EBB 232 - Advocacy, VBAC, and Becoming a Home Birth Midwife with Melek Öz
On today's podcast, we're going to talk with Melek Öz about vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC), advocacy, and becoming a home birth midwife!
Content note: Mention of weight loss and racism.
Melek Öz (she/her) is a home birth midwife living with her family in South Austin, Texas. She moved to Austin in 2001 to attend the University of Texas, where she completed both her undergraduate studies and law school before transitioning to birth work. Melek has been active in birth advocacy for more than a decade throughout her childbearing years and now as a home birth midwife.
With her first pregnancy, Melek was told by her OB that her pelvis was "too small." She was pressured into an early induction that turned into a preventable Cesarean. Fresh out of surgery, Melek's OB told her, "Now that you've had one Cesarean, all your babies will have to be born by Cesarean."
In this podcast episode, Melek goes on to share her subsequent birth stories, in which she had a CBAC (Cesarean Birth after Cesarean) under general anesthesia, as well as a vaginal birth after 2 C-sections (VBA2C). Midwifery care helped her have "a really joyous and an incredible experience, and I'm lucky that I had all 3 experiences that I did, because it helped kind of round out and balance my views on birth."
Melek went on to pursue a career as a doula and eventually a home birth midwife! In this episode, we talk about the power of midwifery care, unpacking racism/classism and how it affects midwifery students, and how we can advocate for VBAC access in our communities. She also gives great tips for people who are considering a VBAC or thinking about going into midwifery!
- Follow Melek Öz on Instagram (@midwifemelek) and visit her website at http://www.midwifemelek.com/
- EBB Podcast #113: The Evidence on VBAC
- EBB Podcast #209: Providing Unbiased VBAC Access and Support with Jen Kamel of VBAC Facts
- Visit the VBAC Facts website: https://vbacfacts.com
- Visit the International Cesarean Awareness Network website https://www.ican-online.org/
- EBB Podcast #224: Failure to Progress (info on racist beliefs about pelvic shapes)
- Tema Mercado teaches workshops on decolonizing apprenticeships at La Matriz Birth (https://www.lamatrizbirth.com/) and @matrizmidwife on Instagram
- Luz de Atabey (https://www.instagram.com/lampatx/) project in Austin focused on accessible perinatal care and support (QTBIPOC-led)
- Kmom passed away in 2019, but her blog, "The Well Rounded Mama," is still maintained by her loving family at https://wellroundedmama.blogspot.com/, where you can find many articles about fat phobia and VBAC.
- EBB Professional Membership (includes scholarship options!) https://evidencebasedbirth.com/membership '
- Non-profit fundraising organization Black Home Birth Matters: https://www.blackhomebirthmattersatx.org/