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Meet Shayla Brown

Creator and Editor of “Black Birth Story Blog”

Shayla is a Shafia Monroe (formerly ICTC) certified doula trained in Opelousas, Louisiana by Nicole Deggins of Sista Midwife Productions. Shayla has also trained as a Health Connect One Community Doula through the Tanner Community Development Corporation in Phoenix Arizona.

For 2 years Shayla served women of color as a community doula contracted with Maricopa County’s South Phoenix Healthy Start, and wrote freelance articles centering black health inequities for the Arizona Informant.

Shayla has served as a speaker and panelist at Phoenix Metro Area community breastfeeding and birthing events and has organized across the Mississippi Delta as a social worker and as a Mississippi Delta Service Corps/AmeriCorps VISTA Member. In addition, Shayla led other VISTA members as an AmeriCorps VISTA Leader for the City of Memphis.

Personal Experience

Mississippi native Shayla Brown is a black parent taking her family’s health into her own hands in response to the disparities she’s faced on her journey from infertility to birthing 6 boys; 3 of which her husband delivered unassisted in their home. Shayla is a Shafia Monroe-certified and Health Connect One-trained doula; and the curator of the Genesis Birthing and Living Black Birth Story Blog “where black women are the authorities on black birth”. 

Shayla holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. In her personal time, Shayla and her husband Erick promote the strengthening of black families with those around them and on their social media pages. The two share more about themselves and about their experiences as parent-storytellers in season 2 of NATAL Podcast.

Facebook: Genesis Birthing and Living 

Instagram: @genesisbirthingandliving

WordPress: Black Birth Story Blog; Dark Phrases of Womanhood

In Her Own Words…

Since I was a girl, birth and women’s health have always fascinated me. As far back as I can remember my biggest goal has steadily remained: to have a family. My journey to that goal has not been what Langston Hughes called:

 “no crystal stair. / It’s had tacks in it, / And splinters, / And boards torn up, / And places with no carpet on the floor—/ Bare.”

I have experienced:

  • miscarriage
  • pseudocyesis (false pregnancy)
  • Pregnancy in rural Tennessee with limited alternative options
  • Home birth in rural Mississippi
  • A 5-Day Labor in the middle of a snowstorm at my parent-in-laws’ house
  • Tumultuaous, stressful pregnancy, without family support
  • domestic dysfunction during pregnancy
  • antagonistic birth in a hospital

However, the results of my labors: healthy babies born via unmedicated vaginal labors without incident; are still far better outcomes than black women laboring alongside me

The traumatic birth stories I hear from my peers are all too common. 



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