excellent and comfortable. Excellence and comfort do not equate. If you think [that by] being comfortable, excellence is gonna come... Honey, I'm telling you, you'll never be great."
This conversation is a long time coming, but with the commencement of Black Breastfeeding Week during this last week of August, I thought it a perfect time to introduce people to one of the greatest influences I ever had in the area of lactation. There are few who have made the impact that Rebecca Jackson-Artis did in lactation in the Chicago area while she was involved in birth culture. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find anyone involved in birth in Chicagoland during the beginning of this decade who did not know her or was not influenced by her work or her words.
I mentioned her words for a reason. Anyone who knows Rebecca knows that she has never been one to mince her words. In other words, "She said what she said..." Rebecca has always taken a no non-sense approach to anything she does. Expect extreme candidness throughout this interview. She is also a comedian, so if you are easily offended by words or context, brace yourself.
Rebecca discusses various aspects of her life and experiences with much candor. Please read the topics that will be discussed. These interviews are not censored or edited.
Rebecca offers this gratitude:
My great-grandmother Lue Kelly-Johnson, my grandmother Verna Johnson Turner, my mother Antoinette Rogers Jackson, my doula Isabelle Flegel, my midwives Kathleen Harmon and Sarah Simmons, TLC's A Baby Story and Birth Center, Dr. Alan Colon, PhD, and the African-centered community of women and men who honor the womb.
Connect with Rebecca and learn about her newest endeavors:
LinkedIn: Rebecca Jackson-Artis
YouTube: Rebecca Jackson-Artis
Facebook: Black Becky Speaks
Facebook: Totally Becky
Facebook: The Rebecca Show
DeLynn shared these words of gratitude:
"Words cannot fully express how grateful I am for my Midwife Lynda Hitchcock that transitioned (passed away) in 2007. I birthed 3 out of 10 of my children with her in the comfort of my home. I loved every moment of my home birth experiences.
Lynda was the first woman to teach me that giving birth to my baby WAS NOT A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. She taught me that most women would have safe and beautiful birthing experiences if the mother was in a preferred, comfortable, and supportive environment.
Christy Willis aka ¨Doula Mom¨ and I knew each other years before either of us committed ourselves to birth work, while we were both primarily focusing on homeschooling our children. Since that time, she has birthed several new humans into the world and we have had the opportunity to partner together to offer birth and postpartum services.
I have always been impressed with Christy as a mother and wife, still I have become even more impressed with her as I watch her expand her influence in birth culture and fill in the gaps she is observing in the care that is provided to birthing women and the doulas who serve them. She has developed a Virtual Doula Course for doulas desiring to extend their reach and ability to support women during the childbearing year via technology. Additionally, Christy has designed a Doula Business Journal that allows doulas to manage the unique challenges they face as birth workers and set goals for their businesses.
In this blogpost, Christy is sharing her birth stories. She has very dynamic birth stories - from the hospital to a driveway to the comfort of her own home. And I believe they will provide additional insights for those who are seeking to know more about how to navigate their birth options.
You can connect with Doula Mom to learn about her upcoming workshops and the work she is doing. She also has a Facebook group.
There are several elder Black midwives that I admire and respect for the work they have done and continue to do to preserve and protect birthing traditions among women throughout the African Diaspora. Jennie Joseph is one of them. She is the developer of the JJ Way® and soon will have the only Black-owned midwifery school, Commonsense Childbirth School of Midwifery. So when I was visiting with my sister friend and soror (🕊Z-Phi!), Tanita Fadyeyola, and she told me that she had experienced home birth with Jennie Joseph, I made her sit down and tell me EVERYTHING!
Tanita told me about her first birth in the hospital, how she made the decision to birth at home with her second child, and the opportunities she had to help her family and friends who Jennie Joseph also served as a midwife. AND she allowed me to record an impromptu interview with her so that I could share her animated adventures with all of you.
You should know that Tanita is full of "Black Girl magic" in her own right. You will understand what I mean as you listen to her. She is the originator of AfroFunk DanceFit™ and the Creatrix of the Move.Dance.LIVE. Method™. She is a trailblazer with international influence who teaches people to use movement as medicine with the power to heal.
You can connect with her and the work she is doing:
When we help Birth HERstory Traditions we are acknowledging the BLACK BIRTH RENAISSANCE that is happening around the world!
When we share our stories, practices, or traditions from women of African descent in America, we help preserve African American Birth HERstory. It is our responsibility as descendants of African women who were trafficked to the U.S. to hold their stories and know their practices, so that we are able to continue their tradition of being self-reliant and self-sustaining as communities of Black women. Do you have a birth tradition, story or practice that you would like to share? Do you know someone who could be interviewed that has a story to share that shows the connection between modern Black women and their traditional birth practices? Send Dr. Doula a message and let her know.
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
(Please note that the information shared on this blog is for information purposes only. Pregnant women should consult their PCP before following any practices found within the Birth HERstory Series Blog.)