174 episodes

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.

Birth Stories in Color Laurel Gourrier & Danielle Jackson

    • Kids & Family
    • 4.9 • 53 Ratings

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.

    Courtney Williams - The Journey Pregnancy App

    Courtney Williams - The Journey Pregnancy App

    Our guest, CEO of Emagine Solutions Technology Courtney Williams, is the creator of The Journey Pregnancy App. The app enables patients to vital signs during pregnancy and then transmits this information in real-time and creates a record. Beyond that it issues a call to action for users to contact their providers when they enter vitals that are out of bounds based on ACOG standards. This technology was developed after Courtney experienced Postpartum Preeclampsia, a rare condition that occurs when you have high blood pressure and excess protein in your urine soon after childbirth. She was already working in maternal health technology.

    Courtney’s pregnancy started in 2019; she gave birth at the height of the first wave of the pandemic in 2020. The pregnancy started well; she ate right and worked out daily. But the gym access stopped due to the pandemic - unfortunately, this was a major stress reliever for Courtney. She also utilized acupuncture with a naturopathic provider. Eventually, she lost access to that support due to growing concerns due to the pandemic. It had been helpful for morning sickness; this was another hit to her emotional support.

    A week before the childbirth, Courtney's son measured big and they were scheduled for a surgical birth; which she was ok with because it eased her uncertainty. Unfortunately, the hospital would not allow her doula to be present. Courtney’s husband was her sole support during the birth and everything went well as they welcomed their son. In the hours and days after the birth, her body started swelling. Courtney presented with a headache and pronounced chest pain five days postpartum. She attempted to contact her provider but did not get a response; she decided to go to the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with Postpartum Preeclampsia. After returning home, she needed to report to her doctor’s office multiple days in a week for blood pressure readings. This brought about challenges in their breastfeeding/pumping journey. Courtney was surprised that there wasn't technology to ease the challenges for new parents to go to frequent appointments during the early phases of postpartum.

    We will save ourselves. We have everything we need within ourselves to rebuild birth better. Being active participants in our care, engaging providers who acknowledge and respect our voices, and equipping ourselves with innate knowledge and an understanding of how our unique bodies respond to pregnancy are key components in creating safer, joy-filled birth experiences.

    • 45 min
    172 | Trusting Intuition, Rooted in Autonomy - Emoni Cobb

    172 | Trusting Intuition, Rooted in Autonomy - Emoni Cobb

    Meeting Emoni and listening to her pregnancy and birth reminds one of the classic interview of a young Serena Williams when the interviewer asked her repeatedly why she thought she was going to win her match. Her father Richard Williams interrupted the interview and told the reporter to “leave that alone.” The “that” he referred to was Serena’s confidence. He was deeply protective of that which he and her mother had built through practice and words. For those entrusted with the work of birth in any capacity and for those entrusted with someone sharing their birth wishes, “Leave that alone.” Birthing in confidence doesn’t mean to be ignorant of the possibilities that something could go wrong. But it does help shape the mind to prepare the body for the work ahead in pregnancy, labor, delivery, and parenthood.

    Emoni knew she didn’t want to give birth in a hospital. She connected with the resources within her community to help push her vision into motion. A local midwife, the dedicated doulas of ROOTT, her child’s father, and her mother were entrusted with her vision and supported her through the birthing experience from early conception through her first 18 months of motherhood.

    Laboring in her mother’s home at her own pace was an empowering experience. The birth she envisioned happened. Emoni’s mom described it as the most powerful birth she’d ever been present for.

    The high of labor would soon turn to postpartum lows. Despite having the extended support from her doula, Emoni struggled with postpartum depression. Having support doesn’t mean you won’t experience mental health challenges. Postpartum depression can be the perfect storm of lower oxytocin and increased cortisol. Emoni did make her way through postpartum depression. She wishes she had asked for more help but more importantly, she wished she knew what she could ask for, reflections she hopes informs others.

    • 40 min
    Community Check-In | Hypermesis Gravidarum (HG)

    Community Check-In | Hypermesis Gravidarum (HG)

    • 20 min
    171 | Along the Road to Healing - Stacee & Shawn Shannon

    171 | Along the Road to Healing - Stacee & Shawn Shannon

    Stacee describes her current state of being as her motherhood era. She has birthed two of their children with her husband, and to look at them now you would have no clue what it took to get here. Conception did not come easy. Childbirth brought its challenges. Postpartum complications nearly ended it all. Stacee and Shawn’s family was forged in the fire. Stacee and her husband, Shawn, held strong to not only each other but to their dream of adding to their family as well.

    While Shawn and Stacee’s story details two live births, their first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. A miscarriage that has allowed Stacee to be empathetic of those who have endured similar experiences. She talked about the feelings of isolation and loneliness that is matched with the mystery of miscarriages. The inexplicable loss of a child whose life is not yet deemed viable and the lack of compassion in medical settings as it’s happening. 

    Welcoming a new life into the world is a joyous occasion, but the postpartum period can bring about various health complications for mothers. While many women and birthing people experience a smooth recovery after childbirth, it’s essential to be aware of potential challenges and seek timely medical attention when needed.

    Excessive bleeding after childbirth, known as postpartum hemorrhage, can be life-threatening. Healthcare providers closely monitor mothers for signs of hemorrhage and may intervene with medications or, in severe cases, surgical procedures to control bleeding. Stacee found herself faced with this after her first birth. Her immediate postpartum journey started with stabilizing her daughter's blood sugar levels which led to the discovery that she had a rare condition that not only needed special treatment but a specific medical team an hour away from where they lived. They took a medical flight, while Stacee was barely able to acknowledge any of her own needs. During that trip, as her daughter was getting the help she needed at a pediatric hospital; Stacee eventually went to the hospital next door for her own care. They discovered that she still had sponges inside of her from her surgical birth and was having a postpartum hemorrhage.

    Pause. Breathe. Sit.

    The emotional enormity of a near-miss affects everyone in the family. Stacee is here to share her story. Shawn is here to share his vantage point of their story. Their babies are here to love their mother. Stacee and Shawn’s words carry the weight.

    • 1 hr 24 min
    170 | Building it Better - Esther McCant

    170 | Building it Better - Esther McCant

    Esther McCant, founder and CEO of Metro Mommy Agency, opened up about her five pregnancies, which included a miscarriage that would push her to self-advocate with her medical provider.

    Esther’s first pregnancy happened within the first few months of her marriage. Six weeks later, she learned that she had a blighted ovum and her provider prepared her to miscarry. She had the choice to let the ovum pass or go to the hospital for a DNC. She stayed home as long as she could but eventually went to the hospital. Esther recalled the doctor taking quite a while to see her, and when she did she insisted that Esther still needed a DNC even though everything had passed. She felt threatened by the doctor about the potential that she could bleed out. This interaction helped Esther to trust herself. She chose to leave and go home. The grieving process started; she became pregnant again within a few months. The hospital miscarriage experience led her to want to explore other birthing options. Her sister-in-law invited her to her calming water birth; which helped her see a new vision. Esther found a midwife who resonated with her and a doula who could support her choices. The midwife was able to support her in a birthing center. Baby would arrive with a nuchal hand and in the OP position by squatting.

    The third pregnancy brought on changes that would impact her nutrition, wellness, and the birthing environment she desired; which included a water birth. Feminine energy filled the birthing space by inviting her sisters-in-law. Her son’s birth was challenging as she had back labor. She regrets not getting chiropractic care and having a doula this time. Postpartum was filled with engaging with other women as opposed to the more isolating experience she had after her first birth. They had moved from Florida to Alabama, and the difference in provider options was vastly different.

    When Esther thought she was in labor they made the two-and-a-half-hour trek to Chattanooga to no avail as the baby was not ready. They turned the trip into a babymoon and would make the trip again a couple of days later. Esther and her husband brought the kids along to meet up with her family who would care for them. They didn’t make it there on time due to a flat tire problem. Esther gave birth within 6 hours of leaving their home and although she felt distracted by having the other children there and wondering where her family was. Esther’s Haitian roots welcomed the Haitian bath, teas, and essential oils, and started the restoration process with her mother coming to support her.

    When Esther had her fourth son, she was a trained birth doula. She envisioned a waterbirth with her partner, two midwives, and two doulas present. The birth and pregnancy were heavy in dealing with the ongoing race issues in our country and the experiences of Black men and boys. Giving herself space to release those feelings during long labor allowed her to relax in her body and give birth smoothly. Her vision would come true as she delivered her son in a haze of joy.

    • 1 hr 6 min
    169 | My Black Fatherhood - 2023

    169 | My Black Fatherhood - 2023

    In 2020 in collaboration with Heather Gallagher (photojournalist Heather Gallagher photographer), we highlighted and amplified the voices of black fathers in our community. We are thrilled, to be able to bring the series back with five fathers from our local Columbus, Ohio community. Four of them sharing with us a little bit of who they are, what fatherhood means to them, and the joy in their journey.

    A special layer to this year was giving these fathers their flowers of celebration in partnership with Black Men Flower Project, and The Bloom Boutique 614. Black Men Flower Project gives blooms to show appreciation to Black men - honoring their life in the present moments. One father shared that this was the first time he had ever received flowers - beaming with pride, he exclaimed "I feel pretty!"

    These voices and their lives are a gift, and we are truly grateful and honored to share them with you all!

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
53 Ratings

53 Ratings

Kyeiwaaglover ,

Grateful

Ain’t nothing like a podcast that is for YOU. The hosts are so gracious and affirming with each episode guest.

Sugar3fifty ,

Amazing Show

I love this show so much! I’ve been binging birth stories during my pregnancy and as a black woman I wanted to hear stories from the experience of black birthers and other birthers of color. Love the interview style and the diversity of stories that are shared. Thank you much for creating this space.

Jemini Jey ,

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

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