Another beautiful forward for “Birth. A Black Womans Guide to Surviving and Thriving ! Thank you Asatu Musunama Hall
Forward for Birth: A Black Women’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving!
By Asatu Musunama Hall, MA, MPH, CPM
I first met L. Samsarah Morgan in 1999 shortly after completing my Midwifery education at Maternidad La Luz. A younger Black midwife, I had been asked to be on a panel at a community symposium in West Oakland called The Birth Symposium hosted by The Black Dot Artist Collective and moderated by Letisia Ntofon. I was on the panel with a Pediatrician, a Childbirth Educator, and Natural Childbirth Advocate and if I recall correctly a Black Chiropractor. Although I was a Certified Professional Midwife and Licensed in Texas, I was nervous because I did not feel like I was an expert. I had barely earned my stripes in the birth worker game so I tried to rally one of my elders or one of few Mama African American midwives in Oakland to take my place feeling the weight of the community forum on my shoulders to discuss the reality of Black Women giving birth in Alameda County which at this time had the worst birth outcomes for Black women in the nation. Before this forum, I had only met 3 black midwives in the Bay Area, all who were retired or moved onto administrative roles in the hospital and a handful of lay midwives who had also stopped assisting births years before due the unfair laws that didn’t protect homebirth or midwives.
On the day of the “Birth Symposium”, like a Queen, Samsarah glided into the door with her entourage of student Doulas and introduced herself before giving a very poignant synopsis about the plight of mothers entering the hospital without education, knowledge of their rights and nurturing support and advocacy from a doula. She reassured with her loving smile and her nod of head each time I nervously answered the questions that I normally would yield to one of the elders as if to say “you got this baby, breathe, we see you, we got you”, Then as if the flood gate opened more and more sisters young and old stood up to tearfully share their birth experiences of feeling alone, bullied, tricked, raped, discriminated against and traumatized by providers or from their birth experiences in the hospital. Once again, Samsarah rose to speak some beautiful comforting words to the masses of women. Like a healing balm, she acknowledged their pain and trauma and soothed their wounds. This was the first time, I was blessed to experience the wise and graceful force that we call Mama Samsarah in action.
Birth: A Black Women’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving! Is a timely and vital offering from the Brooklyn born and Bay Area Treasure Samsarah Morgan. Samsarah has been a birth worker, teacher, Spiritual leader, activist, advocate for women, children, and families for 30 years. Her calling and Ministry has involved saving lives and protecting women and their babies from the harshness and ordeal that is too often experienced by black women in the United States during birth by reminding them about the sacredness of their bodies, their birth, motherhood and preparing them for every aspect of their journey. From nutrition, mental health, embracing a spiritual foundation, and self-love, to selecting a life- partner, the best birth environment for mother and baby and creating a birth plan, Samsarah delivers with love and great honesty the type of “Motherwit” that black women so desperately need to hear before choosing to become a mother and definitely before giving birth.
Birth: A Black Women’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving! reminds us that in spite of our painful history as African American women in the USA and the present day reality of poor outcomes for many black mother and infants, black women should not fear giving birth or give up on their dreams of becoming a mother. Today, we have access to so much information, tools, and support within our reach such as an increasing number of Birthworkers of color that can help us turn the tide. Samsarah encourages the expecting mother to look inside herself and to do the necessary spiritual, emotional, mental and physical “work” in preparation for a healthy pregnancy, positive birth experience, and a thriving baby. The goal of this guide is to remind us as black women that we are capable of having healthy babies as well as safe and beautiful birth experiences. Black women are worthy of love, happiness and receiving excellent care from supportive health providers and a loving community. Black women are sacred and our bodies are powerful. Most importantly we are good mothers who are able to breastfeed and nurture our babies. I am grateful for having had the honor of reading and commenting on this book. I was totally captivated by the stories and the life lessons which are important not only for mothers but also for healthcare providers and the birth worker community to embrace and share.
I am crowdsourcing to pay for the editing and layout of this book .
If you’d like to help please click the link below ! I thank you in advance for helping me bring this “baby” to birth!