This world, and our country specifically, is failing families of color. Black folks in particular face life-threatening racism in the U.S. every day. Our rates of maternal and infant death and mistreatment for people of color within the medical system have always been horribly high. As awareness around these issues grows, those of us who don't experience racism must find ways to learn, actively participate in change-making, and hold ourselves accountable for our own part in the structure of our racist society. This business is owned and operated by a white birth worker who is resolutely committed to radical change for the betterment of black lives and the lives of all people of color.
What we've been doing:
~For almost a decade, Your Birth Team's owner has worked to combat disparities in and around birth, with a focus on our community's most vulnerable in the nonprofit sector. Upon transitioning to a private perinatal doula practice, Amanda remained active as a volunteer at Casa Teresa, a residential shelter that serves predominantly women and babies of color and has a commitment to maintaining a diverse staff. Classes on childbirth, breastfeeding, and postpartum health are offered; donation drives are done a couple times a year and as needed for individual residents to acquire necessities such as diapers, wipes, food, postpartum care items, and more; volunteer doulas are coordinated as needed.
~Amanda has taken over two dozen academic and professional courses/trainings from people of color with a focus on race, ethnicity, gender, and culture to understand how these aspects of human existence interact with and impact perinatal and infant health outcomes. These are complex issues that require self-evaluation and Amanda (and her household) remains dedicated to this ongoing practice.
~Since 2017, we have been specifically seeking out and creating inclusive educational and marketing materials to represent the wide array of families we work with. For too long, professional quality images, handouts, and slides for pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period have focused almost entirely on white women and white babies. The birth community needs to normalize healthy birth for black families and POC + promote broader representation-especially in community birth settings. Purchasing images and artwork by POC is important to us.
What we're changing and will continue to explore:
~Money talks. Where we put our money matters. Your Birth Team has been shifting focus to specifically support black and indigenous midwifery campaigns, black-owned birthing centers, and black and brown birth workers. Congruent care can never be a reality unless white birth professionals support POC in this field.
~Donating time and resources to black community members struggling during COVID-19 and/or during pregnancy. While we've always supported organizations that house and care for individuals and families of color, we recognize that we can do so much more direct care that yields results. This means acting as a volunteer doula at least once a quarter, offering free childbirth education and birth rights education to black families, and hosting donation drives for black families who need support around the time of birth.
~Updating our knowledge base. Amanda has a Sociology degree from CSUF with a focus on families and children, which provided a foundation for the work she does and the ongoing learning she engages with. However, Amanda recognizes that she did not learn from even ONE black educator in college; no black faculty was consulted on the required readings around race and ethnicity. This is unacceptable and just furthers racism and white supremacy. Since college, Amanda has made an effort to learn from black and brown folks in webinars, trainings, and at the college level in midwifery school. Some of those have been listed below so other birth workers can access these important resources.
~Approaching the topic of racism with humility. Individual work around these topics is vital. It's not just about the system or broad strokes. White individuals' behaviors and actions in this world impact black and brown bodies and lives. Amanda is taking on readings and webinars about her own white privilege and biases in an effort to impact the maternity care system and our society more positively and reduce harm she causes to POC.
Education/Trainings/Resources of note:
Battling Over Birth: Black Women & The Maternal Health Care Crisis in California
Inclusive Childbirth Ed Materials from Motherboard Birth