When it comes to giving birth, Shayla Bryant wants Black women to realize their power and celebrate the joy of bringing life into the world with the absence of fear.
Shayla Bryant is a holistic doula, and founder of Malawi’s House which is a birth kit and birthing supplies company based in Atlanta, GA. Shayla is a mother to two daughters and a wife, her journey to birthwork began with her own birthing experience. “I had two home births, but this vision came to me during my first birth to start a birthing supply company. Literally I was in my postpartum care treatment with my midwife. I looked at the brown box and I said, … I can do this. I can be a black owned birthing supply company here in Atlanta just so women can experience what I did. I had such an amazing birthing experience …I was like other women can get this same type of treatment,” Bryant said.
Bryant’s choice for a home birth was a spiritual decision, she had her faith in God and the spirit of our ancestors inside of her that gave her all the confidence she needed to successfully birth at home. “I just followed what I was feeling inside to have a home birth. There was never a question. My husband and I talked about it and he was all for it so that was an extra confirmation for me and it gave me the encouragement to continue to want to have a home birth. So I just really went within my spirit and I never thought about having a baby in the hospital. I always wanted to do things differently. I wanted to do things naturally,”
- Related: The Natural Birth Study Guide
After her second birth with her daughter Sanai in 2018, Bryan began to learn about the high mortality rate of Black women dying in hospitals at three to four times the rate compared to white women. The staggering statistics fueled Bryant to become a birthworker and a homebirth advocate. Bryant emphasized the importance of Black women being informed about the risk factors associated with birthing in a hospital.
“If that is your choice to birth in a hospital just know the risk factors inside of there: you’re not in your sacred space, you’re not in the comfort of your own home, you’re not around loved ones that care about you and support you, you’re around strangers, you’re around these bright lights, the child is entering into a world of bright lights it’s so chaotic, you’re around people that are for taking your placenta your umbilical cord blood and testing it out and your organs,” Bryant explained.
Bryant also recommends expecting mothers to be knowledgeable about the energy around them.
She shares the importance of the mother-daughter relationship when it comes to labor. If the mother brings negative energy with doubts about her daughter having a home birth and the mother is present at the birth, it can bring different types of trauma and unwanted stress.
When asked what advice she would give expecting mothers considering birthing at home, Bryant offers: “Your body is made for this. [Y]ou can do this. There is no fear… I have done this before, you can do it too. Our ancestors have done it before, you can do it too.” Bryant shares that she is “[j]ust passing on that torch and just telling them to birth life fearlessly”
In addition to birth kits/birthing supplies, Malawi’s House offers doula services, postpartum essentials, whipped body butters and empowering t-shirts.
For more information about Shayla Bryant’s story checkout the full interview:
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