Wondering what to expect from the Genesis Birthing and Living event Materni-TEA: Mixer for New and Expecting Moms?
Read below and find out!
I remember being pregnant for the first time.
I was excited, awe-struck, and slightly in disbelief because my husband and I had tried and had been unsuccessful over the course of the last year.
When it did sink in, and I finally felt comfortable and excited enough to share it with family, friends, and co-workers, a common spirit of fear hovered over and haunted my preparation process for the natural, home-birth labor I intended to have.
Stories of unplanned c-sections, painful labors, mind altering drug intake, unauthorized procedures, infant disfigurement, near death experiences…the list went on and sometimes the stories were the same only the teller was different—but they were all black. I will be honest, though, I never encountered a white woman so I don’t know what her experience might have sounded like.
What I did know, though, was that I had these odds to combat and to prove wrong. In addition to going against historically cultural odds, my husband and I had very serious and very present systematic odds piled high against us as well.
At the time (2015) we lived in Memphis, Tennessee. There were no black homebirth midwives, and there may have been 2 white ones in the entire area. What we did find was the, then, 1 black student midwife in the entire state of Mississippi. She just so happened to be studying in the Memphis area on certain days so we synchronized our schedules to accommodate each other.
In the end, I was able to achieve an all-natural home birth with her assistance, but I labored for 5 days. During a labor preparation session with my doula for my 2nd home birth, my doula encouraged me to reevaluate my thoughts and feelings during my 1st labor.
In doing that, I discovered that while I was surrounded with emotional support from my husband’s family, and I had a midwife for my delivery, I had no professional support around navigating the process of naturally laboring and delivering my baby. My husband was very instrumental in reminding me to breathe and in helping me to relax, but even his support had limitations.
We had done much independent study on natural childbirth, gone through great lengths to achieve it, and were completely convinced it was what we wanted for our baby and for ourselves. However, we had no guide through the actual process, and no tools to pull on during the labor itself.
While we had built a commendable layer of faith to combat the fear surrounding what we were attempting, we had nothing to combat the systematic disparity we faced.
On a larger scale, black women’s childbirth and labor experiences are haunted by a spirit of generational trauma and fear; and by a historical and national disparity of institutional support—especially in the realms of natural birth and home birth.
This was, and is unacceptable for me, and for many black birth workers like me. Today, just 4 years after my first pregnancy, there are more black doulas, midwives, herbalists, and lactation consultants than there were when I was pregnant, and there will likely be more. Between midwifery scholarships for women of color and the many doula training and scholarships that exist today, the existence of black birth workers is, slowly, but surely increasing.
However, there is still a disconnect between black birth workers and the population we intend to serve because there are very few institutional structures (hospitals, clinics, social programs, agencies, schools, etc.) that support our work. Additionally, black birth workers battle skepticism, misunderstanding, underestimation of the importance of our roles and services, and the ever present doubt that it is “safe” to entrust us with women’s care.
My goals for Materni-TEA: Mixer for New and Expecting Moms are to:
-Meet my community and close the space between black doulas and black women
-combat skepticism around black birth work
-explain the role and services of doulas
-highlight the importance of our role
-replace doubt in our abilities with certainty of the need for our presence
With fellowship, community, celebration, and praise, I intend to drive out the spirit of fear haunting our birth experiences.
The agenda is as follows:
I. 11:30 am
a. Sign in. Mix-n-Mingle. Visit Vendors. Eat and Sip Tea.
II. 12:00 pm
a. FREE Photo Booth Opens! Attendees will take time to have professional pictures taken.
b. Continue: eating, sipping, mixing and mingling, and visiting with vendors.
III. 12:30 pm
a. Welcome and Introduction
c. Ice Beaker
d. Game “Birth Trivia”
e. Product Raffles
f. Asili Naturals product Demonstration
g. Q and A from Attendees
IV. 1:15 pm
a. Vendor Recognition
b. Q and A from Attendees
V. 1:30 pm
i. Photo booth (closes at 2pm)
iii. Food and Tea
iv. Mix and Mingle with other moms
VI. 2:25 pm
a. Vendor breakdown
b. Closing Remarks
VII. 2:30 pm–WE WILL SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!
However you arrive, when you leave Materni-TEA: Mixer for New and Expecting Moms, in addition to a bag FILLED with GIFTS from me to you…you will learn 3 KEY LABOR PLANNING & PREPARATION STRATEGIES that give you confidence for your up-coming or future labor.
If you are a woman with little support, negative support, non-existent support, or support clouded by fear; visit the Genesis Birthing & Living website to retrieve your tickets to Materni-TEA: Mixer for New and Expecting Moms.
Join me, and other women who think like us, and find support that works because it is intentionally created for you, by you, and with you in mind.
We have some AMAZING VENDORS, SPONSORS and PRIZES to give away, so come out and treat yourself!