Monday, January 20, 2014

The Year in Review in Pictures


March 2014.  The CIMS Forum.  The time and work I put into this thing probably cost me my midwife program.  Was it worth it?  Only time will tell, but I think the ripples from this event continue to flow outward and affect lives.  I am at peace about my education.  I'm working diligently toward getting into another program, and I believe things will work out for the best, as they often do. Was the conference successful?  By the most important markers- yes.  It was quite a spiritual experience.  It helped to solidify my own life course in this movement.

Shortly after the CIMS conference, I headed to beautiful San Diego to attend a Doula Training with Penny Simkin in order to become a doula trainer.  Hopefully by this March, the process will be complete.  Its been a long journey to becoming a certified doula, and then trainer, but I've learned so much.

In May came my trip to Nashville to attend ACNM.  Here I am pictured with my longtime mentor, Ginger Breedlove.  I always feel ill at ease at ACNM because I don't quite fit in.  That feeling was amplified because I really wasn't an official student at this conference.  I did get to meet a lot of  CNMs of color.  The best part of the week was my visit with Ayesha Ibrahim.  We went to a wonderful soul food restaurant and talked for hours.  I went away with so many wonderful ideas- I'm still implementing them a year later.

In June I attended what was my favorite conference of the year (in a year of conferences) The Inequities in Breastfeeding Support conference in what is sure to become one of my favorite cities- Seattle. Here I am pictured with the Titans of Lactation: (from L to R) Michelle Sarju, Kathy Barber, Shafia Monroe, me and Kim Durdin.  I have so loved and enjoyed the ladies I met at this conference, and found a new bestie in Cynthia Good Mojab. It was here that my ideas caught the attention of ILCA.  I'll be presenting at their conference this year and acting as an advisory as they discuss the issue of diversifying the ranks of LCs (an issue near and dear to my heart).  Uzazi Village started its LC Mentorship Program in 2013 to help candidates get needed hours.  This conference was groundbreaking and has set the stage for continued dialog on white privilege and breastfeeding inequities and other perinatal inequities. 

Further proof that I visited some of the prettiest places in the country last year, this is from Utah at the Birth Activist's Retreat.  I made some very important connections at this retreat and look forward to continuing many of those relationships into the new year: Dawn Thompson, invaluable assistance on my upcoming walk across Missouri, Michal Klau Stevens, wonderful supporter and I admire her greatly, Kirsti Kreutzer, I just want to bask in her aura (and party with her), Kelly Kinney, thanks for bringing me to New Jersey this year, Josie Shapiro-Strano, love her ideas and her support of Uzazi Village, and my roommate Gina Crosley-Corcoran, bringing her and her workshop to Kansas City this year.  Boo-yah.

After the dust settled on my travels, I started my gatherings for birth workers of color and allies which has grown tremendously over the past six months. We now call ourselves TRIBE- Transformation Rooted In Birth Evolution.  We meet monthly over a communal meal and drumming. This group is transforming lives as we gather women and mentor them through their midwife and doula dreams. We are hosting a retreat this year for Black Midwives and Doulas. This group is among my favorite.

 So glad that I invested the time and energy into creating Perinatal Academy, a 16 week course for 'all things perinatal'.  Here I am with the 1st class celebrating our big finish in September after meeting all summer.  We celebrated at a local Indian restaurant.  National marketing of the course starts soon.
A photo of one of my favorite visits of the year.  I was flown to Washington DC to participate in a national discussion on breastfeeding, but the best part of the trip was meeting with these ladies who heard I was coming to town and invited me to address Black birth workers in DC.  Here pictured are Cassieta and Aza whom I continue to work with as I mentor them through their doula program, and they recently referred a client to me who is moving from DC to KC, Muneera, whom I came to love dearly, and Dr. Ameena Ali who will be coming to KC to speak at our Black Midwives and Doula Retreat.  Visiting with these ladies gave me a vision for what TRIBE can accomplish.

 The Kansas City Chapter of Baby Wearing International contacted us about donating babywearing gear.  We have also been the recipient of others generosity of donating gear.  Fast forward several months, we have dozens of slings, wraps and carriers, and are happily planning the first of quarterly Baby Wearing Fashion Shows and Give-Aways.  I have also been asked to be a keynote at their national conference in Phoenix this year.  I love babywearing!
The Fall brought another lovely trip to San Diego to teach a faculty workshop for a midwifery school.  Thanks to the lovely ladies of Nizhoni for hosting me.  I also had the thrill of having a day to  visit three birth centers in and around the city.  Can't wait for my next excuse to get back to San Diego.  This photo was from the school graduation ceremony.  Bittersweet- since my midwifery class graduated without me a few months back.
Ah home to my longtime Sisterhood, in the Ozarks.  I enjoyed a much need weekend in a cabin in the woods at the Morningstar Retreat Center.  I spent a day teaching NRP to midwife students and then enjoyed a Feminine Mass led by Sr. Morningstar. 
Enjoyed a wildly successful reception for local healthcare providers to learn about our upcoming continuing education classes.  This same day, our first Chocolate Milk CafĂ© replication was set in motion as Racquel traveled from our state capital three hours away to spend the day with us training as a facilitator.  We are thrilled to see our support group model replicated, especially by a WIC agency!
Yes, 2013 has been amazing.  Can't wait to see what 2014 holds.