On this International Women’s Day, we wish to honor those who are helping our newest families navigate the tender and powerful transition of pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting.
The obstacles are enormous and sometimes the work feels unrelenting: rising maternal mortality and morbidity rates that disproportionately affect women of color; a Caesarean rate stuck at 32%; a culture in which there is uneven access to prenatal care, where 25% of mothers return to work less than two weeks after giving birth, and where there are few supports in place for the hard realities of early parenting (breastfeeding, lack of sleep, perinatal mental health are just a few examples).
Women have traditionally done much of the work of “tending” the needs other humans, whether they be our babies, our elders, and our infirm. And that work is often unseen, unacknowledged, and undervalued. So today we pay tribute to five local women who have been supporting pregnant and postpartum people in our community, or who have illuminated the experience of birth and postpartum by sharing their personal stories within our blog archive.
Nationally and locally there is blossoming of awareness of how important the perinatal period is to the future health of our community. May our individual and collective efforts serve to build a safe space where parents are raising strong and resilient children in a healthy and connected community.
Hope you enjoy these stories!
Laurinda Davis: A maternal health champion
Thérèse Hak Kuhn: Doulas guide your way into parenthood
Stephanie Spencer, Executive Director of Urban Baby Beginnings
(ps: the article below was from three years ago. Check out how Stephanie’s work has evolved here.)
Abby Dini: Maternal mental health warrior
Sara Krivanec: 14 years of helping families