Archives for posts with tag: Health

50 Friends x $20 = $1000 in 5 days!

Thank you for watching and sharing the

50 Friends, 5 day Campaign.

You can donate through Paypal at 50friends5days@gmail.com.

All donate funds will go towards completing my prerequisites this fall and will take me one step closer to materializing my goal of becoming a nurse midwife.

You can read my personal statement below. Thank you!

Jeanine @greendivasuper

Personal Statement:

It is my intention to complete the Master’s Entry to Nursing Practice Program at DePaul University. With a strong background in public health I want to advance my knowledge and commitment to public health by gaining a MS in Nursing.

For the past five years I have been a birth worker and a reproductive health/birth justice activist. As a doula and lactation education specialist, my passion for women and their families has encouraged me to pursue a career in midwifery.  Once matriculating from DePaul, I plan to continue my evolution in becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife and eventually attaining my Doctorate in Nursing focusing on Community Health and Disparities.

There are many paths to achieving my professional goal of becoming a midwife but my desire to embark on this ambitious journey by attending DePaul is extremely intentional. My attraction to birth has been ever evolving and for as long as I can remember. It has been a dream that I was sure without a bachelor’s degree in nursing would probably never materialize. After I gained my Master of Public Health, I began my career as a professional reproductive health worker and activist. Initially working with international collectives and organizations to prevent maternal to child transmission of HIV, I moved into developing curriculum focusing reproductive health for young women and girls. It was during this time that I was working with a lot of young women and girls during their childbearing years. To become a valuable resource and support to these youth I began volunteering with a birthing center in Washington, DC’s South-East community. With it being the only birthing center in the city and located within community, many of the women being served there were young, Black and uninsured. I witnessed midwives working from a model of care that I was unused to witnessing. It rocked my soul.

I assisted women and girls in childbirth and was amazed at their willingness and commitment to breastfeeding. This place (the birthing center) and these women (the nurse-midwives) contradicted everything that I had heard in graduate school simultaneously confirming everything I had felt in my heart. It was at this birth center that I began to research the various options for fulfilling my dream of becoming a nurse midwife. Since then, I have self-studied, attended an non-traditional midwifery school, attended conferences, organized workshops, and I have come full circle to actualizing my commitment to this work by applying to the Master’s Entry to Nursing Program at DePaul.

Completing this program will change my life.

I have many peers and colleagues that are becoming informal midwives and enjoy being birth workers out of hobby. I am not so privileged. In light of the struggle for legalization for professional midwives in Chicago, becoming a nurse will provide me the opportunity to have visibility within my community. Completing this program will privilege me with the autonomy and accessibility needed to address the devastating birth outcomes, excess deaths, and health inequities that women of color are facing in these same communities.

Completing the Master’s Entry to Nursing Practice Program at DePaul will grant me the opportunity and access to learn and collaborate with aspiring nurses within the program as well as seasoned nurse professionals that I will learn from. It is my responsibility and dedication to obtain the highest knowledge and professional development to serve and contribute to the momentum being made by other nurses committed to addressing these disparities.

Lastly, upon completing this program I look forward to providing service internationally as a nurse for peace and humanity. I feel I have a lot of knowledge to gain from nurses globally both technically and spiritually. I want to be amongst powerful and fearless nurses who are working for social justice, to change their communities; one woman, one family, one life at a time.

Professional activities:

I am a current active member of the Chicago Members Group of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC). ICTC is a national membership organization of birth workers and healers of color. The Chicago-area group was re-launched in 2010. I am also an organizer of the Chicago Black Birth Workers Conference tentatively set for late September 2012. I am the co-founder of the online companion to Free to Breastfeed: Voices from Black Mothers, an anthology I co-edited. I have been a member of DONA International since 2008 as well as a former student member of the Midwives Alliance of North America (2010-2011) and the Illinois Coalition for Certified Professional Midwives (2009-2011). I am a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Community Service Activities:

I organize community events with the Chicago Members Group of ICTC. Some of the events I have assisted in organizing include film festivals, Love Your Pregnancy Days, and an upcoming Chicago Black Birth Workers conference. I am a tutor at the Saturday School for Positive Education. Saturday School is an African-centered education supplement for 4th through 8th graders in North Lawndale, Chicago. I volunteer often with the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA). I also regularly provide free labor support and/or lactation support services for low-income women. Lastly, as a local organizer and speaker for birth justice I often support events (i.e. the Annual Walk for Midwives, fundraisers) and have been invited to numerous speaking engagements to speak about health inequities, race, social justice, and birth justice.

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Future Midwife :: Vintage Scrubs (circa 1988)

Going through boxes of old fabric (I used to make clothes once upon a time), I found some green scrubs of my mother’s.  They are from 1988; from when she working at a clinic in Evanston. They screamed from the box “Wear me, future midwife!”

And so I obliged.

I rocked them for her on this past Mama’s Day.

I miss you, Mama…but look at me, all’ed grown up.

Jeanine @greendivasuper

Tomorrow don’t miss the Celebrate Midwives! Film Festival.

This fundraiser, hosted by the Illinois Coalition of Certified Professional Midwives, is just in time for the International Day of the Midwife! Three films will be shown; all about midwifery and midwives.

Following the films there will be a panel discussion in which I will be a part of. Yay! Ain’t nothing better than talking about birth (well maybe for me, breastfeeding;)).

Check out the trailers for the films below and hope to see you there!!

Bringin’ in da Spirit is a historic look at the Grand midwives of the south and addresses midwifery in the Black community.

Narrated by Phylicia Rashad, this evocative and passionate film celebrates women who have committed themselves to holistic answers amidst powerful misconceptions about the practice of midwifery and virulent opposition from practitioners of Western medicine.

At Home in Maine

Guerilla Midwife

Jeanine @greendivasuper

Free to Breastfeed: Voices from Black Mothers, the book, is in the home stretch and scheduled to be released soon. We want you beautiful, breastfeeding, Black mothers to come out and hang with us for our cover art photo shoot!

Free to Breastfeed Photo Shoot & Cafe

Saturday, March 31, 2012

3-6 pm

618 S Michigan Ave. (cross street Balboa)

Chicago, IL 60605

Bring you gorgeous selves, your babies, and your smiles for a amazing afternoon of breastfeeding goodness!

Meet other Black breastfeeding mothers!

Share your breastfeeding stories!

Be on the cover of Free to Breastfeed: Voices from Black Mothers!

Spread the word!!!

For more info email: jeanine@freetobreastfeed.com.

What would be a dream come true for a breastfeeding, hip hop aficionado?

A rap song about breastfeeding no doubt!

http://cache.reverbnation.com/widgets/swf/40/pro_widget.swf?id=artist_574671&skin_id=PWAS1002&border_color=000000&auto_play=false&shuffle=false&song_ids=12078475
ComScore

I just finished listening to this lyrically amazing song Food for Thought by Njeri Earth.

Njeri Amira-Nana Earth is a mother of four, wife, daughter, sister, Hip Hop artist and musician, child care provider, business owner, youth mentor, and holds a B.A. in Organizational Management with a minor in Child Development; among other things.

Fans might recognize her from her earlier years in hip hop with her collaborations with the Wu-Tang clan’s GZA/Genius album “Beneath the Surface on songs “1112” and “Victim” and the again as the “3rd Parking Lot Rapper” in Eminem’s ” movie 8 Miles.” Releasing her first album “Supa Sista” in 2005 and then the follow up albums “20-20” in 2007 and “The Best Part” in 2008. She back now with the upcoming release “The Highest Elevation” with features this breastfeeding gift of love, Food for Thought.

Although this sista has been out for some time, the song Food for Thought is spreading through the breastfeeding advocacy community like some good gossip. With breastfeeding, Black women becoming increasingly more visible in mainstream this song is right on time.

Check out the Food for Thought lyrics below and Njeri Earth Facebook page here.

I nurse my babies from my bosom, so U can put the Similac back
The breast is best and that’s an actual fact
Unfortunately some don’t see it like that,
A woman’s chest is just for sex, may I suggest that’s foolishness
I was blessed with these to nourish my seeds
Gives em’ what they need, antibodies to combat disease, so please
Spare me your staring, snickering, and snaring,
As I’m preparing to swaddle, my babies need no bottles
Nor a pacifier, because they’re satisfied
And ain’t no other food that money buys able to give what Mother’s Milk provides
So why must, I be mocked and criticized,
Told to stay behind closed doors, like I’m breaking a law
Or doing something that’s wrong, by feeding my new borns,
And covering with a shawl where U can’t even see my bra, naw
Ya’ll dead wrong for try’na censor Mother’s Nature
Maybe U would be greater if ya mama gave ya
(Food For Thought; Designed for the mind and it can’t be bought;
No matter how they try with the lie that’s taught;
That formula is all your babies need, I encourage my sisters to Breast Feed)-
Lyrics By: Njeri Earth, from the song “Food For Thought,” – (Inspired by the Breastfeeding Mothers Unite organization) on the album “The Highest Elevation”; coming soon. PEACE!

Taken from the Office of Minority Health

So, I’ve tried to stay away from Twitter as long as I could but recently I’ve been obsessed with it. I have to say being able to follow other like-minded mamas (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, vegan, possible homeschooling) has truly been God-sent.

It was during one of my manic-induced tweeting fits that Sista Midwife reminded me that September was National Infant Mortality Awareness Month!She tweeted:

Hey folks…. if you didn’t know… September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month.

And then another:

Spread the word folks!! We hav 2 wrk 2gether to #decreaseinfantmortality. Healthy babies is EVERYBODY’s business #incaseyouwereconfused

As a birth worker committed to vocalizing and advocating for a critical look at disparities in birth outcomes amongst Black or African American women, I immediately began to think about what I want– no! what I need to do— to increase the awareness. I knew my upcoming weekend would help me figure out what that could be.

This past Saturday my day was full of birth business. It started with the ICTC IL-Chicago Member Group Meetup. Every month the IL-Chicago members of ICTC or the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (the only national organization for midwives, healers, and birth workers of color) meet to discuss birth work and health disparities, to plan our events, and to just plain o’ commune. Yes! It’s so refreshing to meet new sisters every month who are passionate and filled with the desire to change “birth” in our communities.

The babies, the stories, the sharing, the revolution…it all happens there. I’m always happy to met and commune with such powerful Black women. To get more info about ICTC IL-Chicago Members Group, events, and meeting times, please contact ICTC State Representative, Rayna Brown at ictcilchicago@gmail.com.

From talking about birth I moved to celebrating a life. 

After the meeting I went to the memorial service for a dear colleague, Christina Santiago. When life comes to a full circle we are left with death. Death is something I still have a hard time with. Christina’s service was beautiful and the words folks shared about her were so loving and so intimate. She was such an asset to the community, so funny…so amazing. 

I am so grateful to have known her.

The last stop on my informative day was the More Business of Being Born screening hosted by the Illinois Council of Certified Professional Midwives and .:Seeds:. Literary Arts Journal. I was asked to be on the panel alongside several other local birth workers and activists. The turnout was very impressive. It was great to see so many folks supporting the fight for the legalization (and hopefully decriminalization) of Certified Professional Midwives in Illinois. I was so honored to have been invited to speak and used the opportunity to advocate of mamas of color who desperately need birth options.

Needless to say, after a fulfilling day, I am still unsure about what I will do about bringing awareness to infant mortality.

I just hope by writing this post I’m at least moving in the right direction…

What will you do about infant mortality?

“Be healthy ya’ll!!”-Dead Prez

I recently got hip to an awesome online magazine called Frugivore. As a “fruitful lifestyle magazine,” Frugivore has become my daily source of healthful lifestyle news.

Taken directly from the website:

Frugivore is a radically conservative and liberating approach to human health and sustainability. Frugivore offers journalistic and opinionated editorial material by some of the most innovative minds in nutrition, athletics, fitness, and culture.

Back in May, they published a piece announcing their new series called “Black Female Vegetarian: Frugivore’s New Series.” This series will focus on highlighting Black female vegans, vegetarians, and pescatarians. With sisters taking control of our own health and wellness, I think this series provides a space to commune, to share, and hopefully, to inspire others to do the same.

Last week I was featured in the series. As a Black female vegan, I love learning about other sisters and communities of Black women that adhere to this lifestyle. I have found it to be so helpful to be able to ask questions, get advice, and to find new and better ways to maintain, especially when I comes to vegan pregnancy and child-rearing. I’ve learned so much on this path and look forward to learning more.

To read about my journey to meat-lessness, check out my interview here.

Keep checking the website as a new vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian sister will be featured each week.

Be well, Jeanine

A good sista-friend of mine is having her first baby in a few months. She asked me about my birth experience and inquired about what I read to prepare myself for natural birth.

Needless to say there are tons of books out there to be read on the subject of natural birth. When I was pregnant I bought some that I thought might be interesting. Some of them I actually read; some I didn’t.

I went through my personal collection again and prepared the following list for her on the topic of natural birth (just click on the photos for more info):

Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally by Janet Balaskas

Janet Balaskas is the founder of the Active Birth Movement and has a birthing center in London. I read this book after I had baby. It’s all about preparing your physical body for natural birth. It breaks down prenatal yoga movements and describes how these actions and being active during labor will assist you in giving birth. I really liked it. It totally makes sense to move during labor. Movement helped me tremendously to get my baby down and out.

Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation by Pam England and Rob Horowitz

Birthing from Within is a childbirth preparation course that uses birth art as a way to empower mamas to birth consciously. This is the childbirth preparation class that my partner and I did. I loved the artsy aspect to preparing for childbirth and it creatively helped us acknowledge any fears we were having about birth and parenting. We definitely left the class more confident with the choices we had made and ready for baby to arrive. I absolutely loved, loved, loved it!

HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing by Marie F. Mongan

Marie F. Mongan created this birthing method. You can check it out on the HypnoBirthing website. I used the Rainbow Relaxation CD to help me practice the techniques. I even listened to it during labor. I believe I started listening to them too late into my pregnancy (at 34 weeks). It didn’t give me a lot of time to really get into it.

Women that I have doula-ed for that have used this method really had peaceful and fast labors. I highly recommend it. You can buy it on the website or on Amazon.

Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor’s Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices by Sarah Buckley and Ina May Gaskin

I bought this book early in pregnancy. I have to be honest–I didn’t read that much of it. It has a lot of good information, don’t get me wrong. I just think I was looking for “something” else.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

Ina May Gaskin is a world renown midwife and was one of the founding members of The Farm. The Farm started as a caravan of school buses traveling across the country. During their travels, the community delivered numerous babies and felt that there was a dier NEED to be able to birth their babies. With the help of a local doctor, they taught themselves how to deliver babies. Sounds like a revolution to me!

I truly love this book. I read this before I became pregnant. It has BEAUTIFUL birth stories and gives me warm fuzzy feelings. It is a great read for anyone wanting to read about the emotional side natural birth.

The Natural Pregnancy Book: Herbs, Nutrition, and Other Holistic Choices by Aviva Jill Romm M.D. and Ina May Gaskin

One of the U.S.’s first Certified Professional Midwives (CPM), Aviva Romm has been a homebirth midwife and herbalist for over 20 years. I really enjoyed reading this book. Anyone looking for more info about natural pregnancy should consult this book.

Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives by Deepak Chopra M.D. and David Simon M.D.

Deepak Chopra. What more can I say. I love him. I read this during my pregnancy. I really liked this book. It made me feel all peaceful and free (lol). I would read this on the public transportation on the way to and from work. It kept me from killing someone (again; lol).

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer and Rhonda Wheeler

Again, I have to tell you that I did not read this one either (smile). This book has really good information though for folks that need that. I think how it describes interventions and caesareans are truly accurate. May be a good book to look at.

Holistic Parenting from the Pan-Afrikan Perspective by Iya Raet

One of my favorite books. Iya Raet put together a book that truly needed to be published. I am ravenous for books that specifically talk about raising conscious and vegan Black children. I still refer to this book often and recommend it to all my Black mamas that I doula for. There is no other book like it. Check out Iya’s blog here. You can also find them on Facebook.

We need more books and community for our babies. Seems like some of us need to get to writing (wink, wink fellow bloggers). I look forward to hearing what books you all referenced in pregnancy.

Please share!!

Chicago winters are full of snow. Once the blankets of white draw up around us, it will be months before we see any green again. Recently, I took a picture of this bush branch pushing its way up through the weighty snow. One word immediately came to mind. Determination. Seeing this bush made me laugh to myself as I have been thinking a lot about what I am determined to do. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my purpose and life work.

I am not a big resolution person. I don’t feel like “resolve” has the same meaning and motivation that being “determined” carries for me. I try to make some short-term and long-term goals for my Earthday yearly so, I have decided to create 11 determinations for this 11th year in the century.

Most of you who read this blog know that I am a big Dead Prez fan. The words from their song, Discipline, have become my “Determinations Mantra.”

It goes:

Discipline makes things easier, organize your life…Uh um, uh um, it’s gonna be alright…Uh um, uh um, it’s gonna be fine…Discipline, discipline (Practice makes perfect)…Discipline, discipline (Health is wealth)…Discipline, discipline (All things in moderation; Plan your work, work your plan)

I listen to this song daily to stay focused on what I have to accomplish.

So now that I have my mantra, let’s have some Determinations.

Determination #1: Spend as much time with my family as possible

(“organize your life”)

Someone recently asked me, “what was the most memorable thing you did in 2010?” For me it was having my daughter. It was such a life changing event for me and really showed me what is important in this world.  Although it’s still a work in progress, I’m actively trying not to sweat the little stuff and trying get a little freer. My Ahimsa is showing me that. I learn a lot from mothering Ahimsa. She is the main one that understands what being determined means. Each day she grows a little more and is always fearless. I learn from her and I hope she continues to teach me.  This is her Determined face…

Spending more time with her and her father is my number one Determination for this year.

Determination #2: Get at least one client a month

(“all things in moderation”)

I first completed my birth doula training in 2007 in New York. I trained with Debra Pascali-Bonaro, creator/director of Orgasmic Birth (great movie for those interested). I met some interesting women at the training but didn’t feel too connected to the birth community like I do now. I volunteered at the Family Health and Birth Center in Washington, DC before moving back to Chicago. Once back here in Chicago, I kind of fell off as a doula until I began my studies to become a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM).

As soon as I started my classes, I became pregnant. Again, I put my doula training on the back burner and just focused on taking care of and de-stressing myself during my pregnancy. Since having Himiwe, I am now back in the game. I have been blessed to be present for some awesome births with loving and conscious parents. I have been attending about one birth a month and am determined to continue this throughout the year.

Determination #3: Expand doula services

(“plan your work, work your plan”)

To add on to my 2nd Determination, I want to expand my doula services as the baby gets older. So with that said, I need to develop my website, business cards and marketing strategies. In the meantime, I hope you keep checking out this blog.

Determination #4: Start my business

(“plan your work; work your plan”)

I have been thinking incessantly, about the future in terms of my financial role in my family. I’m constantly thinking about how to maximize my income where I can, again, be more present for my family. I am determined to devise a three-year plan where I can do birth work more consistently and ultimately create a business with this knowledge I have. So, another Determination for the next few months is to really think about what I SPECIFICALLY want to do, create a (business) plan for my work and then work my plan.

Determination #5: Dance, dance, dance

(“health is wealth”)

I’ve started taking West African dance classes at Old Town School of Folk Music with Harry Detry from Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago. It is awesome!!  I really love the instructor and it feels so GOOD to be dancing again. I danced in DC but again, since moving back to Chicago, I’ve been so busy with work that I’ve kind of lost myself. I can’t wait for Tuesdays to roll around so baby and I can hear the drums and mama can move her body. Ahimsa attends class with me and “plays” a baby djembe. She actually just stares at us and holds her djembe sweetly.

Determination #6: Study, study, study

(“discipline makes it easier”)

I have been studying to become a Certified Professional Midwife for a little over a year. I have come to terms that this journey may take longer than I anticipated; especially with a little baby. CPMs are specifically trained to attend out-of-hospital births. They are illegal in some states, one of those being Illinois. Because of this it is a bit harder to find someone to apprentice with so right now I have been doing the “study” part with the hopes to travel somewhere else to get birth numbers. A Determination I have for this year is to make time to study more. I’m determined to organize my life where I can study for a least an hour a day.

Determination #7: Travel out of the country

(“health is wealth”)

My partner and I have a list of places that we want to visit as a family. This list includes Dakar, London, Amsterdam, Johannesburg, and St. Croix (and there are plenty more). I am determined that we go out of the country every year.  Our goal for this year is visit family in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands.

Water, beaches, fruit, sun, and a relaxed atmosphere are EVERYTHING I need at this moment. I’m really looking forward to it.

Determination #8: Do more art; have a show

(“all things in moderation”)

Many people don’t know that I am a textile artist. I do quilts and textile design as well as design clothes. This is one of my greatest loves. I’ve had huge shows in the past but again, I have lost my way. When I was pregnant I started a quilt for baby. Needless to say, I never finished it. A Determination I have for this year is to finish Himiwe’s quilt but to also do more textile work. Even if I don’t have a showing of my work this year I want to begin to add to my portfolio, to finish some projects I started, and to possibly show some new work early next year. The picture below is a quilt I did for the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood’s exhibit, Stories of Mothers Lost back in 2008. This was on Capitol Hill.

This is a textile piece I created for a fashion show I designed a line for:

Determination #9: Be vegan (again)

“health is wealth”

Another Determination at this time is to return to the land of Veganism. I’ve been a vegetarian since 2000. I became vegan in 2006 and stopped in 2010; going back to lacto-ovo-vegetarianism. I want to go back to how I used to eat; in consciousness. I became vegan again at the start of this year and it feels so good to me. I feel lighter and freer. My body just works and does what it needs to do; something it wasn’t doing before. People always ask about how this will affect Ahimsa. I tell them she will know from the beginning how to “eat to live” and know that our lifestyle, including what we feed her, has everything to do with our intentions in parenting. We’ll tell her this was our main intention behind naming her Ahimsa.

Determination #10: No procrastination

(“organize your life”)

I am the master of procrastination. Sometimes I’m so stimulated by things and wore out from work that I put other things–things that I want to do–aside for later. Not this year. I want to master time management and really put an effort in to doing what needs to be done right now. My 10th Determination should in fact be the 1st so that everything else can manifest.

Determination#11: Live more, laugh more

(“health is wealth”)

This last Determination brings be back to the first. Without love and life with those that love me, I remain stagnant. I am determined to be more PRESENT in my experiences with my family and friends. I’m determined to not let fear, my lack of financial creativity, worries, or things that don’t matter deter me from a better life.

And with this, I will close. Until my next Earthday I have a lot to focus on and accomplish. Many your new year bring you closer to your goals!

Hey mamas, what are some of your Determinations for 2011?

it’s another wonderful friday.

it’s exceptionally beautiful weather here in chicago today. i have been driving around the south side all day visiting house representatives, letting them know about the Home Birth Safety Act–SB3712. i am so high right now thinking about the beautiful sister birth workers that have come before me. i was honored and privileged to meet an elder birth worker in spite of all the running around. i ended up sitting a speaking with her for about an hour. she made me remember why i’m on this path to midwifery. we so need it in our community. i can’t wait to build with her again.

i wanted to share another powerful image of goddesses at work. this photo is from a old issue of Life Magazine of two breastfeeding mamas and their other children on the front of a rural hospital.  this is for all the granny and traditional midwives. thanks for your life work, wisdom, and inspiration.

RBGs stand up!!!!

feed your babies right!

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