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a note from the editor

Whoever you are, wherever you are, welcome. I’m so grateful you are here.

In the time between our third issue and today so much has gone on in the birth world, and the world at large.

Mostly, as I go about my life, hearing bits and pieces of what's happening around me, I find myself struck by how little and how infrequently it seems people choose to empathize with each other — and how quickly we cut each other off.

Whether the tension is between parents and parents, or parents and care providers, or care providers and other care providers — tension seems to be the status quo, the normal mode, the default setting of our daily lives.

I understand that mourning tension and lack of understanding between people in the world is nothing new, and often considered the duty of those people who wear "rose-colored glasses" and naively skirt around life shouting things like, "Let's just get along!" from every soapbox that crosses their path. That's not the place I ever want to find myself.

Like with anything in life, there's no point complaining or crying about something you're not doing something to address practically. And complaining and crying definitely doesn't lead to sudden epiphanies of understanding between resistant/warring groups of people.

When I think about what's going right in the world, I think of efforts like Humans of New York, the photoblog of street portraits and interviews that started in New York City but has since traveled across the world to Kenya, Ukraine, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Mexico and more, always doing just one thing that never gets old: showing you someone's picture and letting you hear their story in their voice.

One man started HONY in 2010. And now over 17 million people follow his posts, all with the same simple equation of image + voice. Why?

I think it's because as much as we may disagree and disappoint and hurt each other, we're also just as much drawn to and hopeful for and proud of and inspired by each other — and really, honestly, we see ourselves in each other.

And maybe that's why we argue and fight and fuss, too. Because at the end of the day, dealing with each other is actually dealing with ourselves. And I'll just speak for myself here, but I can be pretty infuriating sometimes. So if someone else really brings me out — the parts of me I don't like or don't understand — woo... I might have a hard time being around them.

All of this to say: yes, life is complicated, the world is wide, the things that are happening are big and often overwhelming — but there's a really simple equation that can help a lot if we allow it. And what HONY does in its own way is what we work to do at Everyday Birth in ours.

Image + voice. It never gets old — the most important mirror in the world — showing you yourself by showing you someone else.

Cheyenne Varner
Executive Editor
mallory jackson


Click the title to go to that section
So Many Powerful Voices
The power of oral histories illuminated.
Pregnancy Reflections with Rupa and Navi
Rupa shares her pregnancy journey + tips on sustainable living with a newborn.
Home, Birth Center, and Hospital Birth
An intro to what option fits you and stories from three parents.
Check Yourself
Do you know enough about your body to fight for its rights?
Care Provider Q+A
We asked a midwife and OB (still ask yours, too!)
Get Ready to Start Planning Your Postpartum Shower
Freezer meals, clean-up, doulas, and more!
Four Books for When You...
A teaser selection of books you might want to add to your shelves!
The Basics of Eating Well
What's in a balanced meal and how it nourishes.
Infant-feeding Across Time, Culture and Experience
Milestones in feeding babies from past and present, from near and far.
Black MotHERhood
Highlighting postpartum beauty + the voices of mothers in Richmond, VA.

So many powerful voices

Birth work through oral histories

As a first generation Chinese-American I grew up witnessing first-hand how stigma could prevent someone from sharing their experiences, especially stories with trauma and vulnerability.

Then, in May 2017, I submitted a final thesis on Manhattan’s Chinatown. At the time, I was interested in recording oral histories of resilience among generations of Chinese-American immigrant families.

The first interview I did was with my own mother — the story of her journey as a young girl from Hong Kong to San Francisco’s Chinatown by boat. Over the past few years I’ve developed a deeper understanding of her, and her life before me. I believe that my thesis work was actually inspired by my desire to understand my mother better. And one beautiful outcome of that work was how it made a safe space to connect with her.

A year later, my world began to intersect with birth work. During my first doula training, I thought about how my experiences with oral history work could make me a better doula. In my very first birth I saw how often the narrative or expectations of others were projected on to a birthing client.

I listened to the feelings and needs of my client, reaffirming her ability to reclaim her own narrative as it unfolded. After the birth we recounted her birth story from her perspective, one with both hardship and joy. While I did not record her story, I thought about how important it was to move through the world of birth work with an understanding that all around us are individuals holding stories.

Before entering birth work, I didn't often think about the impact of my own birth story, or the opportunity to hear stories about birth from my mother's perspective.

I have just one sibling, an older brother. Jordan and I were both premature, born in a hospital in Berkeley, California. My mother however, is one of five children, all brought into this world under varying circumstances, which she told me:

“My mother gave birth to me in Hong Kong in an apartment with a midwife, but my older brothers were born in houses in the village of Hoi Ping. It was common to have older women from the village around with experience birthing babies. These women did not have any license or medical training and traveled from village to village. We had an absentee dad — he was living in Brazil until we emigrated to the USA, so my mother birthed without his support.”

I asked my mom if she remembered feeling supported in her births or if she held any fears:

“My only fear in birth was having another premature baby, since Jordan was so premature. With Jordan my water broke at only 31 weeks. I burst into tears when they told me that his lungs might not be developed, along with a host of other issues. He was in the hospital for three weeks after his birth; it was hard seeing him so small and frail. They had to gavage his milk (feeding him through tubes) because he was too weak to suck. It was hard seeing him in an incubator.”

She recalled the specifics of my birth:

“I found out I was pregnant with you when I was working at Planned Parenthood. My coworkers were so excited they ran up and down the hallways sharing the news. I kept the pregnancy kit and showed it to your dad that night. Your due date was May 1,  1993. I came down with pneumonia mid-January, and because I had previously had a premature baby, my doctor put me on bed rest until the birth. On April 7, my water broke, I called your dad and he came home mid-afternoon. I was all prepared and we went to Alta Bates Hospital. I rested for awhile and at 4:30 am I woke up to feel my contractions were a little stronger. They wheeled me into the delivery room to check me. I ask the nurse for my epidural shot, but she told me that I was already 5 cm and wasn’t a candidate for it. I remember being quite upset about this. Her answer, 'Don’t frown, it will bring wrinkles.' Of course I was upset.  The main nurse told me to start pushing, and fifteen minutes later at 5:45 am, you were born on April 8, 1993.”

In my mother's story, I can see that in both of her pregnancies and births are stories both painful and tender, and that she demonstrated so much tenacity and strength. I never considered the weight of the emotions my mother might still be carrying from these experiences, and how it might feel to bring it up all these years later. When I asked her what it was like to retell these stories she said, “I am happy to share; it is less hard now that you are all grown up, but I do remember the fears and emotions as if it were yesterday.”

I often write and share my own oral histories, too — stories of personal trauma and transformative life experiences. I have participated in podcasts on my experiences in an abusive relationship, and I recently shared a story on Instagram about my experiences having an abortion at the age of twenty. In these stories I encouraged others to see listening as a supportive and healing act. I often send these stories to my parents, opening a dialogue for communication and understanding.

I am new to the world of birth work, a space that already holds so many powerful and strong voices. As a storyteller, an oral history collector, and a doula, I have found a way to unite all of these practices. The beauty of oral histories is that they create opportunities for individuals to show up and speak their truth. I am grateful for the opportunity to hear my mother's story; I will carry it with me as a reminder to continuously cultivate spaces where people in the birth world can have that too.
jasmine lee

Pregnancy Reflections
with Rupa and Navi

what has pregnancy been like for you in the past and how did this latest pregnancy compare?
My first pregnancy was in 2011, three years after I got married and still in the phase of life where everything was a bit “dreamy”. The baby news was sooo awesome, loved by family and friends and embraced fully by hubz and me. And in two years we had another baby girl that filled us with joy. Then in 2018, I became unexpectedly pregnant and it turned my world upside down. Not only was the pregnancy news a shock emotionally, but physically it was filled with pain, pain and more pain. My first pregnancy was great and I loved having that tummy. My second one was a bit harder, my nausea was horrible and I was so tired managing another kid. This third one challenged my body to its limits. From an incessant cough that sprained both my ribs and back to nausea that took medication and will to get through. I was cursing my body and pushing my other two kids to take on more than I thought they could do to help me get through each day.
what was a challenge that you faced during this pregnancy? how did you deal with it?
When we found out that I was pregnant, I felt a bit happy, but a type of fake happy because when we told our family, they were excited so I thought I should be. I found myself unable to sleep at night, waking up in the wee mornings and crying quietly in the bathroom and researching pre-partum depression (I soon found out it was called prenatal depression). I didn’t want this pregnancy, it was so hard to think those thoughts in my head, even more so to say it out loud, so I didn’t. I felt like this baby was taking away the life I had and rewinding my life to a point where it wouldn’t be mine anymore. It brought despair, which then turned into guilt and shame. I didn’t have an outlet for my feelings, I didn’t feel like I could tell anyone how I felt and I felt alone even with this baby growing inside me. I started to use Instagram to pull out the words I hid. I just wanted to be seen and expose the ugly darkness I felt in the hopes that someone would see them and share with me a cure, a path through or a virtual embrace.
what was something that gave you joy during this pregnancy?
The joy I felt came from the community that heard me and continuously lifted me up with their comments on each post that hurt me to write. I celebrated deep inside myself where the ugly darkness didn’t need to be hidden anymore, where it could be seen in all it’s glory and accepted. One of the most impactful words were these “love has to break through a lot of sorrow and pain to live in full expression, and sometimes that takes time, other times it happens in a moment. Both journeys are righteous and good.” I will forever remember these piercing words.
you wrote on instagram about a bangle ceremony. what is this tradition and what did it mean to you to take part in it?
The bangle ceremony is called Valaikaapu. It’s a tradition in South India, in the state of Tamil Nadu where the pregnant woman is blessed and celebrated to ensure a safe birth, much like a baby shower. Each woman that came to my ceremony put glass bangles on my wrists, the sound of the bangles are supposed to awaken the babies senses and you wear them for the remainder of your pregnancy. I’ve done this ceremony for each baby I’ve had, but this one in particular was the one I felt each blessing surrounded my womb and protected it from every rotten thought that was inside me. I feared so much that when I delivered my baby boy, he’d know all the horrible thoughts and feelings I had when he was in my belly. But when he looks at me now, I feel radiant and extremely connected to him and I feel its because he was protected by my family and friends that were at this ceremony.
in the last weeks of your pregnancy, you took part in a style challenge honoring the people who make our clothes. what was the challenge and how did you make it work while pregnant?
My work for the past 10 years or so has been about educating consumers about the impact of their purchases on people and the planet. The style challenge took place during fashion revolution week, a week when we ask for a fairer, cleaner, safer, more transparent fashion industry; it’s about knowing who makes your clothes, what their lives are like and how much they get paid. Rarely do we know that our clothing choices unwillingly support inequality, child labor, unfair pay, destruction of the environment, and unsafe working conditions. There are about 75 million people who work in the garment industry, 80% are women between the ages 18-35. Most of them live in poverty, subject to exploitation and abuse, working in unsafe and dirty conditions with very little pay.

The challenge asked us to honor those who make our clothes by choosing seven clothing items from our closet to wear for those seven days. With just a little creativity, you can still fully express yourself with less. My clothing choices during this pregnancy were very intentional. I used what I already had in my closet and then two pairs of pants and a pair of boots I bought second-hand. I made these decisions so that I could have a very minimal pregnancy wardrobe that had very little impact on consumption. With very little, I was able to create seven looks while pregnant, that made me feel great and advocate for those who make our clothes.
rupa singh

Rupa's Top 5 Tips for Sustainable Living with a Newborn

Buy plastic-free, chemical-free products.
From rubber pacifiers to glass breastmilk storage, there is a plastic free alternative to almost every baby product. When it comes to ingredients, use natural ones — they are better for you, baby and planet.

Borrow, not buy.
Before you know it, your baby won't be using all the things you bought. I borrowed Navi's bassinet and swing from a friend and I’ll return them when we're done. When I need the next big ticket item, I’ll ask family and friends. Borrowing and reusing keeps things out of landfills. And every baby's use builds on the beautiful memories.

If you buy, buy second-hand.
You can find used clothes in great condition! I get my kids' clothes second-hand, explain how consuming and disposing works, and how they can be a positive force. If used isn't for you, buy from brands that protect our natural resources and the people who make the clothes.

Use cloth diapers.
I couldn’t handle all the diaper waste that would build up in the two years my babies would wear diapers! Cloth diapers are reusable, long-lasting and easy to use once you get used to it.

Breastfeed or chestfeed, or use plastic-free products.
It’s free, it’s natural, and so good for your baby! If you can't or choose not to breastfeed though, buy formula in bulk and plastic-free if you can. And when feeding time comes, use glass bottles and rubber nipples — they're safer than plastic.
mallory jackson

home, birth center,
and hospital birth

a brief intro to what fits you

Does this fit me?
Those who choose home birth often trust their knowledge of their body and health needs, and may even feel uncomfortable with the traditional medical system and hospitals due to histories of racist and unjust practices.
What do I need?
A home birth kit. This usually includes basic supplies like chux pads, gloves, gauze, lubricating gel, bulb syringe, cord clamps, peri bottle, cleansing solution, and alcohol prep pads, among other items suggested by the Midwife.
Can I afford it?
Home birth expenses are often paid out of pocket and provide for the Midwife, Midwife’s Assistant, and any necessary supplies as dictated by the Midwife. Costs range from $1,500-$3,000.*
birth center
Does this fit me?
Those who choose a birth center may be seeking a positive balance between birthing at home and birthing in a hospital. The birthing person likely wants a collaborative partnership and nurturing relationship with their Midwife, and is engaged in the decision-making process of their care.
What do I need?
An overnight bag with basic toiletries, and snacks or drinks, if desired.
Can I afford it?
Costs are different based on where you live and what’s available. On average, the cost ranges from $3,000-$6,800; some insurance companies may cover a portion of the expenses.**
Does this fit me?
Many people give birth in the hospital because they trust the traditional medical system as the authority on pregnancy and childbirth, have what’s considered a high-risk pregnancy, or want to go where their Midwife or OB always attends births.
What do I need?
Hospital pre-registration paperwork, your insurance card, your ID, and baby’s car seat installed. A hospital bag packed with basic 2-3 days of overnight toiletries, and other items to make the space comfortable.
Can I afford it?
The national median cost of a childbirth hospital stay was $13,524 in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but most expenses for the birthing person and newborn are covered by health insurance if in network.
*These are estimates based on national averages. Exact costs vary depending upon the care provider.
**These are estimates based on national averages. Exact costs vary depending upon the care provider and individual insurance coverage.
kenya fairley
WANT MORE? REAd the full breakdown


home birth


shauntay's story
“When I found out I was pregnant, I started off seeing my regular doctor. I didn’t know if I could afford a doula and midwife. My doctor was not listening to me and I had severe pains she kept telling me were round ligament pains, but I knew they were not. After pushing, she did more testing and found that I had a rare, potentially life-threatening infection.

After that, I decided I wanted to create my birth experience and didn’t want anybody to create it for me.  

My home birth experience was nothing short of amazing! I was in prodromal labor for a week. My contractions were happening as if I was in active labor but weren’t progressing. Sometimes they'd even stop for hours. I had womb massages to help get the contractions going but nothing was working. I was getting discouraged and I was tired! The stress was wearing on me so I reached out for help and a natural concoction was suggested that sent me into active labor about 6 hours later.  I called my midwife about 10:00 pm on January 12th. The whole team was there by midnight.

I kept a lowly lit space and chose to stay in my room during my labor. The show Friends played the whole time and I preferred silence around me. My birthing team listened to my every need whether it was bringing me ice or clearing the room because they saw I was overwhelmed.

My labor progressed calmly. At about 8:00 am, labor was intense and I began to mentally break. I thought I had to use the bathroom but then got an overwhelming urge to push! I yelled, 'I have to push!' then ran and pretty much jumped in the pool! I opened my eyes to three midwives, a doula and my photographer all ready! It was amazing and kind of hilarious.

I was on my knees in the water and pushing. I remember I kept saying I couldn’t do it. Words that I was crying out over the last hour of labor, as it got intense but now it was go time. My doula kept telling me how strong I was and empowering me. I glanced out the window next to me and said to myself verbatim, 'You don’t have a choice. You can and you will.'

It took me under one minute to push out my son. One push sitting and one final push standing. My midwife caught him!

I was so proud of myself and relieved. The rest of the day was surreal. My birthing team catered to me and my newborn and I felt so relaxed and accomplished! The birth of my son August was nothing short of amazing!”
Shauntay, 32
Little Elm, TX
photographer: stephanie cabrera


birth center


evie's story
“It was peaceful. Granted I was in labor so I was very focused on what my body was doing but the environment was so relaxed. My midwife and doula heard everything I needed and made sure I was comfortable and taken care of. No matter if it was a Gatorade or a pop tart, they were there to make sure it was easy for me. I loved having access to water be it in the bath or in the birth pool. I was able to walk around in a peaceful place without the distraction of a million beeps and noises and people.

I remember waking up at around11:30 pm on April 16th and saying to myself, 'You’re having contractions, get some sleep, you’re gonna need it.'  

5 am on April 17th comes and I wake up to stronger contractions. I looked around and got up and started getting last minute things done around the house.

I woke my husband up around 9 and told him I was in labor and we needed to go to the grocery store to get snacks and some stuff for the birth center. So there I'm walking around Walmart, having contractions 5 minutes apart buying pop tarts and fruit. We go home, put the dogs away and head off to the birth center.

As soon as we got there I was able to get comfortable in my favorite clothes and enjoy a dark space (I relax best in the dark). I turned on my birth playlist and tried to relax. After about 10 hours of labor and going back and forth between walking, a warm bath, a few naps in bed, and the birth pool it was time but I wasn’t doing great. I was weak and I knew I had to try. So I tried and tried but my baby didn’t want to budge.

After about an hour of me being in so much discomfort with no progress my husband and I decided to transfer with our birth team to the hospital. We hopped in the car and made the 45 minute drive to the hospital. My midwife had called ahead and they had a room waiting for me. They respected my choices and my midwife was able to continue to assist in labor. I chose while there to get an epidural so I could get some sleep after having been in labor for 19+ hours.

I slept from 2 am on April 18th until 10:30. My husband and I woke up refreshed and when the nurse came in around 11:15 to check on me she said, 'Well I think we can have this baby,” and at 11:37 after 10 minutes of pushing my sweet boy was born at 8 pounds 6 ounces.

The benefits of your voice being heard and your being surrounded by people who are invested in your birth and your experience is so worth it.”
Evie, 24
Burleson, TX
photographer: saleta lawrence


hospital birth


josh and fan's story
“Our decision was based on our Gestational Carrier’s wishes. She wished to be taken care of by a midwife, but also wished to give birth in the hospital.

Our GC went to the hospital two days before the due date because of high blood pressure. The midwife wasn’t too concerned, but consulting with the medical team, they decided it was best to induce. We went home, packed bags and planned for the hospital the next day.

The hospital didn’t know how to handle our situation! We were the first ever international surrogacy-based family, so they simply didn’t have policy for our situation (They do now! In fact, a couple from Australia and a surrogate from Sudbury recent gave birth to a beautiful baby boy! #trailblazers).

So after very well-meaning, respectful but awkward conversations, the hospital finally let our support team into the room! Our GC, her partner, Fan, myself (Josh) and our Doula (birth photographer) arrived at the hospital on the morning of December 12, 2018.

The induction was scheduled for 11am. We took a break to go downstairs to visit our mothers (who communicated by GoogleTranslate as Fan’s mom doesn’t speak English and Josh’s mom doesn’t speak Mandarin) so the induction could take place and we could eat lunch. Our GC stayed with her supportive partner.

Once the doctor performed the induction, care was returned to the incredibly capable midwife — back to Plan A.

We spent the afternoon laughing, telling stories, and deepening our love and gratitude for one-another. The feeling was of love, respect, and appreciation.

After dinner, contractions started to get serious. We were blown away by the medical technology. It was really special. We live in China so we had to track the pregnancy through video chats of all midwife appointments and sonograms at the doctor’s offices. Every milestone had been made separate, but today we were together. Amazing!

Then it was go-time! The midwife trained Josh on skin-to-skin if the cord was long enough, and on a four-hand delivery. She walked Fan through cutting the cord. While all this was happening our GC’s partner was running his fingers through her hair and making her feel like a Queen. We were all each other’s support system.

Just after 9pm, little Parker Aubrey (named after Josh’s late father) made his way into the world. His grandmother affectionally gifted him his Chinese name, “DongYang” which translates to “Winter’s Sun”.
Josh, 33 and Fan, 30
Ontario, Canada (birth) Shanghai, China (home)
photographer: emily lamb
stephanie beverly
a space to explore reproductive health, parenting, social justice, creativity and technology.

Check Yourself

Do you know enough about your body to fight for its rights?

From menstruation to menopause, stigmas around reproductive health keep us from fully understanding our own agency and bodily autonomy. Depending on where we grow up, the cultures of our families, our gender or racial identities, or what schools we go to, the education we receive about our bodies can be wildly different or covered in shame. This can make it difficult to make informed decisions about our own health choices or fight back when those choices are taken away from us — especially when it comes to birth, pregnancy, menstruation, abortion, loss and fertility. The truth is, though, that we all have a right to determine what happens to our bodies. We all have a right to informed consent.

That's why we're introducing Check Yourself, a series of workshops and campaigns, providing reproductive health and social justice education to birth professionals, parents, creatives and leaders. As a project from Born Into This, the Check Yourself workshops will serve as an opportunity for the public to dive deeper into the organs and systems that comprise our sexual selves. And beyond the workshops, the Check Yourself campaign will serve as a reminder that we all have a right to reproductive health education that's accurate, inclusive and responsible.

Through conferences, workshops and trainings, BORN INTO THIS explores reproductive health, parenting, social justice, creativity and technology. We also offer courses for birth workers through Doula Trainings International (DTI), which certifies doulas, childbirth educators and lactation specialists with basic and advanced trainings across the world. Beyond its courses, DTI is an international network of doulas committed to professional growth. Learn more at bornintothis.co.
we believe the birth world and reproductive justice are indivisible, that's why we're introducing born into this.
Learn more at bornintothis.co and @bornintothis.co

Care Provider Q+A

answers from an OBGYN and a midwife

What are your tips for a healthy pregnancy?
Get in the best health you can before or as soon as you get pregnant — mental health, physical health, relationships, spiritual health, financial health, etc. Some specific things you can do are regular mediation (I like the free app Insight Timer), regular exercise (walking and yoga are great), and nourish your body with healthy foods (eat more veggies than meat, foods should be as close to natural as possible, limit processed foods).
Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, OB/GYN

Take great care of yourself. Learn to utter that simple two-letter word "no". For this nine months, put your psychological, physical, emotional and spiritual needs first! Creating that "me time" is essential for creating a safe space to connect with your baby and yourself in your new role as a parent to this baby, whether it's your first or not. Take a short walk. Take a dance class. Meditate. Pray. Draw. Spend time with loved ones. Create and find the time to do whatever helps you to feel centered and like your best self. Don't forget to add caring for yourself among your long list of daily duties.
Thamarah Crevecoeur, Certified Nurse Midiwfe

How do I make a birth plan that actually works?
Making a birth plan is largely about understanding what will influence your birth, like how your provider and hospital approach birth. It’s also important to understand that birth is an unpredictable process. You can’t plan your birth and your provider can’t plan your birth (no matter what they might tell you). You can of course have birth preferences, or wishes! Understanding the unpredictability of birth and remaining flexible during your birth are key to being satisfied with your experience.
Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, OB/GYN

To make a birth plan that will work for you, it is important to know what you want. Learn about the labor and delivery care model wherever you are delivering your baby. Take a childbirth education class. Learn about the different labor pain medication options. Talk to your provider about your expectations and your desires and ask your provider to please document that in the medical chart. Take a tour of the Labor and Delivery Unit. Plan to have a support team, whether family and friends or a trained professional. If you can, hire a doula.
Thamarah Crevecoeur, Certified Nurse Midiwfe
In labor, how will I know if I should have interventions?
While you might not know right away, it is your medical professional's job to know when you should have interventions. What you can - and should - know is why an intervention is being proposed, what it's benefits would be to you and your baby, what the risks of the intervention would be, what would happen if you did not have the intervention at all, and what would happen if you waited and readdressed things in an hour or two. Providers aren’t always good about explaining these things so don’t be afraid to ask. At NO TIME should an intervention happen without your consent. What you also can - and should - do is educate yourself before labor about possible interventions by taking a comprehensive childbirth education class.
Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, OB/GYN

The key to knowing whether an intervention is right for you and your baby is to ask questions. Why is this intervention being recommended? Is this necessary? Are there side effects for me or the baby? Are there any alternative options? What could happen if I decline? How is this intervention going to be performed? What and how should I expect to feel after if it is performed? If there is not an emergency situation, please feel free to always ask for some time to think about the intervention and discuss it with your support team.
Thamarah Crevecoeur, Certified Nurse Midiwfe

How can my partner support me in labor?
Every person is different in how they'd like their partner to support them. Some people want vocal encouragement and touch. Some people don’t want to be touched at all. Your partner needs to be flexible and realize your wants and needs from them may change.
Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, OB/GYN

Be truly present for the whole process of childbearing: prenatal appointments, learning about the pregnancy journey, taking a childbirth education class together, etc. Discuss your expectations and birth plans with your partner so that you can be on the same page. In labor, I always encourage partners to use one at least of these support tools: hand holding, words of encouragement, massage, and support with position changes.
Thamarah Crevecoeur, Certified Nurse Midiwfe

who can you have on your

support team?

a birth and/or postpartum doula
A birth doula is a non-medical professional trained to provide emotional, physical, and educational support to someone before, during and after childbirth.

A postpartum doula is a non-medical professional trained to support parents in the first days, weeks and months after childbirth.
a lactation consultant
Lactation consultants are trained and have a professional certification to work with breastfeeding and chestfeeding parents. Lactation counselors are also trained and have certification to answer common questions and concerns and may refer parents to a consultant when situations are outside of their scope.
a pelvic health therapist
A pelvic health therapist is a medical professional who specializes in supporting the health and wellness of the muscles in the pelvis. This care can help restore core strength and prevent chronic pains and discomforts like incontinence and diastasis recti (separation of abdominal muscles).
stephanie beverly

Get ready to start planning your

postpartum shower

Baby showers are amazing, but do you really need 3000 white, newborn sized onesies?
As a mom of 4 daughters and a doula I can tell you now, baby will only fit them for a week. There will be tons of unused baby shower items sitting in a corner in your living room. Thousands of dollars down the drain, for folks to come, rub your belly and give you copious amounts of white onesies. Considering we are dying at a rate of 243% higher than everyone else, I would consider this a jump start for us.  Let's consider a Postpartum Party. This period is essential for us. We have very little support and tend to go through superwoman syndrome.  Folks can still come and rub your belly but you can put them to work. Your people can help set you up for success the first 6 weeks postpartum. I'll share some tips and advice to make your own postpartum party a success.

Start by building your guest list.
Who are your people? Any internet friends who are so excited to rub your belly? Any aunts and grannies who are amazing cooks? Make a list of everyone’s strengths and what they love to do. My mother-in-law is an amazing cook. She loves to cook in bulk. I asked her early on to make freezer meals.

Speaking of freezer meals, let’s talk food.
Freezer meals are incredibly simple to make. You might need to make some room in your freezer but it’s worth it! Some examples of simple freezer meals would be lasagna, baked ziti, soups, breakfast sandwiches and anything you that can be prepared in advance, freeze well and be cooked in the oven or crockpot. Make sure to also make tons of good snacks like granola, trail mix and nuts for those 2am breastfeeding moments. There are also services such as Mealtrain.com where you can have people sign up to buy or bring food. This is amazing if you already have family and you can completely focus on healing and rest. People can even meal prep as part of the party. Its something amazing about cooking as a community. Packing herbs for teas and putting together ingredients to make your life easier is a bonus!

“Okay, and what about this house? Who’s going to clean this?"
Instead of gifts, you can ask guests to volunteer to wash dishes, do some other kind of light cleaning, or hire a cleaning service. In those moments, you will not care about those cute socks. The world seems a whole lot clearer with a clean house.

Have you considered having a postpartum doula?
They are an amazing asset to your support team. Sometimes we don’t have an adequate village so we must invest in one. Postpartum doulas are doulas who are trained and well versed in the art of healing postpartum. Some are trained in baby wearing, cloth diapering, healing through nutrition and a host of other things. Your care plan is customized to your needs. Postpartum doulas are your best friends who know everything about the best care for your healing. Everyone can contribute $10 towards your “Doula Fund.”

Put a visiting schedule together.
Of course everyone wants to see the new baby! But this new family has needs. Establishing a schedule early on makes boundaries and expectations clear. Its great to know auntie is coming over at 2 pm to hold the baby, carving out time to sleep. Let people know when visiting hours are and when “quiet time” is at your party.
You can still have fun, and play those classic “baby shower” games. Postpartum showers just ensure you are equally supported and cared for during this time in your life. So sit back and be doted on!
diamond redden

The Basics of Eating Well

during pregnancy and beyond

When you eat well, you feel better and your baby grows better, too.
Eating well helps your baby grow a healthy brain, organs, and body. Eating well helps your baby learn different flavors and eat well when they’re older. Eating well prevents health problems as your baby grows up and for the rest of their life. When eating for two, what’s good for you is really good for you both!
Drink...  water (about 8 glasses a day), decaf coffee and some herbal teas in the second and third trimesters
Stay away from... Caffeine and sugary drinks
Eat...  Chicken, beans, nuts, salmon, eggs, low-fat cheese
Stay away from...  Red meat, processed meat
Eat...  Broccoli, carrots, peppers, onions, cabbage, mushrooms and leafy greens like kale, spinach and collards
Whole Grains, Legumes & Starches
Eat...  Whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, oats, lentils, sweet potatoes
Stay away from...  White bread and white rice
Eat...  Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, apples, bananas, kiwi, peaches, plums, mango
Stay away from...  Dried fruit and juices
Eat...  Nonfat milk, nonfat yogurt, low-fat cheese
Stay away from...  Unpasteurized dairy products

Real food

is stronger than supplements.
So while taking vitamins is great, a healthy diet gets you even more of nutrients like these:
Helps your baby’s bones, teeth, heart, nervous system and more grow. Found in low-fat yogurt, milk, cheese, kale, black-eyed peas, broccoli, dried peas and beans, roasted almonds and more.
Helps your baby’s brain develop well and may prevent mental delays later in life. Found in eggs, tofu, kidney beans, broccoli, milk, spinach, potatoes, nuts, chicken and more.
Vitamin C
Helps your body heal, fight infections and repair damage, and helps your baby grow and develop. Found in raw fruits and vegetables, oranges, broccoli, bell peppers, sweet potato, mango and more.
Prevents constipation and reduces risk of gestational diabetes. Found in many fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds like pears, raspberries, strawberries, apples, mangos, squash, leafy greens, pasta and more.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Helps your baby’s brain develop, including better memory and mental skills into childhood and adulthood. Found largely in salmon, and also in grass-fed beef and fortified milk and yogurt.
Helps your immune system and supplies your blood and muscles with oxygen. Found in fortified cereal, spinach, baked potato, chicken, turkey and more. Vitamin C-rich foods like fruits can also help you absorb iron.
Helps you maintain electrolytes and fluid balance, which helps muscles, brain and nerves. Found in sweet potato, squash, lentils, bananas, kale, kidney beans, carrot juice, pork, and more.
Vitamin A
Helps your baby’s heart, lungs, brain, bones, nerves and organs grow, and helps you heal faster after birth. Found in kale, carrots, eggs, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, cantaloupe, spinach, and more.
Vitamin K
Helps normal blood clotting, which is important during vaginal and C-section birth. Found in leafy greens like spinach, kale and collards, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage and more.
Helps your baby’s bones, heart, blood clotting, heart and muscles develop. Found in yogurt, eggs, black beans and more.

Reflections on breastfeeding from Indigenous parents


from Treaty 6 Territory, Thunderchild First Nation. I am a 22 year old, Cree/Dene mother of 2 handsome little boys Bently, 4 and Evan, 9 months.

Motherhood is the best gift the Creator has to give. Nothing beats hearing my oldest son’s wildest imagination or teaching my 9 month old how to walk.. every step is a milestone. Breastfeeding has brought me to have such a strong spiritual connection with both of my babies - knowing that the health benefits will not only last a lifetime but will help them grow into their roots as young Nehiyaw men and future leaders."


I am a Cree woman from Beardys and Okemasis First Nation. I am a very proud Mother of seven beautiful daughters and one handsome son. I am very happy to say that I breastfed all my babies and encourage breastfeeding anyway I can. My family has always told us breast is best and with that I’ve always tried to give my babies good building blocks to a healthy start.

Breastfeeding is not only cheaper than formula but the time spent bonding with your baby is priceless.


I am a Plains Cree Indigenous woman from the Treaty 6 territory. I am 23 years old from One Arrow First Nation. I will be in my 2nd year of the Indian Teacher Education Program at the University of Saskatchewan. I began my academic career in the College of Education pregnant last year and gave birth to my first baby, Kulture Nova, shortly after completing my first year.

To be able to wake up to my son, see him smile and breastfeed him is the most rewarding experience. I feel this beautiful connection between me and my son while feeding that makes me feel proud. At times it can get quite tiring but I will continue to breastfeed because I know my son needs me, just as much as I need him. I am rejoiced in becoming a mother and being able to breastfeed him.


from James Smith Cree Nation, Saskatchewan. I’m a 23 year old first time Mother who gave birth to my handsome Son, Zachariah Ezra Stoney Head. My partners name is Chaquille Stoney from Yellow Quill First Nation, SK. I’m a full time Mommy to my 2 month Son going on 3 months on June 16th.

Breastfeeding to me is very peaceful. It brings joy to me & my Son knowing that he has everything that he needs, growing strong and healthy. When I gave birth to my Son, when I very first held him, he changed my life. When I very first heard him cry. It brought tears to my eyes and warmed my heart. I wouldn’t ask for anything to change this life. I love every moment I spend with my Son. He is a true angel that Creator gifted me.

Infant feeding across time, culture, and experience

CONTENT CREDITS: “A history of infant feeding." the journal of perinatal education; Desperate Women, Desperate Doctors and the Surprising History Behind the Breastfeeding Debate, time magazine; a brief (and fascinating) history of breastfeeding and its alternatives, Health Foundations Birth Center; Breastfeeding in the course of history, medCrave Journal of Pediatrics and Neonatal care; Breastfeeding as a trans dad: ‘A baby doesn’t know what your pronouns are’, The Guardian
photographer credits (left to right): arren mills @minimalmills; camille camacho @camcamacho; elicia munro @eliciamunrophoto; camille camacho @camcamacho

Black MotHERhood

a community shares

There's a saying that goes, "When a child is born, so is a mother." Last spring, the members of the HER Collective set out to celebrate motherhood and the beauty of honest, postpartum bodies through the "MotHERhood Campaign."

The HER Collective is a group of women in Richmond, Virginia who work together to defy stereotypes, crush glass ceilings, and carve unique paths. In the "MotHERhood Campaign" they invited Black mothers with infants or toddlers to participate.

A mother's body tells the powerful story of her beautiful journey, honestly and unapologetically. It’s a standard of beauty that should be treasured and celebrated – not hidden or blurred through filters. The evening was filled with rawness, tempered by tenderness. Gratitude was extended to all participants for their willingness to show the vulnerability and strength of black motherhood.

"The evening was filled with rawness, tempered by tenderness."

“Being a Black woman means being a light for my community. Being myself, being someone who’s not letting societal limitations hold me down. Letting my light shine through as a Black woman is really important to me.”
“[Motherhood] made me who I am today—more nurturing, caring, a lovable person who strives to achieve all of my goals. I check everything off my to-do list, and it’s not even for me, but for the sake of my child. He’s motivated me to have a better future for him and myself.”
“[Being a Black woman means] power, independence, and determination to become a better mother. I’m a mother of four beautiful daughters so I have to be their role model. If not me, then who else will be there for them.”
“I didn’t want to be a mom, I used to tell my friends and family that I didn’t want kids. But my daughter has made me the best person I can be. I grind harder, hustle harder, think more, and try to be the best person I can be for her.”

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Cheyenne Varner
Founder & Executive Editor

Porsha Eden
Associate Editor

Founding Team
Sarah Choi, Marketing consultant | Virginia Strobach, illustrator | DeAudrea Rich, photography consultant | Maria Oya X, inclusivity consultant


So Many Powerful Voices
Jasmine Lee

Pregnancy Reflections
Rupa Singh

Home, Birth Center, and Hospital Birth: Intro
Kenya Fairley

Home, Birth Center, and Hospital Birth Stories
Shauntay Shipp; Evie Singletary; Josh and Fan Hatt

Check Yourself
Doula Trainings Intl

Care Provider Q+A
Dr. Nicole Rankins; Thamarah Crevecoeur, CNM

Get Ready to Start Planning Your Postpartum Shower
Diamond Redden

Four Books for When You...
Porsha & Cheyenne

The Basics of Eating Well
The Educated Birth
Reflections on Breastfeeding from Indigenous Parents
Elicia Munro

Black MotHERhood
The HER Collective

Elicia Munro
print Pages cover, 32, 33, 35

Samia Minnicks
print Page 3

Arren Mills
print Page 34

Mallory Jackson
print Pages 5, 12

Stephanie Cabrera
print Pages 14-15

Saleta Lawrence
print Pages 16-17

Emily Lamb
print Pages 18-19

Stephanie Beverly
print Pages 21, 25

Camille Camacho
print Pages 34-35

DeAudrea Rich
print Pages 36-39

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