Your BIRTH Partners

Community without Competition #071

October 10, 2022 Your BIRTH Partners
Your BIRTH Partners
Community without Competition #071
Show Notes Transcript

As we continue our exploration of what it means to come together as a community in birthcare, we will be diving into some of the reasons that we often find ourselves not connecting in community.

What are some of the cultural and societal beliefs around worthiness and value and perfectionism that set us up to be in competition with each other, rather than in community? In particular, what are things those of us who have been socialized as white need to uncover about white supremacy?  How have patterns from that been ingrained in our behaviors, in our beliefs and and how we look to be in community- with those we care for and with our colleagues?
I am so grateful to have Allison Tate joining us in this conversation.  She transplanted to the US as an established birthworker and became keenly aware of how this dynamic plays out and personal work she needed to do moving forward.

This episode is for you if you are looking for insights around:
~Increasing your awareness about how you show up in community
~Rejecting "glossy" birthworker communities & competition
~Considering how value & worthiness is assigned in community
~Recognizing tenants of white supremacy in birthwork
~Holding yourself accountable to doing inner work

Follow Allison and her work here.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

Cheyenne Scarlett's My Deep Dive-Reflection prompts for birthworkers

Doula Instincts Membership-Allison's co-led community space for birthworkers interested in growth and accountability.

Support the show

Maggie, RNC-OB  0:03  
Welcome to your birth partners, the podcast identifying gaps, acknowledging biases, and co-creating a trauma informed standard of birth care with change agents across the spectrum of birth work. I'm your host, Maggie Runyon. I'm a birth nurse, educator and advocate who has been searching since 2010 for the answers to how to provide better care during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Through my own pregnancies and supporting births in home and hospitals around the country. I've seen firsthand many the systemic flaws that exist in perinatal care. Through these conversations, I'm thrilled to share with you insights and inspiration as we work collectively to transform birth care.

As we continue our exploration of what it means to come together as a community in birth care, we will be diving into one of the reasons that we often find ourselves not connecting in community, what are some of the cultural and societal beliefs around worthiness and value and perfectionism and quality that set us up to be in competition with each other, rather than in community? In particular, what are ways that those of us who have been socialized as white need to uncover about white supremacy, and how patterns within that have been ingrained in our behaviors in our beliefs and and how we look to be in community with others who we care about, and with our colleagues. I am so grateful to have Allison Tate joining us in this conversation as a birth worker who transplanted to the US she has some unique insight in seeing how we operate, both from the outside and then coming in looking to be part of this community. And she'll share a lot for those of you who are looking for insight into how to start to kind of increase our awareness and navigate the difficulties that come up as we seek community- this one's for you onto the show. 

Allison, welcome to the podcast. I am really glad to have you here. And to dive into this intense topic. As you know, we just understand kind of what our roles are in birth care as we start to break down some of the way we're socialized, especially here in the US around what birth care means what our role is as supporters and especially how race plays out in our country and the role of white women as we kind of get and how we support and show up in community with others who are particularly affected by our egregious and racially motivated perinatal morbidity, mortality. So diving into all of that, Allison, feel free to just let us know a little bit about yourself and what your work is and why you're here.

Allison, Birth Companion  2:48  
Okay, great. Hey, thanks for having me here. And yeah, this is a huge topic and I'm so pleased to be able to be part of the conversation and just to kind of get get things started in that conversation. It's huge. Hi, everyone, I'm Alison Tate, my pronouns are she her. So I live in Florida on taco bug by the land in Florida with my husband and my three little boys. I'm originally from Scotland, and my work in birth work so I you know, identify as an advocate companion, you know, I'm really stripping things back companionship is where my heart is, my humanity is, and I really just support all experiences in reproductive care for all people. And a big part of that journey is everything that we're talking about today, you know, I have a hugely every day, every day, hold myself accountable for the work that I'm actually doing for myself on my own self, in order to show up in this work, you know, as a white, very privileged, woman, you know, I recognize the many layers of privilege that I sit in, you know, I am cisgendered women, you know, I'm able bodied, I'm neurotypical, I have middle class, you know, I speak English, so many layers of privilege that I have, and which I bring to this work, and which I constantly have to be aware of, and to do the work on. So it's great to be able to have these conversations. So that daily, I am reminded to continually do that work, because, you know, there's there's no end point. And I really want to join others on that journey and support others. To me that because it's hard work, but it is essential. And in my view, opting out is it's a choice. It's not an option. So that's kind of where where I am at. And I've come on a huge journey since coming from the UK from coming from Scotland over to America and I have learned a lot about myself. You know, I held up a huge mirror and I stared around myself and I'm like, You got to do the work.

Maggie, RNC-OB  4:56  
You know, just prefacing this for everyone like these conversations. A lot of people feel It tends, it can be awkward and comfortable. And there is that sense, you kind of touched on there that like some people feel like they have to have arrived to a certain point to be able to, like have these conversations. And absolutely we don't want to, we never want to be harmful when joining spaces that we you know, that that we shouldn't be and that we don't know enough about, but also recognizing just that this is growth work for all of us. We've touched before in past episodes about really just that importance of recognizing our positionality, you have some exercises, there are some great resources out there that help you to just kind of go through and figure out where you are where, where you maybe hold more privilege, where you hold less thinking about how that shows up in your work, as you know, someone has used support birth, as you support clients who share similar backgrounds with you or don't, what happens during that. And I think that's really just powerful introspective work, but then having the opportunity to talk through it, to understand kind of how that plays into it. And that that aspect of community is so important. So I'm really grateful for you being here and being willing to kind of dive into some of this nitty gritty with us, I think maybe just starting out with a little bit of that, you know, we tend to have a pretty US centric focus on the podcast here. But we have listeners from all around the world. And so I would love to hear a little bit about what you kind of noticed from coming from Scotland, to overhear what were kind of your, like, first impressions, things that kind of maybe pushed you on that journey,

Unknown Speaker  6:20  
Oh my goodness-a lot. A lot. I mean, when I when I can think back to, you know, for obviously talking about, you know, from a birth worker perspective. So from my anti union perspective, I trained, you know, at a community level in community with Nicola Goodall was my my trainer and mentor returned to us, and it was carried out in small community grassroots level, right, that's where I trained. So it was small, and then I come to the US and I am faced with a, everything is much bigger, enormous first of all and I am faced with multiple systems that are impacting my life that I do not understand. And that are very layered and very complex, and which obviously impact me as a very privileged white person. So I then can answer I'm starting to, that's where I really start holding up the mirror and starting to think about, you know, there's a lot more that I need to be picky about myself if I'm going to be serving truly, from a place of humanity, and both work in this country. So I think what really hit me first of all, was that kind of just how big everything was, and moving from just being in community with my birth workers, where we show up, and we are just present, and we are sharing food, and we are genuinely connecting, and we are listening. And I then start to notice this kind of idea about how hard it is to actually get close to the birth workers in my community in a really rich area, you know, I am in the Tampa Bay area, it's rich with birth workers, there are many of them. And I'm thinking how do I truly get to know them? How do I sit in a community space with them and really, truly get to know who they are. And I find that very, very difficult, you know, and I start to witness some of the characteristics of white supremacy, which we're going to start to talk about, I see how that is playing out, in the birth worker community. And it was just very, very, very complex to navigate. It was very lonely, I felt very isolated, I really struggled to, you know, find my place. And I think that's an interesting choice of words, actually, for me to see find my place because, you know, there was a real idea of, you know, well, who are you? Why are you here? Why are you asking these questions, you know, what do you bring? What's your certification, how many bursts of Dijon, you know, all of these kind of questions are based in their perception of my value and my worth, and what I had to get there to serve and to add on to their own sense of, of worthiness. So that was interesting, because I'd never kind of had to be in that place before where my kind of presence was being questioned based on what I brought to other birth workers and their own value.

Maggie, RNC-OB  9:13  
Wow, I very, I just want to follow up on that a little bit because I feel like that one of the things we had talked about when we were kind of talking pre recording was about that the glossiness so much birth work and the way that it has been maybe you know, Instagram ified into you're kind of looking for these like these perfect picture moments that are gonna show how you as the birth worker, how you as the person there did the thing, you created this perfect setting, and you had just the right thing and your client is looking at, you know, totally radiant and powerful and strong and there you are like holding this thing and there's this very like you None of those thoughts or feelings or desires are like wrong, obviously. But there, it feels like that motivation to have things be perfectly packaged.

Unknown Speaker  10:11  
It was very present. And I felt it strongly and I witnessed it strongly. And it was a way of working and relating and being in birthworks that I hadn't experienced. So it was, it takes a lot to actually get past that. And I wanted so much to be able to unpeel people to really get to know them. And so I would ask lots of questions. Tell me about you know who you are. Tell me about what it's like to be a doula here. Tell me about what it's like to be a midwife here, you know, tell me, you know, just share, you know, I really just wanted to get to know people on a human level, but that was very difficult. I think the thing that was challenging, I think it was felt as being, I guess, going too deep. And there was an air of kind of being very wary of me and then we start to get into what was on it the birth world around, you know, sort of excluding people you know what a good doula is, what a bad doula is and all this other things intertwine the eyesore around, dueling as a profession done by professional doulas now that that blew my mind when I got here. Where's where does that come from? You know, I, I was viewing myself as a knowledgeable to a degree or was it knowledge I'd gathered to that point in my life for my own life stories, my own birth. It is a layperson. And now I was in a community that was looking at me and asking me to prove my worthiness based on certification, how many births I'd done, how I presented myself in the birth space, what t shirt I wore, what my logo looks like, what my name badge was, where did I get it? What clothes I wore in the birth room, how I behaved in the birth room, if I stayed in my lane, you know, all of this kind of oppressive language. And that's when I started just to witness the impression of of the birth work within this country. Now, not to say that that is not presently the UK, of course, the inspects a different structure system. Yeah. And so I was really feeling it very, very amplified. And, you know, getting pulled into conversations around insurance litigation scope, how big is your contract? What is it? And I'm thinking, Whoa, where's they're relating to each other as human beings gone? In? How do we get back to that level of stripping back that stuff? And where does it come from? And how can we engage each other in conversations about accountability for all of that our personal responsibility without appealing all of these things? And it was hugely challenging? And I, to be honest, didn't really get terribly far.

Maggie, RNC-OB  13:09  
Oh, yeah. I mean, it's hearing, it's always interesting. You know, we all have our own worldview, right? You know, we get we've talked a lot about our biases, and how those kind of come up and just what we we come to accept expect as just normal? This is how the world is, is the standard, this is what's done. So it's so interesting, hearing your perspective coming from outside of this system, and then really experiencing this really like intense gatekeeping from other birth workers. And you're certainly not alone. With that. We see that over and again, I'm in terms of like you said, the, It's so wild to think of the things that were prioritized in that space. So like, the almighty certification, right? Because here the US we tend to be very focused on that. And product did you get your you've got your badge, you've got your certificate, you've got your official checkmark. So like you've done it, and you're good. And we have strayed so far away from acknowledging and appreciating the value of a variety of lived experiences. And what folks bring that is outside of something that someone else kind of officially stamped off. Like, we have just gotten so out of touch with trusting ourselves and each other, that those experiences are valid, that that sort of ancestral and personal knowledge and wisdom is also counts. Like, it's just really wild. And obviously, so much of that comes from our obsession, via the, you know, the tenants of white supremacy. And perfectionism, feeling yep, everything has to be done in just this order in order to write up nicknames from it. Yeah, yes, the urgency piece that like you're not really you can't really start doing this until You have ticked all that stuff off. That means you have to get into training, you got to get it done ASAP, and get out there and start charging money and make this a thing

Unknown Speaker  15:08  
and do the quantity over the quality. Yes,

Maggie, RNC-OB  15:11  
first, because you're not valid if you're a doula who's had two births. But if you're one who's had 200? Absolutely, like,

Unknown Speaker  15:20  
Thursday I this huge conversation about who defines our worth, and what is worthiness? And who are we working for? And how are we showing up for them? And if we're spending all the time talking about absolutely everything that you've just said, you know, checking the boxes, going, jumping the hoops from the doula training industrial complex, which is a whole other conversation, but is very much intertwined with all of this, because the DTIC is holding up so many characteristics of white supremacy and are complicit and huge might, you know, we're not getting near the healing work, we're not getting near sitting in real community, we're not getting near listening, we're just talking. And if we're just talking, we're not listening. And if we're not listening, we're certainly not being fully present and showing up in the way that birthing people need us to, you know, I just saw so much, just so much oppression and so much, you know, like frustration, burnout, powerlessness, helplessness, and I'm thinking we are so powerful, you know, if we are doulas, and companions, you know, we sit in a place that is hugely powerful, to come alongside birthing people in the way that they need us to if we truly allow ourselves to do it. And if we truly commit to doing the foundational work and the self healing work, and the work that we need to do is this deprogramming deconstructing all of it. You know, we have to, we're not powerless. You know, quite the opposite. And I'm so that's why I'm so motivated to sit in spaces of community that support doulas and birth workers to regain their power, because we can't support birthing people in their peril if we don't have a role, right. And we have to separate ourselves from all of these, you know, strings and cords that are really holding us back from being truly human and being truly honest to ourselves, so that those were like, I think they're really big things that I was seeing. I was also seeing a lot of incongruence between what doulas and other birth workers were saying about providers and places of birth, and what birthing people were saying, Oh, my, oh, hold on a minute, you know, work with the glossiness again, and also not wanting to go deep into something because it's we admit that certain place of birth is a problem or is challenging, or a provider equally so that I am building a relationship with for referrals. I don't want to go there and burst that bubble. Whereas birthing people are telling us clearly and the experiences that they're having that there is a mismatch there. And as birth workers, we need to step into that mucky zone and really on that real information and share that truly with birthing people.

Maggie, RNC-OB  18:18  
Oh my gosh, yeah, absolutely. I feel like too. Sometimes when we have these conversations, it can seem like it's only like a one issue. And so I just want to highlight obviously, you know, Allison is speaking to her experience with a doula and you know, birth worker. But this is something that we see in all aspects of folks who support people during birth, I have seen the same dynamics at play, when we are talking to nurses in the hospital and figuring out their role and how they gauge what makes someone a valuable labor and birth Nurse. Yes. And the things that we look out for that are again, like speed, right? So we want someone who can get that admission and in 20 minutes, who cares? Okay, but we've decided that like, yeah, that 2030 admission minute like, that's, that's what we need. That's what matters most. Okay, we want someone who can do like those hard skills like, oh, yeah, they're great with an IV, we value someone's ability to multitask, and more than is often like truly safe. But if you can, like make it safe enough, then that's, that's great. You know, we we hold up these tenants within our culture, that say that what brings value is again, quantity. Right, that you're getting it and I heard someone that had left a comment on one of Mandy Irby's posts recently talking about how colleagues will kind of berate themselves and call them each other like labor losers, if they don't support someone in having their baby on their shift like that labor didn't go quick enough. And so I think these themes like they run across all of us and absolutely I know that these these things are still present, certainly for physicians as they are looked at in terms of their training in terms of the quantity of certain things that they have seen. inserted meal to check the block and say that they are now qualified support person because they have seen so many births. They've seen this many situations, there is so much so much of our culture within birth care pulls, again from those like white supremacy values, right? So we want urgency, we want things very, very quickly, right? Whether to ASAP we're very focused on like quantity, over quality, right? So if you're going to tell me you've done a number of things, whatever number we decided, like that makes you better. You've been in practice for more years, you've seen more births, those are all like, yep, getting you are inherently going to be better, without recognizing the way that actually each of those births that you've seen, you've gained something, but it's also taking something away from you. And perhaps it's taken a couple more things away from you, if you've been in a culture system that has really traumatic birth, and really poor practices, actually, each of those is weighing a little more deeply on your soul than what you are gaining in those experiences. So like we don't take the time to acknowledge that give and take, we don't take the time to pause and see what we need. As we're growing. You know, we're so focused as well on like, Yep, the finished your doula training, check your certification, same thing, your orientation as a nurse check. You did residency check. Like, there you go. Now, you're good. Good. Yeah, get out there. And go forth is we've invested all we can into you. So now it's, it's on you, you got to just do it. Like,

Unknown Speaker  21:26  
yeah, and it's just very pervasive enough. Absolutely. And, you know, the idea of individualism, you know, even though you know, another thing I noticed, when I came over here, your other job was working in collectives together in business together. And I found that really interesting, I saw okay, this, you know, could be something that is going to work well, for birthing people potentially. I also saw you know, doulas, working very closely with midwives in the community, which again, could be something that would work very well for birthing people. But we got to look really deeply at how we're actually working within those relationships. I even couldn't get information, you know, from some of the Collective's, unless I was depending on what I could give them in order for them to give me something back, you know, Gone were the days of meeting up with my doula peers, and having a cup of tea and a piece of cake and a coffee and actually doing the nitty gritty work to well, you pay me and I'll give you, you know, and I get that I value people's time. Yes, there is a monetary exchange. But there's also an energetic exchange, we're talking about human work, we're talking about human beings here. So that was a huge thing to get over, you know, that individualism, we can't work in isolation. And ultimately, I work for birthing people. But I need to work with an awareness and with perspective, and I need to understand the perspective of every single person that is present in the birth space with the person. And you know, I want to know as why ask questions, to midwives to OBs, if I was lucky to be able to meet them in the space, tell me about your work? What are the challenges here? How can I work with you? You know, what do we need to do? You know, those were the kind of conversations that I really wanted to have, and kind of getting past there, you know, all the things we've already spoken about just the tick, tick, tick. And they're doing doing and the speed speed and the haste and they're not stopping and taking a breath and actually witnessing what is going on within ourselves. Yeah, it's a big thing.

Maggie, RNC-OB  23:27  
Yeah, that individualism, like it is, it is what holds us back, obviously, individuals being the opposite of community, which is what we're, you know, discussing throughout this whole season. But I think, you know, part of this topic and reflecting particularly on you know, white bodied folks is that, you know, there is a there's a cultural piece to certainly the way that you know, whiteness has shown up in the US. And our intense focus on individualism prohibits us from getting deeply into community. That thing and that's, that is like a, just pause with that for a second. Like, again, this is not about you being wrong, or doing it the wrong way. It's recognizing the fact that so many things in our life from our education system, how we set folks up from when they're little little to feel like, yep, you have to be able to do this by yourself, the way we work against cooperation in our learning, the way that even in team sports, we still put a lot of emphasis on, you know, certain players and what they did like, and again, each of these things is little and not inherently bad by itself, blah, blah, blah, but the collective experience of all of these things, those of us who grown up here and take this all in, it's deeply ingrained in us that we as an individual are responsible for ourselves and and kind of only ourselves, right like, yeah, you do you but also then, if those people over there are like another birth worker Your space, if their practice is doing something wrong, it's another nurse who messed it up, that's not really on you. Because that's on them that they're their own individual. So like, you're not going to get involved, you're not going to call out their bad behavior, you're not going to step up and kind of correct them. Because we are so used to being told that we don't have to be a part of that. And frankly, we have seen this play out significantly over the last few years as a political pandemic, all of everything that's played out, we here in the US are very individually focused. And that hurts us when it comes to reimagining what birth care can look like, in community. And it's something we really need to, to grapple with and to sit with and to think about how those pieces of our practice, are we kind of stuck in that mindset and raising my hand along with you like, yes, I've totally been there socialized the same way, like have, you know, drilled that in. And so it's had to be really consciously thinking of how do I focus more on connection? How do I focus more on what we all collectively can do, instead of saying that I need to take responsibility for this, and I need to fix it or save it and you know, diving into all of the saviorism stuff then very handily flows, right from that individual focus?

Unknown Speaker  26:21  
Yeah, absolutely. And what do we need to? What does community mean? What is being in community meeting? What does it requires me to be in community? In order, it does require a lot of self work, self awareness, commitment to myself, and to others? Do you know it's a shared space of accountability? And if we are working, so individually, without doing the accountability piece on ourself, we can't truly show up and community to bring about change that is needed, because it's not meaningful. Right. And there's so much work to be done on, certainly for white birth workers to be able to actually be in community with others. It's not something that I think we do well, we certainly don't do it enough. And, you know, all of the characteristics of our white upbringing spill into that, you know, this idea, I can't go into space and show my vulnerability. I can't go into space and assure that I don't know the answer to perhaps go into that space without having something to see or to fix. All the things, you know, we we have to look at our own personal life stories, because that shows up in many ways and our birthwork, obviously. But we also have to look at what the doula training organizations are bringing to the tables, and how they're ultimately impacting how doulas work in community. And that's not just increasing a community within your own doula white privileged training organization. You know, this is how we sit in community with the people that we serve in our communities and based on what they need, and how we unpick all the layering that is given to us and programmed into us by the training that we do.

Maggie, RNC-OB  28:28  
There is a lot, and I think there is there's just resitance...

Unknown Speaker  28:33  
yes, resistance is a perfect word, you know, it's achievable, we have to first be willing to acknowledge the need to do it. And we have to be willing to acknowledge our vulnerability, and we have to forgive ourselves for things that perhaps we have not done as well as we could and forgive ourselves for things that we could not control. But also commit to identifying what we can take ownership also and what we can be responsible for changing and moving forward. Right?

Maggie, RNC-OB  29:05  
Absolutely. Yeah, there is that accountability piece, owning the things when you look back and you reflect because that is so important, it's so necessary. For anyone looking for a recommendation, Cheyenne Scarlett wrote my deep dive, we'll link that in show notes. But that is like one resource for being able to really work through a lot of this piece of it for anyone who's supporting birth to kind of ask yourself some hard questions to just take the time to kind of reflect if you haven't had the opportunity, in training or in community to kind of do that and you're not sure where to start. I know it can feel really overwhelming to kind of think about like, how do I even get into this? You're already so busy with other things. But you know, we have to we have to take that time. I think again, playing into that idea of like, you know, when we've arrived, we have to be lifelong learners.

Unknown Speaker  29:45  
Yeah, all of us all the time. Find, you know,

Maggie, RNC-OB  29:49  
and I think it's it is a part of recognizing that. I don't know everything, and that's okay. I can admit that. I haven't learned things Lose, that doesn't make me a bad person. It doesn't make me a bad first worker, it doesn't, you know, it's not about like, guilt or blame. But there is an accountability piece to it, you know, like, I can look back? Absolutely. As someone who has a very privileged life, I am responsible for my own personal growth. Right? Yeah, no one else is. And so there is a piece of taking accountability for that. And also to deliver things when you have when you look back, and you reflect, and you find that things were lacking, because all of us will, because again, none of us are perfect, and that is okay. But being able to, like recognize that, holding that, and then thinking through how you now make different steps forward, that is like, that is the gross that is the transformation work, we don't need to sit and wallow in the in the guilt, or the shame or the blame or any of that piece of it, we want to acknowledge those feelings are valid work through it. But then focusing more on what comes next, you know, no better do better is very like Pat and can we kind of whatever. But that is at the very essence of this is yes, we keep doing this work, we keep reflecting, we take accountability for what we have done, not done. And then we move on, we support more resources, we reach out to other people in community who do things differently than we do, we look for those honest exchanges of you know, of information. And to your point also, absolutely, that does involve sometimes that we're going to need to pay for further training. Sure, people have all this, this information to exchange. And we're so lucky that with social media and everything, like we get to hear so many different things in so many different perspectives, but we also get to, like keep doing this work, intentionally. And so many of these trainings that I've been a part of they are setup in community, they're set up that you have accountability partners, who you're gonna meet with, and process and work through that, like, all of that helps you take some of that onus and this feeling of you being like, You're wrong, you didn't know something you already should have, you're there with other learners, we're all learning and growing together. And it helps to push forward. And I don't know if you can speak maybe to what you have seen as most helpful. When you found that this community maybe that you geographically found yourself in, they were not interested in the same things that you were that you were interested in, how have you kind of navigated that and still kind of searched for your community?

Unknown Speaker  32:28  
Yeah, that was really tricky. And I'd say, you know, I've been here for five years now. And, you know, the first the early years were about basing my family into numerous systems that were very dysfunctional. So that's where my heroes, then I, you know, was observing and observing breathwork and just seeing what was going on. And I was like, longing for community, you know, of course, we are human beings, right, you know, community to some degree or another is something that we require to looks different for everybody. But I'd left behind a community. So I was like, I need to be part of this, you know, I had this kind of need. But I had to unpick a lot that, you know, I saw some of these characteristics coming in on me, you know, I want them to like me, I want them to value me, I want them to see what I've brought here. I was like Allison, right, this needs to stop, right? I had to do my own inner work on that huge amounts of work on my own definition of worthiness, being very clear about why I was here, who I was working for what I was doing, and breaking those kind of chains. So it was very difficult. So what did I do, I continued on my own work, I continue doing what I needed to do, I was looking out for others, I'm still using my support network back in Scotland, of course, they will always be there for me. But you know, looking and listening out for those who were in a similar spaces me who were thinking in a similar way to me, and then actually kind of found their way to me, you know, I kind of made connections and I became much more relaxed and content with knowing that I could find community in different ways in different places. It was difficult to let go of being deeply within the community here physically, I'm talking, you know, I will be face to face with both workers and having that cup of tea and that piece of cake and just really getting to the nitty gritty, but you know, that's not something that is ready to be sort of offered here and that kind of connection, and that's okay. But things are changing, things are always changing, you know, reach out and build people. So it was more about it always goes back to my own inner work. We're always you know, why am I feeling this way? You know, why do I feel that I needed them to accept me in all of this stuff? And, you know, I like that to release and just concentrated on what I saw bursting people needed to hear and how I could be of service and know Knowing that I am worthy and that I am a person like any other, we all felt worse than we're all taught in. And yeah, it's really just unpicking every single piece of the things that we're talking about. Yeah. And community finds its way to you. You know, we're we're all on a constant evolving journey. And I wasn't ready to be able to build those connections physically in this community, because I still had a lot of work to do. I had a lot of work to do. Still do!

Unknown Speaker  35:27  
don't we all right, yeah. So

Unknown Speaker  35:31  
finding community in different ways and knowing that I always have community that might not physically be here, but I can connect out with others in different ways. Yeah. And that was really helpful. And that's how I've made a lot of connections.

Maggie, RNC-OB  35:46  
Yeah. And can you speak a little bit to the doula instincts, mentorship and what that looks like?

Unknown Speaker  35:51  
Yeah, sure. So I'm the community should be there within Tracy weafer, who is a doula in Alabama, and her doula instincts mentoring membership, which is an online mentoring program, it has three levels. The first level is the community level, now it is open to all birth workers, and as a space for just unpacking and supporting and nurturing all of these things that we have spoken about here this morning. And creating community, seeing the value of community, offering a space for those who are ready to come in and do this work, to do the work to be able to feel safe to let the guards down to unravel. Because you know, we're the non rival, we're human beings first like nothing else, you know, like death work is a continuum, you know. So it's a space to be vulnerable, to know that you're going to be safe to do that. We're not using any specific healing approaches, although naturally through the work and conversations support that we do healing is naturally going to take place. And it's just a collective commitment. We're working together to reduce trauma, right, and birth work, and we are actively committing to that. And we're actively committing to your own accountability piece within that. So it's open to all birth workers, it's $20 a month, you can tap in and out. It's great community, and it's a growing community. Obviously, it's growing slowly, but surely. And there's great change that is happening in there. And it's wonderful to be able to be part of that and to help workers. And in that journey, there's also other levels, mentoring levels to program but the community one is the one where we're really bringing birth workers together.

Maggie, RNC-OB  37:40  
Yes, well, thank you so much for you know how creating that space and doing that work, they I know, especially being able to, again, power of the internet, being able to connect with folks, all over the country, all over the world, doing this work in different ways. Like it really is powerful, just seeing that, like there is this shared human experience, and getting to kind of expand your perspectives, you know, to learn from other people and what they're doing. And that the chance to do that, especially if you're finding yourself that you don't have that kind of local physical community is is really powerful to appreciate it. And then, you know, as we wrap up this episode, question we're asking everyone this season is just for you to, you know, spread a little vision for us. What is community birth care look like for you if you were crafting it for the future?

Unknown Speaker  38:26  
Oh, goodness, what would it look like for me? Well, it's obviously got the birthing person centrally, it looks like whatever they need it to look like is safe, it is respectful. It is based on culture. It is birthing people being surrounded by those who they wish to be without any, you know, any constraints around what that looks like. It's about returning to humanity is about being human beings, again, worsening feeling, being present, safety, all the basic things. And obviously prevention of harm and trauma, but just truly are enabling people to live their reproductive experiences and the way that they wish to do so surrounded by those who show up and the way that they need. And just throw off everything that prevents us from doing that, you know, shedding the layers, and being human beings and just birth said humanity, right. There's no more human experiences and births and deaths, and it's a privilege to walk in those spaces.

Maggie, RNC-OB  39:32  
Thank you for sharing that with us. Beautiful. Awesome, I so appreciate you coming on and talking about your experiences and being vulnerable. With us as we dive into all this if you can just share where everyone can best find you if they want to further connect with you. And we'll wrap up.

Unknown Speaker  39:47  
Of course yeah, so you can find me across social media at Alison Tate birth companion, and also at Birthworkers for Human Rights, which is another kind of community space which I've created putting Pay for white privilege birth workers to come in and just do all of this stuff that we've been talking about. And I really center and black and indigenous people of the global majority. And those birth workers, you know, who are, you know, trans non binary, you know, all of those who are not fitting into this dominant culture that we are sitting in, and I stand to their work I send to their wisdom. And as the number one aim for that group, and then secondary for privileged birth workers to kind of go deep and do the work and to repay back into these community

Maggie, RNC-OB  40:35  
spaces. Yes, it's such a fantastic page, I always deeply appreciate all the things that you post and share there and the resources you find to to highlight and uplift and amplify. Thank you so much for all your work, Allison

Unknown Speaker  40:47  
I don't know much I'm sure we could talk much more about this, but which, you know, but thank you for the opportunity. Just say, you know, bring, bring the conversation and be honest, thank you so much. Oh, absolutely. Okay, take care.

Maggie, RNC-OB  41:05  
Oh, well, I am just so grateful for a container to have these conversations to dig a little bit deeper into some of these cultural elements that invade birth work, some of the things that make it harder for us to connect and to come into community. And I hope that it has been helpful for you as well as you reflect on your positionality on the way you form relationships on the way you view your role within birth care. We would love to hear more from you. You can find us on your birth partners across social media. And really we would love it if you could share a takeaway from this episode and your Instagram stories so we can connect there. Till next time