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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.

Do you think they will get it now?!

For the past 18 months of my breastfeeding journey I have spent a lot of my time while pumping at work looking for a peaceful and quiet place to have an ejection reflex in.

I have shared my office with 4 (then 3, then 5, then 3 again) different people. People have walked out our office, leaving the door open, as clients and other staff walk back and forth down the hall.

People have paid no attention to my initial, modest sign that stated “pumping-in-session” and walked in (read: barged in) on me to get something from the printer, to gossip, or to ask me something in person “since I didn’t pick up my phone.” None of the interruptions mind you are time sensitive nor an emergency.

I’ve had people look almost pained when I’ve asked that they complain to me about their co-worker, the youth, or their partner in about ten minutes or so; once I’m done with trying to feed my kid. Smdh.

So once I moved to my new office this past Monday (where I am alone 87% of the time), I made the above “pumping-in-session” sign because, as it  states…FOOD JUSTICE IS REAL.

Me, out of necessity, returning to work before my daughter was three months old is an abomination. Me not having a private, beautiful space to pump is offensive (and yes, I know all the breastfeeding laws business but it’s real life). As I demand the space to meet my breastfeeding goal (a minimum of two years) I found that taking things into my own hands has truly benefited me. I demanded the move and since have almost doubled my daily output. This stuff is real.

Hopefully, folxs can get it now… f&^*ing knock ’cause this is the revolution.

What have you working mamas done to create or find space to nourish you babies while away from home?

In solidarity,

Jeanine

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