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Supporting Indigenous Midwifery

Published May 9, 2024

I want to share why I've decided to donate my next two mentorship program fees to support Campesina Womb Justice.  It's a decision that's been weighing on my heart, spurred by recent conversations about systemic oppression and intersectionality.

You see, this isn't just about a cause; it's about the intertwining of global history and my own story. It all started with a chat with a client I deeply respect. We've tackled tough stuff together, and they brought up Maria's beliefs—her fight against imperialism, her championing of indigenous rights, and her stand against the Israeli state.  It was a difficult conversation for both of us and made me realize that some context would be helpful here, especially since these issues can be so polarizing.

Maria's work first came into my life through a tight-knit group of moms, my doula, and my midwife. These moms and I have supported Campesina Womb Justice, offering up what we can to aid indigenous women farmworkers to care for their babies, children and themselves through the cycles of womanhood. Maria, an indigenous midwife herself, resonates deeply with me, especially given my own respect for the Amah Mutsun, indigenous people of this land I call home—an unseeded land, scarred by colonization.

But this isn't just about history—it's about the here and now. It's about the immigrant communities I grew up with in Echo Park, their struggles etched into my being. It's about the injustice glaring at us from the fields just miles away, where immigrant farm laborers work under conditions many can't even imagine. Supporting womb care for these women goes beyond basic necessities—it's about dignity, about ensuring they have what they need through pregnancy, birth, and beyond. It's about preventing needless tragedies, about standing up and saying, "This isn't right."

And then there's Gaza. Maria is headed there to lend her skills as a midwife to women in the midst of conflict—women facing starvation, displacement, and a lack of basic medical care. It breaks my heart that the main maternity hospital in Rafah stopped admitting women yesterday.  That the NICU there has over 70 babies and not enough ventilators to keep them all alive.  That starvation is now affecting birth weight and the infant mortality rate is skyrocketing.  I think about when my oldest son was in the NICU at Dominican and how by some fluke, some chance, I ended up being born in this country and able to have the resources to care for him.  I feel terrible holding my own 9 month old baby knowing what is happening on the other side of the world, what’s happening just miles from where I live.  If I were younger and not the mother of an infant, I would go to Gaza and help. When I was younger I went to Israel and to Jordan.  I lived in each place and learned what it was like to be a civilian in the midst of war.

We're living in turbulent times, with conflicts raging in Gaza, Sudan, Ukraine, and beyond. It's a wake-up call, a reminder that we can't sit idly by while others suffer. For me, this is about choosing to support those who are under the thumb of the systems of oppression.  So, donating to Campesina Womb Justice feels like the most genuine way I can make a difference, a way to show solidarity with Maria, with indigenous communities, and with women & children everywhere facing injustice.

It's not about grand gestures or lofty ideals—it's about mutual aid - doing what I can, with what I have, to give Maria what she needs to keep helping the women and children who need her help the most.

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