Birth HERstory Blog
Celebrating the HERstory of Black women in BIRTH in the 21st Century
Birthing into Black Hands... Black Birthworkers as an Essential Part of Black Liberation
"Every other culture has no problem or shame in unifying and promoting their people. I feel like it's my duty and responsibility to uplift my people, my culture. | That goes to the larger conversation... whether we ask for it or not, people are used to saving Black people. People don't look at us having authority and saving ourselves."
THESE TWO SISTAS RIGHT HERE!
They are two of the most special birthworkers you will ever meet and I am THA-RILLED to be able say that they are my friends. They are both doing incredible work here in the Chicagoland area. They talk about themselves and how they met in our conversation, so I will not spend too much time on that here, but what stands out most about these women is how they have used their #BlackGirlMagic like Wonder Twin Powers (look it up) to transform themselves from individual awesomeness to a collective greatness. I love these sisters together! Jeanine is one of the few Black CNMs in the Chicago area serving moms in the hospital setting and Shaquan is a doula and aspiring midwife. I simply could not be happier as I contemplate what Chicago will be like in the coming years because THEY ARE HERE.
They offer these words of appreciation: "I always give gratitude and thanks to the women who have willingly given their bodies to this work, the enslaved Africans that were tortured in the name of gynecology, Anarcha Westscott, Betsey Harris, and Lucy Zimmerman. I also lean on the history and legacy of Araminta Ross (Harriet Tubman) for motivation and guidance. Her work as a herbalist, nurse, and freedom fighter ais exemplary and I work to honor that. Lastly, my mother as my hero was an absolutely brilliant woman. Her health struggle and "excess death" experience is what pushed me to this work. These are my mentors, guides, and North Stars in this work."
"My Bae and mentor, Jeanine Valrie Logan"
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thepeoplesdoula Facebook: www.facebook.com/chicagoblackdoulaalliance
Jeanine Valrie Logan
Shayla Brown is passionate about the work she does with Black women, whether they are dealing with their fertility or managing unexpected challenges within the childbearing year.
The changes and the shifts that have occurred since our Black midwives were systematically outlawed in the U.S. have not only influenced the options that Black women have for providers, but they have also influenced the way that Black families care for their birthing women. In our interview, we discusses some of the ways that deficiencies in maternity care affected Shayla and influenced her decision to serve as birth support for birthing families, and stay at home to birth her children.
She is a powerful force within the birth community and she does her work, unapologetically, from a God-centered perspective.
Shayla offers gratitude to the following individuals:
Nicole Deggins, Divine Birth Wisdom, Shafia Monroe, Fatima Muhammad, Toni Hill, Kim Flanders, Lakisa Muhammad
You can connect with Shayla and the work she is doing in the following ways:
Kemeera Nimahat and Zetanefert Zipewtu are the "two hearts" of Our Mothers' Light. To be in their presence is to feel the energy of their sisterhood and their commitment to honor our ancestral ways. For these two sisters, connection to Africa is a lifestyle and a way of being that they seek to share with others, especially those in the African Diaspora.
Their extended stays in various locations in West Africa and immersion into African cultures make them a repository of first hand information about cultural ways that support our efforts to reclaim what we have lost about childbirth and mothering. You are sure to appreciate the candor with which they speak about the power of knowing who we are and returning to practices that support our efforts to become who we have always been. Enjoy our conversation!
Our Mothers' Light offers these words of gratitude:
We thank our mothers and the mothers before them, we thank our Master teacher Neb Naba and our teachers at The Earth Center and all those back on our Ancestral lands who in their benevolence have been our teachers.
Get connected with Our Mothers' Light and check out their resources:
Phone: (312) 767-1263
Facebook: Our Mothers' Light
What are YOU waiting for to start learning about how to care for women during the childbearing year? Whether you are considering a career in birthwork, want to learn to help your family and friends or desire to be a resource for your community, "10 THINGS" is your starting place! Learn from from a Black historical perspective... learn from "someone who looks like you"... STOP WAITING... START LEARNING RIGHT NOW!
In other words, "She said what she said..."
When we help Birth HERstories 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 Black 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.
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.)
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