We are so thrilled to be coming for Season SIX of the podcast!
As we delve into our new season theme of centering community, it feels fitting that our very first episode at the podcast was about community, it is very much at the heart of the work we do here at your birth partners. And so often when this work is more challenging, there needs to be when things are not going smoothly. It is because we are not rooted in community. We need folks who are here with us doing this work, ones who are ready to hold space with us and for us, ones who are happy to share about their own journey to hold us accountable as we uncover our own biases, as we recognize things that are not ideal in our practice and how we want to change. And we must have others together as we do this collaborative work of shifting, recreating reimagining what birth care can look like.
Our guest this week, Anna Balagtas (she/her) is a radical birth worker and community organizer, known as Your Pocket Doula, has a ton of personal experience walking through this journey, she is going to share so many ideas that uplift you and show you how it is possible to recreate to change the trajectory of the path you're on to find the community that you want and deserve to be a part of.
Join us as we dive into:
~recognizing when your values aren't shared by those around you
~the role of doula orgs in training complicitness in obstetrical mistreatment
~identifying saviorism in ourselves
~pivoting to find community
~trusting yourself on your journey in birthwork
~learning alongside your communitySupport the show
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.
Welcome back, as we return for season six of the podcast, we are so excited to have you here with us as we delve into our new season theme of centering community, it feels fitting that our very first episode at the podcast was about community, it is very much at the heart of the work we do here at your birth partners. And you know, what we've seen is, especially over the last few seasons, that truly community is the heart of all of this work we're doing. And so often when this work is more challenging, there needs to be when things are not going smoothly. It is because we are not rooted in community. We need folks who are here with us doing this work, ones who are ready to hold space with us and for us, ones who are happy to share about their own journey to hold us accountable as we uncover our own biases, as we recognize things that are not ideal in our practice and how we want to change. And we must have others together as we do this collaborative work of shifting, recreating reimagining what birth care can look like. And so as we dive into all of this, because like all of our topics, this is multi layered, we know that so many of you have questions about how to really seek and find this community that you want to be a part of, you've been pumped up for the last season and hearing about all of these ideas about change making that is happening, and you're struggling, you're not sure how to put that into place, the community you found yourself part of is not actually aligned with your values in the way that you thought they would be. You're growing and changing at a different rate, different pace than others around you. And that is a really challenging place to be. And so I am just so excited to be sharing our guest this week. Anna is a radical birth worker and community organizer who has a ton of personal experience walking through this journey, she is going to share so many ideas that uplift you and show you how it is possible to recreate to change the trajectory of the path you're on to find the community that you want and deserve to be a part of-on to the show. Oh, well. Anna, welcome to the show. It is such a pleasure to be sharing space with you here. And I'm really excited for you to kick off this season with us as we think about how do we come into community as we enact this really special work of changing the way we care for folks during pregnancy and birth and postpartum. So thank you so much for being here being allowed to
Anna, Radical Birthworker 3:22
Maggie, RNC-OB 3:23
a little bit about yourself and your work with our audience.
Anna, Radical Birthworker 3:25
Absolutely. It's such a pleasure to be here. Thank you so much. My name is Anna, my pronouns are she and her I am Filipino queer, full spectrum radical birth worker, much of my work prioritizes Qt by PGM folks, so queer, trans, black, Indigenous and People of the global majority in emerging their way into care work really rooted in decolonial care work and reproductive justice and how birth work is inherently political. And I'm also moving my way into community organizing as well.
Maggie, RNC-OB 3:57
Ooo Yes, yeah, this is why you're the perfect guest to like kick off the season with us. So it just kind of starting with that. I'm sure many of our audience are kind of familiar with it. But if you'll just tell a little bit, what does it mean to you to decolonize kind of care work or birth care?
Anna, Radical Birthworker 4:11
Yeah, good question. So decolonization first of all can't exist without indigenous folks. And so what this means is that first and foremost you are learning and listening from the teachings of indigenous folks, prioritizing indigenous safety and support and knowing that I am a settler to this land. I'm in so called Canada. So knowing what my role is as a settler, or lack of role as a settler is on this land that I am settling in that a stolen land, particularly in birth care. What decolonizing means is also putting care back into the hands of our community, and for by PGM folks so black, Indigenous and People of the global majority, it means putting care back into the hands of our own kinfolk, even though like Western medicine and Western medical systems have really helped and greatly impacted reproductive outcomes. It's still racist. And it's still a patriarchal and it's still a hierarchical complex. And so what decolonizing means is that we're taking those systems apart. We're leaving the stuff that doesn't work for us anymore. Taking what does and bringing it back into community hands instead.
Maggie, RNC-OB 5:28
Yeah, yeah. So important. I think it's, gosh, so it's been in the US 125 years that we really like hard charged into the quote unquote, you know, Western style of like over medicalization of the birth process. I think it is hard maybe for folks who've really invested in that model, to come to terms with just how little it's done for us. Absolutely. There have been major advances in many ways. But when we look at like the experiences that folks have during birth, I think that that's a challenge. I think people kind of hold that piece of it of knowing like, well, we have these kind of medical miracles, truthfully, that our ability to safely have babies via cesarean, that is a huge thing that wasn't always available to us. Great. And we have so many more options now in terms of reproductive care, assisted fertility, like really meeting people where they're on the journey and all of those definitely like big guns, we're here for all that. But I think one of the things we've run into when we have these conversations with folks is how do we like both hold that piece of it, those good things, and acknowledge the fact that it hasn't all been good, that this hasn't been like we're not on someone like straight line that's just going up there. Like along the way. We've also lost pieces by taking away from community I don't know if you wanted to kind of share a little bit of your thoughts around that. Yeah, absolutely.
Anna, Radical Birthworker 6:46
I love that imaging of like, since Western medicine, it's only been up from here on it's like, oh, it's been a rocky start. And we're in a rocky middle and it's gonna be a rocky end. And the whole reasoning for that is because Western medical systems are built on white sis hetero patriarchy, which is the thing that we're currently dismantling right now. So obviously, it's not working, especially when it comes like specifically to the talk of perinatal care or reproductive care. When you think about how we got into like what we know of now as modern Midwifery, or modern obstetrics, it was rooted in white sis folks, and specifically obstetrics if folks don't know who J Marion Sims is, he is terrible, terrible person, look him up, if you don't know. But he basically experimented on enslaved black women to what we know now is modern obstetrics. So if that is what we know of as the basis of what medicine is for us today, than we know, for sure it was rooted in a man, it was rooted in racism. It was rooted in enslavement, number one. And that's the system that we're trying to like, take apart because it's not working. And it hasn't been working for a very long time.
Maggie, RNC-OB 8:04
Yeah. We've talked about J Sims before on the podcast, and obviously, because his impact is unfortunately far reaching. Yeah, I think it's also important, like, we've had a couple of guests have acknowledged. And you know, Dr. Karen Scott speaks to it, the fact that like he is also it was not one bad apple, he was not like one bad actor in this way. And so remembering that, like, he's a very prominent figure within the rise of modern obstetrics and how we see that, but realizing that also like he was not acting by himself, there were so many other folks out there who thought that who either were doing the same things he was doing, or agreed with what he was doing. And so I think coming to terms, the fact that like, that really is the foundation of modern obstetrics, and for everyone listening who's feeling like little, that doesn't resonate with me either. And I'm a part of it too, as a laborer and birth nurse. So like, there is something of us like holding that piece of it of knowing that like, Oh, that's horrible. That is not at all what you believe in, but also, that is where we've started. And so so many of the like, chinks that we see in the system, because we started from there, because we have these racist foundations, because we have these patriarchal roots that are very, very present still in our system. And I wonder, as we start to, like, think about how we, for folks who are like, Yeah, this I can't do this anymore, I want to make a change. There's this like, complicitness that people have had in the system. Sure, which feels terrible, and Adyen so we all have to like work through that in our own way and you know, healing there, but I think often as the pendulum swings, we may complicitness to like save your ship. And that's, we could do a whole season around St Lucia. But I would love to like dive into that piece because I think that's what kind of hits people is especially like myself, well meaning quote unquote white folks who are like, Ah, I get it there's a problem I need to fix it. So there's neither of those are right. So I would love to you to kind of share a little bit about kind of what you see is like how we end up in neither of those camps or be either complicit or falling into like, save your mind.
Anna, Radical Birthworker 9:54
Yeah, so I see this happening quite often in birth work or doula spaces that I'm in And it really comes down to who you trained with as a doula organization. Because that's really where you're starting your basis of how you're coming into your birth work practice, right? So I know very many doula orgs, who are one of the biggest and quote unquote, bestest in the country have this training in where they tell you that you cannot advocate for your clients, or that you can't speak to providers directly. They're essentially training you to be complicit, right. And what's worse is that many of these doula orgs, I have personally seen myself because I nearly went with this many duel orgs will make you sign a scope of practice, that specifically states, Hey, you can't advocate for your clients. And also you can't speak to the providers directly, and so on and so forth. Like there's so many more things within that scope of practice that they limit you to. And if you don't follow that scope of practice, they take your certification away, should you choose to certify with them, this is also to keep them
Maggie, RNC-OB 11:03
which is wild.
Anna, Radical Birthworker 11:04
I know like who number one like doulas aren't even regulated yet. And so taking away a certification doesn't actually do anything. But it does take away a lot of access that doulas can have. So it still is something right. But what baffles me the most is that when people are signing this scope of practice, they're only doing it to put in place to protect the organization like this doesn't actually help the birth records themselves, which is wild, wild. And so when there's non consent happening in a room, or if there's violence in a room, and the doulas or birth workers witnessed this, they think that their hands are tied. It's either they're complicit or their practice is taken away from them. Gosh, which one do you choose? Right, like that's, that's a hard line and doulas they spend money big money to start their practice. And so yeah, maybe if you were in that situation, you'd be like, Oh, I choose my client, for sure. But you don't actually know until you're in that situation. So not only is this affecting the client, it's also traumatizing them, you know, if there's violence happening in a room, but this is also affecting the birth records themselves. And so that's why I say doula orgs have a really big role in training, emerging birth records to be complicit because it's within their training model itself. On the other hand of that, like getting into Savior ism, you might have trained with the best, the most decolonial, the most radical reproductive justice based training out there. But if you yourself are coming into spaces with a mindset that you're going to save people, you can't train yourself out of that like that is a your thing, unfortunately. And even though it comes with good intentions, like folks do, and can center themselves within their work, and then it's not client centered anymore, it's person centered, it's you, you centered personally, it's your ego, your ego is now taking center gold in what is supposed to be you supporting your clients. And the base of this is that you support clients, you don't save your clients. This is only a small example. But like, I feel like a lot of people who come into birth work, have had some experiences that have happened to them that they don't want repeated to someone else, right? I know those I mean, I'm, yeah, I'm one of those people. I came into care work because I saw the way that my kinfolk were being treated and like, I'm going to come in there and disrupt this. And I want to be able to see that folks are being treated better because I was treated so badly. And that's not a terrible thing. Like there's nothing wrong with this. Where the line is when you are starting to seek and support clients, not just to support them, but to make yourself feel good when you're like, Oh, I can't wait to support that one client get out of this cesarean, because then I know I've saved them through this traumatic experience that like what happens when the outcomes don't match your expectations, right? Are you going to leave care work now? Because you failed quote unquote, save someone like this work isn't about saving people also, you can't control the outcomes.
Maggie, RNC-OB 14:15
Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So much dive into there. Yeah, I think that because of it, pulling that thread. I think that is something that certainly like I think so many of us experience it in, in a variety of roles, too. I think doulas birth workers, certainly, the vast majority of folks who I know who have gone into that role came from a place of either a loved one or themselves experienced difficult or traumatic birth experience. And they were like, never again, I'm going to be a part of the change, which is fantastic and totally like, that's a great goal to like, see that and be motivated by that. And we also see it with nurses with physicians with midwives like so many of us go into it again, just thinking like, Yes, I can be a part of this thing myself included, you know, and I think one of the things that I noticed myself along that journey as I was like walking this with folks is like you said, when I can tell him on the wrong side of the support Savior line, when I am overly invested in the outcome. Yeah, of the experience, whatever care I'm in, that has been like an important tell for me to realize. And the first time it happened, I remember like, I was very frustrated. And I remember saying, so when I was like, well, I shouldn't care more than they do about their birth. And that is how I felt at the time. A couple years hindsight 2020 I now realize like, of course, I didn't care more than they did. I cared differently than they did. And I was putting the things that I was valuing higher, and what they were valuing. And so that was an important check for me to realize like, oh, okay, right, like, I am choosing to prioritize things that would be important to me, that are apparently not important to this person, which is fine. Like, that's great that because, again, it's not my birth. But I think it's like really hard for us to step out of that, when we're faced with so many. We all know, the statistics, all of the terrible things that happen, you know, in modern birth care. And so I think because we're so primed and ready, and we know all these things, we think we're like looking out for these, like red flags, we're trying to, like, catch each one to manipulate the situation to make it go this certain way. I think it makes us really, like, keyed up on that outcome piece of it. And so important to be able to, like, pause recenter with your client, your patient, whoever, you know, whoever you're in a care relationship with, to like, check out about how they are feeling. Yeah, what is important to them? And I think because things change, too, you know, and I think that's always hard for us as the non birthing person, you know, especially in like the labor of birth environment, is wild, people can go into it with one idea, and they end up halfway through the experience. They're like, Nope, I no longer care about that. I now need this. Okay, fine. But I think for us, it's for people, it's hard pressed to know, because we're not the working person, we're not in their bodies were like, Oh, am I supposed to do we still care about the other thing? Is this test am I supposed to like push back and like, make sure to support that initial thing we talked about six weeks ago or a day ago, but like, I think working through some of that, and really like connecting, finding ways to maybe like reconnect, and I don't know if you can speak to a little bit of that piece of it, like, how do you maybe recenter yourself, if you find that like things are shifting in the environment. And you want to make sure that you're still showing up for your client the way that they want then, without your like, preconceived expectations.
Anna, Radical Birthworker 17:23
Yeah, bias is a huge thing that shows up. The one thing I do to recenter myself in moments like that is I asked myself, do you feel like you're failing, because that's my that at my center, is whenever I come into the support places, or as someone's support person, my deepest fear is I'm failing them. And right, I know, I see your face. And it's like,
Maggie, RNC-OB 17:49
please don't speak to me about myself like that. Thank you.
Anna, Radical Birthworker 17:52
Yeah. So it's hard. And when you ask yourself that, in your moments of pause, when you ask yourself, Do I feel like I'm failing them? Then you can kind of get into like, what part? Do I feel like I'm failing them with and then you can kind of move into those feelings and challenge them. Like, was that really a moment of failure for you? And then deeper than that, you can question yourself, like, why do you feel like you're failing? Because the more you say the word failing failure, you failed, all that stuff, the more it feels like, it's not a scary word anymore. And then the more that you can actually laugh at yourself about it, like I laugh at myself at the end of my recentering. And this happens in like a space of five to 10 minutes, because I can't leave my client alone for that long, you know, and I'm just like, What the heck, like, No, I'm not. I feel like instead of saying, I'm failing them, and so and so you can instead change that into, I think I might be able to support them better in so and so. Because what if there was just one stuck moment when you're like, oh, I should have said something there. And I did it. And now I feel like everything is rolling downhill. But it's like, how easy would it be to go to your clients be like I noticed during this time this happened, how are you feeling about this, and then you have a blank slate, and then you don't have to carry that with you the whole time. Having said this, sometimes it's not the best time to bring up your own self in their support. So sometimes that means outsourcing. So I have a lot of doula friends I call in my recentering like this, and this happened. Can you tell me that I'm not a terrible person? And they're like, Oh, Anna, no. And I'm like, okay, great. Thank you so much. And then I'll if I go back into whoever I'm supporting, feeling much better. But there is a lot of validation that we seek as supporters because our one fear is that we're not supporting Well, or not supporting well enough, right. So for me, what recentering really looks like is how am I going to validate myself in this moment, without needing to ask for emotional labor from the people I'm supposed to be supporting, because that's not their job. Right.
Maggie, RNC-OB 20:04
Now we've flipped roles. And we're like, we're completely off track.
Anna, Radical Birthworker 20:08
Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Maggie, RNC-OB 20:10
Yeah. And I that like totally tying back into that community piece. Because absolutely having that like those people, you can turn to those, both accountability partners that like, absolutely. You say, like, Hey, I did that. And they can lovingly say, like, oh, yeah, maybe that was a moment, maybe there's a way how do we walk through this? How do you maybe do something different the next time having that, but also having people who are in your corner? Just be like, Yes, this is hard work. And you're doing it. It's okay, you know, get back in there. And I think that pulls back into maybe that that kind of training org mentality? And how you where you come from, right, you know, like, who is who makes up your community? And I think that's been a question we've gotten from, you know, a lot of folks as we've gone through these last few seasons, and you know, especially as we've we've talked about, you know, bias and holding space, and all these things that are really like, they're big, right, and you need to have community to process that with, you know, this is not like, there was a lot of this, it is internal work, but best to be done with folks who you can then check in and share along the journey and have accountability partners, because I just don't think it's I don't think it's possible or healthy for us to feel like we have to do this all on our own. When you think about kind of where we are at presently. what can folks do, who perhaps have been trained by an organization that really encourages complicity, or that they feel is kind of stopping their progress, making it challenging, creating false scope? Yeah, a practice and regulations that don't allow them to support their clients, like what ways can they kind of seek community that is more supportive of them and their clients?
Anna, Radical Birthworker 21:44
Yeah. Great question. I was there two years ago? Because why this? Yeah, I have, oh, we have walked this path. Many times. And what I had done at the time was I sought out another training. That was my very first priority was the training org that I was with, basically, it was a three day, nine hours each day training. And by the end of it, they were like, and you're good to be a doula go on. And we're like, well, so you mean, I'm good now? And it's like, no, obviously, you're not you don't know all of the things yet. And you don't know how to support people. Like you can't teach that in 27 hours. Are you kidding? And so I knew that I needed to learn from people who would actually teach me the things that I needed to know. Now, what did I need to know that was the bigger question and the researching part took forever? Because I didn't know the vernacular for it. I didn't know that political doulas existed or radical decolonial, queer centered queer focused doulas existed because I had never met any because I was in this little box of cis white head, doulas who, basically were running this as like a capitalist market. And it wasn't so much of supporting folks than it was about making money. No, no, that was who I was really invested in, because that's what I thought doulas were. And so when you make the switch over to finding more of these radical trainings, and all of these resources from these people, and by the way, if anyone's like, Oh, I'm right there right now, please come to me. I have people to recommend you to so many amazing, incredible folks. But that aside, when you seek out these trainings, you will inevitably find your own community because you will be learning alongside people who will definitely have walked the same path as you. So many of my Doula friends now, we all came from the same doula orgs. And we're both like, Oh, that was a terrible time, wasn't it? And now we can laugh about it. So if you're ever looking for community and you feel like you're stuck in not the best spot, find where people are learning from find who their teachers are their facilitators, then you will find your community there.
Maggie, RNC-OB 24:02
Yeah, absolutely. And just like shouting out a couple fan favorites and feel free to add obviously Cornerstone, birth advocacy doula trainings, king yaa offers a lot of particular trainings around supporting queer trans gender non conforming folks birth beyond the binary Eri, with birth bruja offers a lot of like individual courses as well and all of them are exceptional educators and they pulled together big teams to really support folks as you are if you're finding like that there are holes you're feeling like you haven't had as full of a learning experience as you want to they have a lot of great offerings both like full birth worker trainings and like kind of add on Okay, let's help them supplement as you continue to learn and grow as we all do. So just one yeah, those faves.
Anna, Radical Birthworker 24:43
That's a great point to have. Like, it's not only the trainings that you want to prioritize, right, like there are just individual people who are teaching out of their lived experiences and you should be learning from those people to like, you're not just going to look up the best and the biggest radical breathwork training now that you've moved away from me Be not the best, what is the most amazing about this work of care work is you are coming across folks who are giving you number one the privilege of their time to teach you about their own lived experiences. And number two, you know that this work that they're teaching is rooted within their own selves and rooted within their own community. So it really is a privilege for us to witness and to learn from these folks. And yeah, you're not going through like so many barriers as you would if you were in a big doula training where you don't know your teachers, or facilitators, one on one, like when you come into these spaces with people who are teaching by themselves, you really get to know them, and really getting to know your teachers is so key in this work, like you want to know who you're learning from, that's so important.
Maggie, RNC-OB 25:49
Yeah, I think there's I mean, honestly, like, I think in so many other outside of like, kind of typical, like us capitalist learning situation, like, you know, there's like a lineage of learning that is, you know, traditionally that's how, like, right, you are the student of so and so who was a student of so and so and like, there's this whole line that you can track back about, like, how knowledge how wisdom has been passed on. And I think we've gotten far away from that, which gives us it disconnects us from the experience from the learning. And I think, if you find yourself and learning in these, like major organizations, these huge things, and you don't have that connection with their trainer, if they're not speaking to their positionality, if they're not speaking to their lived experience, you don't have a sense then of like, where this knowledge falls, when all of the knowledge is out there in the world, you know, and I think that's really important for all of us to be aware of. So two things are that as you were speaking, kind of like how you realized you need to transition to something else. So I think when I talk to people, one thing that comes up is like the shame guilt piece of like, oh, I again, I failed as a doula, I couldn't even pick the right training organization to begin with. Yeah, that piece of it. And then to the like, practical piece of like, I've already invested time and money into this organization. I feel like I'm supposed to, like get something out of it. And having then outlay, more resources to like, pursue more can be daunting for folks. And I think that gets people really stuck as well, because it's a big financial investment, you know, getting into
Anna, Radical Birthworker 27:16
this work. Yeah. Again, walked that line. Yeah, I spent like $2,000.0, $2-3,000 in my trainings. And I was like, Ah, I should just certify with them, I've already spent this much money. But in talking with other birth workers, I chose not to. And the whole reason for that was because some of these birth workers became my mentors. And my mentors basically told me, would you rather invest time that you're never gonna get back into a doer organization that you really don't align with? Or can you spend, if you have capacity to a little bit of money that you might be able to earn back into basically moving forward into your practice as a birth record, knowing that what you're gonna get back for the financial assets or financial trade that you're going to give in order to like, learn from people who you actually want to learn from, it's worth so much more than money, it's new, there's so much more value in the knowledge and the resources and the training in the teachings that they're going to share with you then this price, but I am coming from a place of privilege, I had money to spend, right. For some folks, this is not the case. And so for some folks, yeah, they do get stuck in these trainings that they spent so much money on, because they have no other choice. And they can't really just go okay, well, I'm just going to throw that out the window. What I would like to say to these folks is keep going with that whatever your end goal was, if you wanted to certify with them, though, I have thoughts on certification, if you wanted to start by with them, go for it. If you kind of just wanted to end your training there. And then slowly but surely turn over to more radical and queer centered by PGM centric folks to teach or to learn from, then do that too. But it's you don't necessarily have to make big financial decisions all the time. Like it doesn't have to come down to money. And more importantly than that, you can still learn without investing 1000s of dollars into a radical training, like, you can just follow folks on Instagram, on their newsletters, on their websites, and you can still learn from them. The whole, like what I think I want to prioritize here is that you can just drop that doula org that you don't align with and you don't need to invest your time in them anymore. What you might be able to do better is now shifting your focus into more of the folks that you are aligned with whether that is paying for their trainings, whether that is just witnessing them teaching with their free resources, because there's tons out there we share time. Friends, but yeah, you can take steps like it's not either or, you know, you're not stuck in just two decisions.
Maggie, RNC-OB 30:06
Yeah, I think it's, we've talked so often about just like the, the binary thinking that is present in many of us as we contemplate options, it feels like it's either over here, it's over here. Like there's only two options. So I appreciate you just reminding us about like the gray zone that exists. Yeah. And that and that there is there's room to take time to, you know, that I think there's always that urgency, that immediacy that, again, part of white supremacy and all of that, but like that feeling that we have to do something right now or else. Yeah, doesn't count. You know, honestly, like, it feels like our again, we've already like failed before we started. Yeah. Can I
Anna, Radical Birthworker 30:39
talk about that for a second that I would love healing aspect, because it really does tie back into the immediacy of having something turn out better. Because if you're already feeling like, oh, my gosh, I already chose the wrong training I've already failed, the more quicker you want your turnover to be into the quote unquote, other side, the other binary, but like, that doesn't need to exist, like, yeah, you might have taken a training that doesn't actually serve you. But you actually still got something from that. Now you got that this isn't the place for you, and you are learning better, you know, you wouldn't have gotten that. Had you chosen the training that aligned for you in the first place, you wouldn't have known? Oh, wow, they have taught me some pretty damaging things, you would never have come across that information. So you do actually take something away from this training that you no longer align with. And you didn't fail. You learned something, but you learned
Maggie, RNC-OB 31:31
it the hard way. Yeah. Oh, gosh, yeah, I feel like I've talked about that a lot with a couple friends as well, because, you know, they're very similar paths as we kind of walk this and it does sometimes feel like, gosh, it would have been kind of easier, right? Can we learn that like the easy way someone could have just told me like, don't do it, it's not worth it. But that's not how life works, you know, to have grace for ourselves, as we are imperfect humans living life and like figuring things out as humans do that, like, that's okay. None of us are perfect. None of us were born, knowing everything like we will take, we will take different paths to you know, like, we are all on our own journey and not feeling that which I think we all feel sure, like you look at someone else and where they're at. And you're like, just like, that's great. Like, you feel like they have arrived, you know, and you know what, right? I also want to be fully realized as myself, but I think what's powerful is like talking to those teachers and mentors, people who are really just think like, wow, this is like you have it, and you talk to them. They're like, I don't have it. Like I continue to let you know, just realizing, again, that like perfection is not the goal, none of us will be perfect, I will never perfectly support someone through their birth, because that's not an attainable goal. So like letting go of that as a, that's not the endpoint. Right? You know, like, that's not, that's not reasonable. I think we put such harsh expectations on ourselves. And then that does transition to our clients, you know, then they also feel like, I think we push that idea of like, I guess everything should go this way, if you just do all these things, if you just spend enough money if you spend enough time put enough resources into it. But unfortunately, we're stuck in the real world. So you know, we have to just work with what we've got over here, which is not perfection. And I think that's where community again, like comes into it. Having folks who you can check in on that stuff and kind of get your realign where you're at and how you're going and having folks who are also holding you accountable to like, yeah, absolutely. Like, let's dive into that together. Let's read that book together. Let's Oh, this is something that you're like struggling with let's let's do a little like, let's do a little book group. And like journal that together like that has been really powerful for me is just asking for what I need from community to that, like, Hey, would be really helpful if I'd had some accountability. So you can either read us with me, or you could just check in every week and let me know like, Hey, have you read another chapter of that book, like, but even just finding those things that like, again, don't have to be like, major financial or time investments, but still are like part of your path to where you're looking to be where you're kind of looking at it too.
Anna, Radical Birthworker 33:48
Absolutely. And you also don't need to put people up on pedestals. I feel like that just kind of takes away from the community care aspect of it, or just the community aspect of it is when you start putting whether that's other birth workers or your mentors, I do this to my mentors a lot. And I always bring it up in the mentors are like, please stop. But I put them on a pedestal. And that is because we have a very hierarchical way of wanting to move into the world. Like we learned hierarchy everywhere we learned in school, when your teachers, at least in my personal experience, they wouldn't tell me their first names. I don't know why that was such a weird thing. I couldn't know their names. I couldn't know their age. I couldn't know where they live. That could be a privacy thing. But most of the time, it was just like weirdness around Yeah, absolutely. Where have you been in your life? Like I just don't know. And that is like a hierarchical model. Just one of them. But yeah, when we put people up into pedestals, we kind of create a barrier, and then it's us and then but what we're trying to do is we're just trying to come together as us. Right. And yeah, when I tell my mentors and like, oh my gosh, everything. It just seems like all that's going on in your life. They're like What's not like? Where's this notion coming from? And obviously, it's from social media, we all can't get away from it. And yet, you're always putting our best foot forward on the socials. Though we don't think that other people are like crying in their bed every night, which most of us are. Yeah, like coming into spaces with community where you can be vulnerable, like, this is something that I do for my own community is I have my community calls for birth workers. And we usually have a topic every month and last month's topic, or I guess it was this month's topic, it was just bringing queer birthworkers together. And I was just like, let's just celebrate us tell me all your favorite movies. What are you doing lately? And then it turned into like a whole? Yeah, I'm struggling. And it was like, okay, so this is the theme, let's talk about it. And then when you can put people more than just who they are on Instagram, or what you think they've achieved, then now you're actually seeing the real person in front of you. Right? So taking away that that barrier of pedestal is that is key and community.
Maggie, RNC-OB 36:06
Yeah, yeah. And it is it's so hard to get away from that. Because like, he's just so much the vast majority of us, we have learned that from a very, very little age, that hierarchical model of being in the world. Yeah, yeah, it's a lot to like, try to like deconstruct that. And again, lifelong, lifelong work. But I love that. And then I mean, honestly, and I can talk to you about this for the whole day. But as we kind of start your wrap up, where this season, we want to ask everyone the same question. So we're asking, like, if you got to design it, what does community birth care of the future look like?
Anna, Radical Birthworker 36:36
Maggie, RNC-OB 36:39
Juicy, I know, right?
Anna, Radical Birthworker 36:42
What that would look like is, I think, just based on the trajectory of where my work is going right now, what this really looks like is prioritizing, queer, trans, gender non conforming, non binary folks who are of the global majority, having their care prioritized, number one. And number two, where I'm pulled more towards to right now is having access for migrant folks and undocumented folks to have similar or the same access, as folks with status are folks who are privileged enough to have a piece of paper that says, You are valid in this country, it's like putting out little fires, you know, I can't say I want world peace, because it's like, where are you actually beginning? Yeah, just put the whole buffet in front of you, then you're gonna get full real quick. And so I think for now, because of where my work is going, those two things are where I want to prioritize, and where I see most of the work needs to be done in these spaces. And that's also because of me as who I am as a person, my positionality is, these are the areas I am the most informed in. And so I think I would be the best agent to be a part of these communities or to be a part of this change, because I have the lived experiences within them. And I think that is really valid and valuable when you're trying to spark create or be a comrade to change is if you have experiences in that you are such a valuable person in that community. So but right now, that's my answers.
Maggie, RNC-OB 38:25
Boo, I Well, I that is beautiful. I love that I love that world you are envisioning. And I am so excited to watch you on that journey and see how that all comes to fruition because it is so needed, so valid, and it's necessary and I absolutely believe that we can create a world where that is like the root that's the reality. So thank you so much for coming on and sharing your expertise with us and chatting. If you could just let everyone know where can they find you on the internet?
Anna, Radical Birthworker 38:52
Yeah, so you can find me on Instagram at pocket doula. You can also find me on my website, your pocket doula doc calm. And yeah, those are basically the two places that I'm the most active. So those are the best places to reach. Yeah.
Maggie, RNC-OB 39:08
Thank you so much. And I really appreciate you.
Anna, Radical Birthworker 39:10
Thank you so much for having me. This was wonderful. Well, thank
Maggie, RNC-OB 39:13
you so much for joining us in this conversation as we restart this season of the podcast. We are so excited to have you here on this journey and hope that you have taken away some little tidbits today that uplift you as you reflect on the community you hold and the one you want to be a part of. We would love to be a part of yours. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, wherever you like to keep in touch. We would especially love to hear from you on Instagram. Tag us in your stories. Let us know a takeaway you had for this episode. Thank you for being here as we continue to cultivate inclusive collaborative community rooted in autonomy, respect and equity. Till next time