In this episode we are diving deep into HOW we can ask for the support we need during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.
And on the flip side, how do we show up as the support that others NEED rather than the way we *think* we should?
As we've talked through the last few seasons of the podcast, we recognize that for so many birthing people, there is a tremendous lack of support, both personally and professionally, as they navigate the transition into parenthood.
What's so important about this is recognizing that the support we need looks so different for each of us and for many of us that have this knowledge that something has to change. We're still not sure how to do that. How do we ask people what they want? We feel awkward or uncomfortable sharing our skills, talents, or monetary support. How do we show up and combat the rabid consumerism that is so prevalent in pregnancy and birth preparation and transition into something that creates a full spectrum of support for our loved ones and those who are in our care?
To answer that question. We have Kaitlin McGreyes of Be Her Village coming on to explain the work she has done to make this process more accessible for birthing people and for their supporters, you will leave this episode, having so many more resources to offer to your clients and loved ones so they feel confident asking for the support that they need.
Join us as we explore:
~Lack of accessibility in healthcare resources
~System failures to support new parents
~Combatting our culture of consumerism
~Trusting new parents to identify their unique needs
~Community accountability and growth on the way to health equity
Learn more about Kaitlin's work in her guest profile!
Maggie, RNC-OB 0:03
Welcome to Your BIRTH Partners, the podcast identifying gaps, acknowledging biases, and co-creating a trauma informed standard of birth care with change agents across the spectrum of birth work. I'm your host, Maggie Runyon. I'm a birth nurse, educator and advocate who has been searching since 2010 for the answers to how to provide better care during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Through my own pregnancies and supporting births in home and hospitals around the country. I've seen firsthand many the systemic flaws that exist in perinatal care. Through these conversations, I'm thrilled to share with you insights and inspiration as we work collectively to transform birth care.
In this episode, we'll be exploring how we support folks in creating their village. This is something that has come up over and over, as we've talked to the last few since the podcast, we recognize that for so many birthing people, there is a tremendous lack of support, both personally and professionally as they navigate the transition into parenthood. What's so important about this is recognizing that this support looks so different for each of us. And for many of us that have this knowledge that something has to change. We're still not sure how to do that. How do we ask people what they want? We feel awkward or uncomfortable sharing artists skills, talents, or monetary support. We don't know how to make that not feel weird. And so in this episode, we are so excited to be addressing this question. How do we show up and combat the rabid consumerism that is so prevalent in pregnancy and birth preparation and transition into something that creates a full spectrum of support for our loved ones and those who are in our care? To answer that question, we have Kaitlin McGreyes of Be Her Village coming on to explain the work she has done to make this process more accessible for birthing people and for their supporters. You will leave this episode having so many more resources to offer your clients and loved ones. So they felt confident asking for the support that they need. And you may realize that this is actually more easier than you thought. We can harness the benefits of technology and our really connected world to show up in more meaningful ways as folks prepare to welcome baby into their lives. Onto the show.
Well, welcome. I am just so excited, Kaitlin to have you joining us on the show. So just start off by telling us a little bit about you yourself. What's your what's your tagline?
Kaitlin, BHV Founder 2:15
thank you so much, Maggie for having me. This is such an honor to be invited here. I am Kaitlin McGreyes. I am a mother of three. And I have been a doula for seven years. And I am the founder of Be Her Village, which is a cash gift registry for parents to get the funds they need for the support they deserve. Support like doulas, lactation consultants, postpartum meals, massages, yoga support groups, pretty much like anything that's not a baby item, or a thing that you'd find at Target or Buy Buy Baby, that's what we have. And we're helping parents get connected with their community of support, and most importantly, the funds to pay for that support.
Maggie, RNC-OB 3:00
Ah, wow, such a powerful mission, I am just so excited to have you on to like dig into all of this. So we're starting out by framing this season around change agents, all of our audience are people who are ignited by the idea that there is so much in our healthcare system that we want to see change, especially around birth. And so we'd love to know, in your ideal world, you can snap your fingers and one thing changes. What would that be?
Unknown Speaker 3:24
every single parent in the United States that wants actually the world, but you know, I tried to try to keep my scope. If I could snap my fingers, every single person in our country would have the same exact access to the support they need during their entire parenthood journey. Because what we have right now in this country is this two tiered system where the people who have the resources who have the out of pocket cash who have extra money, I don't know what's extra money, but who have the funds available to them in their budget. They are able to access doulas and private physicians and midwives and home birth care, and lactation support, and all of these things that are necessary and a part of the normal parenthood experience. And the rest of us are left with what insurance will cover which is a one postpartum visit with our OB or midwife that's like 10 minutes. And they tell us we're good for the rest of our lives, and six week postpartum. So if I could change one thing, it would be that that everyone has the same amount of access.
Maggie, RNC-OB 4:30
Yes, absolutely. I you know, I also wonder that is so powerful. I think that is something that I'm sure it's like deeply resonating with so many people in our audience. But is there one thing is there like that? Was there like an illuminating moment? The light bulb moment when you realize like, that is a way that I can make an impact?
Unknown Speaker 4:45
Yeah, I think it's a series of illuminating moments because I had like, I had this one really clear memory of being a brand new mom just had a C section I didn't want debatable whether I needed it that sort of thing that will never be Don't for sure. And I was in my nursery trying to latch it hurt, everything was difficult. And I was alone. And I was surrounded by all the gifts that I had gotten. And that was like how my family and support circle showed their love to me was by buying a baby shower gift for me. And I felt the love at my shower. I was like a hormonal crying mess in my shower. Anybody was there, so that I really felt the love at my baby shower. But then when it actually came time to feel the love and feel the support of my community, there wasn't anyone there. And I was alone. And I had all this stuff around me and none of it was helping me get the baby latched. None of it was helping me get to the pediatricians office. None of it was helping me like figure out how to care for a newborn. With myself recovering from surgery. It was just I felt really sort of alone in that sense. And so that moment, stands out for me. But I have to say that in that moment, I felt not just alone in that experience. But I felt like I'm failing. And I'm the one that's failing. And I'm not doing this right. It was only when I became a doula. And whenever you saw, everybody this is, you know, maybe that's generalizing too much. But I saw so many other people struggling in that same exact way. Also surrounded by hundreds of dollars and 1000s of dollars of gear and strollers and toys and items. And it started to really like hit me, oh, this is not me failing as a mother, this is me being failed by a system that isn't supporting me, and how can I then take that experience and support others in a really big way? And that's how I came up with be her village? Yeah,
Maggie, RNC-OB 6:42
I mean, that it's so heavy. I think that it like you said that is a journey shared by so many of us as we enter parenthood and like understanding the way that we understood it from society, from loved ones from watching the movies, and what we thought like new parenthood means and how we need to prepare for that, compared to like, the reality is, for most of us, I think, just vastly different. And I also built up this bigger conversation around consumerism, right, you know, like, capitalism at large, blah, blah, but we also know yeah money is how it all works. Is there a way that we put this money that we are, are thrilled and happy to support someone with? How do we put that to what they actually want? And why is it that so many of us feel like it's more comfortable to give someone a gift, at physical gift that is for the baby, then we do provide a support paying for a theater and I don't mean that obviously, you know, there's always someone who's gonna be like, but I loved it when I got XYZ I know, me too. I just I've had several friends have babies in the last year. And I have obviously gifted all sorts of physical tangible items, and also, whatever support they needed, which looks different. And I so I feel like there's this piece of like wrestling with Why do we feel more comfortable with that? I don't know if you can dive into that from like, what you've heard from people,
Unknown Speaker 7:58
I would love to dive into that. I think I have so many things I want to say right now. I think it's a problem about not trusting women and not trusting mothers, I think that there is a lack of trust, that they can choose what's best to support themselves. I think that we are looking at the mother baby dyad, which is truly a dyad. It's something that is linked completely, and we look at the baby as its own separate entity separate from its parents. And part of like, the messaging that happens here comes from the big box stores, right? It comes from retailers. And what happens is we not only don't trust women to like, choose what's best for themselves, but women end up internalizing and all birthing people, I don't want to be exclusive here, start internalizing this idea that we need something else in order to be good parents, and we get convinced that we need items to be good parents. And I think that that's the messaging that sort of irritates me the most this idea that you need this gadget to be a good parent, you need this gadget to survive this hard time. And I think that we as parents actually have everything that we need inside of us and what we actually need as a community of support, we need someone to sort of witness us and validate us and uplift us and pass on wisdom, this generational wisdom of what childbearing and child rearing and child feeding and all of that looks like. And so you have these big box stores that have literally created the baby shower as a gift giving event in order to sell their baby stuff. And I really have struggled with not saying baby crafts, sort of that clips that at some point, but it really if you look back in the 1940s and 50s, this was like the Mad Men era. They were just like, men in suits like the Don Draper's of the world thinking, how do we sell this baby step, and they conjured up this modern day, what we know now is the baby shower, as a place to sell stuff to parents, and all of the marketing that goes along with that sort of gives this message, whether it's subliminal, or it's right across the face, like you need this, you need this to have this baby. And I think a lot of us get swept up in that. I think most people, the parents who are registering for this stuff, and the family members who are gifting, all of these items are so so well intentioned, I think everybody really wants to give a gift that's meaningful and impactful, and powerful and helpful. And we've been convinced by these retailers that have millions of dollars in marketing budgets, and a team of people that are finding ways to like take a plastic baby item and make it this like magical, wonderful thing, almost all of them. I mean, you see it in the catalogs, you see it in this promotion, it's like, this is the thing, this is the new hot thing. This is what you need, you know, the 10, Top Things Every new mom needs. And so we sort of fall under the spell of like, okay, yeah, I want to be a good mom. And I want to have an easy time. So let me register for these things. And as the gift buyers like, well, I want her to have the best, nothing but the best because I love her so much. So let me spend my money on this. But then the real experience that's happening, that almost all of us experience at some point or another is this feeling of not actually having what we need a feeling really unprepared, of feeling inadequate and not supported. And, like we have no idea what we're doing. And there's something missing there. And I think that there's like a two fold thing where we need to talk about that, as parents, we need to normalize the struggle of becoming a parent, it's, it's a fine line that I don't skirt perfectly all the time of like, acknowledging and normalizing that this is hard. It's hard a lot of the time for a lot of us without scaring new moms, or pregnant people, or whatever, because it's like, I don't want to fear monger, it's not that's not the point. But like, there is a real experience here of motherhood being difficult. And there are ways to make it easier that most of us either don't know about or don't have access to. So with be her village, what we're doing is we're making it normal, it's a totally normal gift registry, you have the things that you want the support that you need, and your friends and family can understand it. And they can add it to a cart just like they would add a stroller or diapers or baby toys. And so that's a big part of our work is sort of like using the tools of those big box stores and those product retailers and bringing those tools into an industry like ours, the support industry.
Maggie, RNC-OB 13:05
Yeah, I know that. I love that. Because that's I don't think I've ever thought quite so clearly about like, where did the idea of a baby shower come from? Where did they originate from. And so it's, it's very powerful to just recognize all of those external factors that are at play in creating that feeling that we all have, that we're supposed to have or need or want something a thing more to make us feel better about ourselves, or this experience and transition. And I guess it was last year, I had an acquaintance on Facebook, who was expecting not their first child, and shared that, you know, for their family. Like they just it was very sweet. It's kind of like, hey, we know everyone is so excited for us to welcome, baby. You know, at this point, it would be really helpful. If you could send funds, you know, that we can use for meal or so that their partner could take off more time from work to be there support them. That's great. Obviously, I love it. I'm all about like, yes, please just say what you need. I would rather send what you need, instead of sending another outfit when it's your third kid and you already have plenty baby clothes. Got it. But there were obviously a couple of comments, most comments where people just being like, Oh, of course, we're so excited. Can you put your Venmo zelle your cash app, like let me just pay you the way that's easy for me to get that to you. This is so great. But there were a couple comments from people who were really negative, I'm trying to there's not a nicer way to say it, they were really negative about it. And in a way that I can only imagine like for this person who was putting themselves out very vulnerably and trying to really step up and have boundaries that like I don't need more stuff. I actually need this. And then to have people who one person and based on their photograph appear to have an older demographic than I am. So perhaps they're just there, you know, nor again, the normalcy piece of it wasn't there for them. This felt like whatever and they just commented like something about like, Well, you already have enough stuff for baby with the other kids. So I wasn't planning on sending anything. Oh, okay. Um, I mean, that's also fine. Like,
Unknown Speaker 14:56
you know, I'm sure the older generation how to use Facebook versus that's my first thought there,
Maggie, RNC-OB 15:00
could this have been a private thought in your head that you didn't put anywhere? Yes, definitely, that would have been the best option to use. But, you know, but it was kind of just like that idea that, like, you're asking for too much. You know what I mean? That also like, and this is the wrong thing, but like it was mostly positive. There were a couple comments that were just like, Oh, I've never seen this before, or you don't I mean, it's just that kind of thing about people just feeling like they didn't get it. Like, why wouldn't you want my stuff?
Unknown Speaker 15:23
Yes. So that's, that's something that, I think is what is so great about Be Her Village, it's something that we've worked really hard at is making that exchange easier for everyone involved, because there is a difference. And I don't know that I have like the exact answer what the difference is, but there is an experiential difference between posting on Facebook, Hey, everyone, I would love some extra money because I don't actually need any of this stuff. And I just want some money. So this feels easier. It feels different than saying, Hey, everyone, I registered to be her village or a registered wherever. And here are the gifts that I want. And letting someone sort of go through the process of, I'm going to purchase a gift for you. And I'm going to go and look at your registry, and I'm going to see what you wanted. And I'm going to be able to select that gift, add it to a cart. There's some familiarity for given my there that feels different, it feels more impactful. Like when you go on the Be Her Village registry for somebody who's registered, you go and you can see a message to their families. And we see that the more effusive and sort of like thought that's put into that message, the more that registry gets funded, that's just like, I think it's really a lot about the messaging and a lot about walking these gift buyers through a familiar process, even if the product is different. So they're going to a registry, they're seeing, you know, your belly bump and your picture. And they're seeing like a cute message of hey, thanks so much for the support, if it's almost like what you'd put in the Facebook post, except it's on a gift registry page. And they're able to choose from a few different things. So there's a sense of like, I get to say, well, I'd really like to find your lactation support, because then there's this experience of like, it's attached to something it's not, here's 50 bucks, it's cute part of your lactation visit, here's your entire lactation visit. That way. There's sort of like something attached to it, it's an actual gift. And there's a way to part of the checkout process is leaving a message of support and love and lead on. It's so great, what gets written there. And then they check out the way they would check out of any other online retailer. And then that you have this sort of connection. It's not just throwing cash at someone that feels awkward. It's like, Hey, how'd you like that? 50 bucks I sent you. It's more like, Hey, I'm so happy you had the baby. How did the lactation visit workout? How was nursing? Oh, I loved nursing my baby, you know, and there's this shared experience. And so I think part of what we've tried really hard to do at be her village is take the normal things that the gift buyers, which is largely largely the older generations that are struggling with it, because you know, the people are aged our age, I feel like I'm older, older than I shouldn't be for this, but like the people of childbearing, you know, these 20 Somethings and early 30s They're just like, cool, whatever new app, awesome. What do you want? You know, yeah, they're used to honey fund honey fund is like how we modeled our website after it's such a great concept of like, you don't need 12 settings of China, you need like a kick ass couples massage on a beach that you'll never ever forget. And similarly, it's like you don't need baby socks, you don't need 12 bibs, you need somebody there in that exact moment where you need support. So we're sort of marrying this like new idea of what a gift can be with the very normal gift buying process and gift registry process that most gift buyers are familiar with to sort of take away that, that discomfort of saying I just need cash, please just send me some cash, even though the end result is the exact same thing, which is cash in the account of the registry, which is
Maggie, RNC-OB 19:08
okay, I love that. Now, if we can like get into because I you touched on it earlier. I imagine that this is perhaps received differently across different demographics, depending on maybe on you know, like read socioeconomic status, race, culture, any of these things. Are you seeing a difference in that? Or how are you making sure that this is like able to be kind of received and used by folks who are coming already with a different perhaps accessibility to this concept and kind of all of these tools to begin with?
Unknown Speaker 19:36
I mean, I think the best answer I can give to that is that we are asking the people who are using our site and the people who we want to use the site for input for feedback. We're inviting people to the table. We are asking new moms, we have a diverse team, our intentions first and foremost, while we're doing a lot of cool stuff. First and foremost, our intention One is to increase equity and to increase access because our country is it's we have two different countries in one, if you have the resources, if you're well off hiring a doula hiring a postpartum hiring a team of people to support you, and it's just, it's no skin off your back, you have money to do that, and you have access to those resources. The rest of us, really, I mean, I was that person, I still am that person, I, I pay for what my insurance covers like, that's I can afford the $20 copay. And that's what many of us, you know, are limited to, and I'm lucky enough to even have private insurance, we had this, this real system where you have people who don't have access, and people who do and so we are coming to this problem of access and equity. And that's the problem we're trying to solve. We're also like making a really cool gift registry. Like we're also sort of like amplifying the idea of support as something that each person deserves, but what we came to the table to solve is how can we create this access that everyone deserves, and make it happen. And so we're working with people that are also working on those problems, and we're supporting them. And you know, I don't have I can't share right now. But we are about to be launched across the country. And as part of a program that is doing exactly that. That is identifying places that people of color, black women, birthing people can go for safe care, and be her village is going to be fully integrated into that. So that part of that safe care is high, here are resources, here's where we can support you. And here's how to get the funds to access the care that you now know about that you now know you deserve. I don't really have the answers I want to have yet. But I just I want to put out that I understand my role as a white woman comes with privilege, it comes with like, not everybody can just try to like, do this, not everybody has the time or the funds, I feel very lucky to be able to spend time on this project. And I recognize that the people on my team that are showing up most of us are volunteer are doing the same thing that they we have a certain amount of privilege. And so it's just sort of like this cycle of continually doing the work of continually like calling in people that we're trying to impact and asking them and changing things based on their feedback. I mean, I'll just be vulnerable about this, like when we started this, it was me, and a designer and a developer. And we were all white women, middle class white women. And when we created our platform, it was filled with white women pictures. But it was because we didn't think of anything different it was it just we didn't have that voice on our team that we desperately needed. But also because that's when you go for stock images. That's what's there, you know, it's actually hard to access that. And when we started calling in people, and talking to stakeholders, and talking to people that we were trying to help, we were told immediately, hey, this is a great thing. But I'm not seeing myself reflected in that. And that was like an immediate thing. We shifted and 1000 things since then. So what I can say to that is essentially, it's at the core of what we're doing is trying to do better without this idea of trying to save people, right. And that's like something I've struggled with as a doula and as a white person. It's like, I don't want to build your village so that I can like, get a badge of honor that I like saved to black people. That's, that's horrific. That's not what I want to do. But I want to use the privilege and use the time that I have in order to call people in and offer this tool that people can use. And so one of the things about the privilege while we're ever shifting and ever pivoting and ever taking feedback in and, and changing what we're doing. One thing that will never ever, ever change is that it's free. It's free for parents to come, it's free for them to create a registry, it's free for them to get their funds, there's no fee taken out. There's a small fee that the gift buyer is paying just that covers our costs. But it's free for people to come and get the money and use the platform. Because you have to make it so that you can reach the people that need you know, we're not selling things to people with lots of money. We're actually trying to reach the people that don't have the resources and offer them a tool to get the funds they need for the support that each and every one of them deserves.
Maggie, RNC-OB 24:51
Ah well I mean thank you for your vulnerability and sharing about all that. I think that is a topic that has come up several times on the podcast, so much of what you is reflected in my own heart And as a fellow white woman who is, you know, navigating this birth care world where I see so many issues, but also I write, I have the privilege to come on here and take time to talk to folks and to try to come up and highlight the people who are who are making change who are making a difference. But so much of that is also about actively fighting about that against the white savior ism, my type two, you know, Enneagram, my helper piece that just says like, yes, I would love to help you instead of Yes, I am here I am passionate, and how can I support you? And what does that look like? And recognizing that and so I think that is that is a huge piece of just like continuing this work, and how all of us as we look to change, what we are a part of needed, just continue to roll all those questions back through us, you know, right, like, Who is this serving? Is this about me? Is this a reflection of other people's experience? Or just what I've seen, like all of those things continue to come up? You know, I wonder, too, for everyone out there who is listening? And who is thinking, like, I think this, these topics just bring up so much passion and focus about the things that they have seen and issues? Can you maybe speak a little bit to the challenge piece of it, like what was expected? Was it unexpected? And how did you maybe push through how that came up? Because I think so many of us, we stall and we get scared or we make a step. And we realize that was a misstep, and then we stop, because we're like, I don't know enough to do this. And I have to just back off.
Kaitlin, BHV Founder 26:22
Oh, my goodness, this is such a great...
Maggie, RNC-OB 26:23
that was eight questions in one. So just wrap them up with a snappy answer. Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 26:27
Thank you for validating that, because I just had 12 answers. So just everything just funnels all into one and that my mouth goes up. So I'm grateful that you asked the question, I feel at this point, my answer would be different at every single point, you can ask me week to week, it would be different. My answer at this point two and a half years after thinking of bigger village is that I was so disconnected from knowing the challenges ahead that I went into it anyway, if I knew what I was getting into what I know now, I never would have done it. And I'm so so so grateful that I didn't know because I really just dove in and knew exactly what I wanted to create. I knew that I wanted to create a tool that would help parents of all kinds tap into the $12 billion gift industry that's currently being spent on baby stuff. I just knew that that's what I wanted to do, how it actually looks, doesn't really matter to me. And I think that's been part of the process is like, I don't need it to look a certain way. I just need it to happen, and to work. And so that's where like the continual feedback, it's hard. It's like such an easy thing to say, Oh, well, we we take feedback from our users and we change our thing. Do you know how hard it is to set out with an idea? And to have 12? People tell you? Well, that's a fine idea. But it doesn't work. And that's not what I want. And then to shift to put your own ego aside and go, okay, cool. Well, okay, so I'm gonna go back and scrap that that has happened to us again, and again, and again. And again, like it just continues to happen. And it's, it's why will succeed in the end is because we are taking feedback, and we're making this a product that works for the people. It's intended to work for him. But I would say this to that question is, I have made every single mistake. I mean, every single and part of what's awful about having made so many mistakes is knowing how many more I have ahead of me. But there's just there's this thing where you just kind of like can't let the fear of making a mistake, or the fear of not knowing stop you from doing it anyway. Because the feeling I had in the beginning. And this was just like, the most accurate way I could describe it is I was in a dark room, like completely pitch dark, trying to get to the other side. But I had no idea what was in the Britain, or how to get there or you know, so it's just constantly stumbling and constantly getting knocked over here. Oh, we have to look over here, this thing might be here, but not actually being able to see the full picture, right? Like, I came into this. I was a special ed teacher in New York City. And then I became a mother. And then I became a doula. And then I decided to launch this website. I don't have tech background, I don't have industry background, the way I describe it to people is I accidentally started a startup because
Unknown Speaker 29:27
the most accurate way I can reflect it is I just knew we needed to make a change. And I didn't know enough to not do it. And so it has been hard. There have been so many days that I have wanted to just quit and tuck my tail between my legs and say I'm sorry to everyone and just not get out of bed anymore. There have been so many days like that. And the thing that actually keeps me going, besides the fact that that's not really an option because we're trying to do this bigger thing, right? I agree. I really hope that I make money out of this, I do. But it's not about making money. For me, it's about getting the mission, getting the access, getting parents changing this, so that my five year old daughter, when she decides if she decides to become a parent, what she has told me, she absolutely is never having babies cool. If she decides to have kids, that it will be different for her, that if my sons decide to have children to the world will look different. And that's, that's actually the thing that keeps me driving in a larger sense. But I have to say like, the thing that actually gets me out of bed most days is the fact that other people who have heard what I'm working on have come out of the woodwork have, some of them have quit their jobs. And some of them have shown up and volunteered and people were growing, because there's people that just hear about what we're working on and want to be part of it. And the organization is growing. And it's now bigger than me. And it's bigger than any one of them. And we have this sort of this movement that's starting. And now it's not about whether I want to do this or not, because it's actually happening. It's now it's a part of it's like, do I want to be part of it. And that's a really cool place to be in. But I would encourage anyone who is listening to this, which I would imagine the people that are listening to this podcast are people who have an idea who have like a little bit of who I have this thing I want to work on, but I don't know where to start. And I'm a little nervous. Now I have money, and I'm tired of this. And it's like, well, you don't actually need any of that. I think what you actually need is a vision for what you want the world to look like, and a little bit of tenacity. And you just keep speaking that truth and that version of the world out there to as many people who will listen, and it sort of starts to take shape on its own.
Maggie, RNC-OB 31:43
Mm hmm. Yeah. Oh, well, thank you for that encouragement to like all of us out here who have that fire who have that spark, who just need a little bit extra, extra air to like, get it going? Because I think it can be in this working in a system, it's very easy to feel like, just dropped down.
Unknown Speaker 32:02
I want to add one more thing. Absolutely. So one of the things that like I found to be the hardest part, and it's something I've learned that I just want to share in case anyone else like can never tell if I like have discovered this big thing, or if everyone has known about it the whole time out there is that I have a skill set, right? Like I have this skill set for being totally naive to what the reality is, and for moving forward with a vision, and I have a skill set of getting people excited about that vision. Can I make a spreadsheet? Now? Am I good at answering emails? No. Am I good at doing 1000 Other things that a business needs? No, not at all. One of the first things I did was going to mentor I use score Small Business Administration, free mentorship for anyone at any stage of business idea stage, or like totally profitable business, you score, but part of it was also recognizing my gifts or gifts. So instead of looking at myself and going, I'm the worst that can't stick to a schedule, or I'm really bad at answering emails in my brain, just I'm pretty sure I've ADHD, I'm not cut out for this. Instead of sort of reframe that into, this is my skill. This is my gift, let me get someone who's the opposite of me who can balance me. And so I would encourage, especially the women that are listening, because I think we have this way of sort of like talking ourselves out of things before we even try is to recognize what your superpower is what you're really good at, and just getting other people involved that have opposite superpowers that have opposite skill sets. Because that's really how an organization forums and whether you're going to be like a two person or a three person team, or 1000 person team, it's the same sort of like, foundation of an organization is having people that balance each other out. So if you're not everything to everyone, which we can't be in business, or in motherhood, then that's okay. Because we can find balance in that and we can still celebrate what we do have to offer instead of getting down on ourselves for what we're lacking.
Maggie, RNC-OB 34:06
Ah, yes, I that is something that I like continue to, to learn and reflect on. So that is certainly not unique experience just for you. So I appreciate you sharing it because I think that is something that like so many of us run into when we feel like I can't do everything. So why am I bothering to try? Yeah, spoiler alert, none of us can do everything. So get that out of your head now. But I love that you're focusing on like, right the community like what you build, and I'm sure there's been too like cliched quotes around it, but you know, what we can build together the sum is greater than its parts all that it's true. Like it's a cliche because it because it's played out so many times that it feels like something we should just know. But you know, when we bring that diversity of lived experiences, of skills of perspectives, we get so much more it is richer, what we are able to put together and so I think as we continue to kind of like make this shift in, in birth work even to really being again, focused on community if we came from community was obviously the Only thing anyone ever did in caring for birth and caring for each other. And then we got split up into this, you know, the nuclear family, you've got to just deal to do your own thing. And everything has to be monetized. And, you know, we have to personally think, as we draw back and realize that doesn't work, and we need community, we need the village, we need that mindset. Realizing that like doing this work with those people like it is worth putting all that together, it's worth putting her out there and finding the things you know, all of us, we are lifelong learners, as people we need to be as birth workers we need to be and so none of us are done. Like you said, None of us arrived, none of us had made our last mistake, which is hard to know, it's hard for my perfectionist self to know that, but I do. And so obviously, I continue to try to learn, I continue to try to listen to other people who are so much smarter than me and know so much more and take in some of their lessons learned and embody them into my own experience. But it's also about realizing that like, as we make change, there are going to be missteps. Dealing with that is important, apologizing when it's necessary pivoting so that what you have created is worthwhile and actually meet that impact that you want to have. But, you know, not getting down on the million of nitty gritty things that come up along the way. So I really appreciate you speaking to that. And then you know, as we close out if there are if this is only a fire up in for folks who are listening in who are like, yes, this consumerism in birth care is dead, we have to stop it. How can they kind of particularly get involved, whether that's like directly through her village or in trying to connect with their, you know, professional connections or loved ones who are walking through pregnancy? If they're, you know, doula out there thinking, Yes, this is what my clients need. They're a nurse or an OB, how can they help to be a part of this change? happening?
Unknown Speaker 36:34
Awesome, great question. So first and foremost, go to behervillage.com. It is you can see a lot there. You can see what we're doing. Share it with a pregnant person, we very much appreciate that. But we actually have because I, you know, started as a doula, we have a whole offering for birth workers for motherhood and parenthood professionals and practitioners, so that they can create a profile, they can list their services, it's all free. And what we do is we offer tools for them to help start the conversation about funding to help them talk to their clients about gift registries and support registries so that they can share be her village and use it as a tool within their own practice. Because we actually, I had this lived experience, but I also put a survey out just so I'd have some data on it. We surveyed I think it was over 200 doulas that ended up responding. And 80% of them said that they had been told by somebody, I want to use your services and I can't afford it. Which is gutting. It's gutting. It's the whole reason we're doing this. It's gutting. It's one thing if people just don't know about us, or they don't think it's great, but like people have gotten the message that doulas and support Yeah, I think doulas is like sort of this one like litmus test of like the entire support industry, people know they need it, and they just now they can't access it. And so we have set up ways. And we're continually making tools for practitioners to be able to use be her village within their practice to not only help parents get the support they need, but also to bring money into their own practice. Because when when we're talking about it, we're helping families and new parents get access to funds that are otherwise going to big box stores. That money lands back in the community in small businesses. And, you know, mostly women owned solo businesses. It's like this micro economy that we're helping seed and fund. And that's really, really exciting. So sorry, I'm already off track. So if you're a practitioner listening to this, follow us and it's everyone should follow us on Instagram, first of all, because we have someone on our team that makes the most hilarious reels. But also go to be her village.com. And you'll see businesses up on the right hand side, click on that and see what we have and sign up, get your services on there. And get involved because we are creating all these tools for you to use to help the families in your area and the people who are engaging with you get over that obstacle. If 80% of us are hearing that people can't afford us then then not only are we missing out on paying clients that we could, you know, help pay for us with be her village. But we're also there's people literally going without support. And that's travesty in 2022 in the United States of America, the amount of wealth in our country that exists. It's shameful. It's shameful that any person would not be able to afford the support that is standard in every other country. And so that's what I would encourage please share be her village follow us on Instagram. And if you're a practitioner, please sign up because we need you you know this is we don't have a marketing budget. We don't have VC funds. This is like completely bootstrapped. It's a bunch of concerned moms working at this every day to make the world look different for our kids.
Maggie, RNC-OB 39:56
Well, thank you so much. Thank you for taking the time to discuss this with us and light this fire and all have us to help make this change and make it all look different. I appreciate your comments,
Unknown Speaker 40:04
Maggie. This was wonderful. And I really appreciate the work that you're doing and that you included me in it. It's quite an honor.
Maggie, RNC-OB 40:12
Well, I'm just so appreciative of Kaitlin coming on to share the work she has done to advocate for our birthing people to have the support that they want and need throughout their pregnancy, birth and postpartum preparations. I hope you all are feeling just inspired to create similar structures of support in your community. As you continue this journey, come on and connect with a diverse group of change agents across a spectrum of birth work, who are also looking to challenge the status quo and to create new ways of being within birth care. You can find us over on Facebook in our group, Your BIRTH Partners Community. We look forward to seeing you there. Till next time!