Is it Inclusive?
My journey toward becoming a birth worker has been one of self discovery and realization that I not only exist in this body the way in which I see myself, but the way others see me, as well as how I use this body to represent, include and protect others too.
I know, I know, that’s a lot to carry, but I believe this type of “weight” I carry, has been more evident the deeper I get into the birth space. You see, in my mind, I existed at a Black, educated woman, who has manners, is a nice person, respectful, lives my life simply by knowing right from wrong and treating others kindly. I never realized how much of a disservice I had been doing to myself and others, by simply believing that as long as I am kind and respectful, that the words I use in my speech and in my writing or text, didn’t hurt.
I have never misgendered, excluded or hurt people because I intended to, but because I had not been privy to or opened my mind enough to realize that in my quest to simply be “nice” that I was not being inclusive of other peoples truths and existence in their own bodies. I remember publishing my first website (2016) and thinking this is so great, I have pictures of families, families of mixed race, and every other word was she/her, father/mother, and so on. Never once did I think to add a same sex couple or trans family. It was something that had never dawned on me, although I had been existing in spaces with people and family members who lived those experiences. It wasn’t until one day I began reading stories of families and people who felt excluded by language that wasn’t inclusive, attending workshops and seminars and trainings where families expressed their sadness at how limited society had become in making sure that all people were represented (the universe gently nudging me to open my eyes). I have felt their pain, in my own life, existing as a Black woman in America and would never want anyone to feel that pain, coming from me. I decided immediately to take a workshop, led by fellow birth worker, Morgane Richardson, about supporing LGBTQia families, and it was eye opening, the parallels that exist when you are discriminated against, whether intentionally, or in my case, unintentionally, are real (and were enough to change my perspective and who I thought I was and how I represented others).
I immediately went back and changed all of the wording in my website, and not only the wording, my pespective, and my speech, but realizing that imagery and pictures are POWERFUL and tell a story, way before any words or text are even put to the paper or page.
When I think of my life and the way I exist now, and the business I created, and my desire for it to be inclusive of all, words meaning nothing, actions do. I want to be sure that my focus is not on the “Target Market”, but inclusion, I mean, real inclusion, through our imagery, through our words/texts, through our services, our education series, tackling issues that plague certain communities and facing it head on. There’s a lot of PC (politically correctness), and hypersensitivity today. As a new doula, I was always taught not to discuss politics and race and other things that are taboo. But the truth is, I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum and I do buck the system and have these conversations with my clients. Sometimes brought up by them, but alot of times, brougt up by me. We talk about race alot and my existence in this world under the current Government and what that means for my family and the media and its all intertwined (we are all living during tis time and it affects us all) and important that they understand who I am as a person, how I exist in my body, and how that affects my work (in a positive and sometimes negative way). I want what I’ve learned to reflect in my business, and my brand, and most importantly, the person that you meet and see (whether personally or in the social media space).