PROGRAM SPOTLIGHT: BIRTH JUSTICE FOR US
As 2017 comes to an end, we would like to highlight our Birth Companion Program. By sharing blog and social media posts, Mama Sana Vibrant Woman (MSVW) supporters can get to know us better and learn about the role that the Birth Justice for Us program plays within our organization and the Greater Austin Community.
The Beginning of Mama Sana Vibrant Woman: Organizing for a Just and Loving World
In 2012, while organizing around birth access, a group of Black and Latina mothers were compelled to take action after observing traumatic and unjust birth experiences. Mama Sana Vibrant Woman (MSVW) began to serve pregnant people of color in THEIR Austin community as volunteer Birth Companions (doulas) both during childbirth and the postpartum period. Actively living their mission, this initial work birthed an organization aimed at creating a just and loving the world.
What is a Birth Companion?
Birth Companions provide physical and emotional support during the birth process. MSVW Birth Companions are full-spectrum, meaning they can provide support at any point in a person's reproductive life. Birth Companions with MSVW understand the impact of racism on women of color specifically Black women, the rights of birthing people and mothers, and the notion that reproductive health and wellness exists through a life continuum and not solely during pregnancy and birth. Birth Companions pair education and hands-on support with community building, and this empowers women and people to take their health and wellness into their own hands.
Fast Forward to Now: Birth Justice for Us
In February 2017, through a three-day, intensive training, MSVW launched its Birth Companion training and certification program, Birth Justice for Us. Prioritizing people of color, the program resulted in the initial training of 27 new Birth Companions, 22 being people of color. Throughout the year, the program provides ongoing continuing education and practical experience, and in less than one year, the MSVW Birth Justice for Us program has provided labor and postpartum support for over 24 participants.
In 2018, through a second three-day, intensive Birth Companion training, MSVW will continue to transform and empower people of color in the Austin Community to work and embody Birth Justice for Us.