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Your BIRTH Partners
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Your BIRTH Partners

Author: Your BIRTH Partners

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Identifying gaps, acknowledging biases, and co-creating a trauma-informed standard of birthcare with change agents across the spectrum of birthwork.
80 Episodes
In this episode we invite you to think more about what it means to create community spaces that are powered by culturally responsive care.  How do we build trust within them, and how we build trust within ourselves, as we contemplate the changes that happen in our bodies, through pregnancy and postpartum, how we connect with what we want and need.  How do we understand our feeding choices, how we think about food for our babies and ourselves? And why it is so important to tune in and be aware of cultural differences?  Why do we need more representation throughout perinatal care across the spectrum of all of the different roles within it?We need more representation, we need more folks who have different lived experiences who can offer racially and culturally congruent care who have a shared ancestral practices to uplift and support folks.  To bring all of these topics together and share their wisdom on the subject is the wonderful Shalini Shah.  Welcome to this conversation as we dive into all of this and think about how we create perineal care environments that are supportive, open, and welcoming for all. Join us as we discuss:~Uplifting BIPOC birthworkers~Fostering interdependence rather than individualism~Eliminating shame in feeding journeys~Body image & changes through pregnancy & postpartum~Ayurveda & bringing yourself back to your bodyLearn more and connect with Shalini here.Support the show
We are diving into another heavy and intense conversation here, as we talk about the family policing system, sometimes also referred to as the child protective system. We are confronting what it means for us, as healthcare workers, as birth workers, to be tied up in this system that is involved in family separation, and ultimately, the policing of families. When I was thinking through all of the different angles to take throughout the season, as we figure out what it means to be in community, with each other with those we serve one of the pieces that just kept coming back to me is how disconnected our care, especially in the hospital, can be from the greater community that we prepared to serve. And I think one of the big ways that that shows up is in how we interact with folks who use drugs, with folks that have mental health disorders, with folks who in so many ways, are othered, they don't meet our kind of expectation about "textbook perfect parent."  We are thinking a lot about how that plays out in our role as mandated reporters, how we engage with these systems. I am so grateful to have Carlyn Mast back on the podcast. Carlyn is an exceptional advocate a repeat guest on the podcast, who as a social worker, and parent advocate has a lot of information to share that it gives light to really some of what what goes on when we report folks, the family policing system, and how this impacts families, how it impacts communities, and really the role that we have within this as perinatal care professionals. So this episode is for those of us who are not really familiar with the child protective or family policing system, how it came to be, and how it currently operates. Carlyn is going to share some of the actual steps that we can all take as we continue to interact with families so that we can show up as a community advocate with them.Join us to dive into:~Language: Family Policing System~History of Taking Children from their Community~Legislation that Criminalizes Poverty~Racial Discrimination in the System~Abolition of Incentivizing Family Separation~Steps to Support FamiliesConnect more with Carlyn here.*The statements from Carlyn Mast are her sole opinion and experience, not the opinions or views of her employer.Resources:Dorothy Roberts and her book Torn ApartJoyce MacmillanApril LeeMovement for Family PowerupEND MovementSupport the show
In this episode, we are sharing with you a conversation with Kayden Coleman. Many of you may already know Kayden through his incredible advocacy and storytelling about his experiences as a transgender dad, a seahorse dad who gave birth to two daughters. Through this podcast he shares why he was called to be vocal about his experiences as a Black transgender dad and the prevalence of anti-Blackness in society.  He brings education and insights into how we can improve birthcare, healthcare, and our human to human interactions to be more inclusive and equitable for trans folks, with greater awareness of intersecting identities. Tune in for insights on:~Creating a community~Educating folks who have an intent to misunderstand~Accountability: calling in and calling out~Anti-Blackness & the trans community~Raising our awareness around social media dynamics~Steps to take for equitable careConnect more with Kayden and his work here and don't miss his latest offerings mentioned on the podcast!Support the show
In this episode of podcast, we are continuing our examination of community.Joined by guest Emily Edwards of The Good Birth Co, who is a nurse, birth worker and all around advocate for thinking and changing how we talk about birth, and how we address & prevent birth trauma.  This episode will be really impactful or those of you who are also out here trying to figure out how we shift power in the birth space. How do we call out issues when we see care, that is not care? When we see wrongdoing?  When we see obstetrical violence? When we see folks not respecting patient autonomy? When we start to see the seeds planted that could lead someone to have a traumatic birth, that will leave someone feeling disempowered, and the unfortunate, unethical things that have become standard in a lot of birth care? Dive in to:~Moving beyond saviorship & the focus on birth outcome~Advocacy in birthwork~Stepping into power to prevent birth trauma~Recognizing the community responsibility to change birthcare~Working through the nuance of hard concepts on social media ~Finding your role and impact in change-making Emily is offering a bonus to our podcast listeners.  Catch the replay of her training on how to tackle birth trauma head on & feeling clear about your role in fixing the systemConnect with Emily and her work here.Support the show
In this episode we explore how we connect more deeply past the complicated power dynamics and the hierarchy in health care. How can health care providers really set themselves up to be in community with those who they care for? How do we shift the way we deliver insights and education and information to ensure that it continues to center the patient? What are some of the ways that we need to reconsider how we have been trained to share information with patients to speak to folks about the experiences that they are having in their body? How do we push back when folks want to focus on efficiency rather than connection? Our guest today Dr. Kia Lannaman of Accessible Professionals is an expert in high risk obstetrics. She has practiced as an MFM around the country, and is currently focused on how we make medical education and relationships more accessible to folks. She has so many insights to share around how we create this reality, where birthing people can truly feel that their provider is part of their community that they are available and that they are there to serve their best interests. This episode is for you, if you too are interested in how we change these current dynamics that have been set up and how we can use the power of social media to actually create more connection, rather than isolation.Join us as we uncover:~The benefits of multidisciplinary care~Unlearning as a physician~Power of social media to get an "ear to the ground"~Quality over efficiency in appointments~Meeting folks where they are for health literacy~And...remember: stop "meddling" in the vagina Connect with Dr Kia Lannaman and her work here.Support the show
As we are examining community throughout the season, thinking more deeply about what it means to be joining into this community of birth. How does it feel to be coming into something that is in some ways already established, but also something that is constantly growing and changing? I am very excited to have one of our original listeners to the podcast who has been with us through our whole journey.  Erin Heacock is a passionate birth advocate who recently started as a nurse in the perinatal space.  She will be sharing reflections on what she has learned and how she wants to grow in this space.  We are inviting all of you to think about how we all have things to learn and how often we end up putting people up on pedestals. How do you decide who is the authority? How do we become more open to new ideas? How do we appreciate and support those who are coming after us?Join us as we explore:~Appreciating our role and the vulnerable spaces we are invited into ~Challenging unit norms and "the way we've always done things"~Comparing physiologic birth with the reality of typical hospital birthcare~Learning how to question authority and bring in diverse viewpoints~The power of fresh perspective and creating welcoming communities~The pursuit of lifelong learning~Ensuring the folks we care for are centered in our community buildingLearn more about Erin and connect more.Support the show
As we continue our season around centering community in our birth work, I am really excited to be having a return guest, one of the very first people who truly made me feel welcomed into a community of other birth workers is Pansay Tayo of Sacred Butterfly Births & the Sacred Pause Red Room.  Pansay back to share some of her wisdom as she has come to define her birth work is something that must be rooted in community. For those of you who are feeling overwhelmed by all that needs to change in birth care. Pansay has a wealth of ideas to share, as we look to make subtle adjustments to our practice, to ground ourselves and our work in our clients in their community.Join us to discuss:~The power of sitting in circle~Shedding perfection and embracing vulnerability~Normalizing the challenges of pregnancy & parenthood~Creating physical environments that tend to all the senses~Healing generational trauma through birth~Supporting the mind-body-spirit in tandemLearn more about Pansay and connect with her work.Support the show
I am really delighted to be just diving deep into some of the issues around community, collaborative relationships, and navigating the medical hierarchy. I am so excited to share our guests with you this week, Dr. Cody Pyke is trained as both a physician and as an attorney, and has some incredible insights to share with you.  How do we craft our messaging to connect with legislators and folks who really work on systems, policy levels?  Have you been thinking about understanding your strengths and where they fit into this larger community and all of the many things that need to be done? Are you thinking about how we create equity?  As we bring all folks together at the same table to dive into these issues, how do we get rid of this hierarchy that continues to hold us back as we consider what community can really look like and what true collaborative care means?Listen in as we explore:~overcoming intimidation around discussing policies & legislation~translating your message to be understood by outsiders~collaborative care and the National Perinatal Association~honoring the equal voices of parents when designing policies~recognizing the impact of insurance on healthcare~exploring the ethics and gatekeeping in perinatal advocacyConnect more with Cody and their work here.Support the show
We are so thrilled to be coming for Season SIX of the podcast! As we delve into our new season theme of centering community, it feels fitting that our very first episode at the podcast was about community, it is very much at the heart of the work we do here at your birth partners. And so often when this work is more challenging, there needs to be when things are not going smoothly. It is because we are not rooted in community. We need folks who are here with us doing this work, ones who are ready to hold space with us and for us, ones who are happy to share about their own journey to hold us accountable as we uncover our own biases, as we recognize things that are not ideal in our practice and how we want to change. And we must have others together as we do this collaborative work of shifting, recreating reimagining what birth care can look like. Our guest this week, Anna Balagtas (she/her) is a radical birth worker and community organizer, known as Your Pocket Doula,  has a ton of personal experience walking through this journey, she is going to share so many ideas that uplift you and show you how it is possible to recreate to change the trajectory of the path you're on to find the community that you want and deserve to be a part of.Join us as we dive into:~recognizing when your values aren't shared by those around you~the role of doula orgs in training complicitness in obstetrical mistreatment~identifying saviorism in ourselves~pivoting to find community~trusting yourself on your journey in birthwork~learning alongside your communityLearn more about Anna and connect with her work!Support the show
As we wrap up season five around change-making in perinatal care, I am excited to share with you some takeaways from the season as I have reflected on what our guests have shared and pulled together some themes so that as you figure out the way you want to create change in the perinatal care system, you will have some inspiration from those who are walking this path along with you. Themes:~Changing individuals => systems change~Community with accountability as basis for change~Taking care of the change agents~Divorcing change making from saviorshipThis bonus episode includes some reflection questions for you if you are still searching for your purpose within this work and how you want to go about creating change!Support the show
So in this episode we are diving into the future of Queer Reproductive Justice, and what does it mean to show up for queer, trans, non binary, and other folks who have been marginalized within the perinatal care system.  To lead us in that conversation, I am delighted to have king yaa on to share their wisdom and their work as they have delved into this throughout their career. And as they speak, and educate on this topic in so many different platforms. Learning from king yaa has truthfully been one of the most impactful pieces of my journey over the last few years.  As I have searched to grow as a birth worker, to be more aware of different perspectives within perinatal spaces...both as I learned to care better for folks who are queer and trans, but also, as I have looked hard at myself, to understand my positionality within this space to reflect on what I can bring to it, and also how the way that I show up in this work has such an impact on the care that folks receive from me. Through this conversation, I hope you have the time and space to reflect on your own place in this work, where you want to grow, where you can share your knowledge, and how you can begin to put all this together, as we lift up those who have been most marginalized and create a standard of care that is safer for them, we create a standard of care that is safer for all of us. And I am eager to share with you their thoughts and reflections about what king yaa sees as as they share their queer reproductive justice framework, and the future of care as we all come together to create change. Listen in as we explore these themes:~foundation of their courses for providers~queer & trans people's liberation & pleasure~king's queer reproductive justice framework~incorporate understanding of barriers into care~examining saviorism, intersectionality, & positionality in birthworkLearn more about king yaa and their offerings through their guest profile.Recommended IG accounts to follow: @KaydenXOfficial @BirthBruja @FeministMidwife @Doctor_MidwifeSupport the show
In this episode, we are going to be diving into the topic of debriefing: what debriefing is, how it can benefit folks in the immediate postpartum period as they start to reflect on their birth story, on their journey on the feelings that they have as they reflect on what happened during their birth, whether those were, you know, overwhelmingly positive or negative experiences. Together with Emily and Mandy we have created a resource for Debriefing at the Bedside, that we are really eager to share with you all. This is a free resource. We want to get in the hands of as many folks who interact with people in that immediate postpartum period, whether that is at the hospital bedsides, whether that is at home in those first few weeks, we want to provide this tool so that you all can feel more confident as you look to assist folks in reflection in thinking about their experience, as we break down some of the barriers that stop folks from feeling like it is okay to talk about what happened. We are so hopeful that you all will walk away from this with more awareness about how important debriefing can be for everyone for every birth.  That you will be able to put this into action in your practices as you look to create a space that is more welcoming for folks to speak to their lived experiences, and that prepares us to support them along the way. Episode highlights include:~Defining debriefing vs reflection vs processing~Navigating conflicting feelings about your birth story~Debriefing as a tool for fostering connection with caregivers~Normalizing the need to debrief~The privilege of pausing to contemplate your experience~Why birthworkers need to seek out their own debriefing supportHere is a preview of the Debriefing resource & here you can request the full free fillable pdf.Support the show
In this episode, we are diving back into the topic of birth trauma. And this is something that we have revisited over and over throughout the podcast, because this issue is growing. These statistics around birth trauma, they are only worsening and this is something that needs to be addressed by so many different angles.We have a new perspective to share with you today as Teela Tomassetti of The Tea on Birth Trauma joins us to talk through why she has devoted her advocacy as a therapist to uncovering the truth about birth trauma and sharing it with folks as they understand it more. We are diving into some of the newest research data that's come out around birth trauma trends that we have seen. How has birth and our experience and the way we speak about trauma changed over the last three decades? And over the last three years? What are some surprising ways that birth trauma shows up in folks lives? How does it impact their physical health, their mental and emotional wellbeing? How does it show up in relationships with our partners and our support people. And how do we kind of push back against some of the preconceived notions we have about trauma? How do we get folks to tune into this issue and think about it through a new lens. I am so excited to share this with you as you all work to reshape and grow our understanding around trauma and the way that you can support people.Join us to explore more:~The role of community in processing trauma ~Current statistics and trends in birth trauma~Power & pitfalls of social media for addressing trauma ~Intergenerational shifts around language~Systems actions to change & improve the care landscape~Surprising trauma triggersLearn more and connect with Teela in her guest profile.Support the show
We are diving into the world of postpartum again in this episode.  Because, frankly, we don't tend to give it the attention it deserves in the perinatal care space.There are so many ways that we are failing folks throughout the postpartum period. Our guest, Kayla Bitten, also known as The Southern Midwife, is a wealth of information about how will we make shifts in the cultural narrative around postpartum healing. How will we address the stigma that is so often present as folks make this transition and work to align their physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, all aspects of their health?Join us for this really frank conversations about how much pressure we put on postpartum people.   You were going to leave this conversation with more ideas about how to switch your language with folks that you care for during birth, and also those you support in any other aspect of your life.Themes include:~Black perinatal mortality rates and postpartum care access~Adjusting our mindset to view postpartum as equally transformative as pregnancy~Recognizing our validity outside of being a vessel for the baby~Creating stronger postpartum support networks~Examining our relationship with nutrition & body image~Countering toxic familial and cultural postpartum traditions ~Busting postpartum myths ... And so much more Learn more from Kayla in her guest profile.Support the show
This week on the show, we are excited to be changing up our format a little bit and talking directly to a parent to be.  We are all in this work to care for people, but so often our education is not centered on parents themselves and we don't get feedback about how that care impacts them. Our guest this week is Jessica Lorion, who is the host of another podcast called Mama's In Training.  She speaks to folks who have had their babies and other birthing professionals so that people like her who were either pregnant, preparing to conceive, or just considering parenthood are able to have more resources and more education earlier in the process. In a world filled with so much noise about what it means to become a parent and what you should be learning in pregnancy to prepare for the transition your body goes through to prepare for birth, and then to prepare for postpartum and parenting.... We know that there are so many ways that we dropped the ball, as a birth community, as birth professionals, and as a society at large. The places where we sugarcoat necessary information, the places where we leave out information altogether, and also places that we create more stress by only sharing the traumatic aspects of it. And so there's so much to examine about how, and when we share information with folks to make sure that it's really centered around the person we're speaking with and what they want. You are going to leave this episode, gaining more confidence around how to assess this in your clients and your loved ones, have more open conversation about what kind of information they would like to have and continue to open your eyes a little bit, to think more about the wants and needs of pregnant people. Learn more about Jessica in her guest profile.Support the show
In this episode of the podcast, we are honored to share a Q&A with Erika Cohn filmmaker of Belly of the Beast. Belly of the Beast is an incredibly powerful film-from their trailer: It is about when a courageous young woman and a radical lawyer discover a pattern of illegal sterilizations in California's women's prisons. They wage a near impossible battle against the department of corrections. With the growing team of investigators inside prison, working with colleagues on the outside, they uncover a series of statewide crimes from inadequate health care to sexual assault, to coercive sterilizations primarily targeting women of color. The shocking legal drama captured over seven years features extraordinary access and intimate accounts from currently and formerly incarcerated people demanding attention to a shameful and ongoing legacy of eugenics and reproductive injustice in the United States. In this conversation with Erika, we want to share more with you to grow our understanding about these injustices, about what has happened and what continues to happen in our carceral system. We are diving into these themes:~Honoring the lived experiences of those incarcerated~Structural racism's impact on the carceral reproductive care~How eugenics presently operates in the USA~Consent within coercive environments~Overcoming obstacles to create change  Find more of Erika's info here at her guest profile!Get involved:Watch Belly of the Beast film for additional context and insightEmail to get involvedApply for Involuntary Sterilization ReparationsSupport the show
In this episode, we are diving deep into the way that trauma shows up in birth and in the perinatal period.  We are discussing a lot of the complicated dynamics that exists when someone experiences trauma during their birth. This is something that impacts certainly birthing people, their families, and their other support.  It also impacts those of us who work in birth.Our guest today. Kayleigh Summers of The Birth Trauma Mama is a therapist and birth trauma survivor herself. As she shares parts of her story, her healing, her experiences, you will have your eyes opened to so much of the nuance that exists when we talk about trauma in birth. Kayleigh explains how this plays out in the immediate postpartum period, and in the weeks, months and years that follow.  We also have a very raw conversation about how we support. birth trauma in the hospital. What are the things that those of us who are involved in birth care, particularly in the hospital setting, can do to be more aware of our practices?  How can family and other loved ones actually provide support?Listen in for more on:~Recognizing that healing is non-linear~The importance of open conversations acknowledging trauma~Creating practices that support healing in the immediate postpartum period~Why we need the human element instead of factory-run hospital care ~Fears around acknowledging trauma and litigation~Myth busting around birth trauma and birth expectations~Supportive language for birth trauma survivorsLearn more about Kayleigh in her guest profile!Support the show
In this episode of the podcast, we are diving into another heavy topic as we explore structural racism. How do we define it? How do we recognize it? And most importantly, how do we take action, when we see its impacts as they show up in our personal practices, in our organization, in our policies?This conversation is so important.  There are horrific racism-driven disparities in perinatal health care. And all of us as birthworkers, as clinicians have a role in changing the way that the system is set up. One of the things that makes structural racism so insidious, is the ways that it has been embedded in healthcare and at times can make it difficult for us to see how standard practices and policies and ways that we've been educated and learn to do things are in fact, a part of a larger structure of racism. I'm honored to have our guest, Dr. Deann Butler, CEO of Connected Consultants, on today to share with you her recent research into defining structural racism.You will leave this conversation with a greater understanding of the different types of racism, how they pop up, how to recognize them, and particularly how we move forward with a shared understanding of structural racism, to create the change that we want to see in our healthcare system. Tune in for:~Moving the conversation around structural racism from research to applied practice~The importance of language and defining types of racism~The "iceberg" of structural racism and the layers involved in it~Personal responsibility to address systemic & structural issues~Battling the overwhelm of structural racism with action~Creating REAL organizational change with Deann's frameworkLearn more about Deann in her guest profile.Support the show
This week we are examining maybe one of the more uncomfortable conversations that we have when we talk about creating change and striving for trauma-informed patient-centered care: folks concerned about their level of risk. What does it mean if we truly trust patients?If we really embrace folks making autonomous decisions about their health, where does that leave us in our role as healthcare workers? How do we think about the risks associated with poor or unexpected outcomes? What have we been taught or taken in about liability as it relates to prenatal care? And these are the important, necessary conversations that I believe have to happen if we are ever want to reach a different relationship with those who are in our care.Our guest today, Jen Atkisson, is a labor and birth nurse, clinical educator, speaker, patient and nurse advocate, and a consultant on standard nursing care.  We invite your reflection as she shares with us, what reasonable and prudent nursing care really looks like. We are diving into the nitty gritty of documentations and the steps you can take to make sure you provide safe and patient-centered care.Listen in to explore:~How fear is used to control nurses' actions~Understanding risk, duty, and liability~The perpetuation of "us vs them" themes in patient safety~Nursing the chart vs nursing the patient~Best practices for trauma-informed documentationand so much more!Support the show
In this episode we are diving deep into HOW we can ask for the support we need during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.And on the flip side, how do we show up as the support that others NEED rather than the way we *think* we should?As we've talked through the last few seasons of the podcast, we recognize that for so many birthing people, there is a tremendous lack of support, both personally and professionally, as they navigate the transition into parenthood.What's so important about this is recognizing that the support we need looks so different for each of us and for many of us that have this knowledge that something has to change. We're still not sure how to do that. How do we ask people what they want?  We feel awkward or uncomfortable sharing our skills, talents, or monetary support.  How do we show up and combat the rabid consumerism that is so prevalent in pregnancy and birth preparation and transition into something that creates a full spectrum of support for our loved ones and those who are in our care?To answer that question. We have Kaitlin McGreyes of Be Her Village coming on to explain the work she has done to make this process more accessible for birthing people and for their supporters, you will leave this episode, having so many more resources to offer to your clients and loved ones so they feel confident asking for the support that they need.Join us as we explore:~Lack of accessibility in healthcare resources~System failures to support new parents~Combatting our culture of consumerism~Trusting new parents to identify their unique needs~Community accountability and growth on the way to health equityLearn more about Kaitlin's work in her guest profile!Support the show
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