Allow me to take a moment and speak to the social inequities and racism that exist with healthcare, and specifically around birth....
we must all recognize the trauma and disparity Black, Brown, and Indigenous folx, families, and birthing people experience regardless of economics or education.
How do we course correct or create change? I will share my plan and invite you to share your own (if appropriate):
~Do more listening, less talking.
~Make adequate time for each client. Typical midwifery appts are one hour long. This connection builds trust and safety, this makes for better birth outcomes.
~Provide a safe and inclusive, online support group for my clients
~ Intentionally connect, collaborate, refer, and promote Black Women-Owned Businesses -especially those in my own community.
~Offer childbirth education that addresses disparities and inequities, share up-to-date statistics, and discuss ways to make implement change (to register for class visit www.shellyvarelli.com/upcomingevents
~Invest in continued anti-racism education and the self work to deconstruct the internal biases consciously or unconsciously established within my own being.
~Budget and offer services to those who have limited resources or limited access to health care.
~Provide accessible appointment opportunities whether this means after “normal” business hours or being willing to offer at-home appointments for those who might need or desire that.
~In my office, have pictures and books that represent people of all skin tones and birthplaces.
~Choose a future office space that is easy for all clients to get to.
~Provide a small snack and offer a beverage to all client and their children.
~Have a complimentary supply of vitamins and herbs, a sharing table with items that are free as needed. A healthy mom means a better outcome.
~Accept Medicaid and try to avoid limiting the number of Medicaid clients I see monthly (this one takes some budgeting and is a work of legislation and licensure).
~Collaborate with other midwives (especially Black, Brown, and Indigenous midwives) willing to partner in providing safe and accessible MMC outside of the MIC. I truly believe that collaboration is key to sustainability. We must support one another!
~One day, I will be able to mentor and be a preceptor for student midwives of color. Black, Brown, and Indigenous midwives are the best for Black, Brown, and Indigenous birthing people with a different and deep resonation that a White person, like myself, won't be able to offer, and should not pretend to. ~~~I can still be an excellent midwife and offer energy toward healing, but not in the same way, simply because of my lived white privilege and experiences. The barriers for BIPOC students are far greater than those I face, finding preceptors who are willing to partner and facilitate preceptorship is necessary. I hope to do this one day.
~ I extend a commitment toward bringing folks together recognizing one is not alone is powerful in and of itself.
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