Update! A huge shout-out to those who donated to my campaign. Another huge shout-out for everyone who reached out, gave ideas, prayed, sent good vibes and kept me positive as I kept raising the funds I needed to stay in school.
As of last weekend, I am able to pay for the short-term needs regarding tuition. I won't be flying home until I am all done! I have a few months left until my tour and graduation, and I couldn't have done it with you. I will still be fundraising to take the licensing exam and stay afloat. Thank you so much for believing in me. I look forward to transitioning back home east in whatever way the Universe and I decide is best. I look forward to supporting sisters back home in birth and reproductive health and wellness. Love you all very much!
Eres Una Partera? Are You a Midwife?: Reflecting on My First Quarter of Midwifery Training
Today marks the end of an incredible 3 months of life. I can honestly say I couldn't have done this alone. The journey to this point has been quite the struggle, with friends and family supporting me and my vision for healing our collective. So many things and ways of thinking have changed.
I want to connect with people and organizations that can help me reach my goal in some way. Perhaps you have someone in your network that could help. I have a short term goal of about $3000 (which is in addition to what I have raised) by the end of the year and an overall goal of $13,000 to be able to graduate next September. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
There are not enough words to describe being one of the first human beings to receive a brand new human life in your hands. In the wee hours of this morning, I had the honor of catching, quite literally, the first of many small, resilient and vibrant beings on this journey. My hands guided by another midwife and all the ancestors whose hands have caught generations before me. Thank you to everyone who has helped me get this far!
Thank you so much to everyone who has been supportive on this path! I started school about 3 days ago and am taking a day of rest to gather my thoughts, write in my journal and integrate the next steps on this path to CPM. I am so excited to continue being a sponge absorbing the knowledge, sights, smells and sensations of being in this program. Feeling focused and grounded :)
I got the chance to do a belly cast earlier this year with Aaliyah. I gave her a belly rub that night and was completely engrossed in that moment, despite how late it was and how tired I felt. I knew she needed loving energy and I poured all of it into that massage. She told me she slept so well that night. I was beaming. Later that week, she and I were in Anamaría's living room and she told me her stomach was a little upset. Automatically, I got up and steeped ginger and mint for her to soothe her stomach. As she sipped on it, I sat across from her and said, "This is exactly what I want to do with my life. Taking care of pregnant women brings me so much joy." I realized that's exactly what I needed to do. A little over a month later, I got on a plane and came to El Paso. As soon as I got off the plane, I dropped off my application and got accepted to Maternidad La Luz shortly after. I chuckle because I heard later on that I was "gangsta" for doing what I'm doing. The Bronx in me took that as a huge compliment.
I was in my bedroom, circa summer 2008 in Brooklyn. I was living with Sharon Anne at the time and was realizing that I wanted to be a midwife but was too scared to make the leap straight into it; it would be another couple of years before the urge was as overwhelming as it is now. Sharon came to my room one night and we were talking about what my dream was. I remember being really excited as I told her about my thoughts and feelings. She gave me this smile, one she only knows how to give, and said, "you're going to be a great midwife." She was the first person to believe in me before I began to heed the call. "ª#"Žsignsonthepathtomidwifery"¬
The Signs on The Path to Midwifery Memory #1: It was January 2012 and I was in Jacmel, Ayiti going to Bassin Bleu, an incredibly beautiful waterfall that can be dangerous to get to. I was paralyzed with fear when we were barefoot and the path got narrow and steep. I froze and said I didn't want to keep climbing the slippery rocks. My comrades from my delegation encouraged me to keep going. I am so happy I did.
The water was amazing. What was even more amazing was who I found in the waters. I can't swim so I didn't go in too deep. One of the two women in the water said she was a lifeguard. They came closer and I found out they were midwives! On the other side of my fear, were midwives. One of them was Reina Galjour, who is an alumni of where I'll be attending this September. We spoke for a while about her journey and what she was doing in Ayiti, which at the time she was doing midwifery work in Jacmel. Thank goodness I conquered my fear of falling to reach the waterfalls. I knew after that trip that I was being called.
Catching Babies is a 60-minute documentary that tells the story of women as they become midwives in El Paso, Texas at one of the most demanding schools of midwifery in the country, Maternidad la Luz, which was designed to be challenging in order to push women to understand their own strength. This is the school I will be going to this September. Check it out!
Last month, I was selected as one of World Pulse's 2013 Voices of Our Future Correspondents. My first assignment is completed! I chose to interview a woman doing amazing work supporting childbearing women in my hometown. Check out "A Doula Grows and Dreams In the Bronx", featuring Ms. Rina Crane:
In college, one of my best friends asked me what I wanted to be when I was little. I smiled and my heart became warm as I responded: mother, teacher and doctor. She told me that what we wanted to be when we were children was our most pure expression of what we would want to do as adults. I was struck by those childhood wishes; a part of me would always feel jealous when someone was going to medical school or working with young children.
Somewhere inside, I still wanted to be a healer. I knew after my first birth as a doula, I was going to be a midwife. I knew like the day is clear I wanted to provide care for a woman throughout her pregnancy, birth and beyond.
I care about women. They are our sacred vessels. I love our bodies. I always wanted to do something to make sure the world was better for the next generation. As I was a doula, I tried to start my midwifery education twice through becoming a certified nurse-midwife, but my heart was not committed to that pathway. It has always been committed to work primarily at home and birthing spaces.
I have wanted to study at Maternidad La Luz in Texas since I found out about it 4 years ago. I never applied before because the school is not a Title IV; that is, it can't receive federal funding. That was why I kept pushing to go the certified nurse-midwife path, because I could take out loans.
It's been especially challenging to save up the amount of money I've needed while supporting myself in full. Yet, the more time I spent around pregnant women, the more I knew I had to try some way to become a midwife. I desire this so much. It fills me with an unspeakably joy to be able to hold the space for a profound transformation - for the woman, family, friends and the world. Being a midwife would be my way of assisting the future generation of mothers and families have healthier beginnings.
Nearly all the loans and grants that I can apply for are for certified nurses-midwives. It would have been logical to go against my heart's desire to offer women the option to birth in a more sacred and empowering way by being trained medically. But the truth is, I feel my place is with helping women remember their own innate strength outside of these often oppressive institutions. I feel committed to learning in a birth clinic to gain my basic medical skills and be able to be in a much more subdued environment. The money I did have saved is keeping me afloat here in El Paso this summer as I work my butt off at a job to offset some of the expenses. I am unable to take out personal loans because I have other loans in either forbearance, deferment or in collections.
Reaching out to others will not only help me fulfill this dream, but answer a calling for our women at large. This program would give me the opportunity to work as a midwife much sooner than later, so that I would still continue to study with other midwives and be practical as well. I am looking up and doing all that I can to raise the money through other avenues - looking for grants, reaching out to organizations in hopes of a response and asking my network for resources as well.
I am asking for donations to pay for my tuition, books,room and board for a year long program at Maternidad La Luz. I am also requesting resources and help spreading my message.
I am raising $15,700 for the entire year. Maternidad La Luz's program is divided into 4 quarters, tuition is due on the first day of each quarter, so short-term I need to raise 25% percent of my goal, $4,000 to pay tuition and expenses by August 31st - my first day of school is September 1st. I have a fundraising page here: http://www.gofundme.com/thesewatersrundeep
The year at Maternidad La Luz is divided into 4 quarters. I pay my tuition on the first day of each quarter, so I have begun to break down the entire amount I need into 4 mini goals. I need to raise about 25% (just under $4,000) by the end of August to cover the expenses of the first quarter. Please help me reach that mini goal!
I am pursuing a CPM license in midwifery. What is that, you may ask? A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is a knowledgeable, skilled and professional independent midwifery practitioner who has met the standards for certification set by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) and is qualified to provide the Midwives Model of Care.
The CPM is the only international credential that requires knowledge about and experience in out-of-hospital settings. The program at Maternidad La Luz would assist in preparing me to be able to take the exam for certification. Of course, the training and education doesn't stop there; I'll continue to develop my skills as a midwife. This program is my diving board. Your support is going to make all of this possible!
I've begun my summer reading list for school. Here are some of the books I'll be reading. Check them out:
After The Baby's Birth: A Woman's Way to Wellness by Robin Lim
The Birth Partner: Everything You Need to Know to Help a Woman Through Childbirth by Penny Simkin
I am also getting ready to start my first assignment with my World Pulse Citizen Journal program.
Just posted some perks! I am offering reiki sessions for different levels of support. I will be in touch with those of you who have donated past the $50 mark so we can make the proper arrangements. Thank you once again :)
I woke up one morning, had a stream of consciousness, and felt inspired to share this with you. I get asked often how I went from speaking on the AfroLatina identity to pursing my path in midwifery. I wanted to share that trajectory of transformation with you. It's all connected"¦just like you and I are part of this bigger plan to liberate humanity. So much love to all of you â™¥
I have been selected as one of World Pulse's 2013 Voices of Our Future Correspondents!!! I will be participating in their five month Voices of Our Future Training Program, an online training program in citizen journalism, and digital empowerment for emerging grassroots women leaders. This is an opportunity to share my journey to midwifery with women from 190 countries with an action media network whose mission is to lift and unite women's voices to accelerate their impact for the world. I am excited to refine my voice so that I may better articulate my vision of maternal and community wellness
Tomorrow I will be mailing my deposit to the school as my official acceptance of their invitation to study there. I'm excited for this and trusting this will be one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Already in the last few days I've been told that I'll be delivering the future babies of many friends and family...I'm beyond touched by your faith in me :)
Dear Community, Thank you to everyone who has supported me in the last year with pursing my certified professional midwife license. I am down to the wire and need to raise the rest of my funds. I need $1,500 to finish paying my school tuition, $1000 to pay for the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) licensing exam in August to be able to practice, and $2000 to simply have somewhere to live for the next 5 months. That is a grand total of $4500 to complete what I've set out to do: serve as a midwife and reproductive healthcare provider to our women in New Jersey and New York.
Why is this a community matter? I am answering the call to support our women in New Jersey and New York who need a culturally relevant midwife and health care provider. My special interest is young teenage mothers and women in their twenties. Our women are falling through the cracks in terms of reproductive health. From personal experience, I know the neglect that the urban communities like the Bronx, Brooklyn, Jersey City and Queens. I want to fill in this void with the skills and knowledge I have gained. In short, what I am doing is not for me but for my community to ensure that our future and current generation have a chance at healthier lives.
Furthermore, we need comprehensive education for women of all ages about their reproductive health so that we can begin to empower ourselves and influence a better legacy for our future generations. I need help to continue to step up in this way. Please help me in the form of a donation, resource or method of fundraising so I can reach my goal and come back home to serve.
Thank you for answering the call to help our women rise up and be empowered by adding a bilingual midwife to your community!
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