Birth Stories in Color is a podcast for Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latino, and Multiracial individuals to share their birthing experiences - a space that specifically celebrates, mourns with and supports them and their transformation through birth.
Birth Stories in Color also emphasizes the role of storytelling as a way to equip future parents. Listening to real birth stories is one way to discover the expected and unexpected parts of the journey.
We realize that there are birth stories not being heard. Our hope is that all who share and listen find this platform to be a community near and far, and an invaluable resource for navigating their own journey.
98 | Shifting the Paradigm - Dr. Alicia Bonaparte
Dr. Alicia Bonaparte is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Pitzer College and trained as a medical sociologist specializing in reproductive health, health disparities, and female crime and deviance. Dr. Bonaparte is well known for her role as co-editor of Birthing Justice: Black Women, Pregnancy and Childbirth - a book that has ushered in a movement of Black Birth Workers across the diaspora. We had an opportunity to discuss Birthing Justice's origins and the far-reaching effects that have influenced policy, education, and birth narratives centering Black bodies.
In our conversation, we explore her work as a whole and ways in which history and community can serve as a powerful force in accessing our power to create change and birth liberation. We left feeling whole - it was full of lessons we will be taking into the continued celebration of Black Maternal Health Week 2021 and Black birth, Black life, and Black joy!
We share with you some of our favorite highlights;
1. There will be a second edition of Birthing Justice released in 2022!!!
2. "We cannot assume there is no historical precedent to the things we see today" examining our history allows us to "figure out necessary interventions to shift that paradigm so things can become better." ~ Dr. Alicia Bonaparte
3. The beauty of honoring our people (our community) when they are here with us earthside and giving them their flowers now. And not just in accolades and gratitude but showering them in their worth!
4. "Take really good care of yourself and focus on your joy and cultivating it." ~ Dr. Alicia Bonaparte
BMHW21 - An Offering of Meditation
Kristen Hanna is a BSiC Storyteller that encourages mindful motherhood in her work and daily life. Kristen and her partner have started an apparel line, Be Free Apparel, as an opportunity to not only clothe the body but inspire and encourage others to break generational patterns and heal to live and love as freely as God intended. She has graciously gifted our listeners with an offering of meditation.
The intention of this meditation is for reframing and centering as you prepare for and navigate your birth. The hope that this pause allows you to tap within yourself. And the affirmations curated from snippets of BSiC community storyteller's own experiences cover you in support. Pause. Tap in. Listen.
97 | Trusting the Power of Intuitive Listening - Jefri & Aigbokhai
For Jefri prepping for birth mentally, emotionally, and spiritually was of high importance. Tapping into her intuition and "reconciling her relationship with pain" based on conscious and unconscious thoughts around it. She wanted to be able to trust herself throughout her whole journey, an aspect of preparation that was key for Aigbokhai as well—finding a way to stay out of his own head so that he could be "in the moment, present and available" to support Jefri in whatever way she needed.
When labor began, Jefri felt as though it wasn't time. As things started picking up, she still disregarded the shift but followed her body's request for movement as she worked through contractions. After some time, she found herself returning to the toilet, her body signaling to her that their baby would be arriving soon.
With a sense of haste, she instructed Aigbokhai to call their midwife, and they both began hurriedly preparing for the baby to come. With their midwife still a bit of way from their home and things moving fast, they placed her and Jefri's mother on facetime. Both of them providing support and encouragement as the baby began crowning. And with another two contractions, their son was born into Jefri and Aigbokhai's hands.
96 | Surrendering to the Process - Chanel Hogue
When pregnant with her second child, the physical aspects of the journey were familiar. Still, Chanel knew to prepare herself for the unfamiliar fully, and she would need to educate herself and build a birth team that she could trust, which would fully support her in moving forward with a VBAC. And while moving through those parts, she would also find that her personal healing would be just as important, this pregnancy being a light for that and teaching her patience and the power of releasing control.
Since her son had arrived early, Chanel was convinced that she would have the same experience for this pregnancy. At 41 weeks and one day, Chanel was starting to feel challenged mentally, but contractions would start developing some consistency, and she took that time to rest and move throughout her day. Their doula supported them in the early shifts and then transitioning to the birth center as things intensified. The birth centered provided Chanel with a sense of peace. Feeling like the "center of attention," which made her "feel covered, and protected and safe." A pivotal moment she expresses during her birth was as she was shifting into transition, feeling fatigued she took to solitude in the shower. She was spending an intimate moment in prayer with God, asking and reflecting on strength to continue. The moment she recalls fully surrendering - her baby arriving soon after.
95 | Just the Two of Us - Jordan Duckens & Rufus Ferguson
For Jordan and Rufus, knew they wanted to spend the first year of their marriage focused on just the two of them. And by year two, they were ready to expand their family, but as time moved throughout that year and they were still not pregnant, they began getting a bit concerned that maybe something was wrong. After a visit with their doctor and receiving the news that nothing seemed to be wrong, Jordan made a call to her mother-in-law, who had had a similar experience. She was able to express her concerns and fears. Her mother-in-law holding space for her at that moment, reassuring her that she would get pregnant when it needed to happen, and the following month that assurance came to fruition.
Two days after her estimated due date, Jordan started feeling contractions and immediately about five minutes apart. Wanting to labor at home as long as possible, she found relief in the tub. And as things intensified, Rufus encouraged her that it may be time for them to head to the hospital. When she arrived, she found out that she was four centimeters dilated. Rufus and Jordan felt very supported in the hospital, and when labor slowed down at nine and a half centimeters, her birth team encouraged many positional changes to help her daughter make her way. And after 15 minutes of pushing, she arrived earthside, with Rufus catching the perfect photo and her extended family watching via Facetime.
Rufus expressed that one area he wasn't prepared for was the transition of postpartum, which was made more challenging with the restrictions of COVID. They couldn't fully tap into their community; being in sync with each other throughout it all continues to help them find and share in the joyful moments.
94 | A Revelation of Unexpected Options - Jocelyne Zaldivar
Jocelyne, a homebirth parent, and co-creator of Homebirth.com, shared her story and the origins of those unexpected titles. Jocelyne and her partner had been planning their wedding when they discovered they were expecting. They made a pivot and married ahead of schedule. The next obstacle was finding alignment with a provider that would honor their wishes became the most challenging aspect of the pregnancy. They switched providers from an OB/GYN to a birth center with midwifery care. The stars seemed to align, but an unexpected closing once again thwarted their plans. Three months before her expected due date, the birthing center she and her husband had planned to welcome their baby closed. Homebirth became an option that was strange to them and required a mental adjustment to help keep them out of the hospital. Hospital birth felt like pregnancy was a medical issue, and that didn’t match their thought process unless a medical challenge presented during the birth. They quickly researched their options and connected with midwives they trusted. Their family was able to prepare for and have the birth they envisioned in their own home.
Homebirth.com was created in their response to wanting to share the beauty and joy of their homebirth story. Homebirth.com holds space for story sharing and helps others who wish to Homebirth find the birth teams that can help meet their birthing goals.
Helped me prepare for my first birth
Wow. I never realized how little I knew about how other women, especially WOC, experienced birth. This really helped to demystify pregnancy and childbirth. I listened to this podcast during my daily 2-miles walks in my third trimester. It was so helpful especially during this pandemic when I’m isolated from a lot of my support systems
This podcast is so important. The difference in care, safety and so much more needs to be exposed. Thank you for creating this show.
I just listened to episode 42 with Dasia. Thank you for sharing her story. It was sad and very eye-opening to hear how she was treated in the hospital. I look forward to listening to more episodes!