Ahhh, what an amazing weekend it has been. I spent almost 12 hours feeding my mind and spirit attending the Roots-N-Bush Online Birth Conference. It was honestly beyond anything I could have imagined but was what my soul had been seeking. I attend dozens of events annually, so it was wonderful to have the occasion to attend a conference in the comfort of my own living room. No plane, no train, no hotel fee: just a pen, notebook and my computer.

If you follow the Doula on Duty/Lighthouse Birth Services page on Facebook, I often share about the alarming statistics of the infant and maternal mortality rates among American women of color. As scientists and community health activists try to decipher why our babies are not making it to their first birthday and why Black women are 3.2 more times likely to die than their white counterparts relating to pregnancy and birth, I’m starting to think that the answers are right in front of us – hidden in the wisdom, skills and understand of those who came before us as teachers, healers and midwives. As a woman whose family is from Jamaica, I find that I reach back to our own indigenous traditions for my physical and spiritual healing. Mama was right; all that processed food is bad for you! The Bible says in Hosea 4:6a, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” How many of us have lives evident of that? Too many communities are lost because we don’t have the information and support to do what’s best for our families. The time is now to be about the work of healing ourselves completely. The blessing of this conference was that the health and wellness of moms and babies of color was addressed holistically. Because we are mind, body and spirit, any means of wholeness must have the entirety of our being in mind. The work doesn’t begin at birth or even after a positive pregnancy test but months or even years before conception. We all must be intentional about our parenthood as we are in other areas of our lives. Future generations are dependent on it.

Words cannot express how grateful I am for the wisdom that was shared from ALL the presenters this weekend. This information is for mothers, mothers-to-be, fathers, fathers-to-be, grandparents/caregivers, doulas, midwives, educators, lactation supporters, other care providers and everyone else who cares for expectant women of color in the childbearing years. Still in the beginnings of my calling as a birth worker, it became clear to me that a culturally sensitive & relevant support team is imperative for healthy birth outcomes, especially for women of color. The Roots-N-Bush Online Birth conference showed us how to go about making that a reality. If you missed it, don’t fret. I encourage you to purchase the entire conference recording at this link. I promise you, your spirit will be fed! There is a lot of work to be done but together we can heal a nation.

Keisha