A doula's viewpoint is informed by the families we serve, the medical teams we interact with, and the larger dynamics of birthing politics. Deeply Rooted is a platform for doulas from around the world to share experiences, "Through Their Eyes". This time we're going to my hometown: Kansas City, MO.
Kayla Hansley is helping families access quality health, nutrition, and wellness through her doula practice Back Naked Birthing. As a mother, doula, dietary manager, and seamstress she enjoys helping people to feel good about themselves. Not only can she journey with you throughout your pregnancy, but she can guide you on creating mouthwatering nutritious meals for your family and adorn you in beautifully hand-sewn items!
Tell us about your path into the birth world? What is your expertise? Who is your clientele?
My path into the birth world started when I worked at a hospital as a dietary aid and got the pleasure to also serve postpartum moms with dietary needs. While working I read an article about the work doulas do for moms and fell in love. In addition to informing moms about their rights and options, knowledge about birth and their bodies, I am also able to inform them of dietary choices they can make to ease and aid in pregnancy and labor. I encourage moms to take this experience in their own hands, take this time to make better choices, and promote nutrition as a preventative measure to common pregnancy complications.
Most of my clientele are Black women - who are 4x more likely than any other race to die while giving birth. These moms look like me and that is where I'm most needed.
As a seamstress, I use fabric to encourage and help mothers through pregnancy and birth by hand sewing rebozos, a fabric used in many ways in the work of birth.
What are some regional challenges you face as a doula, midwife, or otherwise?
Some challenges I face are the prejudices moms and families face in doctor offices and hospitals. Cases where “patients of color” seem to be separate from other patients. The concerns, wants, and needs of moms of color are ignored; influencing the number of those moms dying in labor. Also, medical doctors being less open to non-medicated births and allowing birth to progress on its own without interventions as moms are leaning more toward those options.
The information is flowing and the want for doulas and midwives is growing! A great birthing resource sits right on a street in the middle of our urban community, along side many self health stores and shops. Most of them are black owned supporting community in wanting to take back ownership of our well-being.
What are some of the resources for pregnant families in your area?
What do you need to better support the communities you serve?
More resources for African American mothers!!!
Recently working at a Birthing Center the midwife invited me to doula with the facility saying more African American women were becoming interested in natural birth and it would be nice to have someone they can identify with. And she is exactly right. We need to be represented in the birth world. It’s an awesome and exciting time in this city as we have so much to do and so much room to grow.
From Unearthing Tradition to you Sis: You are the truth. Thank you for all you do to support families in our hometown. I'm grateful for your friendship!
Back Naked Birthing is excited to be working toward being one of Kansas City's many resources for African-American family building and encouraging this desire to reconnect to past traditions and trust our bodies, minds, and spirits. Follow @backnaked.birthing on Instagram for resources and to inquire about services and products.
** this blog entry was originally submitted in 2019
Unearthing Tradition is a reproductive justice organization dedicated to addressing modern issues with ancestral practices through a continuous process of rediscovery.