Tag Archives: midwife

Roots N Bush – Get your recording TODAY

This weekend I had the honor and the privilege of being a part of the Roots and Bush Online Birth Conference hosted by Intense High and Divine Birth Wisdom. It was a phenomenal event.    This event brought wisdom, honor, passion, and love to birth work education.  If you did not have an opportunity to register for this event and participate live… you still have time to purchase the recordings of the entire conference… through TONIGHT (September 23rd) for only $65!!!  Now… if you wait until tomorrow you will still be able to purchase them but the price will increase to $85 so if I were you I would definitely get them TODAY!!

Not convinced that you should get the entire conference?  Listen in to some of the best sound bites from the FAB speakers.  You can listen in on the event’s Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/568004039929906/

And then head on over the the official registration page http://intensehigh.wordpress.com/roots-n-bush/  and order your copies of the recordings. Don’t forget…. get them TODAY before the price increases!

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Wordless Wednesday: Roots and Bush ~ Learn With Me

Root and Bush

Video

Teach Me How to Breastfeed

Whether you call it breastfeeding, nursing, or giving mother’s milk… this video is a GREAT way to learn how to give your baby the natural nourishment and nurturing that she/he needs. I LOVE IT!!!

Undistrubed Birth… A Quote

I read this in the June issue of the Midwifery Today e-newsletter and I wanted to share. I LOVED the visual… Its calming, radiant, strong, rhythmic, primal. #BirthSomethingBeautiful

“If undisturbed and able to stay instinctual—moving about and pacing her breath—[the mother] will work her baby out as if she were on an island by herself. Confidently, she will twist and turn, bellow or moan, breathe deeply, squat or lie, drink or seek a corner. The most important thing for the midwife during the pushing phase of labor is to refrain from engaging the mother’s thinking brain. Stay sensual with her. If you feel she needs to slow her breathing down or to breathe more deeply, sit nearby and do that. Breathe the way you want her to breathe. She will do exactly what you do.

Sister MorningStar Excerpted from “Midwifing Second Stage,” Second Stage: The Pushing Phase of Labor, a Midwifery Today e-book. How to order

What words/images come to mind when you read this?

Memories & Motivations from Trinidad

I am always excited after attending an event with the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC).  Last week I returned home after a 7 night stay in Maraval Trinidad.  While there, I was working, bonding, eating, sleeping, sharing, growing and learning with a group of phenomenal women.   The women who attended are doulas, nurses, midwives, and mothers… sisters, daughters, American and Trinidadian.

Healing Hands

Healing Hands

As I sat to write this blog post, I thought back to February.  I wrote an article titled “Black Motherhood” that was published in the online publication Oya Nsoro. Below are some excerpts from that article.

Often times, when we use the word midwife in the black community it conjures up images of elderly women walking from house to house, dressed in all white catching babies by moonlight and kerosene oil.  For many, the idea of midwifery also brings up images of dirty old women who are uneducated, undertrained and unskilled.  These negative beliefs about midwives were shaped in our communities systematically as the government, the American Medical Association, and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology worked together to rid America of its “midwife problem.”  A war was waged on black so-called granny midwives and they were slowly eliminated from our communities.  This systematic elimination that started with the Sheppard Towner act in 1921 continues today.  The Sheppard Towner Act, created “training programs” for midwives and forced many of them to abandon the historical knowledge and practices that had been passed down for generations.  Integration and the introduction of Medicaid brought poor, rural, and black women out of the homes and into hospitals to birth.  Maternity care become a VERY profitable business… there was then, and continues to be, money to be made regardless of the birth outcomes. 

While midwifery in the black community traditionally was an honored profession, today many hold to the false beliefs that midwifery care is second rate, something for the poor and the underprivileged. Or in some minds, midwifery is for “them” i.e. the rich, the granola crunchy types, the natural hair wearers and the vegans. 

Fortunately, in spite of these false beliefs, the practice of midwifery carries on today and is gaining momentum.   To those of us practicing “modern day midwifery” there is honor and respect in this profession.  We understand the shoulders upon which we stand and we carry on the legacy of the so-called “granny midwife” with passion and reverence. 

Midwives are, and have always been spiritual people.  Most midwives will tell you they were “called” into this business and no other profession is more directly linked with both life and death. They took care of the community. They had to because no one else would. They succeeded because they had no choice.  Today, we “modern day midwives” work with this passion and pray we can do the same.

I came into midwifery knowing that women in my community were NOT being treated the way they should be during labor and birth.  I was moved to become a midwife so that I could be a part the solution.  At that time, I had no knowledge of granny midwives and during my midwifery education; I don’t remember learning much about the legacy of black midwives.  In 2001 I was introduced to Rhonda Haynes the award winning producer of Bringin in Da Spirit, a wonderful documentary that not only celebrates but tells the truth about the legacy of Black midwives.  It was through meeting her that I began my slow and continual journey to learn more.  Through Rhonda, I learned of ICTC and met Shafia Monore, the midwife and visionary behind ICTC, The International Black Midwives and Healers Conference, and The Full Circle Doula Training.  It has been my involvement with ICTC, especially over the past 3 years, that has accelerated my learning curve and given me a bigger passion not just for helping birthing women but also to learn about the legacy of black midwives and healers.

It was with much excitement that I registered to attend the recently held combo doula training in Trinidad with ICTC.  While there, I started down the path to become a Certified Full Circle Doula Trainer.  Have you taken the ICTC FCD training? If not, no matter what your previous birth work training is, I definitely recommend it.  You can take it this July in Chicago :-) This training, is like no other training.  It is an international training that celebrates the legacy of the black midwife and brings to light our full and rich history.  It educates, informs, and inspires.  It allows us to learn, to grow and to bond.  New friendships are forged and new passions are ignited. This is the ICTC way.  Today, as I work to improve birth outcomes in my community, I salute all of the midwives and doulas working to create better births for women. Extra Hugs… Love… and Light to those of you working in the trenches, taking care of black and brown families regardless of ability to pay.  You do not walk alone.  We are the ones we have been waiting for.

Mamatoto Birth Center

Mothers are STRONG & Everyday is Mother’s Day

Today is the day… determined by some legal decision of another date and time… that we celebrate Mother’s Day. I don’t know the origins of this day and honestly it doesn’t matter to me at this point. But if you want details about the history and origins of Mother’s Day… check out www.mothersdaycentral.com ;-)

In general, I feel about Mothers Day the same way I feel about other holidays… Often started with good intentions today they are so commercialized the real meaning is lost in the material bullshit.  Now I’m not saying I’m all bah humbug but I will admit my favorite holiday character is the Grinch LOL but I digress….

The bottom line is I believe people, love, faith, relationships and yes MOTHERS should be celebrated everyday not just once a year.  There was a time when I refused to celebrate mother’s day under the premise that I love my mother 365 days a year and a Hallmark card wasnt needed to make it so.  I think that time period kinda hurt my mothers feelings :-/

Today I gave my mother a card.  It was a basic card with an appropriate message and then of course I included my own little personal note.  I gave her this card and previous cards, not because I started believing mothers day really mattered but rather to remind myself how much SHE really mattered to me.

As I continue to watch my mother deal with the side affects of multiple myeloma, and its varying treatments, I am constantly reminded how precious each day is. I am amazed at my mother’s strength and at her continued commitment to excellence in life. My mother is a STRONG woman.  IMO… ALL mothers are strong. Even the ones society may deem weak or the ones considered “bad.” Becoming a mother is a miracle and Mothering is no easy task. Yes… ALL mothers are strong.

In my line of work, you really have a chance to get up close and personal with the strength of women. The strength of mothers.  In this work, you really understand the reality that everyday is indeed a great day to Birth Something Beautiful™. And as a result everyday is Mothers Day.

Today I salute my mother and the strong mothers everywhere.  Without you my passion would be nonexistent. Thank you for all that you are and all that you do. I pray that when I am blessed to become a mother I will be at least half as strong.

We’ve Been Called to the Mountain…

It has been MONTHS (October 2011)  since I helped organize the ICTC South East Black Midwives and Healers Summit. During the summit, I was unable to blog as I had intended. As a key organizer and M.C., quite frankly, I could not find the time or energy. After the summit, I had every intention of doing a series of blog posts and for a variety of reason it never happened.

After such a long delay, I thought I might never do a post about the summit at all.  As things would have it however, there was, and continues to be, a message from the Summit I feel compelled to share.

From day one of the summit, I knew we were in for a powerful weekend. During our opening ceremonies, Imam Mikal Shabazz brought us a message, one that, in my opinion, became the most important message of the entire summit.

He began… “This is a Summit, and not a conference… According to the dictionary, what is a summit? A summit is a place where the highest levels of leaders and officials gather… And when we think about a summit in the natural environment, a summit is the highest peak… and when you reach the summit you have accomplished something but what you have accomplished is not reaching the summit in and of itself but reaching the summit and then taking a look out into the horizon and seeing what you can see from the summit that will benefit others”

He reminded us that both Moses and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, were called to the summit… to the mountain top… and let us know that WE too had been called.  We sat at attention as he assured us, if there was any doubt that we had been called… “You are here, so that means you were called.”  And with that he asked… “Why are we here?? That’s something we have to reflect on. Many have been called, few have been chosen and YOU are here, and there is a reason why you are here.”  That set a powerful tone.  Yes we had been called and we knew we had a serious task ahead.

This message, this idea of being “called,” is not new to birth workers and it was reiterated the following day by Sula “The Doula.” She added another dimension as she shared a lesson she received.  Her teacher reminded her that as she accepted her calling, she must recognize her calling came with a window of opportunity. What are you going to do while that window is open he asked her? And she asked us the same question.

I was overwhelmed with emotion the entire weekend. Through the words of Imam Shabazz, Sula “The Doula”  and others, it was confirmed that I was walking on my path and my life is being divinely guided. On my 1.5 hour drive home I cried tears upon tears of joy and gave thanks for the revelations I received. I realized that have been called and my window of opportunity is NOW.

Recently, I had been challenging myself and trying to understand my role as a midwife. I have been looking, reading, listening, searching for a sign, direction, the perfect push to move me in the direction I was to go. There have been times when I felt like I was less of a midwife because I was not “catching babies.” This summit, with its many words of encouragement, and the revelations I received assured me that I was on my path. The summit gave me confirmation.

On the last day of 2011, I was literally on a mountain. I did not reach the summit of Haleakala but as I enjoyed the incredible views from the mountain, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace, and I was reminded of the messages from October. I have been called, and I am humbled by the reality of what that means. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve women, to assist with the ushering in of new life. I know that as I continue on my path as a “virtual midwife” and pregnancy coach, as I continue in my role as the South East Regional Rep for ICTC, whether I work as a home birth midwife or hospital based midwife, all of these things allow me to serve… to be… to do what I have been called to do.

ALL of us, who do this work have been called. Are you a birth worker? If so, you too have been called to the mountain top. Have you accepted your calling?  We know it to be a calling. We know it to be a work of passion and humility. We know it to be a labor of love and I am honored that I have been called. I accept my calling and look forward to helping you Birth Something Beautiful in 2012 and beyond.

In Birth and Love
Nicole