Category Archives: Lessons from BIRTH

Musings of events, experiences, revelations, and inspirations from a night shift on the labor and delivery unit. While all information is factual, a few details may have been left out or slightly altered to protect the innocent. Note: If you find a post that speaks negatively about “doctors” I am NOT speaking about YOUR doctor (unless I am LOL)

If you want to go far go TOGETHER…

The Grass is Greener

In this world of Birth Work… particularly as a black birth worker… you can feel really ALONE sometimes.  We often feel like we are speaking to ourselves, our partners, or the choir.

Fortunately… things are slowly changing.  I truly believe social media has had an impact on what women know, share and believe re: childbirth.  I could be wrong but I believe when a picture of a beautiful couple and their newborn, immediately following a water birth, is shared over 200 times… somebody outside the choir has seen it.  After water birth

Clearly this does not come anywhere close to the almost two BILLION hits on “Gangnam Style”… but it does IMHO mean there are folks OUTSIDE  the choir seeing these positive images.

UN-fortunately, there are not enough images or opportunities to reach beyond the choir.  That’s why I am excited about an online event that I am a part of. Its called The Grass is Greener Virtual Health and Wellness Expo and I am one of the many vendors/healing practitioners participating in this event that will provide information, special offers, give-aways, and more.  We will be providing opportunities for you to learn about many healing practices and practitioners. While participating in this event will cost you NOTHING it will provide you with a wealth of information.

I’m excited because I know it will help me get beyond my choir. I’m also excited because it underscores the reality that a collective agenda will take us further than a personal agenda.  In this world of birth work, we are NOT alone and if we take advantage of opportunities outside our immediate circles, if we take a chance, if we move beyond our comfort zones, we can touch many more lives. We have to get creative. We have to embrace others  and we have to remember the Afrakan Proverb that tells us… if you want to go far… go TOGETHER.

I hope that you will consider joining us. Its going to be a GREAT ride.  This event will be held on-line and run February 11th – February 21st.  

Learn more and Sign Up to get reminders about the event so you  can take advantage of the give-aways. I will be doin some special give-aways myself! I am sure between all of the vendors you will definitely find something to help you #BirthSomethingBeautiful

Monday Musing: The Spirits That Protect the Youth

The time has come once again, as it does every year, for parents, teachers, and students to do the mad dash to finish the all important “back to school shopping.”  This is not really an issue for me… I don’t have any children and I’m not in that mad rush.  Even so, I have always said… “When I have children… Imma home school”  I didn’t really know what that meant, and had never really thought out exactly how that would work but I DEFINITELY knew homeschooling…  with all of the rights and wrongs, challenges and success, would be a part of my future.  Today there are more and more families choosing to home school. The idea of homeschooling isn’t as far-fetched as it usta seem.  And I still have plans to home school when my time comes.  Why home school?? Because I believe the school/FOOL system is NOT doin right by my community.   Every year, when “back to school shopping ensues” I am reminded that the children in my community are moving forward excitedly to walk into a building/a system that unfortunately does not respect or understand what makes them tick.  They are walking into a danger zone.  One that leaves them without a knowledge or a love of self. One that leaves them lost and confused. One that leaves them continually searching for their purpose, their story, their opportunity.  QUESTION:  What is the solution and who is protecting the spirit of our children?

ANSWER:  A few months ago my brother Samori published a kindle book.  Education for Liberation: The Top 20 Questions and Answers for Black Homeschoolers. 

Dr. Samori Camara

Now, Samori is NOT my biological brother.  He’s a brother from another mother but he truly is like the little brother I never had.   Whenever I see him, which is fairly often, he ALWAYS has something smart to say, always debating, sometimes getting on my nerves… AND makes me VERY proud.  The more I see him, watch him, hear him and learn of the things he is doing I am proud. When his book was first published I promised him a shout out on my blog. I bought the book, read the first 20 pages and well…. Yall know the rest of that story *looks away in shame*

Last week, I was on facebook and saw a post from his facebook page:  Kamali Academy an Afrikan Centered Home School.  “To start Black August, we have put our online classes up for preorders with a discount. The price will go back to the regular price in two weeks. Spots are limited! Classes start Sept. 2nd.” 

WAIT!! WHAT!?! This brother is doin it again!!  I say again cause he is always doing something new and great and quite honestly I can’t keep up.  I woke this morning and realized it’s a beautiful day to #BirthSomethingBeautiful, as it always is, :-) and today I decided I was gonna birth a blog post to shout out Baba Dr. Brother. Samori Camara (A.K.A. – Brother Afrika) As a side note… that A.K.A. means Affectionately Known As and as I finished this blog post and allowed him to read it… Said brother told me I needed to add all that. I agreed because I started the Brother Afrika thing anyway and so well…. I did as he asked… but I digress.

I initially met Samori while hanging out and about in the city of New Orleans. We were introduced by a mutual acquaintance.  I looked at this young man before me with these pretty locks wearing a dashiki and learned he was finishing up his Doctorate before the age of 30.  Always impressed by THAT, we continued to talk and I learned he was opening his first Afrikan Centered school for children in New Orleans. I thought… “Here is a young man who sees it, knows it and DOES it.” Ya gotta love it.

That was a few years ago and since that time I have come to know him more.  He has proven to be a leader, a progressive thinker, and a real champion of Afrikan people.  He loves Afrikan children and he is all about WORKING to build their minds and their spirits.  Today he is the director of Kamali Academy and not only is he helping to change the lives of the children he works with here in NOLA he is working with Afrikan families nationwide (likely worldwide) through his online education curriculums…  Available up to and including an 8th grade curriculum *in my fast infomercial voice*

I asked Samori recently… Why Kamali Academy? He first let me know that Kamali (which come from the South African Language Shona) means “The spirit that protects the youth” I loved that immediately. Kinda like a midwife ya know?   We are in many ways spirits that protect the entry way for the youth.   It’s also a great name for Samori’s Academy as he too is that spirit.  He tells me “the public fool system is dealing death and we want to save our children from that.”

No matter where your children are being educated, whether at home, in a private school or in the “public fool system” if you are a parent of Afrikan children you really should get to know the works of Samori and Kamali Academy.  “The Kamali Academy uses an Afrikan-centered, project-based curriculum, which places the development of an Afrikan consciousness at its center. This curriculum has been developed to maximize the effectiveness of the transgenerational transmission of our ancestral traditions, morals, and worldview in a family environment. Kamali not only inspires and trains its students to solve specific issues that plague our community, it also develops leaders who can adapt to whatever problem might be thrust upon our Afrikan nation—no matter what continent, no matter what conditions, no matter what form of warfare, no matter what enemy.”

I have to be honest, Samori  motivates me to want to learn more, strive more, do more and reach more.  Being a midwife, a doula, a birth worker… yall know… this work… it’s an honor. It’s a humbling privilege.  We are the ones that help women “give light.”  We are the ones that help create/maintain a sacred space for birth. We are the ones that protect the spirit of the youth as they enter into this world.  It’s wonderful to know that once my job is done, there are people like Samori who will grab the baton and continue to protect their spirits.   When I am so blessed to bring forth life into this world, it will be an honor to trust my children, their minds, and their spirits to the hands of Dr. Samori Camara. He is indeed doing what it takes to Birth Something Beautiful and to help our children do the same.

Fist Up Brotha Afrika…  Revolutionary Love!

Do you homeschool? Do you know Dr. Samori?  Share your story!

Undistrubed Birth… A Quote

I read this in the June issue of the Midwifery Today e-newsletter and I wanted to share. I LOVED the visual… Its calming, radiant, strong, rhythmic, primal. #BirthSomethingBeautiful

“If undisturbed and able to stay instinctual—moving about and pacing her breath—[the mother] will work her baby out as if she were on an island by herself. Confidently, she will twist and turn, bellow or moan, breathe deeply, squat or lie, drink or seek a corner. The most important thing for the midwife during the pushing phase of labor is to refrain from engaging the mother’s thinking brain. Stay sensual with her. If you feel she needs to slow her breathing down or to breathe more deeply, sit nearby and do that. Breathe the way you want her to breathe. She will do exactly what you do.

Sister MorningStar Excerpted from “Midwifing Second Stage,” Second Stage: The Pushing Phase of Labor, a Midwifery Today e-book. How to order

What words/images come to mind when you read this?

The Birth Plan Myth

Are you pregnant or trying to conceive?
Are you a doula or childbirth educator?
Hare you heard of the infamous birth plan?
Are you planning to prepare a birth plan?
Do you advise your clients to prepare birth plans?
Have you googled “Birth Plan” recently?
I did… Wanna know what I found???
147,000,000 results!!

Unfortunately… most of them by and large give women the false belief that writing a Birth Plan will have a significant impact on their birth experience.  The reality is, in hospitals where birth plans are respected, they are hardly needed and in hospitals where they don’t respect them…… weeelllll  it may have LITTLE impact on what happens!

Join me THURSDAY on my next FREE tele-class as I share The Birth Plan Myth.  Learn more and register for this free call HERE

After this call you will …

  • Understand how to avoid the most common mistakes women make when creating a birth plan and have insights that will help you create the birth experience you want with or without a Birth Plan
  • Know the phrases that immediately diminish the power of a Birth Plan and the language you need to feel more confident when discussing your birth with your provider.

I hope you can make it!!
Thursday, April 18th ~ 8PM CST / 9PM EST
Join us live and participate in our Q & A portion.
Can’t make the call?
Register so you can get access to the recording.

 Don’t take a birth plan to the hospital until you listen to this call!

Register HERE

I look forward to working with you to Birth Something Beautiful!

Monday Musing – The Universe Conspires

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Paulo Coelho ~ The Alchemist

yes, Yes, YES…. I love it when the universe conspires in my favor! I think it happens more times than not for most of us and yet we don’t receive it because we shift the universal energy in another direction and before the blessing can fall from the sky, we send our lives on a detour away from our dreams without even knowing it. Let me tell you what I mean.

The other day I was texting with a friend a number of wonderful things happening in my life right now.  One of the texts I sent said… “The universe is conspiring in my favor and knowing that the window only stays open for so long I know I have to slide through it while it is open…”  While that IS the text that I sent, what I was about to send was a text that said… “The universe is forcing my hand…” Fortunately, before I could send that message, I realized that THIS statement/text  could have, in an instant, blocked my blessings for many years. This same type of blocking, self sabotage may be happening to you.  Why was I saying “forcing my hand?”  The things happening in my life are wonderful things I have wanted, envisioned, prayed about and meditated on… and now I wanna say I’m being forced?? Seriously??  The nerve of me!! LOL

I am certainly not a “Secret” guru nor a great student of the Law of Attraction but let me say this… No one,  and I mean NOBODY can prove to me that the laws of the universe, including the Law of Attraction are not in affect for us, ALL of us, all the time. The Universe does, and will continue to conspire for us in our favor bringing to us what we ask for and affirm, no matter if its “the Universe is conspiring in my favor”  OR  “the Universe is forcing my hand.” The latter sounds a lot less pleasant sending a message to the universe that I don’t like it and don’t want it.

“I remember the point in labor when I knew I just had to LET GO…”
I hear this all the time. Women who are having an empowering un-medicated birth often will say in that moment of realization, when they let go of  controlling the outcome, and shift to having faith in things happening the way they have envisioned it… That’s a beautiful space to be in and that’s when Birth… Magic… Blessings happen.

Whew… I’m happy I changed that text message :-).  It can be a scary, revealing, empowering, exciting, spiritual, transformational, thing to experience the truth of the Universe….  When we Let Go and Let God… things happen in our lives and we move into the space to “Birth Something Beautiful”

Wanna know what has me so excited right now?? Check out this information about the upcoming Birth Herstory (#BirthHerStory) conference.

From the official website: “Birth Herstory is a FREE online annual conference uniting women of colour in celebration of Black History Month.  Join us on the Full Moon Monday February 25th 2013 and be inspired to grow and learn from one another in the area of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and motherhood!

13 amazing women have committed to sharing their expertise in a wide range of subjects all centered around mothering the beautiful woman of colour! Hear speakers such as Shafia Monroe, Nicole Deggins, Darline Turner, Kimberly Seals Allers and Latham Thomas share their best secrets to empower you to create the journey to motherhood of your dreams!

If you want to feel inspired, get information your care provider may not provide, feel like you are understood, and be part of this amazing community…then sister you’ve got to join us!”

This type of conference… featuring Black women talking about birth, sharing wisdom, and giving birth love…. I always knew there was someone else who saw the same vision I saw and Tanya is her!! I’m so excited about this conference and I hope you will join it. While the conference is free you must register.

You can’t force birth. You can’t force the timing of your dreams, desires, and blessings.  All we can do is speak it, believe it, scratch that….  KNOW it and then put in the work towards it and when it is time… we have to take a step back, Let Go and Let Birth and in that space… magic happens.