Are you a birth worker who is looking to expand your skill set, explore a new topic, or get new perspective? The Birth Mag team has compiled a list of upcoming classes, workshops, skillshares, and mentorship opportunities for kicking the new year off right. All courses listed are either live or have a live component, and are available virtually.Read More
These days, it almost seems like a buzz word in the birth world. A free download. A hashtag. A commodity, even.
In reality, though, sustainability in birthwork, particularly in the doula-world, means getting to do the work that sets your soul on fire for longer than a few years.
Sustainability means creating a business from which you don’t need to regularly take self-care, or “burnout breaks”. It’s so much more than warm baths, massages, mantras and aromatherapy.Read More
What is the #1 reason people hire Doulas and Midwives? Satisfaction with the birth experience. Or, in other words: trauma prevention.
My goal here is to critically look at the role continuity and continuous support play in outcomes for the people we serve, and hopefully avoid pitfalls in the way we structure services that can negatively impact clients. How we can take care of ourselves physically, emotionally and financially, while simultaneously give our clients the care they deserve?Read More
The degradation of our environment is deeply connected to the feelings of disconnection endemic to humanity. For centuries, humans have been growing farther away from nature, our bodies, and our own children and families. Intergenerational apathy is dangerous to our planet and our collective future. Birth is one key place that our system needs to change— our families and ecosystems depend on it.Read More
by Sinéad Morgan On February 19th, 2020 the birth community lost a powerful leader in Claudia Booker, a woman who worked to tear down the racial disparities for birthing women of color. She was a Grand Midwife, fierce advocate, a mother, an educator, a philanthropist. Miss Booker’s lifetime is rich with history and wisdom, a legacy that will not be forgotten particularly among the birth community. Miss Booker transitioned from being a lawyer and judge to a doula, childbirth educator, and breastfeeding counselor before assuming her role as a Certified Professional Midwife. Miss Booker’s mother, a black woman in the 1940s, gave birth to her during a time where pain medication was not allowed for black women and neither was supporting a black woman during childbirth. Her mother, barely out of her teens, gave birth to Miss Booker isolated on a ward with just sheets used as walls between her and other mothers moaning in agony. This was an incredibly lonely, frightening experience for her mother, having had no childbirth education, no support and no pain management. When her mother shared this traumatic story with her she felt compelled to pursue birth work, not only in an attempt to rectify the traumatic experience her mother went through, but to ensure no other birthing person experienced birth in this capacity, unsupported and without their basic needs fulfilled. After years of being a lawyer, Miss Booker yearned to have a more positive role in the lives of families, rather than one of representing the government and public issues in court. Miss Booker started her journey with the intention to create paths for birth workers, from doulas, to lactation consultants, midwives and childbirth educators. Miss Booker wanted to make sure that birthing people had better outcomes and a nurturing start to parenthood. Her own mothers birth story as well as her own gynecologist suggesting she become a doula, after witnessing her support her own goddaughter through a c-section, is what led her to birth work as a doula. Miss Booker recalls in an interview with Everyday Birth her gynecologist stating, “I saw you that day in the OR and I’ve never seen you so happy in the 15 years I’ve known you. And whatever made you that happy that day, is something you should figure out how to do all the time.” This in addition to her desire for more personal interactions with her…Read More
Interview by Jessi Vining Aisha Al Hajjar, BSM, MSM, LM, CPM, AMANI is a midwife and the founder of AMANI Birth, an organization which provides doula and childbirth educator training, publishes birth education resources, and educates medical providers around the world about physiologic birth. Aisha has eight children and works together with her husband, Mohammed Al Hajjar (co-founder of AMANI birth), to promote gentle childbirth and informed choices around the world. Both AMANI Birth and Aisha’s midwifery practice are founded on Islamic principals, which include the belief that female bodies have been designed by Allah to conceive, carry, birth, and feed babies without the need for routine medical interference. AMANI Birth has doulas and childbirth educators located around the world in 26 different countries, and her curriculum has been translated into 4 different languages. What made you want to become a midwife? Aisha: The main reason I went into midwifery was to give women the respect and the space to have autonomy over their own bodies. I have 8 children of my own, and with all of the first seven births I had to fight to some degree to have control over my own birth experiences. With the eighth birth I was tired of having people tell me to do things that weren’t evidence based, and that weren’t best for me and my baby. I didn’t want to have to fight for that control during birth again, and so I opted out of medical care completely and chose to have an unassisted birth at home. At the time, I was living in Saudi Arabia where it is much harder to fight for your birth than it is here in the States. Everything went well and it was a beautiful birth experience! My husband Mohammed actually caught our daughter and we named her Amani which means “wishes” in Arabic. After my birth experience with Amani, I thought it was such a shame that to have the kind of birth I wanted, it felt like I had to stay away from medical providers. I think when you are more afraid of what they are going to do to you than you are of birth itself – there’s a problem. When there are no complications, why are we forcing interventions on people? Why are we forcing them into certain positions for no good reason? I knew after Amani’s birth that I needed to become a midwife so that I could give birth back to the mother. How did you choose…Read More
by Raichal Reed A midwife, a patera, a “granny”, and sage-femme are all names for the same person. The name midwife means “with mother” in basic translation. Since before time was recorded there have been people or a person who had the very important job of caring for the pregnant person and their baby. Depending on what country and sometimes what area you research, there are different stories concerning their roles, abilities, and relationships with the community. Coming into current day in the US, these individuals now have roles that extend beyond pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. Before schools and universities, the midwife directly taught and trained their apprentices/assistants/etc. in order for them to work with them and hopefully in their place once they were no longer able. Skills were passed from family to family and generation to generation orally and through practice along with the more skilled midwives. The first registered midwife in the US was in NY in 1716 and now we have more than 11,000 according to the American Midwifery Certification Board in 2017. This only counts for how many are registered with NARM in regulated states, but some states still do not have regulation or approval and so those midwives work independently and sometimes illegally to make sure that healthy parents and babies survive. “A midwife does not have off days, and a midwife is always on call” was one of the first things I heard when I became a student midwife. I didn’t understand the heaviness of this statement until months later. During the time of being a student midwife, I am at the beck and call of not only the pregnant individuals but also my preceptor. We have clinic all throughout the week and if we have a birth that interferes then we must schedule them on days that we normally aren’t there for. I learned to keep my phone, my watch, my tablet, and any other device that could always make a noise on loud. Babies come when you are in the shower, they come when you are in church, and even when you are asleep. If you plan to be somewhere then they especially come those days because for some reason, when you are busy, they like to start trouble. Labor and delivery are a wonderful, magical process but it is also one that you have no control over, neither you nor the…Read More
by Sinéad Morgan The midwife and doula collaboration truly puts a new family in a fantastic position to have a healthy, happy, and satisfying outcome during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. With ample evidence from lower cesarean section rates, less inductions, shorter labors and even better Apgar scores for baby, when a birthing person is supported by a midwife or doula; this team is a powerhouse for any expecting family. Which is why the two of them working together seamlessly is absolutely imperative to positive, nurturing beginnings for the whole family. While a doula is specifically hired by the family or birthing person for non-medical, unbiased, evidence based, emotional and physical support. The midwife is hired for clinical support in addition to emotional and physical support, and more often than not is chosen over an obstetrician because of their ability to view pregnancy and childbirth as a natural process rather than an ailment to be intervened with. Here are 5 ways that doulas and midwives can work together to ensure a successful and flourishing relationship. Doulas must practice within their scope of practice. As with any collaboration, there is the risk of “stepping on each others toes”. In order to avoid this a well trained doula should always keep in mind the importance of practicing within their scope of practice. The doula is hired as nonmedical support, this should be specified to the client at the time of hire and reminded throughout the relationship when necessary. Not only is this imperative in order to maintain a positive relationship with the entire birth team, but also in order to support positive healthy outcomes for the birthing person and baby. Unfortunately there have been instances where hospitals, or obstetric practices have disallowed patients to utilize doula support for this reason. While a doula may have a basic understanding of certain pregnancy/childbirth issues and may be able to help a birthing person and their family understand some of those issues, it is the midwives responsibility to monitor, interpret and treat the health and safety of the baby. Fill in the gaps. Just as a doulas role is to fill in the gaps of the birthing persons partner when he or she is not present, the doulas role is to also fill in the gap when the midwife is not present. The midwife may not always be present throughout the entire labor process (especially during…Read More
by A. Jones Content warning: mention of traumatic birth, attempted suicide, postpartum mood disorders, unplanned cesarean, and failure to thrive in a newborn. My baby was born in the hospital that was across the street from my apartment. My OB was the first one that came up on my insurance’s website. They were convenient, and I trusted their credentials completely. They knew what they were doing, so I didn’t have to. I didn’t take a childbirth class because my doctor reassured me they only help women who are trying to suffer through without an epidural. I didn’t hire a doula because my doctor promised me they would start an epidural as soon as I had contractions and I would sleep through labor. I came in for an induction on my due date. I never went past 2cm dilation. I had a cesarean for failure to progress. After, a nurse reassured me that I would never have to go through labor again. Any other births would be scheduled surgeries. I had never wanted an intervention free birth, but I felt heartbroken. It all felt wrong. I developed postpartum depression, but didn’t know what was going on. I felt like a failure as a mother as all of my expectations went bust. I tried to kill myself. While I was hospitalized, my husband filed for divorce. I didn’t care. I felt like he and our son were better off without me. The fact that they were apparently doing okay without me cemented the thought. I had every intention of trying again once I was released. While I was still in inpatient care, my incision was not healing well. The nurse who came to help with wound care talked to me while she worked. She told me about her own cesarean, and how traumatic it was for her. She told me about the VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) she eventually had and the support she got from other VBAC parents. No one had talked to me before about how traumatic an unplanned cesarean can be. Everything before had been “but you have a healthy baby”. After a few talks, I broke down crying and released everything that I’d had bottled up since my son’s birth. She taught me that you can love your baby and hate their birth at the same time. She also put a flier for a VBAC support group in…Read More
Looking for some new listening material? Check out a few of these birth, birthwork, and midwifery themed podcasts. The Full-Spectrum Doula Circle Podcast This podcast is an extension of the Full-Spectrum Doula Circle. The podcast started out in the fall of 2018 as a means of improving access to interviews that had previously been done for webinars by the same creator. Since starting, new content has been added also. past interviews include activists, authors, care providers, and more, including Melinda Morales, Indra Lusero, Mishka Terplan, and Renee Bracey Sherman talking about subjects like nonjudgmental support for pregnant teens, abortion doulas, and drug use in pregnancy. Find it on Apple Podcasts and Spreaker. Birth Kweens A doula and midwife teamed up to create this San Diego, CA based birth podcast. While their primary audience seems to be birthing people more than birthworkers, topics like the history of how menstruation has been managed, weight stigma in pregnancy, and nuances of practicing informed consent will likely appeal to both. Episodes include interviews with birth attendants, other birthworkers, and gestational parents sharing their knowledge and experiences. Find this podcast on Stitcher and Apple Podcasts. Masculine Birth Ritual Created by a self identified transmasculine birth parent, this podcast offers exceptional insight into the experiences of queer families, nonbinary folx having babies, and masculine leaning gestational parents. Episodes include topics like trying to conceive as a trans man, buffering the impacts of discrimination, and meeting people where they are. This is one of the few birth podcasts that uses language that acknowledges the broad range of people that become pregnant. This one also has written transcripts available if podcasts aren’t your thing! Dr. Stu’s Podcast Co-hosted by Dr. Stuart Fischbein, MD OB/GYN and Blyss Young, LM CPM, this podcast where the two interview various birthworkers about topics including coercion versus consent, community based birth, breech birth, and more. Find this one on iHeartRadio and Apple Podcasts. Birth Stories in Color Birth Stories in Color is, much like its name suggests, a collection of birth stories from people of color. The concept is based on a combination of the power of storytelling and the need for a space where birth stories that aren’t being heard elsewhere to be shared. Co-hosts Laurel Gourrier and Danielle Jackson are both doulas and reproductive justice advocates who share stories ranging from cesareans to unassisted births, and triumphant, empowering experiences to heartbreaking…Read More