Doula, Mother, & Midwife.
I read that you will be a part of the first 25 Black midwives in California. I would love to hear you openly share about that journey.
For anyone reading that is not familiar with midwives, there are two types in California. There are licensed professional midwives and nurse midwives. In California there are certainly way more than 25 Black nurse midwives; however, when we look at the numbers for licensed professional midwives, the numbers are low. This Summer, I was on the path to graduating in 2023 and becoming licensed which would have put me amongst the first 25 Black licensed midwives in California. My graduation date has been pushed back to 2024, and I can imagine there will be other Black students graduating before then. That being said, by the time I graduate and become licensed, there will still be under 50 in the state of CA and to amongst those numbers is humbling. When you consider the history of Black midwives in this country, and how much they have done, I am grateful for their sacrifices and the work they never stopped doing despite all of the challenges and racism. I am proud to have been able to accomplish this goal with the help of my family and community and love that my daughters can look up to me in this regard.
What does community look like in your life? How are you a part of community? How are you building community?
Community is everything in my life. I always say, it takes a village to raise a mother. Without my community, I would not be where I am today. My community includes my husband, mother, close friends and colleagues who have been supporting me since I began this journey. My community also extends to folks I do not know personally that have supported me through donations or purchasing textbooks.
I show up in my community by being a resource in the Black community for birthing folks or individuals who are looking to get started in this work. I am often sharing my journey and the things I have learned along the way.
I am actively building community by connecting individuals I think can collaborate and work well together to achieve the common goal of improving health outcomes in underserved and underprivileged communities. In my personal life, I am always seeking opportunities to build community whether it is at my kids school or in their extra curricular activities.
I myself am apart of a group called Fashion Mamas and it has been a great supportive and resourceful community for me since I joined during COVID.
What are your offerings as a Postpartum Doula and why is this role so important in a new mother's life?
As a postpartum doula, I offer day and overnight shifts. During these shifts, I care for the baby and do light house work. This includes- baby laundry, dishes, organization, helping with grocery shopping. I enjoy the postpartum work, because I personally understand how valuable it is. To be able to get a full nights sleep makes a huge difference in ones mental and emotional health. To be able to wake up and eat breakfast, shower and leisurely sip on your coffee without worrying about your baby is a game changer!
During these shifts, I also find it really important to help the new parents find their groove and define what is important to them. The goal is that when I am done, they are confident in their new roles as parents and they feel good about navigating their day with as much balance as possible.
What was your own experience in postpartum like?
After my first daughter was born, I had postpartum depression, but I didn’t know it was postpartum depression until I was out of it. I was living in the Bay Area at the time and I had to return to work at 6 weeks pp. I didn’t have a great milk supply, nor did I feel confident with breastfeeding. My daughter was out on formula when I returned to work and honestly, I think I still am mourning that because I really wanted to breastfeed her for a year. My mother was amazing and came up from LA to support me and my husband over a 3 month period of time. She would help feed my daughter and even sleep with her so I could get some rest. While I had her support, navigating motherhood as a young mother, and new wife was very difficult while working long shifts at work. I felt overwhelmed, depleted and very isolated from the life I once knew. Once I got pregnant with my second, I knew what I didn’t want postpartum and I fought like hell to have a life that felt good. I knew that I needed balance between being a mom and living for me. By the time my third was born, I was a pro! I would say the help from my mom throughout each postpartum journey was really invaluable and my husband has always been an amazing and supportive father.
What are some tips for hiring a doula or midwife?
I know there are a lot of questions that people recommend you should ask when interviewing a doula or a midwife. While I think those questions are important, I think ultimately you need to hire someone you feel a connection with. Pregnancy and birth is such a vulnerable time that requires a lot of trust between you and whatever providers and support you have around you. Feeling like you are safe, feeling like you can be your full self and feeling like you completely trust your doula or midwife is really important.
If you are wondering what questions to ask, here are some below:
- What is your philosophy as a doula?
- What information will we cover during our prenatal visits?
- How do you support your clients?
- What is your hospital transfer rate?
- Have you ever lost and client or baby?
- Are there certain tests and ultrasounds you require your clients to get or can a client choosing decline all tests and ultrasounds?
- How will you keep me and my baby safe?
- Do you have a preferred hospital or OB you like to work with?