The Black Birth Renaissance
of the 21st Century
of the 21st Century
"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:
"Having a baby is the only 'well ' thing that happens at a hospital, so why should I have my baby at this place where sickness is going on? " ~Tanita Fadyeyola
Tanita's stories are an example of the ways that Black women can begin to reclaim their birth rites and support their sisters in birth, whether having been trained through a doula course or not. Start where you are and be willing to learn. We have always had the responsibility to help ourselves and heal ourselves in order to save ourselves.
Listen to the MP3 of the interview
Meet Tunisia Macklin, the Peaceful Birthing Doula. She has been a massage therapist for more than 15 years and professional doula and a placenta encapsulator for almost 10 years. However, birth has always been a part of her life and and a passion to which she feels called. While her nature is the "peaceful doula", she is also known to be unrelenting in her passion to teach women how to advocate for themselves in the hospital environment.
If you are ready to be inspired as well as ignited toward work with birthing families, you will appreciate this interview. Tell us what you think in the comments.
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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