As the daughter of a retired Labor & Delivery nurse, childbirth has always been a part of my life. I remember listening to my mother’s stories of the joys, pains, and politics of giving birth in New York City. Her work as an RN in Spanish Harlem, was an intriguing topic of many family conversations. The real jewel of growing up as the child of an L&D nurse, was that my mother’s view of childbirth wasn’t limited to what she saw at work each day.
A culture of normalcy surrounded birth in the island on which she was born.
This cultural outlook tempered the medical side of her practice, with the strong belief that: 1) Women are capable, and 2) What they need most during labor and birth is care, support, respect, and more care.
“Shiphrah & Puah Stories” is a series that celebrates the contributions of Caribbean midwives and matriarchs, while documenting the nutrition, rituals, and pampering practices that have kept Black women safe during pregnancy, childbirth, and during the postpartum period.
At a time when maternal and infant mortality rates among Black women and babies in America are unconscionably high, “Shiphrah & Puah Stories” is a call for us to save ourselves.
The goal of this series is to highlight the continuum of African birthing wisdom preserved from ancient times until now, in the tradition of the Hebrew midwives who saved the nation of Yisrael through their wisdom and commitment.
The first episode, featuring part one of my interview with elder midwife Emelda Cox, will air tonight Thursday February 21, 2019 at 9:00 PM EST. Please feel free to tune in by clicking this link.
It will take you to YouTube, where you can subscribe to the Flatbush Doulas channel and set a notification before airtime. You can also request more information on this series, as well as the products & services provided by Flatbuish Doulas, by contacting us directly.