Your BIRTH Partners

Creating a Community of Advocates #075

November 07, 2022 Your BIRTH Partners Season 6 Episode 7
Your BIRTH Partners
Creating a Community of Advocates #075
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of podcast, we are continuing our examination of community.

Joined by guest Emily Edwards of The Good Birth Co, who is a nurse, birth worker and all around advocate for thinking and changing how we talk about birth, and how we address & prevent birth trauma.  This episode will be really impactful or those of you who are also out here trying to figure out how we shift power in the birth space.

How do we call out issues when we see care, that is not care? When we see wrongdoing?  When we see obstetrical violence? When we see folks not respecting patient autonomy? When we start to see the seeds planted that could lead someone to have a traumatic birth, that will leave someone feeling disempowered, and the unfortunate, unethical things that have become standard in a lot of birth care?

Dive in to:
~Moving beyond saviorship & the focus on birth outcome
~Advocacy in birthwork
~Stepping into power to prevent birth trauma
~Recognizing the community responsibility to change birthcare
~Working through the nuance of hard concepts on social media
~Finding your role and impact in change-making

Emily is offering a bonus to our podcast listeners.  Catch the replay of her training on how to tackle birth trauma head on & feeling clear about your role in fixing the system

Connect with Emily and her work here.

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. 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.

In this episode of podcast, we are continuing our examination of community. And we are joined by guest Emily Edwards, who is a nurse, birth worker and all around advocate for thinking and changing how we talk about birth, how we address and prevent birth trauma. And this episode will be really impactful for those of you who are also out here trying to figure out how we shift power in the birth base. How do we call out issues when we see care, that is not care. When we see wrongdoing, when we see obstetrical violence when we see folks not respecting patient autonomy, when we start to see the seeds planted, that could lead someone to have a traumatic birth, that will leave someone feeling disempowered, and the unfortunate, unethical things that have become standard in a lot of birthcare. So we are diving into that. And then also acknowledging the ways that we can change birthcare, the multitude of steps that are involved in how we think about addressing the systems, and how each of us can play a role. On to the show. 

Emily, welcome to the show, I am so excited to be finally having this conversation with you as we dive into all things community and how you have really turned to focus on that in your journey. So if you can just share a little bit with our audience about kind of your background and your work now.

Emily, RN & Birthworker  2:15  
Thank you so so much for having me on. Yes, as you said, my name is Emily. My real official title is Emily Edwards, I'm a registered nurse. And by day I'm actually a psycho geriatric resource consultant in the world of Geriatric Psychiatry, but by all other times, nights, evenings, weekends, I am the founder, and the educator behind the good birth company, or the good birth co. And that is a space a virtual space for pregnant folks, postpartum folks and the people who support them. I'm here to I'm on a mission really to prevent birth trauma. And it might seem like a lofty goal, but I'm making headway. So that is really who I am what I do. And I'm so excited to talk today.

Maggie, RNC-OB  3:02  
Oh, yes. What a lofty and worthwhile goal, we share a passion on that for sure. If you can maybe just dive into a little bit more of like your background, was there? Was there a moment or a series of moments that led you to kind of recognize it, that is your passion?

Unknown Speaker  3:18  
Absolutely. It started very, very long time ago. I actually thought I should be a midwife. When I was in high school. I was obsessed with all things physiologic birth. I read all of it to make Gaskins work. When I think I was 16. I was ready to be a midwife. I actually know life took some different turns, and I went into nursing. And I actually spent six weeks seven weeks in Tanzania between my second and third year where I worked in a labor and delivery ward. And I caught 71 babies. And it absolutely changed my life, obviously, but not in the way that I anticipated. Because when I came back almost a year to the day I had my first child, and my oldest is 10 now and it didn't go the way I had hoped. It actually destroyed me. mentally, psychologically, emotionally, physically, all things considered, it wasn't so bad. But that experience was incredibly traumatic. And I didn't realize that for years. It wasn't until I was pregnant again, almost three years later, with my second that I finally had the vocabulary and the support to identify the struggles that I had postpartum. I was actually diagnosed with postpartum depression with psychotic features. I was treated for major, major mental health conditions during those first few years, I was suggested that maybe losing weight might help me get feeling better. But at the core of it, I was really messed up. And I think that was really kind of that big light bulb moment for me because if I could experience birth trauma as a nurse as not only a nurse but someone who was upset swith birth and thought they really had a handle on what physiologic birth should be, then How do other people stand a chance, it really was that journey from that point on, was my second birth. I birthed in Saskatchewan. And I was fortunate to have an incredible community around me of very outspoken advocates who gave me the opportunity to have the birth experience I had really hoped for. And then I went on to do it again with my youngest, who's now three and a half. And so each of those VBACs were in very, very anti VBAC communities. And I learned how to have my needs hurt. So all of that to say it was my first birth, and how much it hurt me and really tipped everything upside down.

Maggie, RNC-OB  5:45  
Oh, wow. I think it is unfortunate how much your story echoes so many other stories. We have heard here of folks who felt like they did in quotes, all the right things, right. You read the books, you did the work. And there was like a heaviness, especially for those of us who are so intimately involved in birth work. Gosh, I feel like there's just an extra layer of those intense feelings of failure and like, how could I not have somehow seen this coming prevented it that it's really just a lot to sit with.

Unknown Speaker  6:16  
And I was absolutely that gold star type, a perfectionist personality going into that. And that also was a huge learning curve to realize that once you enter this, there's no such things as plans, you've got to be able to adapt and move with the changes as they come.

Maggie, RNC-OB  6:36  
Yeah, absolutely. And so you know, as you as you take that one question, something we've talked about already a help with a couple of our guests, you know, recently is kind of how have you taken that? turned it into kind of your whole platform, your education, reaching out to folks, how do you look to engage in community with others, without diving into some of the like saviorship vibes, and that still that intense like fix it feeling?

Unknown Speaker  7:03  
It's taken a long time, and many, many iterations of the good birth code. It actually started back at as Sakuma, which means to push in Swahili. So there is a very big learning moment was I thought that was appropriate at one time. Absolutely. Not. Totally glad that didn't go anywhere. But I did transition then to a something called push birth and baby, that's what the good birth code was before. Again, my goal there was to provide prenatal education, that would save people. So I was very, very rooted in that Saviorship. He is that if only people have the right info, if only they knew what to say, if only they knew about all of these things in their options, then this wouldn't fit. Well, I figured out that people don't want to listen to that, especially first time pregnant folks, it was very hard to kind of crack into prenatal space, because no one wants to talk about the tough stuff like birth trauma. And then I started to get some clients. And those people were very, very similar. They were people who had had a first birth experience that did not go to plan that left them really, really hurts. And they were looking for support in doing it differently this time. In the beginning, I thought that have a successful VBAC. That is it. And then those clients went on to have repeat cesarean births. So I thought I failed again.

Unknown Speaker  8:32  
And then I realized these clients were happy. They felt supported, they felt validated. And that was when I really had to look at what is it that I'm doing for people, because I never have never actually provided hands on birth support as a doula. I've only offered strategy, consultation, and pre planning, as well as kind of in the moment text Support. It started to boil down to the approach. We took prenatally to work through their birth trauma to process what actually happened that first time to identify the points that something went wrong, or something could have gone differently, or something else could have been explored. So what that did was, I call it unbury your birth. So it is a something I offer to clients now to work through as a program, actually. But it's a really strategic approach of uncovering what happened the first time unburying the feelings attached to those things. Then we went into understanding which is really like reverse prenatal education, so covering and answering those questions that they were really unsure about. And then the end, we redefined it. For some people that was redefining what will this next experience look like? What are my priorities? What are my needs? How can I be heard, but for some people, it meant redefining their one and done experience where they could feel satisfied and understand that what happened to them happened. But they still survived it. And they're still here today. And we put that story in a neat little box and put it away. So that was kind of that first moment of, hey, I really need to do this a bit differently than everybody else is. And then tried and tried and did a few programs. And I just felt like, this is not quite, I'm still not addressing the issue at the core, which really came down to two things. One, these clients were saying I had a doula, and they disappeared. I had a doula, and they abandoned me. I had a doula and they didn't do anything. I had a doula and they, they kept their mouth shut. Those were the things that started pulling at me. And then people started to come into my DMs and say, How are you doing this? I want to know more. How are you so bold? How on earth are you so spicy? and I've actually done a lot of interviews on other business podcasts regarding social media disruption and in industry disruption around that topic. So here we are. I don't even know how many years later. That's birth trauma prevention training is where I'm headed. That is where connecting with other birth workers, doulas, unregulated health professionals, unregulated health care providers, to give them advanced skills to communicate in the birth space to effectively communicated and ensure that their clients decisions are protected. Because I'm really tired of hearing that doulas cannot advocate because at the end of the day, clients, patients, people who are giving birth have made the effort to go out and hire someone to provide the support to them. They've hired someone they can trust to know what those decisions are. So I'm going to help those people to actually do it. And not feel helpless when they're standing there in a birth space, witnessing things they know should not be happening.

Maggie, RNC-OB  12:07  
Yeah, that has come up a lot. Recently, first episode of the season, we dove into a lot of the kind of complicit nature of doula organizations in continuing perpetuating environments were obsessed with mistreatment, and violence and trauma thrive. Because it was decided by the powers that be that, you know, right, doulas are supposed to be kind of like get us seen but not heard some sort of thing that they can actually talk directly to providers that, you know, all of that long and lengthy, sordid history. Like, it's so frustrating that we remain collectively, in this space, where we see pretty much any and all statistic related to birth care in the US trends in the wrong direction, right? increased morbidity and mortality, increased birth trauma, increased secondary trauma stress, increased burnout, increased moral injury, like all of those go hand in hand. None of this affects just one, you know, part of the population and how frustrating it is to feel like you are feeling and experiencing that you feel like you are the whether that's as the birth worker, as the nurse as the doula is certainly something that affects you know, physicians, midwives really anyone in this space can have that feeling like I'm watching these things happen over and over again. And I'm feeling powerless to prevent it and to be part of this system. And absolute, you know, as we've been, you know, centering community throughout the season, talking through how we treat those kind of just stripped down some of those, the walls, talking about it openly. Maybe if you can speak a little bit one, what are you finding resonates particularly with birth workers, birth professionals, clinical or non clinical? What are you finding seems to unite those folks in community who feel called to the work of the good birth co and then two, as you continue to grow awareness and like, build on those themes. How do you see more people coming? Coming into it? How do you kind of address the folks who are like curious about it, but also maybe like you said, think like, Oh, she's a little too spicy. Like that's, maybe there's some truth there. But I'm not quite sure that that's it?

Unknown Speaker  14:10  
I think that's that's an awesome question. And first, in terms of those things that people resonate with, I think a big piece is that I've been told to stay quiet, when I'm not a quiet person, really addressing that feeling of helplessness and recognizing that you did not go into this work to stand idly by while someone is sexually assaulted by a care provider. 

Maggie, RNC-OB  14:37  

Unknown Speaker  14:38  
you didn't go into this to listen to a client scream stop during a forced cervical exam. And I really, really try to tie in those feelings of if this happened in a Walmart, what would you do and pull on that sense of community and the the responsibility that we truly have To the clients that hire us, that is the theme that I am really trying to connect to folks with. Because the idea that doula work is a regulated profession is absolutely asinine. People get into this to help other people and are not regulated. And that does not mean it's a bad thing I see this as an absolute gift I can do is to PSWs who work in long term care, and in retirement homes, providing the most intimate, personal, important life giving care,, you're not regulated, they're disenfranchised. They're looked down on by the rest of the system. God forbid you speak up about someone's well being. But as someone who's worked in all of those environments, with those incredibly skilled and talented people, I can tell you, I can't do my job without them. And a lot of people would die. So I really, really want to connect to doulas and birth workers. And really, I highlight that group. But it's anyone who works with perinatal folks prenatally during birth postpartum. I've had students who are counselors who are social workers who are RMTS, there's different professions, I've yet to have a nurse, join this training. However, I have had a lot of nurses join my birth processing program. Yeah, interestingly, as for personal reasons, but I think that's been pulled is people want to do it differently. And they have that gut feeling, which I call the icky feeling. If you feel that icky feeling that something's not right, you need to listen to that. and going forward, I try my hardest to be myself all the time. So people recognize that sometimes I will say something quite kind of bold, or a statement that's there. I know there's a lot more behind it. Some people don't, and they leave quickly. I'm really happy that there's people who want to sleep just like pop into my DMs and say, Okay, I'm waiting. What did you mean by this? Or I'm curious to know about this. And I answer that, because one sentence or one caption sometimes isn't enough, not sometimes it's never enough to capture the nuances. But it gets the conversation started. And I used to refer to myself as a walking trigger warning, because I will talk about all of the hard days. And again, going forward, my dream, to be honest, is to see this training as a mandatory education for all nurses working in labor and delivery. To be honest, that is my my big, big goal, because as it stands in Ontario, anyways, that's where I live and work. And in Canada, and I, I'm assuming the states as well, there is no gold standard for Person Centered Care Training. There is no certification for addressing these types of issues, or addressing biases around the kind of care you gave as a nurse. And to be quite honest, I can say in my education, I was never, ever taught that you have one patient that you're providing care to during birth. And I think that's a that's a huge piece that people need to understand going into that profession. Actually, it reminds me of how grossed out I used to feel when I would hear people going. If you're an l&d Nurse, I love babies. Yeah. To this day, like it just gives me like shivers up my spine. That is not what you do in that line of work, period. If you happen to hold a baby at the end of your shift, lucky for you. But that is not why you're there. And if it is, you should probably reach us your career choices. So that's kind of a convoluted answer to those things. But I will continue to push and connect to the birth workers in the doulas who are being pumped out of big organizations with the skills they need to show up and do the work they want to do. And as a secondary kind of outcome, I really hope that she will regulated health care providers within the system also will take it,

Maggie, RNC-OB  19:12  
huh, yeah. Oh, so many things to touch on there. So I mean, first acknowledging for everyone listening like that hits hard, like I was tearing up at the beginning listening to, you know, Emily, share all that because I think that just hits so deeply for so many of us that, you know, we go into care work with this vision, right? Like we're supporting people. Yeah, we don't. I don't know that you can be aware of it until you're doing the job. What it actually feels like Sure. So there's a negativity that's just part of growing and learning and joining it, you know, a new profession or what have you taking on a new role. But, I mean, gosh, just the things that we become accustomed to the things that we normalize in our training in In our orientation, the things that we're just told, like, yeah, that's just how it is. Yep, this is how it has to go, I think is we as a society have been able to identify so many elements of like, the patriarchy, and gender norms and flipping stuff on their head, and rape culture, and all of these other elements in our society that we talk much more freely about. And me too, and all of these things that have really come out and are very much a part of our daily lexicon. We continue to be very slow to openly acknowledge the way that our current medical care system, the processes we have in place, the policies, the culture, of birth, particularly in hospital environments, but also absolutely present out in the community as well continue to undermine folks autonomy in their body that ultimately, we as the healthcare professional, can do something, someone's else's body without their consent without needing to ask for it. As they yell know, at us, like all of those things are just like, oh, my gosh, they hit so deeply, but we we are quick to dismiss people's concerns. People calling that out as just like, you know, all the crap about well, healthy mom healthy baby at the end, what do you like? No,

Unknown Speaker  21:22  
again, happened in a Walmart when your baby was six months old and a change for? Right? Are we gonna walk away saying, Oh, your baby's healthy? And you got your stuff that will? No, no, sorry, I'm using Walmart as the example. I always do.

Maggie, RNC-OB  21:33  
Yeah. But if we continue to say that that's okay. Because it happened in the context of care in the context of care. Exactly. Yeah. 

Unknown Speaker  21:44  
And that's not care at all. And I'm really glad you mentioned kind of our growth as a society and talking about, you know, all of those challenges around assault and autonomy and informed consent. And the example I used for birth trauma prevention, when people are like, you can't prevent trauma. That's your victim blaming, which again, in the wrong context, it will seem that way. But I'm not I look at this as similar to the No means no campaign, I remember going to university and in the bathrooms, and the, you know, posters, and all of this stuff is talking about sexual assault. Right? And do you think the No means no campaign is what prevented a sexual assault? No way. It raised awareness. It gave options to mitigate risk and options to prevent harm. But it took an actual human being who was brave and confident enough to speak up and make it stop. It was someone who saw drink be spiked, that spilled the drink on purpose. It was a person who actually got in a cab with a absolute stranger, and said, You know what, I'm actually taking them home. They're my roommates when they saw what was going on. It's the people who actually scream out loud when they find someone being hurt. That's what stops it. That's what prevents further harm. So we have to bridge that gap between awareness and education and, and talking to, but what do we do when it happens? What can I do? Because right now, you're told to avoid the hospital as long as possible. And don't you dare open your mouth? If you see this happen? Yeah. And that's the mission that I'm on is if I can help other people see how common sense this is, and how absolutely ridiculous it is? To stay silent? Then I've done my job. But it's not easy getting there, that's for sure. Oh,

Maggie, RNC-OB  23:52  
my gosh, no, but that's the community strong piece of it. You know, like, Yes, this is about it. There are individual things each of us do that make changes. Absolutely. We have powers as individuals, and having the supportive community while you do it, having these people who are having the same conversations having you echoing that were saying, Yeah, of course that is wrong, who are affirming those feelings who are supporting you, and validating that like, am I the one who's who's weird? Like, am I the only one who thinks this is no, you're not? Nope, there's plenty of us out here who also seen that like, that is necessarily essentially how I feel I am grateful constantly, or the community that has grown especially since I founded your birth partners to connect with so many other people across so many aspects of perinatal care who are also shouting out like, Yep, this is wrong. No, it's not okay. No, we can't do that. And to watch people to be able to see their models of how they'll call it out. You know, a friend was sharing how my provider wanted to do something to a patient. The patient did not want to do it had not consented to it, and was kind of like well, we just had to have do it. Anyway. When my friend the nurse was just like Actually, I'm not going to assault a patient. And I'm sure that's not what you want to have happen. So

Unknown Speaker  25:08  

Unknown Speaker  25:09  
semantics vocabulary, right using the right words, because

Maggie, RNC-OB  25:13  
then of course, the provider backpedals, like no who says anything about assault the patient, I am a care provider, right? You know, like it's it is that check, it is calling out what is happening there. But I also had a different friend who recently was trying to do a presentation to global health care symposium, who wanted to use the me to phrase in the title of her presentation to draw corollaries between what happens. And they were like, Ooh, I can't really say that. Like that, because...

 it makes people uncomfortable. 

Right? And she pushed back, it was like, Okay, if you need to, like change the title, but also, the content will still be there. And I'll just say it not on the title, like, that's fine that we can like both play the game and to get the message out there. But also, we're still gonna have this conversation, because it is still important, and it still has to happen. So you have pressing back at this because there's so much pressure to maintain status quo. There's so much pressure to say, is it that? Would we call it assault? Should we draw corollary to me too, is?

Unknown Speaker  26:21  
Yeah, exactly. Right. Yes. Yeah. If this happened in Walmart, what would we call it. And that's the, you know, that he's where community and who you surround yourself with, and who you you choose to have as mentors. And I say that really loosely because often folks don't have an option doula communities is a local doula communities are often very closed. They're often highly populated by one or two training works. They're led by people who are very steeped in those beliefs. And so when you bring these stories forward, or you bring these concerns forward and ask about them, or say, hey, this happened, it felt like shit, that this happened. And I saw it, what do I do next time. And all you're told is You did the right thing? How are we going to keep growing, and that's what when, you know, the virtual aspect of community is incredible. Because we start to again, see that, no matter the country, or even just differences of smaller geographical differences, that we're seeing the same challenges. And the same approaches can be used, regardless of the culture regardless of the team or the staff that you're doing. Because that's another thing I hear a lot is, oh, we could never do that here. Why? Usually, because Oh, they'll ban doulas, and I'm gonna give you this gem, this is inside my training program. Again, the states it's, it's a little different state by state, right. We under I understand and appreciate there, there are differences. You are an on regulated professional, that is being privately hired by an adult. You don't have to go in as a doula. You go in as a private support person that your client has asked to be there? Are they going to tell that person spouse to not be there? or the person's mom or sister? No. So is it slightly underhanded is absolutely. But you are not employed by that system. You're employed by your clients. And if they want you there, doula bans or not, there are ways to get around it. And I think that's used often as a huge scare tactic, not only by hospital itself, but the doulas in the community who want to protect that status quo, to protect their income and to protect their client flow in and out of that hospital or birth center and pushing against the status quo might make waves for them their, their financial security.

Maggie, RNC-OB  29:04  
Yeah, and all that is so fear based, you know, like, it's just, you know, anything, obviously, acknowledging that COVID was a whole nightmare in terms of visitation policies. And I do feel like, by and large, for the most part, those restrictions have seriously eased back in a way that now that is not as present of a, of a concern. And so that certainly eases some of that. And so, luckily, then, like you said, it becomes a part of figuring out what you are trying to uphold, and how you need to, I think it's so much of it's just what do you want the future of birth to look like? And I And I've heard too, from inside I just see, you know, comments, again, social media, pros and cons, but you know, you see comments of course workers who I think are grappling with what it means to be needed and COVID restrictions absolutely gave the vast majority of people an opportunity to reflect on physical presence versus emotional support. You know, virtual options abound. Absolutely. There are some folks for whom virtual options are not adequate. And there are plenty of people for whom they do serve the purpose. And again, that is like not a right size fits all by any means. But I know that isn't anything a lot of people have really thought about too, is kind of like, in a business, you are paid for your role. And I say this as someone who was paid by the hospital as a nurse, so I 1,000% even though I have a day job for a reason. Yeah, like, there is a reason though that like, then it gets complicated. Sometimes when we think about these things and is tied into our livelihood, there's this financial piece that just it just muddies the water, I guess is the point. And so I think there is like, like you said, there is that piece that sometimes folks are understandably concerned. But how they step through that. What happens if they personally get banned from the hospital? You know, what it takes to get personal Larkey security thing that somehow gets that, you know, what does that mean, and if they can't support someone in that, you know, in that way or, and then I think there is the like, less thoughtful idea of folks who just are kind of like, it's okay, let's not rock the boat too much. Because then we can kind of just keep doing what we're doing. 

Emily, RN & Birthworker  31:26  
And it's, it's that middle group there that are complacent and comfortable, and I'm going to be flat out, it's the same as upholding white supremacy, or any other power structure that you're benefiting from, it doesn't make it okay, at all to exist within a system or a process that harms people. And you are choosing not to speak up, because it's working for you. And those are those uncomfortable questions that I really push people to think about. Because birth work is good, deep, dark stuff. It is not all of those rainbows and cute babies and the things we we pose, you know, posted on social media, yes, we are supporting people through the most transformative experience, quite possibly, of they're entirely life. And if you're comfortable doing that on a surface level, while other people aren't doing so well. But your your clients can, can and do and are safe, then again, that's I'm glad it's working for you. But those are the people I will not let stop me. Because those are again, people that I've I've personally experienced as a as a pregnant person, as a birth worker, who had a very fierce, fierce birth plan. And I was told, don't screw it up for the rest of us by a fairly, like, significant leader in that community. 

Maggie, RNC-OB  33:04  
So gross. 

Emily, RN & Birthworker  33:05  
It was what it again, it all worked out. And I didn't have to quite rock the boat as hard as I want it to. But the idea was, you had the nerve to say that to my six, virtual whatever. Yeah, but yeah, you said it to me personally. And you said that my knees saying

Maggie, RNC-OB  33:25  
you're saying the quiet part out loud. So like, exactly.

Unknown Speaker  33:27  
And I thought, wow, what type of support and guidance or your your clients or the people that you are educating or supporting or mentoring, what are they learning, and I can see that that same hospital dot I think in 2017 2018 told us that our midwives were going to have the ability to manage a birth with an epidural, or something else really, really silly that midwives in our province can do in every other hospital. They still aren't. Even though we were told that silly, that particular issue I'm talking about is midwives and that community I was birthing in are not allowed to manage VBACs. So as soon as you transfer into hospital regardless, if you've had five successful V backs or none, you're automatically transferred to OB care. It is not a shared care model. It is transfer of care. And that was my my personal issue there and it's still the same, but I yeah, it just it irks me that people are so concerned about the maintaining of the status quo and not making waves that we are we're allowing people to continuously to be harmed as a result

Maggie, RNC-OB  34:49  
yeah, there's like you said I mean it does a deep dark questions it like there are not you know, there's no clear cut answers and those answers are different problems again, all of us hope we all have different intersecting identities different situation. I'm always very vocal about the fact that like, I know, I am very privileged to have financial freedom to do different work to be able to do this sort of like advocacy work with some of my time that I do not need to be full time at the hospital. And that absolutely makes a difference in both my like mental and emotional well being and my ability to show up for folks when I come in fresh because I haven't been there a million times already that week. That's absolutely a part of it. And that is something that obviously is not available to everyone. So, you know, I think also, as we like, go to do this work, recognizing like those little shifts that happen, it is not always about like, you don't need to quit your job tomorrow, thinking about how you operate, you know, kind of the subversive stuff that you said, you know, what I mean? Part of it is just like, okay, we can sometimes we have to just keep playing this game to get to a point to get to this greater point, but not losing sight of that not. And that is a tricky, I'm not again, it's not perfect. It's not the right task, like it's just navigating where we are, where we're at. 

Unknown Speaker  36:00  
I think in staying true to whatever those values are, or worse, and using those to guide, every decision is so helpful. And that, again, as I'm saying this out loud, I'm going to forget my own variables, my own values. But you know, barrier elimination is huge for me, I want to create accessible support to be, you know, so whatever I'm doing, or what I'm speaking in, or an offer I'm putting out or whatever it is, I'm thinking is this trying to eliminate some sort of barrier, is this podcast interview going to, you know, go towards that storytelling, that's another value that I hold him, you know, the good birth code is one of our core values is there's value in each story, and we need to know them. And honestly, the other one is completely slipped my mind, it's a very, like, kind of quirky way I worded it but really essentially, it comes down to, we have to do the right thing. We're here to disrupt the system and make it better for the next person. And sometimes when we talk about, oh, imagine a world for our kids, that's way too long. I do not want to wait until possibly any of my children have children to hope that it's better. I hope that the next person I know personally, who goes to give birth has a better experience than I did. I hope that five years from now, staff on an entire unit might think twice about putting an IV into someone without explicitly asking for their consent and expressing the risks of it, and not rolling their eyes or smacking their teeth. When someone says no. Those are the things I hope to see soon. And those are the things that, again, when we focus on each of us as individuals, what are our values? And what is our beliefs and all of this, what do you bring to the table. And then you place yourself in a community of people who believe in you, they believe your story, they believe everything that you're seeing, and they believe that things can be better. That's where you see movements. That's where you see change the momentum builds. And once you start, you can't really stop it.

Maggie, RNC-OB  38:18  
Yeah, I think there is so much of that piece of it like is it holding that value holding? Is this getting to that eventually that other piece of it? I always like to reference Dr. Monica McLemore incredible nurse scientist does a lot of work around health equity and birth equity. You know, she talks about her retrofit, reform reimagine framework, right? So kind of acknowledging that it is not generally possible to snap our fingers and have created a completely different system. So there is this need to use what we have to try to get somewhere different, okay, change the system, we have to make it better and also reimagined completely get out there and picture what it could totally look like differently like that people, different folks will be involved in this work in different ways, different parts of the journey, depending on what what your capacity is, what your positionality is, where you are able to make influence, and that like eventually, all of those come together. So that like you said, it's not something that has to- this is generational work. And we talk about that a lot as we consider how like, absolutely, yeah, this is you're in it for the long game. But that does not mean that we are waiting 20 or 30 years to see any progress.

Unknown Speaker  39:26  
Exactly. And that's the thing I get, I get so frustrated. It's like, we already have rules here. We already have policies that are in place in this moment that do not allow care providers to assault people. They're called standards of practice. 

Maggie, RNC-OB  39:43  

Unknown Speaker  39:43  
Or, you know, whatever organization you're registered with whatever those guiding principles are there in black and white. And that's another you know, aspect of community education. And that prenatal piece is really having people understand that it's not allowed already. We just have to understand the rules aren't there? And we're not pointing something else that, you know, it's not something new. I don't think we need a new policy or pathway to follow. We need more people reporting crappy care. Again, I always say, Could you imagine if one out of five births were something happened that was not okay. Got reported directly to the College of nurses. Every time someone rolled their eyes and said, Oh, you have a birth plan-got reported, because that that is patient abuse. And it's written in black and white that that is patient abuse. But people don't know that. And it's

Maggie, RNC-OB  40:47  
aligning our practice with our professed values. Right? You know, like, yeah, these are already. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker  40:52  
like they're there. It's just no one knows. And I, you probably can relate your undergrad was protect your license, protect your license, protect your license. No one knows how to report a bad nurse in the world. You know, again, I don't mean this as a witch hunt, and, you know, report all the nurses. But the thing is, I think a lot of doulas as well, in birth workers feel that they cannot do that themselves that they have to have. Their client must be the one to report something like that. But you need to familiarize yourself with your geographical location and understand as a witness, or as a part of the care team. If you experience horizontal violence from staff, you are allowed to report that, yeah. And those are those actual practical pieces of how do we get there faster, we got to start making it known that it's happening. But again, those are all those pieces, not every single person was going to feel comfortable to do that. Not everybody is going to be confident enough to do that. But it's a matter of knowing that it's an option. And feeling that you are important enough that you are actually a part of the team. Yes, you're privately hired, but you're still a part of that care team, that your voice matters. And what you perceive, what you experience, or the treatment that you personally receive in that space, also matters. Not just that birthing persons experience, which gets kind of seems counterintuitive. But if we're going to address the really crappy things that are happening, we need to look at it across the board and know what options we have to be heard how to empower other folks be it our clients or peers, to protect themselves and have their needs hurt as well.

Maggie, RNC-OB  42:50  
Yeah, I mean, absolutely. Like there are these kinds of more formal, you know, avenues of reporting. And I also think there is that, again, power of community piece, you know, I know here I you know, birth Monopoly has their obstetrical mistreatment and violence thing where you can add in stories, the IRTH app, you know, that encourages you to report racism that happens. So we can also have community accountability for what is happening when the formal processes in place either seemingly do not allow or support folks going in there and, you know, putting leveraging that leveraging the power of social media to share these stories to call it out, like, you know, like we said earlier, using that using the words to say like, this was abuse, like, this was not okay. It is explicit, not that like, Dude, my feelings were hurt, whilst also valid. No, this was also a bigger issue. This is not a singular complaint is a piece of this overarching system we have created that allows us kind of negative interactions.

Unknown Speaker  43:46  

Maggie, RNC-OB  43:48  
obviously, if you continue to, like, I'll forever dive into this forever. But, you know, as we wrap up, we'd love to just we're asking all the guests this season to kind of share with us, what does community birth care look like? What is your vision? How would you cast that for what it could be?

Unknown Speaker  44:04  
So phenomenal question. I think, really, it's that every person who is preparing to become pregnant to give birth or who has just had a child, that they have access to the right care at the right time by the right provider, and that their needs and their priority concerns are absolutely central to everything we do. And to make that possible. We need an entire community around that person, local geographical community, but also community that shares values and shares in that experience with them and the desire for the outcomes to be supportive, because we can talk about good outcomes. But I think Community Care,community birth care, especially is going to ensure that no one falls through the cracks. That be the person who had an abortion. The person who had a stillbirth, the person who done that had a surprise pregnancy and they didn't know they were pregnant and they gave birth, whatever that extreme kind of piece of the story, or the one that doesn't quite fit into that perfect happy, healthy mom and baby a nuclear family that they feel supported and seen. That's ultimately what I would say community birth care. 

Maggie, RNC-OB  45:34  
Mmmm yes, ready to see that as as our reality now that that they're just they're getting the right care at the right time from the right person like that is that would be lovely. And I'm excited for when that is something that is realized in, in our society. So thank you so much, Emily, for your time and for sharing more of your perspective and your thoughts on how we have we move forward.

Unknown Speaker  45:56  
Thank you so much for having me. And anyone who is listening. I'm a real human. I answer my DMs so please don't be shy which I'd love to connect more with anyone from your birth partners community for sure.

Maggie, RNC-OB  46:09  
Thank you. Well, I just so appreciate Emily coming on and sharing from her experience and how she has taken lessons learned through her own birth through her practice through you know, working to educate and to bring community together and sharing that wisdom with us. So for all of you out there who are seeking your community, we would love to be a part of it. So please find us on social media. We are your birth partners across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And we would love to connect more deeply with you. Please feel free to give a shout out favorite part of this episode and your stories on Instagram and we look forward to hearing from you till next time