Birthing, Blackness, and the Body: Black Midwives and Experiential Continuities of Institutional Racism

by Keisha La'Nesha Goode Graduate Center, City University of New York

In honor of #BlackMaternalHealthWeek18 I wanted to share a published dissertation I found on Midwife Shafia Monroes website that I've been reading and studying non stop for a few days now. I truly appreciate Keisha's research and attention to this subject. Very rarely do we detour the conversation on Black Maternal Health away from "call your senators!" and "Townhalls" and put our energy and finances into realistic solutions we have access to at this moment. Black Midwives are underutilized  and Keisha explains how and why in 215 pages

Black life at the intersectionof birth and death | Mwende "FreeQuency" Katwiwa

"It is the artist's job to unearth stories that people try to bury with shovels of complacency and time," says poet and freedom fighter Mwende "FreeQuency" Katwiwa. Performing her poem "The Joys of Motherhood," Katwiwa explores the experience of Black mothers in America and discusses the impact of the Movement for Black Lives -- because, she says, it's impossible to separate the two.

Uterine Health: Ovarian Cyst and Fibroids

A week ago, I had to admit myself into the hospital for dehydration. It was the third day of my menstrual cycle and I was having the worst uterine contractions I've ever experienced. The pain led to extreme nausea and vomiting for two days straight and because I couldn't keep anything down I was in and out of consciousness.  In the hospital bed with my family surrondining me and the doctor discussing Birth Control and a Myomectomy, I was upset with myself. It was my wake up call to pay more attention to my health. I have been having heavier bleeding and painful cramps every month for a year now and I have been ignoring it until my body forced me to pay attention. Over the last few years as a Doula I was learning and teaching my peers about Uterine Health and I was not walking the talk. I am lucky enough to have a large community of birth workers and healers around me but I am also aware of how inaccessible information about uterine health is. So listed below are the things that I am going to do to avoid birth control and major surgery on my reproductive organs. This list is centered on MY issues but are helpful for yours as well. Consult with your local midwife and/or herbalist for a care plan specific for YOU

Also helpful for PCOS, Endometriosis*

Ginger, Turmeric, Lemon Tea

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  • 1½ cups of filtered drinking water.
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh grated turmeric root (or ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder)
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger root (or ½ teaspoon of ginger powder)
  • ½ a lemon (juiced with peel)
  • 2 to 3 twists of fresh black pepper ( Necessary step)
  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey or to desired taste.

Read about the benefits here 

Medicinal Herbs

Medicinal herbs are my go to for healing my body (also used for fertility and labor). Pharmaceutical drugs can be stressful on your liver.  I purchase my herbs from Karen Rose, owner of Sacred Vibes Apothecary  based in Brooklyn,NY. I HIGHLY recommend hiring her for a consult if you are unfamiliar with the practice of medicinal herbs.

Supplements

Zymactive is a proteolytic enzyme which helps to break down proteins that cause inflammation. Fibroids in their simplest form are a product of inflammation so as those proteins get broken down they also break down and release. Papaya is also full of these enzymes.

Evidence based information here

Nutrition and Hydration

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During this time I am officially (and hopefully foreva) cutting out processed meats, refined sugars and dairy. Stay out of the bodega yall. I am also drinking at least 2 liters of filtered water a day. What you eat and what you don't eat is important.

Here's a video on healing for PCOS and Cysts

Castor Oil Pack

Castor oil packs are for reducing inflammation and increasing circulation. They are excellent for the lymphatic system and assist in improving circulation, stagnation and elimination of benign tumors in women, especially those who suffer from uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts. Using castor oil packs will also increase lymphocytes cells in the body which are used to fight disease and eliminate various wastes including the toxins that may be contributing to common side effects of having fibroid tumors.

Here's a video on how to use

Mental Health

Mental health is often the last thing we pay attention when transitioning to a healthier lifestyle. Stress, anxiety, depression play huge roles in our reproductive health. Along with exercising, I am taking more time in my life for moments of silence and breath.  The breath is also medicine for the body and we don't take enough of it. If you want to get nerdy about it, The Science of Breath is a great resource.

Breathing Exercise

  • Sit on a chair with your legs parallel and your feet directly under your knees.
  • Rest your hands on your thighs, or cradle your abdomen in your hands, or place your right hand over your heart—whatever feels right.
  • Sit tall, finding length between your sits bone and the crown of your head. Relax your rib cage and your shoulders, find ease between your eyebrows.
  • Start to notice your inhalations and exhalations. Notice if you are holding your breath anywhere and without judgment, see if you can relax there.
  • Think about one thing that you need in this moment and one thing that you need to release.
  • When you are ready, lengthen your inhale and breathe in what you need.
  • Exhale slowly, gently and fully through an open mouth releasing that which does not serve you in this moment.
  • Repeat 5 more times, slowly. Do not rush this because it can increase cortisol.
  • Come back to an easy, natural breath focusing for a minute or so on what you need in this moment before returning to your activities

Essential Oils and Tinctures

Herb Pharms reproductive health tincture has several herbs that support a healthy function of your reproductive organ.

Clary Sage helps balance your hormones and great for pain management. I'll be using it massage my lower abdomen. Don't forget to dilute it with a carrier oil.


More resources on managing and preventing Fibroids here

It’s Cervical Fluid, Not Discharge

This episode explains the function of the cervix in the role of fertility, why we chart its changes in the fertility awareness method, the historic & cultural understanding of the role of cervical fluid, and information about long term impacts on the cervix when using contraceptive devices.

 

Nicole  created a podcast to teach more people how to use the fertility awareness method after her experiences using clinical birth control methods. She also uses the hashtag #FAMTaughtMe to discuss fertility charting & menstrual health

Nicole created a podcast to teach more people how to use the fertility awareness method after her experiences using clinical birth control methods. She also uses the hashtag #FAMTaughtMe to discuss fertility charting & menstrual health

More Black Women have died in childbirth this year than from abortion-related complications in the past 15 years combined

Reproductive Justice for Black Women, Latinas, More Critical Than Ever

Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, Natural Birth Equity Collaborative; Karla Gonzales Garcia, COLOR

Getty Images

Getty Images

For the past three years, the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, or COLOR, along with dozens of partners, has hosted a Halloween-themed social media conversation on Twitter about the frightening facts and the disparate outcomes in health, wealth, safety and well-being that reproductive-justice warriors like Sister Song have been fighting to address for over two decades. #ScaryStats is part awareness raising and part call to action to invite people to do something about injustice and oppression in their communities.

#ScaryStats is also about sounding the alarm for black mamas not surviving the birth of their children in a country that spends more per capita on health care than any other nation in the world. People of color, LGBTQ people, undocumented immigrants and those who live at the intersections of these identities navigate a nation that reminds them every day that whether they live or die is not a priority.

This is not hyperbole; this is fact:

These facts are not just inconvenient statistics; they are manifestations of horrible policies imagined by powerful lobbying firms and approved by local, state and federal legislators who, too often, put their own personal beliefs and political agendas ahead of the needs of their constituents.

#ScaryStats is about sounding the alarm for black mamas not surviving the birth of their children in a country that spends more per capita on health care than any other nation in the world.

That is not just scary; it is terrifying. And the Twitter conversation was about shining a light on the struggles faced by women of color and other people living at the margins of power. It was about making it clear that #BlackLivesMatter and that black women are facing a public health crisis. It was intended to amplify the very real harms caused by our broken immigration system and lack of fair workplace policies.

Of course, social media trolls committed to proving how morally bankrupt they are were quick to attack. Anti-abortion trolls tried to hijack the conversation in order to shame people for accessing abortion care or supporting abortion access. As is often the case, they were too busy demonizing providers and people who need care to actually consider truly listening to and supporting women.

Planned Parenthood Black Community, a forum to lift the specific needs of black women and communities of color and to emphasize the efforts to ensure the health, rights and dignity of black people, became the focus of the Twitter attacks after it shared information about the maternal health crisis that black women in the United States are facing right now.

And, be clear, this is a human rights crisis.

More black women have died in childbirth this year than from abortion-related complications in the past 15 years combined. Much more needs to be done to protect and expand access to the full range of reproductive health services that black women need—including abortion—and make sure that people are aware that maternal mortality is an issue that needs some very real attention.

Read more here

The Mamas Gon’ Be Alright: Birthwork and Mental Health

By Iresha Picot

2012: I trained to become a birth doula after a yearlong stint providing services as a full-spectrum doula at a clinic in center city, Philadelphia. I left the birth workers training, feeling prepared and ready for the offerings that I had for the mamas to-be. I had my birthing balls; I had my rebozos, a rolling pin and oils. I felt equipped and confident in guiding the mamas along in bringing forth life. I just needed to show up, and be present for the labors.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the onsite mental health training that came along with the birth work. I had read extensively about post-partum stressors that developed into mental health issues, but none of the literature points to the mental health issues the mothers’ exhibit before the birthing process even begins. The prenatal work. (Side note: I’m also not new to emotional work. I have worked for several years as a Clinician in behavior and mental health). In my mind, I prematurely separated my mental health work from the birth work. I compartmentalized them as being mutually exclusive. And yet, almost every mother that I have provided prenatal service to, ended up in long, intensive conversations of childhood and present day traumas with me.

Birth work and mental health work often intersect:

--There was the sista who grow up in foster care homes of eminent abuse, most of her life and was planning to give birth while still residing in a shelter.

--The mama who told me that she had no positive models of women in her family. They all were drug addicts. She had been on her own since age 17.

--The woman who had been kidnapped and raped while standing outside one summer night in North Philadelphia.  

Many of these mothers have never thought about entering therapy, as age old stigmas kept them from seeking out help (“Only weak women go to therapy”, “I’m not crazy”). Others didn’t even know where to begin. I found myself putting the birth plans to the side, and using my best practices of listening to these mamas’ stories, offering up support, affirming to them that their fears were valid, and bearing witness as they vocalized their challenges.  

Birth work is emotional work.  We need more people--more mothers, to enter into a space of healing. One reoccurring theme I have found with mothers, who have suffered from trauma, is that they believe that they are broken beyond repair, and that bringing forth new life into this world, would signal a new start to making things right for once. But when we are the same people, who haven’t worked through the issues that bought us to the women that we are now, we aren’t offering our children anything new.

I recently read something on Instagram that said “I want to raise children who doesn’t have to recover from their childhoods”.

What better gift to offer to our children then to be healed, whole people.

Suggestions:

Seek out professional mental health support. Therapist comes in many models—Community Outpatient, Private Practice, post-partum hotlines, and talk therapy apps.

Join an online and in person support groups for new mothers, breast feeding mothers, peer support, etc.

Write your past pain into existence.

Ask for help (its ok!)

Iresha Picot, M.Ed, LBS, is a birth doula and peer breastfeeding counselor. Iresha works as a Licensed Behavior Specialist and Outpatient Therapist in a community mental health model. 

Iresha Picot, M.Ed, LBS, is a birth doula and peer breastfeeding counselor. Iresha works as a Licensed Behavior Specialist and Outpatient Therapist in a community mental health model. 

Top 25 Books Every Doula (Birth Worker) Should Read

My first introduction to Doulas was the Business of Being Born documentary on Netflix. Several months later I was attending a 3 day Training in Austin, TX by a DONA instructor. I was the only Black person and person of color in the training. I had been present for a few births prior to this training and couldn't help but feel as if I was missing a large chunk of what it meant to assist a person during childbirth. I knew it had to be more than battery candles, essentials oils and the business of aspect of being a Doula. The training left me unprepared to work with people who I felt really needed a trained advocate in the room with them. Where my presence meant not only lower chances of a c-section but also decreased chances of obstetric violence, birth rape, maternal morbidity, death etc. To me, a Full Spectrum Doula is more than a day training on abortion. It's also being fully educated on racial disparities in birth and the women of color who were "Doulas" before the Greek definition. Who did this work for the survival of their community and not repeat the same capitalistic nature of health providers and hospitals. It's knowing how to navigate having a client with open ACS cases or intimate partner violence. It's providing a safe space for teen pregnancy. It's having the language to educate Trans and Gender Nonconforming people. It's having the resources for rural/abandon communities. It's knowing how to assist any and every person, advocacy

In 1997, this groundbreaking book made a powerful entrance into the national conversation on race. In a media landscape dominated by racially biased images of welfare queens and crack babies,  Killing the Black Body  exposed America’s systemic abuse of Black women’s bodies. From slave masters’ economic stake in bonded women’s fertility to government programs that coerced thousands of poor Black women into being sterilized as late as the 1970s, these abuses pointed to the degradation of Black motherhood—and the exclusion of Black women’s reproductive needs in mainstream feminist and civil rights agendas.   Now, some two decades later,  Killing the Black Body  has not only exerted profound influence, but also remains as crucial as ever—a rallying cry for education, awareness, and action on extending reproductive justice to all women.

In 1997, this groundbreaking book made a powerful entrance into the national conversation on race. In a media landscape dominated by racially biased images of welfare queens and crack babies, Killing the Black Body exposed America’s systemic abuse of Black women’s bodies. From slave masters’ economic stake in bonded women’s fertility to government programs that coerced thousands of poor Black women into being sterilized as late as the 1970s, these abuses pointed to the degradation of Black motherhood—and the exclusion of Black women’s reproductive needs in mainstream feminist and civil rights agendas.

Now, some two decades later, Killing the Black Body has not only exerted profound influence, but also remains as crucial as ever—a rallying cry for education, awareness, and action on extending reproductive justice to all women.

While most people believe that the movement to secure voluntary reproductive control for women centered solely on abortion rights, for many women abortion was not the only, or even primary, focus.  Jennifer Nelson tells the story of the feminist struggle for legal abortion and reproductive rights in the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s through the particular contributions of women of color. She explores the relationship between second-wave feminists, who were concerned with a woman's right to choose, Black and Puerto Rican Nationalists, who were concerned that Black and Puerto Rican women have as many children as possible “for the revolution,” and women of color themselves, who negotiated between them. Contrary to popular belief, Nelson shows that women of color were able to successfully remake the mainstream women's liberation and abortion rights movements by appropriating select aspects of Black Nationalist politics—including addressing sterilization abuse, access to affordable childcare and healthcare, and ways to raise children out of poverty—for feminist discourse.

While most people believe that the movement to secure voluntary reproductive control for women centered solely on abortion rights, for many women abortion was not the only, or even primary, focus.

Jennifer Nelson tells the story of the feminist struggle for legal abortion and reproductive rights in the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s through the particular contributions of women of color. She explores the relationship between second-wave feminists, who were concerned with a woman's right to choose, Black and Puerto Rican Nationalists, who were concerned that Black and Puerto Rican women have as many children as possible “for the revolution,” and women of color themselves, who negotiated between them. Contrary to popular belief, Nelson shows that women of color were able to successfully remake the mainstream women's liberation and abortion rights movements by appropriating select aspects of Black Nationalist politics—including addressing sterilization abuse, access to affordable childcare and healthcare, and ways to raise children out of poverty—for feminist discourse.

There is an epidemic that is going on. It is estimated that one out of every two mothers are affected by it. No one is talking about it, but a lot of women feel it. Intense fatigue, emotional fluctuations, memory issues, hormonal and other health complications, which for some, can be debilitating and even life threatening. It's called Postnatal Depletion, being depleted after having a baby and can extend from the first days of birth to more than ten years later, possibly predisposing the mother to later health complications. There is a different reality after giving birth than what is presented to us. All women don't just snap back into shape after having a baby and if they don't feel good, it's postpartum depression. In this ground breaking book, Dr. Danett Bean (Doctor of Acupuncture & Asian Medicine), preventive care, women's health specialist and survivor of postnatal depletion uncovers the roots to this phenomena as a societal issue and offers practical solutions to preventing and ending this condition. If you are an expectant or new mother, father or plan to be one someday, or you have parents that you care about in your life, you can't afford to not read this book. Comes with a Postnatal Care Template, Dr. Danett's personal list of things that helped her to recover with a Directory of Resources and a list of Specifics Tips To Help Support Mothers.

There is an epidemic that is going on. It is estimated that one out of every two mothers are affected by it. No one is talking about it, but a lot of women feel it. Intense fatigue, emotional fluctuations, memory issues, hormonal and other health complications, which for some, can be debilitating and even life threatening. It's called Postnatal Depletion, being depleted after having a baby and can extend from the first days of birth to more than ten years later, possibly predisposing the mother to later health complications. There is a different reality after giving birth than what is presented to us. All women don't just snap back into shape after having a baby and if they don't feel good, it's postpartum depression. In this ground breaking book, Dr. Danett Bean (Doctor of Acupuncture & Asian Medicine), preventive care, women's health specialist and survivor of postnatal depletion uncovers the roots to this phenomena as a societal issue and offers practical solutions to preventing and ending this condition. If you are an expectant or new mother, father or plan to be one someday, or you have parents that you care about in your life, you can't afford to not read this book. Comes with a Postnatal Care Template, Dr. Danett's personal list of things that helped her to recover with a Directory of Resources and a list of Specifics Tips To Help Support Mothers.

There is a global crisis in maternal health care for black women. In the United States, black women are over three times more likely to perish from pregnancy-related complications than white women; their babies are half as likely to survive the first year. Many black women experience policing, coercion, and disempowerment during pregnancy and childbirth and are disconnected from alternative birthing traditions. This book places black women's voices at the center of the debate on what should be done to fix the broken maternity system and foregrounds black women's agency in the emerging birth justice movement. Mixing scholarly, activist, and personal perspectives, the book shows readers how they too can change lives, one birth at a time.

There is a global crisis in maternal health care for black women. In the United States, black women are over three times more likely to perish from pregnancy-related complications than white women; their babies are half as likely to survive the first year. Many black women experience policing, coercion, and disempowerment during pregnancy and childbirth and are disconnected from alternative birthing traditions. This book places black women's voices at the center of the debate on what should be done to fix the broken maternity system and foregrounds black women's agency in the emerging birth justice movement. Mixing scholarly, activist, and personal perspectives, the book shows readers how they too can change lives, one birth at a time.

Reproducing Race , an ethnography of pregnancy and birth at a large New York City public hospital, explores the role of race in the medical setting. Khiara M. Bridges investigates how race—commonly seen as biological in the medical world—is socially constructed among women dependent on the public healthcare system for prenatal care and childbirth. Bridges argues that race carries powerful material consequences for these women even when it is not explicitly named, showing how they are marginalized by the practices and assumptions of the clinic staff. Deftly weaving ethnographic evidence into broader discussions of Medicaid and racial disparities in infant and maternal mortality, Bridges shines new light on the politics of healthcare for the poor, demonstrating how the “medicalization” of social problems reproduces racial stereotypes and governs the bodies of poor women of color.

Reproducing Race, an ethnography of pregnancy and birth at a large New York City public hospital, explores the role of race in the medical setting. Khiara M. Bridges investigates how race—commonly seen as biological in the medical world—is socially constructed among women dependent on the public healthcare system for prenatal care and childbirth. Bridges argues that race carries powerful material consequences for these women even when it is not explicitly named, showing how they are marginalized by the practices and assumptions of the clinic staff. Deftly weaving ethnographic evidence into broader discussions of Medicaid and racial disparities in infant and maternal mortality, Bridges shines new light on the politics of healthcare for the poor, demonstrating how the “medicalization” of social problems reproduces racial stereotypes and governs the bodies of poor women of color.

Birth Work as Care Work  presents a vibrant collection of stories and insights from the front lines of birth activist communities. The personal has once more becomes political, and birth workers, supporters, and doulas now find themselves at the fore of collective struggles for freedom and dignity. Articulating a politics of care work in and through the reproductive process, the book brings diverse voices into conversation to explore multiple possibilities and avenues for change. At a moment when agency over our childbirth experiences is increasingly centralized in the hands of professional elites,  Birth Work as Care Work  presents creative new ways to reimagine the trajectory of our reproductive processes. Most importantly, the contributors present new ways of thinking about the entire life cycle, providing a unique and creative entry point into the essence of all human struggle—the struggle over the reproduction of life itself.

Birth Work as Care Work presents a vibrant collection of stories and insights from the front lines of birth activist communities. The personal has once more becomes political, and birth workers, supporters, and doulas now find themselves at the fore of collective struggles for freedom and dignity. Articulating a politics of care work in and through the reproductive process, the book brings diverse voices into conversation to explore multiple possibilities and avenues for change. At a moment when agency over our childbirth experiences is increasingly centralized in the hands of professional elites, Birth Work as Care Work presents creative new ways to reimagine the trajectory of our reproductive processes. Most importantly, the contributors present new ways of thinking about the entire life cycle, providing a unique and creative entry point into the essence of all human struggle—the struggle over the reproduction of life itself.

This anthology assembles two decades of work initiated by SisterSong Women of Color Health Collective, creators of the human rights–based “reproductive justice” framework to move beyond polarized pro-choice/pro-life debates. Rooted in Black feminism and built on intersecting identities, this revolutionary framework asserts a woman’s right to have children, to not have children, and to parent and provide for the children they have.

This anthology assembles two decades of work initiated by SisterSong Women of Color Health Collective, creators of the human rights–based “reproductive justice” framework to move beyond polarized pro-choice/pro-life debates. Rooted in Black feminism and built on intersecting identities, this revolutionary framework asserts a woman’s right to have children, to not have children, and to parent and provide for the children they have.

Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines  is an anthology that centers mothers of color and marginalized mothers’ voices—women who are in a world of necessary transformation. The challenges faced by movements working for antiviolence, anti-imperialist, and queer liberation, as well as racial, economic, reproductive, gender, and food justice are the same challenges that marginalized mothers face every day. Motivated to create spaces for this discourse because of the authors’ passionate belief in the power of a radical conversation about mothering, they have become the go-to people for cutting-edge inspired work on this topic for an overlapping committed audience of activists, scholars, and writers.  Revolutionary Mothering  is a movement-shifting anthology committed to birthing new worlds, full of faith and hope for what we can raise up together.

Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines is an anthology that centers mothers of color and marginalized mothers’ voices—women who are in a world of necessary transformation. The challenges faced by movements working for antiviolence, anti-imperialist, and queer liberation, as well as racial, economic, reproductive, gender, and food justice are the same challenges that marginalized mothers face every day. Motivated to create spaces for this discourse because of the authors’ passionate belief in the power of a radical conversation about mothering, they have become the go-to people for cutting-edge inspired work on this topic for an overlapping committed audience of activists, scholars, and writers. Revolutionary Mothering is a movement-shifting anthology committed to birthing new worlds, full of faith and hope for what we can raise up together.

Undivided Rights  captures the evolving and largely unknown activist history of women of color organizing for reproductive justice—on their own behalf.   Undivided Rights  presents a textured understanding of the reproductive rights movement by placing the experiences, priorities, and activism of women of color in the foreground. Using historical research, original organizational case studies, and personal interviews, the authors illuminate how women of color have led the fight to control their own bodies and reproductive destinies. Undivided Rights shows how women of color—-starting within their own Latina, African American, Native American, and Asian American communities—have resisted coercion of their reproductive abilities. Projected against the backdrop of the mainstream pro-choice movement and radical right agendas, these dynamic case studies feature the groundbreaking work being done by health and reproductive rights organizations led by women-of-color.  The book details how and why these women have defined and implemented expansive reproductive health agendas that reject legalistic remedies and seek instead to address the wider needs of their communities. It stresses the urgency for innovative strategies that push beyond the traditional base and goals of the mainstream pro-choice movement—strategies that are broadly inclusive while being specific, strategies that speak to all women by speaking to each woman. While the authors raise tough questions about inclusion, identity politics, and the future of women’s organizing, they also offer a way out of the limiting focus on "choice."   Undivided Rights  articulates a holistic vision for reproductive freedom. It refuses to allow our human rights to be divvied up and parceled out into isolated boxes that people are then forced to pick and choose among.

Undivided Rights captures the evolving and largely unknown activist history of women of color organizing for reproductive justice—on their own behalf.

Undivided Rights presents a textured understanding of the reproductive rights movement by placing the experiences, priorities, and activism of women of color in the foreground. Using historical research, original organizational case studies, and personal interviews, the authors illuminate how women of color have led the fight to control their own bodies and reproductive destinies. Undivided Rights shows how women of color—-starting within their own Latina, African American, Native American, and Asian American communities—have resisted coercion of their reproductive abilities. Projected against the backdrop of the mainstream pro-choice movement and radical right agendas, these dynamic case studies feature the groundbreaking work being done by health and reproductive rights organizations led by women-of-color.

The book details how and why these women have defined and implemented expansive reproductive health agendas that reject legalistic remedies and seek instead to address the wider needs of their communities. It stresses the urgency for innovative strategies that push beyond the traditional base and goals of the mainstream pro-choice movement—strategies that are broadly inclusive while being specific, strategies that speak to all women by speaking to each woman. While the authors raise tough questions about inclusion, identity politics, and the future of women’s organizing, they also offer a way out of the limiting focus on "choice."

Undivided Rights articulates a holistic vision for reproductive freedom. It refuses to allow our human rights to be divvied up and parceled out into isolated boxes that people are then forced to pick and choose among.

When Survivors Give Birth is written for a mixed audience of maternity care professionals and para-professionals, mental health therapists and counselors, and women survivors and their families. The authors expertly and compassionately address the unusual and distressing challenges that arise for abuse survivors during the childbirth experience.  The first section informs the reader of the impact of early sexual abuse on children, adults, and on all aspects of childbearing. The second section teaches skills in communication, self-help skills, counseling and psychotherapy techniques. The third covers clinical challenges and solutions for doctors, nurses, midwives, doulas, and others. Case histories throughout the book clarify and apply the content.

When Survivors Give Birth is written for a mixed audience of maternity care professionals and para-professionals, mental health therapists and counselors, and women survivors and their families. The authors expertly and compassionately address the unusual and distressing challenges that arise for abuse survivors during the childbirth experience.

The first section informs the reader of the impact of early sexual abuse on children, adults, and on all aspects of childbearing. The second section teaches skills in communication, self-help skills, counseling and psychotherapy techniques. The third covers clinical challenges and solutions for doctors, nurses, midwives, doulas, and others. Case histories throughout the book clarify and apply the content.

"Motherwit" and "common sense" were the watchwords of Onnie Lee Logan's career as a lay midwife in Mobile County, Alabama. Although she received little formal education, endured the Depression and faced a racist society, Onnie Lee Logan experienced her life as the triumphant fulfillment of a dream to be one of those who could bring babies into the world, as her mother and grandmother had done before her. Her story, told in the soft, now vanishing dialect of the Deep South, is powerful and fascinating oral history. Motherwit follows her life through her work as a servant for a wealthy Mobile family, her troubled marriage during the Depression, and her struggle to become a licensed midwife. We watch as she delivers the babies of both black and white women of Alabama--losing only one baby in 40 years. Onnie Lee Logan's forbearance in the face of the crushing prejudice of the rural South makes inspiring and unforgettable reading. When she passed away in 1995, the New York Times declared her a “folk hero,” and Time called her book “a feminist classic.” Filled with startling drama and profound wisdom, Motherwit is an important contribution to African-American history. "An amazing story. A heroic woman and life after my own heart." Alice Walker "To have told her own story, to have borne this eloquent witness to her life is Onnie Lee Logan's final triumph." Ellen Douglas in the Washington Post Book World "Oral history doesn't come much better than this." Booklist "Beautiful...her passion rings through in every line." Los Angeles Times

"Motherwit" and "common sense" were the watchwords of Onnie Lee Logan's career as a lay midwife in Mobile County, Alabama. Although she received little formal education, endured the Depression and faced a racist society, Onnie Lee Logan experienced her life as the triumphant fulfillment of a dream to be one of those who could bring babies into the world, as her mother and grandmother had done before her. Her story, told in the soft, now vanishing dialect of the Deep South, is powerful and fascinating oral history. Motherwit follows her life through her work as a servant for a wealthy Mobile family, her troubled marriage during the Depression, and her struggle to become a licensed midwife. We watch as she delivers the babies of both black and white women of Alabama--losing only one baby in 40 years. Onnie Lee Logan's forbearance in the face of the crushing prejudice of the rural South makes inspiring and unforgettable reading. When she passed away in 1995, the New York Times declared her a “folk hero,” and Time called her book “a feminist classic.” Filled with startling drama and profound wisdom, Motherwit is an important contribution to African-American history. "An amazing story. A heroic woman and life after my own heart." Alice Walker "To have told her own story, to have borne this eloquent witness to her life is Onnie Lee Logan's final triumph." Ellen Douglas in the Washington Post Book World "Oral history doesn't come much better than this." Booklist "Beautiful...her passion rings through in every line." Los Angeles Times

Midwives, women healers and root workers have been central figures in the African American folk traditions. Particularly in Black communities in the rural south, these women served vital social, cultural and political functions. It was believed that they possessed magical powers: they negotiated the barrier between life and death and were often regarded as the "knower" in a community. Today even as medical science has discredited or superseded their power, granny midwives have resurfaced as pivotal characters in the narratives of contemporary African American literature.    Granny     Midwives and Black Women Writers   examines the lives of  real  granny midwives and other healers--through oral narratives, ethnographic research and documentation--and considers them in tandem with their fictional counterparts in the work of Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker and others.

Midwives, women healers and root workers have been central figures in the African American folk traditions. Particularly in Black communities in the rural south, these women served vital social, cultural and political functions. It was believed that they possessed magical powers: they negotiated the barrier between life and death and were often regarded as the "knower" in a community. Today even as medical science has discredited or superseded their power, granny midwives have resurfaced as pivotal characters in the narratives of contemporary African American literature.

Granny Midwives and Black Women Writers examines the lives of real granny midwives and other healers--through oral narratives, ethnographic research and documentation--and considers them in tandem with their fictional counterparts in the work of Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker and others.

Pediatricians say you should but it's okay if you don't. The hospital says, "Breast is best," but sends you home with formula "just in case." Your sister-in-law says, "Of course you should!" Your mother says, "I didn't, and you turned out just fine." Celebrities are photographed nursing in public, yet breastfeeding mothers are asked to cover up in malls and on airplanes. Breastfeeding is a private act, yet everyone has an opinion about it. How did feeding our babies get so complicated?  Journalist and infant health advocate Kimberly Seals Allers breaks breastfeeding out of the realm of "personal choice" and shows our broader connection to an industrialized food system that begins at birth, the fallout of feminist ideals, and the federal policies that are far from family friendly.  The Big Letdown  uncovers the multibillion-dollar forces battling to replace mothers' milk and the failure of the medical establishment to protect infant health. Weaving together research and personal stories with original reporting on medicine, big pharma, and hospitals, Kimberly Seals Allers shows how mothers and babies have been abandoned by all the forces that should be supporting families from the start--and what we can do to help.

Pediatricians say you should but it's okay if you don't. The hospital says, "Breast is best," but sends you home with formula "just in case." Your sister-in-law says, "Of course you should!" Your mother says, "I didn't, and you turned out just fine." Celebrities are photographed nursing in public, yet breastfeeding mothers are asked to cover up in malls and on airplanes. Breastfeeding is a private act, yet everyone has an opinion about it. How did feeding our babies get so complicated?

Journalist and infant health advocate Kimberly Seals Allers breaks breastfeeding out of the realm of "personal choice" and shows our broader connection to an industrialized food system that begins at birth, the fallout of feminist ideals, and the federal policies that are far from family friendly. The Big Letdown uncovers the multibillion-dollar forces battling to replace mothers' milk and the failure of the medical establishment to protect infant health. Weaving together research and personal stories with original reporting on medicine, big pharma, and hospitals, Kimberly Seals Allers shows how mothers and babies have been abandoned by all the forces that should be supporting families from the start--and what we can do to help.

Patrisia Gonzales addresses "Red Medicine" as a system of healing that includes birthing practices, dreaming, and purification rites to re-establish personal and social equilibrium. The book explores Indigenous medicine across North America, with a special emphasis on how Indigenous knowledge has endured and persisted among peoples with a legacy to Mexico. Gonzales combines her lived experience in  Red Medicine  as an herbalist and traditional birth attendant with in-depth research into oral traditions, storytelling, and the meanings of symbols to uncover how Indigenous knowledge endures over time. And she shows how this knowledge is now being reclaimed by Chicanos, Mexican Americans and Mexican Indigenous peoples.  For Gonzales, a central guiding force in Red Medicine is the principal of regeneration as it is manifested in Spiderwoman. Dating to Pre-Columbian times, the Mesoamerican Weaver/Spiderwoman—the guardian of birth, medicine, and purification rites such as the Nahua sweat bath—exemplifies the interconnected process of rebalancing that transpires throughout life in mental, spiritual and physical manifestations. Gonzales also explains how dreaming is a form of diagnosing in traditional Indigenous medicine and how Indigenous concepts of the body provide insight into healing various kinds of trauma.  Gonzales links pre-Columbian thought to contemporary healing practices by examining ancient symbols and their relation to current curative knowledges among Indigenous peoples.  Red Medicine  suggests that Indigenous healing systems can usefully point contemporary people back to ancestral teachings and help them reconnect to the dynamics of the natural world.

Patrisia Gonzales addresses "Red Medicine" as a system of healing that includes birthing practices, dreaming, and purification rites to re-establish personal and social equilibrium. The book explores Indigenous medicine across North America, with a special emphasis on how Indigenous knowledge has endured and persisted among peoples with a legacy to Mexico. Gonzales combines her lived experience in Red Medicine as an herbalist and traditional birth attendant with in-depth research into oral traditions, storytelling, and the meanings of symbols to uncover how Indigenous knowledge endures over time. And she shows how this knowledge is now being reclaimed by Chicanos, Mexican Americans and Mexican Indigenous peoples.

For Gonzales, a central guiding force in Red Medicine is the principal of regeneration as it is manifested in Spiderwoman. Dating to Pre-Columbian times, the Mesoamerican Weaver/Spiderwoman—the guardian of birth, medicine, and purification rites such as the Nahua sweat bath—exemplifies the interconnected process of rebalancing that transpires throughout life in mental, spiritual and physical manifestations. Gonzales also explains how dreaming is a form of diagnosing in traditional Indigenous medicine and how Indigenous concepts of the body provide insight into healing various kinds of trauma.

Gonzales links pre-Columbian thought to contemporary healing practices by examining ancient symbols and their relation to current curative knowledges among Indigenous peoples. Red Medicine suggests that Indigenous healing systems can usefully point contemporary people back to ancestral teachings and help them reconnect to the dynamics of the natural world.

This timely, up-to-date guide addresses the unique economic and social issues of black women while showing them why and how to breastfeed their children.  African American infants are twice as likely to die before their first birthdays as white infants, have the highest rate of asthma of any race and have a 35 percent higher prevalence of childhood obesity than white children. African American women are 2.2 times more likely to die from breast cancer and 30 percent more likely to die from ovarian cancer than white women.  All of these health crises can be remedied to some degree with breastfeeding, but virtually all breastfeeding literature on the market fails to speak to the financial, educational and cultural realities of many African American women. The Black Woman's Guide to Breastfeeding addresses the importance of breastfeeding in the African American community and provides all the practical advice African American mothers need to succeed at breastfeeding.

This timely, up-to-date guide addresses the unique economic and social issues of black women while showing them why and how to breastfeed their children.

African American infants are twice as likely to die before their first birthdays as white infants, have the highest rate of asthma of any race and have a 35 percent higher prevalence of childhood obesity than white children. African American women are 2.2 times more likely to die from breast cancer and 30 percent more likely to die from ovarian cancer than white women.

All of these health crises can be remedied to some degree with breastfeeding, but virtually all breastfeeding literature on the market fails to speak to the financial, educational and cultural realities of many African American women. The Black Woman's Guide to Breastfeeding addresses the importance of breastfeeding in the African American community and provides all the practical advice African American mothers need to succeed at breastfeeding.

A collection of suggestions, tips, and narratives on ways everyone can support parents, children, and caregivers involved in social movements, this book focuses on social justice, mutual aid, and collective liberation. One of the few books dealing with community support for issues facing children and families, this reflection on inclusivity in social awareness offers real-life ways to reach out to the families involved in campaigns such as the Occupy Movement. Contributors include the Bay Area Childcare Collective, the London Pro-Feminist Men's Group, and Mamas of Color Rising.

A collection of suggestions, tips, and narratives on ways everyone can support parents, children, and caregivers involved in social movements, this book focuses on social justice, mutual aid, and collective liberation. One of the few books dealing with community support for issues facing children and families, this reflection on inclusivity in social awareness offers real-life ways to reach out to the families involved in campaigns such as the Occupy Movement. Contributors include the Bay Area Childcare Collective, the London Pro-Feminist Men's Group, and Mamas of Color Rising.

Exploring the charged topic of black health under slavery, Sharla Fett reveals how herbalism, conjuring, midwifery, and other African American healing practices became arts of resistance in the antebellum South.   Fett shows how enslaved men and women drew on African precedents to develop a view of health and healing that was distinctly at odds with slaveholders' property concerns. While white slaveowners narrowly defined slave health in terms of "soundness" for labor, slaves embraced a relational view of health that was intimately tied to religion and community. African American healing practices thus not only restored the body but also provided a formidable weapon against white objectification of black health.   Enslaved women played a particularly important role in plantation health culture: they made medicines, cared for the sick, and served as midwives in both black and white households. Their labor as health workers not only proved essential to plantation production but also gave them a basis of authority within enslaved communities. Not surprisingly, conflicts frequently arose between slave doctoring women and the whites who attempted to supervise their work, as did conflicts related to feigned illness, poisoning threats, and African-based religious practices. By examining the deeply contentious dynamics of plantation healing, Fett sheds new light on the broader power relations of antebellum American slavery.

Exploring the charged topic of black health under slavery, Sharla Fett reveals how herbalism, conjuring, midwifery, and other African American healing practices became arts of resistance in the antebellum South.

Fett shows how enslaved men and women drew on African precedents to develop a view of health and healing that was distinctly at odds with slaveholders' property concerns. While white slaveowners narrowly defined slave health in terms of "soundness" for labor, slaves embraced a relational view of health that was intimately tied to religion and community. African American healing practices thus not only restored the body but also provided a formidable weapon against white objectification of black health.

Enslaved women played a particularly important role in plantation health culture: they made medicines, cared for the sick, and served as midwives in both black and white households. Their labor as health workers not only proved essential to plantation production but also gave them a basis of authority within enslaved communities. Not surprisingly, conflicts frequently arose between slave doctoring women and the whites who attempted to supervise their work, as did conflicts related to feigned illness, poisoning threats, and African-based religious practices. By examining the deeply contentious dynamics of plantation healing, Fett sheds new light on the broader power relations of antebellum American slavery.

From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment.   Medical Apartheid  is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government’s notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions.  The product of years of prodigious research into medical journals and experimental reports long undisturbed,  Medical Apartheid  reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit. At last, it provides the fullest possible context for comprehending the behavioral fallout that has caused black Americans to view researchers—and indeed the whole medical establishment—with such deep distrust. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read  Medical Apartheid , a masterful book that will stir up both controversy and long-needed debate.

From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment.

Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government’s notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions.

The product of years of prodigious research into medical journals and experimental reports long undisturbed, Medical Apartheid reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit. At last, it provides the fullest possible context for comprehending the behavioral fallout that has caused black Americans to view researchers—and indeed the whole medical establishment—with such deep distrust. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read Medical Apartheid, a masterful book that will stir up both controversy and long-needed debate.

Laboring Positions aims to disrupt the dominant discourse on academic women s mothering experiences. Black women s maternity is assumed, and yet is also silenced within the disembodied, patriarchal, racist, antifamily, and increasingly neoliberal work environment of academia. This volume acknowledges the salience of the institutional challenges facing contemporary caregiving academics; yet it is centrally concerned with expanding the academic mothering conversation by speaking against the private/public spheres approach. Laboring Positions does so by privileging the hybridity between Black women s mothering experiences and their working lives within and beyond the academy. The collection also intentionally blurs essentialist boundaries of mother and other , which dictates and generates alternate border zones of knowledge production concerning Black academic women s working lives. In doing so, the diverse perspectives captured herein offer us cogent starting points from which to interrogate the interlocking cultural, political, and economic hierarchies of the academy. The editorial goal of Laboring Positions is to offer a polyvocal collection embodying themes that privilege and arouse Black mothering as central in the narratives, research, and models of existence and resistance for Black women s survival within the academy. The contributors utilize a wide variety of methods and perspectives including Black feminist theory, intersectional feminism, Womanist research ethics, hip-hop feminism, African-centered epistemologies, literary analysis, autoethnography, policy analysis, memoir, qualitative research, survival strategies and frameworks, and situated testimony that are all collectively bound by Black women s intellectual lives, activist impulses, and experiences of mothering or being mothered. The critical embodied perspectives herein serve as evidence that Black women exist beyond the institutional and ideological boundaries that have attempted to define their journeys.Labouring Positions chapters speak to each other and some conversations are louder than others; yet together they offer us a complexly nuanced portrait of the emergent literature on race, gender, mothering, and work.

Laboring Positions aims to disrupt the dominant discourse on academic women s mothering experiences. Black women s maternity is assumed, and yet is also silenced within the disembodied, patriarchal, racist, antifamily, and increasingly neoliberal work environment of academia. This volume acknowledges the salience of the institutional challenges facing contemporary caregiving academics; yet it is centrally concerned with expanding the academic mothering conversation by speaking against the private/public spheres approach. Laboring Positions does so by privileging the hybridity between Black women s mothering experiences and their working lives within and beyond the academy. The collection also intentionally blurs essentialist boundaries of mother and other , which dictates and generates alternate border zones of knowledge production concerning Black academic women s working lives. In doing so, the diverse perspectives captured herein offer us cogent starting points from which to interrogate the interlocking cultural, political, and economic hierarchies of the academy. The editorial goal of Laboring Positions is to offer a polyvocal collection embodying themes that privilege and arouse Black mothering as central in the narratives, research, and models of existence and resistance for Black women s survival within the academy. The contributors utilize a wide variety of methods and perspectives including Black feminist theory, intersectional feminism, Womanist research ethics, hip-hop feminism, African-centered epistemologies, literary analysis, autoethnography, policy analysis, memoir, qualitative research, survival strategies and frameworks, and situated testimony that are all collectively bound by Black women s intellectual lives, activist impulses, and experiences of mothering or being mothered. The critical embodied perspectives herein serve as evidence that Black women exist beyond the institutional and ideological boundaries that have attempted to define their journeys.Labouring Positions chapters speak to each other and some conversations are louder than others; yet together they offer us a complexly nuanced portrait of the emergent literature on race, gender, mothering, and work.

Starting at the turn of the century, most African American midwives in the South were gradually excluded from reproductive health care. Gertrude Fraser shows how physicians, public health personnel, and state legislators mounted a campaign ostensibly to improve maternal and infant health, especially in rural areas. They brought traditional midwives under the control of a supervisory body, and eventually eliminated them. In the writings and programs produced by these physicians and public health officials, Fraser finds a universe of ideas about race, gender, the relationship of medicine to society, and the status of the South in the national political and social economies.  Fraser also studies this experience through dialogues of memory. She interviews members of a rural Virginia African American community that included not just retired midwives and their descendants, but anyone who lived through this transformation in medical care--especially the women who gave birth at home attended by a midwife. She compares these narrations to those in contemporary medical journals and public health materials, discovering contradictions and ambivalence: was the midwife a figure of shame or pride? How did one distance oneself from what was now considered "superstitious" or "backward" and at the same time acknowledge and show pride in the former unquestioned authority of these beliefs and practices?  In an important contribution to African American studies and anthropology,  African American Midwifery in the South brings new voices to the discourse on the hidden world of midwives and birthing.

Starting at the turn of the century, most African American midwives in the South were gradually excluded from reproductive health care. Gertrude Fraser shows how physicians, public health personnel, and state legislators mounted a campaign ostensibly to improve maternal and infant health, especially in rural areas. They brought traditional midwives under the control of a supervisory body, and eventually eliminated them. In the writings and programs produced by these physicians and public health officials, Fraser finds a universe of ideas about race, gender, the relationship of medicine to society, and the status of the South in the national political and social economies.

Fraser also studies this experience through dialogues of memory. She interviews members of a rural Virginia African American community that included not just retired midwives and their descendants, but anyone who lived through this transformation in medical care--especially the women who gave birth at home attended by a midwife. She compares these narrations to those in contemporary medical journals and public health materials, discovering contradictions and ambivalence: was the midwife a figure of shame or pride? How did one distance oneself from what was now considered "superstitious" or "backward" and at the same time acknowledge and show pride in the former unquestioned authority of these beliefs and practices?

In an important contribution to African American studies and anthropology, African American Midwifery in the Southbrings new voices to the discourse on the hidden world of midwives and birthing.

African-American Slave Medicine offers a critical examination of how African-American slaves medical needs were addressed during the years before and surrounding the Civil War. Drawing upon ex-slave interviews conducted during the 1930s and 1940s by the Works Project Administration (WPA), Dr. Herbert C. Covey inventories many of the herbal, plant, and non-plant remedies used by African-American folk practitioners during slavery. He demonstrates how active the slaves were in their own medical care and the important role faith played in the healing process. This book links each referenced plant or herb to modern scientific evidence to determine its actual worth and effects on the patients. Through his study, Dr. Covey unravels many of the complex social relationships found between the African-American slaves, Whites, folk practitioners, and patients. African-American Slave Medicine is a compelling and captivating read that will appeal to scholars of African-American history and those interested in folk medicine.

African-American Slave Medicine offers a critical examination of how African-American slaves medical needs were addressed during the years before and surrounding the Civil War. Drawing upon ex-slave interviews conducted during the 1930s and 1940s by the Works Project Administration (WPA), Dr. Herbert C. Covey inventories many of the herbal, plant, and non-plant remedies used by African-American folk practitioners during slavery. He demonstrates how active the slaves were in their own medical care and the important role faith played in the healing process. This book links each referenced plant or herb to modern scientific evidence to determine its actual worth and effects on the patients. Through his study, Dr. Covey unravels many of the complex social relationships found between the African-American slaves, Whites, folk practitioners, and patients. African-American Slave Medicine is a compelling and captivating read that will appeal to scholars of African-American history and those interested in folk medicine.

Based on the accounts of midwives, their descendants, and the women they served,  In the Way of Our Grandmothers  tells of the midwife's trade―her principles, traditions, and skills―and of the competing medical profession's successful program to systematically destroy the practice.  The rural South was one of the last strongholds of the traditional "granny" midwife. Whether she came by her trade through individual choice or inherited a practice from an older relative, a woman who accepted the "call" of midwife launched a lifelong vocation of public service. While the profession was arduous, it had numerous rewards. Midwives assumed positions of leadership within their communities, were able to define themselves and their actions on their own terms, and derived a great sense of pride and satisfaction from performing a much-loved job.  Despite national statistics that placed midwives above all other attendants in low childbirth mortality, Florida's state health experts began in the early twentieth century to view the craft as a menace to public health. Efforts to regulate midwives through education and licensing were part of a long-term plan to replace them with modern medical and hospital services. Eager to demonstrate their good will and common interest, most midwives complied with the increasingly restrictive rules imposed by the state, unknowingly contributing to the demise of their own profession.  The recent interest of the youthful middle class in home birth methods has been accompanied by a rediscovery of the midwife's craft. Yet the new midwifery represents the state's successful attainment of a long-awaited goal: the replacement of the traditional lay midwife with the modern nurse-midwife.  In the Way of Our Grandmothers provides a voice for the few women in the South who still remember the earlier trade―one that evolved organically from the needs of women and existed outside the realms of men.

Based on the accounts of midwives, their descendants, and the women they served, In the Way of Our Grandmothers tells of the midwife's trade―her principles, traditions, and skills―and of the competing medical profession's successful program to systematically destroy the practice.

The rural South was one of the last strongholds of the traditional "granny" midwife. Whether she came by her trade through individual choice or inherited a practice from an older relative, a woman who accepted the "call" of midwife launched a lifelong vocation of public service. While the profession was arduous, it had numerous rewards. Midwives assumed positions of leadership within their communities, were able to define themselves and their actions on their own terms, and derived a great sense of pride and satisfaction from performing a much-loved job.

Despite national statistics that placed midwives above all other attendants in low childbirth mortality, Florida's state health experts began in the early twentieth century to view the craft as a menace to public health. Efforts to regulate midwives through education and licensing were part of a long-term plan to replace them with modern medical and hospital services. Eager to demonstrate their good will and common interest, most midwives complied with the increasingly restrictive rules imposed by the state, unknowingly contributing to the demise of their own profession.

The recent interest of the youthful middle class in home birth methods has been accompanied by a rediscovery of the midwife's craft. Yet the new midwifery represents the state's successful attainment of a long-awaited goal: the replacement of the traditional lay midwife with the modern nurse-midwife. In the Way of Our Grandmothersprovides a voice for the few women in the South who still remember the earlier trade―one that evolved organically from the needs of women and existed outside the realms of men.

Claudine Curry Smith delivered over 500 babies in her three decades as a midwife in rural Virginia, traveling at all times of day and night and in all sorts of weather. Born in 1918, this remarkable woman grew up in the segregated South, married at seventeen, raised seven children, drove a school bus for 37 years, picked crabs, shucked oysters, cut and packed fish, picked and peeled tomatoes, shucked corn, took care of children and elderly people, looked after sick folks, and cooked and cleaned for White people as well as for her own family. Married for 67 years, she is a treasure trove of stories about her life and times. When her first child was born with the help of a midwife, she was only 17 and living with her grandparents. To let the midwife, an aunt, know that labor had begun, someone rode by horseback to her home and she returned in her horse and buggy. Although there was no running water or electricity there, everything was ready for the midwife and the delivery went smoothly.Mrs. Smiths own practice as a midwife included many homes without running water or electricity, but she always knew what to do. She delivered several premature babies and even a set of twins. And in all her years of practice, she never lost a mother.This book tells her story in her own words, with some background information written by the co-author to provide historical context. Her story illustrates the challenges and joys of a way of life unknown to much of contemporary American society but greatly valued by African Americans throughout the South. It offers one of the few written accounts of a time and practice largely ignored by history.

Claudine Curry Smith delivered over 500 babies in her three decades as a midwife in rural Virginia, traveling at all times of day and night and in all sorts of weather. Born in 1918, this remarkable woman grew up in the segregated South, married at seventeen, raised seven children, drove a school bus for 37 years, picked crabs, shucked oysters, cut and packed fish, picked and peeled tomatoes, shucked corn, took care of children and elderly people, looked after sick folks, and cooked and cleaned for White people as well as for her own family. Married for 67 years, she is a treasure trove of stories about her life and times. When her first child was born with the help of a midwife, she was only 17 and living with her grandparents. To let the midwife, an aunt, know that labor had begun, someone rode by horseback to her home and she returned in her horse and buggy. Although there was no running water or electricity there, everything was ready for the midwife and the delivery went smoothly.Mrs. Smiths own practice as a midwife included many homes without running water or electricity, but she always knew what to do. She delivered several premature babies and even a set of twins. And in all her years of practice, she never lost a mother.This book tells her story in her own words, with some background information written by the co-author to provide historical context. Her story illustrates the challenges and joys of a way of life unknown to much of contemporary American society but greatly valued by African Americans throughout the South. It offers one of the few written accounts of a time and practice largely ignored by history.

Catchin’ babies” was merely one aspect of the broad role of African American midwives in the twentieth-century South. Yet, little has been written about the type of care they provided or how midwifery and maternity care evolved under the increasing presence of local and federal health care structures.  Using evidence from nursing, medical, and public health journals of the era; primary sources from state and county departments of health; and personal accounts from varied practitioners,  Delivered by Midwives: African American Midwifery in the Twentieth-Century South  provides a new perspective on the childbirth experience of African American women and their maternity care providers. Author Jenny M. Luke moves beyond the usual racial dichotomies to expose a more complex shift in childbirth culture, revealing the changing expectations and agency of African American women in their rejection of a two-tier maternity care system and their demands to be part of an inclusive, desegregated society.  Moreover, Luke illuminates valuable aspects of a maternity care model previously discarded in the name of progress. High maternal and infant mortality rates led to the passage of the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Protection Act in 1921. This marked the first attempt by the federal government to improve the welfare of mothers and babies. Almost a century later, concern about maternal mortality and persistent racial disparities have forced a reassessment. Elements of the long-abandoned care model are being reincorporated into modern practice, answering current health care dilemmas by heeding lessons from the past.

Catchin’ babies” was merely one aspect of the broad role of African American midwives in the twentieth-century South. Yet, little has been written about the type of care they provided or how midwifery and maternity care evolved under the increasing presence of local and federal health care structures.

Using evidence from nursing, medical, and public health journals of the era; primary sources from state and county departments of health; and personal accounts from varied practitioners, Delivered by Midwives: African American Midwifery in the Twentieth-Century South provides a new perspective on the childbirth experience of African American women and their maternity care providers. Author Jenny M. Luke moves beyond the usual racial dichotomies to expose a more complex shift in childbirth culture, revealing the changing expectations and agency of African American women in their rejection of a two-tier maternity care system and their demands to be part of an inclusive, desegregated society.

Moreover, Luke illuminates valuable aspects of a maternity care model previously discarded in the name of progress. High maternal and infant mortality rates led to the passage of the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Protection Act in 1921. This marked the first attempt by the federal government to improve the welfare of mothers and babies. Almost a century later, concern about maternal mortality and persistent racial disparities have forced a reassessment. Elements of the long-abandoned care model are being reincorporated into modern practice, answering current health care dilemmas by heeding lessons from the past.

Transgender and gender nonconforming (TNGC) clients have complex mental health concerns, and are more likely than ever to seek out treatment. This comprehensive resource outlines the latest research and recommendations to provide you with the requisite knowledge, skills, and awareness to treat TNGC clients with competent and affirming care.  As you know, TNGC clients have different needs based on who they are in relation to the world. Written by three psychologists who specialize in working with the TGNC population, this important book draws on the perspective that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for working with TNGC clients. It offers interventions tailored to developmental stages and situational factors—for example, cultural intersections such as race, class, and religion.  This book provides up-to-date information on language, etiquette, and appropriate communication and conduct in treating TGNC clients, and discusses the history, cultural context, and ethical and legal issues that can arise in working with gender diverse individuals in a clinical setting. You’ll also find information about informed consent approaches that call for a shift in the role of the mental health provider in the position of assessment and referral for the purposes of gender-affirming medical care (such as hormones, surgery, and other procedures).  As changes in recent transgender health care and insurance coverage have provided increased access for a broader range of consumers, it is essential to understand transgender and gender nonconforming clients’ different needs. This book provides practical exercises and skills you can use to help TNGC clients thrive

Transgender and gender nonconforming (TNGC) clients have complex mental health concerns, and are more likely than ever to seek out treatment. This comprehensive resource outlines the latest research and recommendations to provide you with the requisite knowledge, skills, and awareness to treat TNGC clients with competent and affirming care.

As you know, TNGC clients have different needs based on who they are in relation to the world. Written by three psychologists who specialize in working with the TGNC population, this important book draws on the perspective that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for working with TNGC clients. It offers interventions tailored to developmental stages and situational factors—for example, cultural intersections such as race, class, and religion.

This book provides up-to-date information on language, etiquette, and appropriate communication and conduct in treating TGNC clients, and discusses the history, cultural context, and ethical and legal issues that can arise in working with gender diverse individuals in a clinical setting. You’ll also find information about informed consent approaches that call for a shift in the role of the mental health provider in the position of assessment and referral for the purposes of gender-affirming medical care (such as hormones, surgery, and other procedures).

As changes in recent transgender health care and insurance coverage have provided increased access for a broader range of consumers, it is essential to understand transgender and gender nonconforming clients’ different needs. This book provides practical exercises and skills you can use to help TNGC clients thrive