The Black Birth Renaissance
of the 21st Century
of the 21st Century
"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:
"What's your place in this? What are you contributing to this mess we are in? What can you do? What is your strength? We need US everywhere! If birth work is yours, find out what is your niche in birth work. What is your job? Everybody's not gonna do the same thing." ~ Stephanie Mitchell, CNM, DNP
Stephanie is RAW and REAL, and in this interview, she she shares her personal and professional experiences with authenticity and spirit. She is an example of why the Birth HERstory Blog exists as a platform that shares the LIVED TRUTHS of Black women uncensored and unedited. Want an idea of what you can expect from this interview? This was Stephanie's response when asked who she would like to show gratitude to:
"I’m grateful to my black ass self that I can use my experience and expertise to disrupt a broken system for black women. I encourage others to use whatever talents, skill, or influence they have to leverage the disparities we witness everyday in all aspects of walking this human existence. Thank you to those who are already using their talents for such measures."
Listen to the MP3:
"For the women who are called to the work, do not dismiss, disregard or discount those who CHOSE the work. For the women who choose the work, do not dismiss, discount or disregard those who are CALLED to the work. We each have something to bring to each other. The question is are we going to be open to receive that from each other." ~ Nikia Lawson, MA, BSW, CD/BDT(DONA)
From my earliest observations of Nikia's work through her online presence, I noticed that she was a Change Maker. She was not standing around waiting for things to change, she was making the change happen through her birth profession and her influence in birth culture.
Nikia Lawson is the Owner of Birth Blessings Professional Birth Services. She has been a birth trainer for DONA International for a decade and currently sits on DONA's board as the Western Membership Director. Additionally, Nikia is the Founder and Program Director of The Natural Way Birthing Project, and a Co-Owner of Two Sisters Circle, doula training focused on culturally relevant and advanced trainings that "support birth workers in building solid networks, growing business acumen and maximizing impact on communities served by doulas."
Nikia and I had a very interesting conversation about Black women's re-entry into birth work. While Black women represent an educated demographic within society, many are entering birth work from a call or a heart or spiritual place. I hear from women frequently that are responding to "a call" to enter birth work as a result of the way that Black women's maternal mortality rates are being publicized. Nikia makes a distinction between the choice to pursue birth work and the call to pursue birth work in order to take Black women's influence in birth culture to the next level.
P.S. Nikia had some overlap in her schedule and life happened as it often does, so she was on the move. Buckle up! She literally takes us on a ride! For those wondering what a day in the life of a doulaing, entrepreneuring, world changing single mom can look like, you will get a glimpse in this interview.
Listen to the MP3 of the interview:
"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:
"What we throw away, somebody picks up, repackages it, and sells it to you and then you want to buy it... Your assimilation and throwing away of your culture does not help you and you end up being lost." ~ Divine Bailey-Nicholas
You can connect with Divine to learn about her current workshops and the work she is doing:
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