SMC Full Circle Doula Birth Companion Training in Oakland in January !

The SMC Full Circle Doula Birth Companion (SMC FCDBC)Training is the premier dual certification program for the labor and postpartum doula. The SMC FCDBC training, is built on the legacy of the 20th Century African American midwife, and it is a rite of passage to birth work. Next SMC training is January 2018 in Oakland, CA. SMC FCDBC is formerly known as the ICTC Full Circle Doula Birth Companion training. To register visit http://www.shafiamonroe.com, email: doulas@shafiamonroe.com, or call 503-281-1688.

Samsarah Morgan, SMC Full Circle Doula Certified Trainer and ED of Oakland Better Birth Foundation looks forward to greeting you at the oakland training !

Doulas are waiting to serve!

Do you know a low income pregnant low-income family in need of doula care or childbirth / lactation education?
Give them a doula for the Holidays!
Call or text 510-393-7380 for details!

Shiphrahs circle image final

The Pregnancy To Prison Pipeline

I wrote this at private request but decided to post it here as well. Its a short essay about what I call the Pregnancy to Prison Pipeline for Black Babies. (their prison being the foster care system). Your thoughts are welcome.

The Pregnancy to Prison Pipeline (Jail for Black Babies)

By Hakima Tafuni Payne

My name is Hakima Tafuzi Payne. I am 55 years old. I am an obstetrical nurse, nurse educator, IBCLC, IBCLC preceptor, doula, doula trainer, childbirth educator, and midwifery student. I have nine children, the last 6 of whom were born at home with midwives. I had my first child at the age of 15 in the ‘county hospital’ and my last at the age of 46 at home with a Certified Nurse Midwife. I have a BSN in nursing, an MSN in nursing education and am currently pursuing a doctorate in nursing education. These are my observations about Black women and their birth experiences.

Prenatal care is not care at all in the current system, but a means of surveilling ‘suspect’ low income women using Medicaid. They are suspect merely because of these factors and we live in a time when having a low income is considered tantamount to immorality. The poor must be punished for being poor or at least watched and lectured to and shamed. Poor people, by today’s standard are poor by their own fault. It is considered an outcome of their laziness, unintelligence, and bad morals. The following are touchpoints in pregnancy that ‘criminalize’ the pregnant woman and put her under greater governmental scrutiny. The healthcare professions are used as ‘mandatory reporters’ making them the guardians of ‘right-ness’ over who is and is not worthy of government subsidized care. Black people are almost never considered worthy.

The following contains ‘touch points of surveillance” to catch women (particularly women of color) committing criminal acts or acts of immorality while pregnant, is what the current prenatal care system is designed to do. We will look at the case of a recent client whom I’ll call Sandy. Sandy contacted me at about 12 weeks of pregnancy. She had been looking for a Black midwife for weeks, found out there wasn’t one, but that I was a Black midwifery student. We settled on my being her doula. She started with a homebirth midwife, started care, and then was later ruled out of homebirth care because of test results. She was referred to a hospital midwife, whom she transferred care to, who re-ran the test, to now find it negative. Sandy tried to return to the homebirth midwife, but now her roster of clients was full. She stayed with the hospital midwife who was not available when she went into labor. Neither was I as the doula, as I was out of town (Sandy knew that that was a possibility given my due date and my travel schedule). Sandy waited till she was pushing to go to the hospital to avoid the cascade of interventions that had happened with her first baby that resulted in a cesarean birth. She longed for a homebirth/VBAC but a midwife assisted hospital birth was as close as she got. She arrived at the hospital ready to push and pushed her baby out in about 20 minutes. The nightmare began for Sandy after she had given birth. Her baby was diagnosed with jaundice and placed in the NICU for several days. Her breastfeeding was supplemented with formula. She was denied a border room and spent two nights sleeping in a chair next to her baby’s crib. Her baby was drug tested because she was ‘late to prenatal care’, even though her entire pregnancy was spent seeking a care provider of her choice. She was told that most people are late to prenatal care because they are doing drugs. She was forced to give her permission for the drug test on her baby or threatened with a DFS (Division of Family Services) visit from a social worker. She signed the consent.

At no point was Sandy ever given the benefit of the doubt. Physicians and nurses have leverage and are allowed to use their professional judgement in matters of application of policies and protocols. Patients of color are often seen as suspect. Dominant culture clinicians often see themselves as the guardians of the infants against the parents. There is no acknowledgement by the system of the personal racially-motivated bias that finds its way into professional decision making.

Often the bias in prenatal care reveals itself as soon as the pregnant individual enters care. If they come to soon, they are put off for weeks for an available slot. If they come ‘too late’ they are penalized like Sandy was. Typically after 12 weeks gestation is considered ‘late entry into care’. Patients are often plagued with questions about illicit drug use, alcohol use, violence and abuse and are expected to disclose all ‘unfavorable’ behavior. African-American patients are assumed to have engaged in some illicit behavior, especially if they are young, are Afro-centric in appearance, or use Medicaid as their insurance. They are usually assumed single, even if accompanied by a partner. They are routinely denied informed consent because they are deemed not intelligent enough to understand. They are often steered toward the options that the care provider prefers. The women of my community often speak of feeling unheard and unseen.

The pregnancy to prison pipeline, begins with drug testing. The babies are often drug tested without parental consent or knowledge and needs only a Dr., nurse or social worker to order one for any point of suspicion. They do not need to justify the decision or account for their suspicion. If the baby’s meconium is positive for any illicit substances, then the mother is tested, a case is opened with Division of Family Services, and the mother receives a visit from a social worker while still in the hospital. Often a home visit is part of the investigation. For certain drug use, DFS will take custody of the infant and a case referred to family court. Often drug treatment is ordered and with Black families, termination of parental rights may be initiated early in the case, and visitation allowed only with supervision. This can go on for months and months. I’ve seen mothers reach one requested milestone only to be told to reach another. These babies are often fostered by white suburban families with intent to adopt. The mothers don’t literally end up in prison, but separated from their infants for long periods of time that may ultimately result in the destruction of the family. It is the infant who ends up imprisoned, severed from their family of origin and given to strangers. If ever returned to the family, the bond is irreparably damaged.

Hakima Tafunzi Payne

Executive Director of Uzazi Villiage

Www.uzazivillage.org

My deepest thanks to the author for her gracious permission to repost her words here!

Samsarah Morgan ED Oakland Better Birt Foundation

510-595-5534

sherry payne

Hakima Tafuni Payne (Sherry Payne)

The meaning of professional

I’m a birth professional – my profession evolved with my species, in the hearts and hands of my ancestors , women who who learned and taught what’s was needed to support human birth.

Women humble to the creator of their understanding and worlds of the living and the dead.

Women whose sacred responsibility was to walk between these worlds with and rejoice with a birthing mother and her community as her baby is born …

And rarely , to support the hearts of the community when a baby did not join us in the land of the living .

I’m honored to be part of the tradition and ministry of being a Birthworker .

Samsarah Morgan ED

Oakland Better Birth Foundation

http://www.oaklandbetterbirthfoundation.com

510-594-5534

Goodbye Mr Hefner

Good bye Mr. Hefner ,

Yesterday I read that hugh Hefner , founder of playboy magazine died at 91. Without thinking I posted the New York Times post on my Facebook wall, I added the comment rest in peace.

I did this without thinking , and I did this because this is who I wish to be ; a person who honors when life is ended , no matter whose life it is,

Yet, as the day went on I felt a growing anger. And I felt it important tomy being to say some more about this matter , this man and how he and other aspects of the so called sexual revolution caused damage to the young woman I once was.

It’s was already my sad fate to,have been raised in a household brimming with sexual, emotional and spiritual abuse. And then, I has the puzzling experince of coming to womanhood during the time where I was told that my freedom depended upon my sexual availability . Saying no was a sign of being repressed , or worse yet controlling. My value and my empowerment came from having all the sex my partner wanted , having no personal needs except to say yes to and have as much sex as possible .

Certainly wanting closeness , communication or commitment was uncool and should be avoided by the emancipated woman …

It was all rubbish certainly, and for my soul a perpetuation of the sexual abuse of my childhood.

Playboy magazine , cosmopolitan , and other publications felt it their duty to inform me that orgasims were my right and that I should demand them. No where was information on the importance of communication, empathy, true passion and trust that was required for two human beings to explore, care and value each other enough that orgasms are the natural result.

Mr Heffner , in my opinion has been the spokes man for immature broken masculinity. From the immaturity comes that false sense of privilege and anger when one doesn’t get their way. It’s one of the seeds of what we now call rape culture .

I’m speaking here about my journey . The point of any revolution is freedom . This means that everyone has the freedom and support in exploring what the words sexuality , gender, and orientation mean to us individuals , and the then the courage to reach out and communicate who we are to our peers with out judgement or injury .

The US still has much healing to do from its repressed and shaming Puritan beginnings . It is my opinion that the preaching of the Playboy man or the Cosmo girl hasn’t helped this healing . I am heart warmed as i recall the compassionate therapists, and grounded spiritual leaders and precious sexual partners , who assisted me in the development of my own sexual unfolding , and I rejoice in my absolute pleasure and acceptance of myself and my own sexual and emotional energy and power .

My wish today is that all people have the same opportunity.

Samsarah Morgan C2017

The erotic has been used against women. It has been made into the confused, the trivial, the psychotic, the plas- ticized sensation. For this reason, we have often turned away from the exploration and consider- ation of the erotic as a source of power and information, confusing it with its opposite, the pornographic. But pornography is a direct denial of the power of the erotic, for it represents the suppression of true feeling. Pornography emphasizes sensation without feeling.

~Audre Lorde