Aligned Birth

Ep 113: Interview with Full Spectrum Doula and Perinatal Mental Health Counselor Imani Byers-Quarterman

July 26, 2023 Dr. Shannon and Doula Rachael Episode 113
Ep 113: Interview with Full Spectrum Doula and Perinatal Mental Health Counselor Imani Byers-Quarterman
Aligned Birth
More Info
Aligned Birth
Ep 113: Interview with Full Spectrum Doula and Perinatal Mental Health Counselor Imani Byers-Quarterman
Jul 26, 2023 Episode 113
Dr. Shannon and Doula Rachael

In today’s episode, Dr. Shannon interviews Imani Byers-Quaterman who is the founder of Rebyrth Wellness, co-founder of Your Rebyrth Tribe, a full spectrum-doula, and a licensed social worker certified in perinatal mental health.  Our conversation includes:

How her doula work began
How she was informed about birth growing up
How her faith plays a part in her work
Her current training as a childbirth mentor with Birthing from Within
The issues facing black and brown moms in the birthing community 
Ways to impact the black maternal mortality rate
The ways she impacts the birthing community with perinatal mental health counseling
And more!

Connect with Imani:

Support the Show.

Want to show your support? Want to help us continue doing this important and impactful work: Support the Show (we greatly appreciate it!)

Don't miss new episodes: Join the Aligned Birth Community

Instagram: Aligned Birth


Find us online:
Sunrise Chiropractic and Wellness
North Atlanta Birth Services

Editing: Godfrey Sound
Music: "Freedom” by Roa

Disclaimer: The information shared, obtained, and discussed in this podcast is not intended as medical advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional consultation with a qualified healthcare provider familiar with your individual medical needs. By listening to this podcast you agree not to use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having. This disclaimer includes all guests or contributors to the podcast.

Aligned Birth Listener Support
Help us continue doing this important and impactful work.
Starting at $3/month
Show Notes Transcript

In today’s episode, Dr. Shannon interviews Imani Byers-Quaterman who is the founder of Rebyrth Wellness, co-founder of Your Rebyrth Tribe, a full spectrum-doula, and a licensed social worker certified in perinatal mental health.  Our conversation includes:

How her doula work began
How she was informed about birth growing up
How her faith plays a part in her work
Her current training as a childbirth mentor with Birthing from Within
The issues facing black and brown moms in the birthing community 
Ways to impact the black maternal mortality rate
The ways she impacts the birthing community with perinatal mental health counseling
And more!

Connect with Imani:

Support the Show.

Want to show your support? Want to help us continue doing this important and impactful work: Support the Show (we greatly appreciate it!)

Don't miss new episodes: Join the Aligned Birth Community

Instagram: Aligned Birth


Find us online:
Sunrise Chiropractic and Wellness
North Atlanta Birth Services

Editing: Godfrey Sound
Music: "Freedom” by Roa

Disclaimer: The information shared, obtained, and discussed in this podcast is not intended as medical advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional consultation with a qualified healthcare provider familiar with your individual medical needs. By listening to this podcast you agree not to use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having. This disclaimer includes all guests or contributors to the podcast.

Unknown 0:00

I suppose every single hello hello friends you are listening to the aligned birth podcast. I am Dr. Shannon I'm one of the hosts of the show.

Unknown 0:08

And today is as usual one of my favorite days it's interview day. We have an amazing guest on today and I was I was I was prepping for the show. I was thinking about how wonderful our birthing community is we're you know, based in this Atlanta area, specifically kind of like North metro Atlanta area. You know, Rachel and I are but gosh, we have such a good birthing community people that are kind calf compassionate, loving, willing to share I feel like those are requirements for birth workers if you'd like but I'm so I'm always ecstatic when workers come on because they are giving of their time, their energy, their talents, their knowledge, and so today, we have all of those encompassed with our guests. We have Imani Byers cornerman on she is the founder of rebirth wellness, and co founder of your rebirth tribe, both based in Atlanta, Georgia. She's a certified full spectrum doula, Licensed Master social worker in the state of Georgia and a perinatal mental health certified she is currently training as a childbirth mentor with birthing from within and alumna of Howard University and the University of Georgia. She provides herself on building solid connections and relationships with her clients and colleagues in the perinatal space, promoting connection, autonomy, respect education and self care since January of 2020, which I want to go back to this because is that when you started this a bit, the your whole business is everything with COVID. Well, there we go. So since 2020, January, she has successfully assisted over at birth and over 20 families and the fertility and postpartum space. So today is doula work. It's childbirth education. It's black, maternal mental health. It's black maternal health. It's perinatal mental health like this is this is what we're talking about today. And so I am so flippin excited to have you on Imani.

Unknown 2:02

Yes, I'm so excited to be here with all my Cornucopia beings. Love this. sounds super excited to talk to you today. Dr. Shannon. Like I said, I'm a super fan of the podcast. I love it. I was talking to Dr. Shannon, I listened to it on my way to births because it's super grounding, super informative too. So I'm glad to be a part of the number

Unknown 2:25

I'm so excited to have you on and we were just chatting to before this like we haven't met in real life but I feel like Imani is my friend like she's she's she's what she's my girl so um you know sometimes there's that good and bad with the with the internet space and the social media space but you do so much good with it. And I love following and everything that you posted. So at the end I'm obviously going to have you mentioned you know all the places that you're active but people need to follow you because you share so much information and it's so good. So, Ray, I'm excited. Let's get started on our show and I kind of was like man like you said your Cornucopia like where do I dive into this cornucopia so I kind of want to see what did it start with with you did you start with the doula work and then it moved into that counseling space. Did you start with the mental health aspect first like what started and why for you?

Unknown 3:16

Yeah. So I actually started in the mental health space. I was a therapist in the hospice world. So I was a hospice social worker. So I helped people at the end of life in that major life transition right. So that's where I started. And then I always knew though I wanted to be a doula, because when I was little, like eight nine and stuff I was always watching. I didn't know I was pregnant birthday, all those things that would come on, like discovery, health and TLC. So I always knew I wanted to do that but didn't know how to do that and work with hospitals and then older adults at the time. So my concentration in public health was actually Gerontology because I love older adults. I love older people. And that's also why I'm very much so against calling people 35 And up geriatric pregnancies because that's not Gerontology at all. I never talked about anybody. Yeah. I've never talked about anybody in my Gerontology class under 65. So I yeah, I just can't stay in that turn. But yeah, I started off in mental health first I started doing when I stopped doing hospice. I started doing community based mental health. And then I was like, oh, perinatal mental health is a thing. And I was gonna look into that and see what that entails and what that would look like. And I just absolutely fell in love with it. And then from there, I was like, okay, I can do this. And like I said, in January 2020, I was like, I'm going to start my business. Did not know the pandemic was coming. So in March, by the time March hit, everything is shut down. And I was like, Ah, I made a mistake. There's no way this is going to flourish, but it did. And so I just feel like that was because I was in alignment, right what God had for me what the purpose was to do well I had my time on Earth. So I just been rocking and rolling since then,

Unknown 5:09

just jumping right in. I even made a note here because I always take notes while I'm chatting with people. Because I'm old school. I gotta have like pen and paper. And as soon as you mentioned, well, I'm going to start in January 2020. And then March I wrote fake because I was like, I knew for you and just in what you posted what you say because I was like, I knew that was kind of that you just had to take that leap of faith and then continue with it knowing that like, Okay, I'm still going to be able to, you know, support these families. So no, seriously

Unknown 5:37

and faith is a really big component of my life. That's actually what my main needs and Swahili is faith. So whenever anybody talks to me about faith, I'm like, Yeah, I just have to live up to my name. That is that's the name that my parents gave me. So yeah, it was scary. I was scared as crap I was like, oh, man, we're gonna wait here but but God so God, ah, just that little bit of faith they're not lying. The good book is right.

Unknown 6:04

Okay. Because right Ah, love it. So that is fascinating to me. So hospice care, but that mental health aspect of it and then so when you say you opened up your business was that rebirth wellness, that you opened up? Okay, so was that just was it mental health or had you already done any doula work then? Or was it all of those things at that point,

Unknown 6:29

so it wasn't the mental health part yet? Because I was still contracted with another company. To do mental health because again, while I had faith, there was still some fear there if I'm honest, yeah. I was like, there is yes, obviously. Right. But, so it was just my fertility and postpartum practice, because in my mind, I was like, I'm not going to quit my corporate job. I'm gonna do this. You know, I don't think I can make this my career. That's really what my thought process was. And so it was really me trying to control a situation that was not under my guys. It was really God saying, okay, yeah, you say that right. But I wasn't even going to do birth doula work, to be honest with you. Shannon. I had no intention of doing that because I knew I loved my corporate job number one. Like I said, loved older people loved hospice, loved that environment. But then, my friend who ended up being my first paying client, which is amazing to me, she calls me in April. It's like I'm pregnant, and I need you to be my doula. And I was like, but I'm only gonna do fertility and postpartum. She was like, No, you have to be at my birth, and it's gonna be a home birth. And I was like, like, okay, so she paid me I pay for the training. I took the training, and I was like, Oh, I can do this. I fit in this space. And it organically just built in. So by October of that year, I had already booked out through April 2021. And I was just like, I gotta quit my job. There's no way I can sustain both of these and then also sustain myself right, exactly. Gearing and all of those areas. Aha, back when I had to release it. So again, I stepped out on faith. I was like, I don't see where this is going. But I know this is good. So I'm gonna trust you. Right? And I quit my job and then it just Tick Tick Boom. I was booked out for that year by June. It was just insane. What took place and that's when I really felt like alignment is really God's best for us. Like when we are walking in our purpose. His beds just flourishes for us and it was just amazing to sit in that witness seat to to receive that for myself, but then also see how the community was receptive of me as well. Aha,

Unknown 8:44

welcoming that in and that you're needed, you know, like that, that cares for compassion, and you probably took some of those skills from that hospice care and can incorporate that and you know, that's, that's what I love with birth workers, who is kind of seeing how they come into their workspace and how some of their previous life skills kind of play a part into what they're able to do now in the burger world. So sure, and kudos to your friend kind of speaking to existence now. This is what you're going to do. Yes. girl,

Unknown 9:23

and she was just here over the weekend. Her her daughter is my little niece. She will be three this year. Oh my gosh. Like my first round of babies are going to be three and one of my other clients that I did my first year, she's now training to be a doula issues. My perinatal mental health class I did last week and I was like, oh my god, this is just a full circle unit. You know, it is I'm grateful. Yeah,

Unknown 9:45

that is so cool now with your full spectrum, doula work, so you again to you it started with the fertility specialist work and so what were you doing with that and do you still do work in that realm?

Unknown 10:03

Yeah, so for fertility, it was a lot of coaching regarding like fertility awareness method. There's also a lot of coaching surrounding the process and the waiting game of what conceiving looks like sometimes people came to me for fertility just so they could get their room in a healthy state. Right. So that's what I recognize fertility as not necessarily wanting to or trying to conceive but being in a healthy womb state right. So a lot of people would come to me for that. I was doing consultations at play for chi down in Douglasville. My friend owns that spas and salt cave and Yoni steam spot, and I would do consultations for people outside of that and we're really seeing significant changes like they have fibroids like people's fibers are shrinking during the scenes and things like that. And I was just like, wow, this is a really healing space to be in and so in alignment with birth and things like that, so yeah, I still do fertility things here and there, like especially for our previous clients, but I think I'm gonna pick that back. Up when my husband and I we start to talk about building our own family, right, because I came out here doing births. So that'll probably come back more so in full swing down the line in a couple of years.

Unknown 11:18

Yeah, yeah. Okay, so I like this in my heart. Yeah, looking at what the evolution could be and knowing where and how your energy is going to be because doula work is, is exhausting, you know? Because birth is unpredictable. It sure is. You have to live in that unpredictable space. So you

Unknown 11:38

had left a client on Monday of last week at five o'clock, and at 530. She was like, My water just broke. And I was like, Okay. I was just there and she gave birth Tuesday, and I was like, Well, we are here we are beautiful and chaotic and self fulfilling, but it can also be very taxing if you don't take heed to what your body's saying what your family at home is saying. Right. So that's been my biggest lesson so far. As

Unknown 12:11

you say. I noticed that a lot with you and especially with with things that you post as far as like knowing your boundaries, and I think starting off in your doula business and kind of being aware of that. It looks like you were aware from that from the beginning, knowing okay, this is how much energy I have to put forth here and this is what I need to rejuvenate myself, you know, so I always I do appreciate you always kind of saying like, Hey, this is what I've got to give here, you know, or check in with this space that I won't be available such and such and such dates, you know, and that type of thing.

Unknown 12:47

That's important. Boundaries are important. I wouldn't be a good social worker. If I didn't set boundaries. Exactly what my clients are doing

Unknown 12:55

great. Yeah, but you're practicing what you preach too. A little bit there. So I think that's important as well to to not be you know, so exhausted with giving, giving, giving, giving, giving, you got to rejuvenate a little bit there. Now all right. So that's a little bit with the doula now. Talked about the doula work talked about the fertility specialist aspect and all some of that part of the cornucopia. How did the perinatal mental health aspect component come in because you said I think you'd said that you started with the doula work. Because your friend had said, Hey, you're gonna do now? What is it kind of ebbed and flowed into now?

Unknown 13:41

Yeah. So for me, you know, I was still doing theory I started doing therapy, like one on one client sessions in 2018 2019. So I was doing those one on one connections, but it didn't feel fulfilling. I was working with kids. And so when you work with kids, you have to work with their parents. And I found that I had an affinity more so with the parents than I did with children. And so as a social worker, I have a duty to do no harm. And so I was like, I don't really have the experience that I feel I need to work with these kids. So let me work the parent. And then randomly I started getting a lot of clients, specifically black and brown women that were dealing with postpartum depression. And so this was before the DSM five text revision came out that included peripartum onset as a clinical diagnosis. So beforehand,

Unknown 14:34

there was remind everybody what's the DSM? Just to use

Unknown 14:37

the five Yes is the Diagnostic Statistical Manual. So it is based, basically the big book of diagnoses for mental health disorders. And so, this is the fifth version text revision, meaning that the sixth one is coming out sometime soon. But the text revision was actually the first one that had Peri partum, which means onset during the perinatal period, that was the first time they added that qualifier in there. So beforehand, we would say onset, seemingly to be done during the postpartum or during pregnancy, but we didn't have a qualifier yet. So that was a big step for perinatal mental health, I think for it to be acknowledged in that manual because that is the manual. Psychiatrists, Stephanie

Unknown 15:21

used to diagnose.

Unknown 15:23

Yeah, all of us. So that was a really big deal. But I was working with a lot of women in that space, and I was seeing a lot of effective changes for them, right because at this point, when I was working with them at our EDA my Doula training, so I was kind of pulling in on those skills, coupled with, you know, the therapeutic interventions that I was using mostly CBT which is cognitive behavioral therapy. And it just blossomed from there. And I told the supervisor, I was like, you know, I think this is my niche. I think this is where I need to be at. And then I apply to at the time 2020 Mom and psi, they were doing their training together, and they had scholarships for the bipoc community. And I was like, I'm gonna apply for this because I feel like I would be a good fit, and I got the scholarship and so I took 16 hours of courses, designed and completely surrounding perinatal mental health, and then I had to take the advanced course. So because I had the doula and therapists title, I could choose which one but because therapy I knew I was going to develop as we continue forward. I took the advanced psychotherapy, training and learning the best interventions to do in these spaces with clientele. And then I sat for that exam. And I passed it and I was like, All right, we're in the game. We're cooking with gas now.

Unknown 16:47

Most definitely. So that's a beautiful set of skills to have for families, you know, especially those like looking to start because typically as that doula you are coming in, in the prenatal space, and you even with some of the fertility especially you might even be there preconception family as well too, and get to walk with them through that prenatal journey. But then you've got that skill set to notice. Words, notice actions, notice thoughts that are coming up and then can really impact that postpartum time period. Sure.

Unknown 17:26

It's like the full spectrum, right? That was my goal is to holistic care is important to me, right? That's why I always say, you know, it can't just be the doctor. You have to have the medical doctor. You have to have your chiropractor who's my clients know you're going to the chiropractor, that is like my jam. Right? So it has to be the chiropractor has to be pelvic floor physical therapy, it has to be mental health. And while I don't do therapy with my Doula clients, right, I always let them know hey, this is what I'm noticing. Because I'm this relationship with them. I'm noticing that you're not quite yourself, and this is not what we would deem as normal. It's been beyond two weeks that you've been having these feelings, right. So that's the number one thing to keep in mind is if it's beyond two weeks after giving birth, and these feelings are still present, or they're causing a hindrance or keeping you from living your best life, we need to get some additional support, because nobody deserves to be in that space, especially during such a vulnerable time. For some such a happy time, right? Or what is quote unquote, supposedly supposed to be happy. So I think one of the things that I'm grateful for that I have the skill set is because I'll catch things early on even in the pregnancy space and like, let's get on top of this now. So that when pregnancy comes about when birth comes about in the postpartum period starts, we will have skills in hand to kind of help us navigate through these things. And if not, we have somebody we can go back to that you've hopefully built a really great relationship with. So yeah,

Unknown 19:07

exactly. No, I totally see that goal and I liked that you touched on kind of all of those birth support team members that you know, you can Evan Rachel, I talk about that a lot like what you know, whoever you do choose and decide to have on that birth support team. Yes, obviously, you know, that's up to you, but I want people to know those words, right? I want them to know the words doula I want them to know the words pelvic floor physical therapist and all the many ways that they can help you know those type of things, because then that gives you so many other touch points to have people realizing Yes, this could be an issue because that comes up a lot in the office when I'm when I'm working with prenatal patients, you know, we'll ask and I'll see okay, we have an A History of anxiety. What can we do during pregnancy to set us up for the postpartum time period not that you're guaranteed to have problems but it is such a vulnerable time then. And emotions are high and hormones all over the place like it just have an easier chance of there being you know, some sort of issue and so high touch points.

Unknown 20:10

I agree. And definitely me and Shannon Weiss over at MIT certainly. Talk about I love her so much. I'm so grateful to be working with her on this leg of the journey. That's something we talked about a lot, you know, making sure people have comprehensive care, because on our intake for before we even engage in therapy with somebody that's one of the questions we asked, you know, did you get your blood work? Is your thyroid burning properly? Are there any other imbalances that maybe if they got imbalanced you would feel better? Right? Because sometimes, things that manifests as a mental health disorder can sometimes be evidence of an imbalance in the body somewhere, whether that's a vitamin deficiency, thyroid malfunction, there's so many things that can take place or that can come up that emulate mental health disorders. So it's our due diligence to make sure that you've done all the steps to make it here so that you can get the best quality help that you need.

Unknown 21:10

Exactly. I'm so glad you mentioned Shane and so because I forgot to mention that in the intro, I thought about it. So it's funny. I had reached out to you to be on the show. Like we'd already chatted and then Shannon reached out to Rachel nine we had Shannon on the show. She's maternally mindful so she's also perinatal mental health counselor. And I don't remember what episode we had her on, but we had her on She's amazing. And she sent us an email and she was like, I have this new therapist here and you have to have her on the show. And I was like I'm ahead of you. So, yes, I love I love that you mentioned Shannon and who you're working with now and the work that you get to do there. So um, what does it look like for you with postpartum care for your moms? Or I guess? I guess you have like your doula hat and then your therapist hat. And so you know, I know that there. You can wear them at the same time but maybe can't use them at the same time. Maybe that aspect of things. So what does postpartum care look like for you with your doula clients?

Unknown 22:18

postpartum care with me is screaming, right? So at first postpartum visit, I will screen my client who gave birth the mom and I will also screen their partner for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Because what I know is that oftentimes we're going to focus on the mom but sometimes the partner gets lost in the wayside and they can experience these things too. And it's really important for everybody who's on this team. That's going to be going forward and raising this child to be in optimal mental spaces. Right. So it comes with screening, it comes with processing the birth story, what went well, what would you have changed? What do you want differently for next time? Is there a next time Are you okay with that, right. So during birth story processing, and then also we talked about lactation what that looks like, are you breastfeeding? Are you not? If not, what's going to be your best options for formula, things of that nature? We'll talk about all of those things. If you already have a perinatal mental health disorder, and you take medication, what's better, right, releasing guilts and things associated with choosing self instead of giving the natural source of food and things of that nature that comes up so much for me? Because ironically enough I get a lot of clients who already have anxiety and depression and things like that in their history. So it makes it easier for me at least to work with them, right, because I'm always using those clinical skills. So it's a lot of screening. It's a lot of processing. It's a lot of referrals, right? Like if they tell me Oh, I laughed and I peed. Okay, well, that's not normal. You to to pelvic floor therapist, right? Oh, I'm having this pain. Well, yes, your bones have adjusted. Let's get you into the chiropractor. Let's get baby and so the chiropractors especially for having like a colicky baby and things like that. I'm super big on the holistic model of care, right? And then also I'll do steaming with my clients. So I am certified in doing Yonis themes. So I'll do postpartum steaming for my clients to kind of help clear out the excess low Kia and things like that that are left after you give birth. And that's also ingrained in my culture as well because my great grandmother, she was a labor and delivery nurse and then her arm she was actually one of the first black certified midwives in the state of Georgia. So she would do that with her clientele. She actually birth my mom so my mom was born at home and stuff like that. So I think

Unknown 24:53

history I like to write and I love it as you are destined to be doing what you're doing. Yeah, so

Unknown 24:59

funny. Because I was born I was raised in that room that my mom was born and so I feel like all the birth the goodness and doodoo if you will was just there and I just picked it up. But a lot of these things that I'll do in the postcard so it's even down to cooking and the foods that I would provide for my clients, super cultural base super based on the things that I saw my great grandmother, do my aunt's my mother and then do for the women in my family who gave birth and what promoted healing

Unknown 25:29

That's beautiful. I love that you I don't know I love all of that. so that's kind of that postpartum doula space for you. Now we also chatted a little bit with or mentioned your training as a childbirth mentor with birthing from within. So what does that look like and how is that going to play a part in all of the services that you offer.

Unknown 0:01

Yeah, so for me, I really love educating people. I think that's the biggest component of preparing for birth is to be educated, because that's how you're able to make informed decisions right? And not necessarily be coerced into doing things out of fear. So I chose birthing from within as the company I wanted to go through for childbirth education training for a couple of reasons. Because I looked at them, I love them oz. I absolutely love them. They're the standard, their principal, I think Rachel is optimized educator and I refer my clients when they asked me like, Do you know them? I was like, Yes, we have to go. But I love that. I love their curriculum. I love the way that they model how childbirth education should be. But I chose birthing from within because it is very much so leaning on the side of like therapy, almost like it pulls on my therapy skills. So they are very solution focused based, right. So that's one of the principles and one of the theories that I use in my therapy practice. So when I was like, oh, solution focused, and incorporated breathwork and mindfulness, I'm like, Okay, this is home for me. This is why I chose them. And so essentially, I plan to offer classes to my clients and then also to the community here, because we recently moved to Brookhaven. So we plan to host the classes and things of that nature for like I said, my personal clients that we have the agency that I run with my good friend, Brandy Bishop,

Unknown 1:43

asked about what you do. So continue talking and then segue into what you do.

Unknown 1:49

Now, she is my fate. So yeah, I just plan to teach the classes to them. Also doing some things that I have classes online. So I've named the class birth fear free because a lot of the reviews I get from my clients so like I went from afraid to empowered, I went from scared to confident and I was like, okay, we can work with that. We can roll with that right? Because I do spend a lot of time talking to them about the different types of birth, different ways birth can come about whether that's vaginally or via belly birth, this area and birth right. And I think that makes such a huge difference. And because I'm a relationships person, I'm a people person. I'm big on connection. I just think this is another way for me to bring people in and educate more and more people. About birth, about what it can look like in the things that they can expect and not be afraid of them but just be informed about them. So

Unknown 2:49

that's so good. And you know, we just did an episode on managing birth expectations and I made one of the little social media images for it and I was pulling some quotes from it and I found one that Rachel had talked about and kind of like what you had said there it's it's more of the like, how were you informed about birth? Because you know, me with my first it was very much like oh, well what I've seen on TV, you're in a hospital, you're on your back, you're screaming crying, the OB is in there and it's you know, it's painful. Like that's, I mean, I'd say it but that's also where it came from. And so Rachel had a little bit different because she would watch that documentary with Ricki Lake and and I was like, that's a totally different view. And so, when you were speaking these words and doing that education, that's important for people because now maybe that's where they are now becoming informed about what childbirth can look like and what it can be.

Unknown 3:46

Absolutely, because I vehemently believe that. It can't just be a doula. It can't just be your chiropractor. It can't just be the therapist, you really have to take a childbirth education class, right? I feel like in my contracts, I make that mandatory, right? Because there's no way in the amount of times that we spend together, that you're going to get all of that information in one space. There's going to be something there may be an outlier. And that's what makes childbirth education so important, because it does go through all these different topics, so you'll have things to go back to. So it's not just you relying on your team members or your service providers to do that knowledge I have that knowledge is really encouraging that thirst and that seeking of knowledge for yourself. That makes the experience a lot better majority of my clients, the ones that have gone through childbirth education, they're always like, Yeah, I knew what to expect. I know what that felt like. I knew that this could be a possibility. So I wasn't too afraid of it. It's an individual that I've come across. Yes, individuals that we come across, I was just like, I'm just going to avoid it when I see avoidance, which is also something that birthing from within talks about, they have different parental archetypes which I love. So when I see avoidance, I'm like, Okay, there's some fear there. Let's excavate those fears. Let's bring those up, so that we can talk about them so they're no longer something that hinder you.

Unknown 5:10

I love it. I love it. Now, okay, you mentioned brandy Bishop, whom I love. And so because I remember I and I've watched her I don't know I feel like I've like watched you guys grow and then like grow together. And so it's so fun. So she, your tribe, I feel like birth services. That's what she has. I also love her boundaries that she puts in place too and the information that she has, so what do you guys do together?

Unknown 5:38

Yeah, so together we own your rebirth tribes. So we combined I find it I know when I was reading that I was like, Yeah, we combined our names, because brandy has been a doula for 10 years. So a lot of people don't know that. But she's been doing birth for 10 years and she actually started out working with refugees, which is super amazing. So she's looking through, she's been moving more into like a coaching space for birth professionals and entrepreneurs and really leaning heavily into the postpartum space and things like that. That's where she flourishes and shines and where she absolutely loves. And she's been stepping back from birth I'm sad about at Twitter, but when it's time for me to give birth you're gonna put your hat back on, but as long as you know that as long as she knows but so and then me coming in you know, my mental health background my fierce you know, ability for birth because I had some really great birth outcomes and the different practices that ended up with clients. We came together and decided, hey, we want to build an agency together because we know that our combined knowledge and our ability to kind of check back check people to know that we're going to be providing quality tools out into the world. That's when we came together. So we actually, we it's funny, our other friend, Dr. Tina, I think she was on show to Tina. Tina Harris. Yes, prominent heart good friend. Yes. So she she actually had us do human design. Did our human design chart or whatever. And me and Brandi did it and all the pieces were I wasn't filled in brandy was filled in and all the pieces she wasn't filled in. I was filled in. And so we made a complete picture where we put it together and I was like, Oh, we got to work this like this. Yeah, you know, so we work so well together things she loves. I hate and the things she hates. I love like when it comes to like the business management side of things. But yeah, we just joined forces. We have a great team under us. We started your rebirth tribe last June. So she's a one year old now, which is insane. But yeah, we just been rocking and rolling, looking at training the

Unknown 7:55

next set of doulas out there as well too.

Unknown 7:59

So we trained them so Brady trains with the National black goo Association and then basically from her training, she's just like this person's got the fire. Like you know, some people take the trainings and they just take the trainings, but some people have like a fire in them. That is just like no, I'm passionate about this. I want to get going and doing that. So we have two different options. With our agency. We have a six month track for those who are trying to build their business so we'll let you work under us and then brandy will provide like mentorship and things like that so it'll be built. And then we also have the 12 month track for the ladies who are are telling me right, because we have that doulas and things like that now, but you know, the 12 month track is for people who want to stay a little bit longer. They don't have the interest in doing the business side but they want to do the work. So we have that option as well. And it's been going great. Love, love love the child ladies. We had an amazing black Mother's Day tea for blue.

Unknown 8:54

Say you guys just had an event or something. I saw those pictures. I was like This is amazing.

Unknown 8:58

Yeah, so it was a lot of my clients that I've had over the years come through and then some of the tribe ladies and it was just amazing just to have everybody sitting in that space and they were so happy to connect with other moms. So we're definitely going to be doing other events like that throughout the year for sure. But yeah, we did that for black maternal health week, just as an ode to them. Just to say, we're glad you're here. We're glad you survived, right? Because that's the real reality.

Unknown 9:28

And that's what I want to get into next is Yes, so what are those statistics What are and that's why I love that it's called your tribe and you're helping those women connect because that's a big part of, I think, surviving motherhood in general too. So and then you had mentioned some of the outcomes you see so let's let's chat about that. Black mental health but black maternal mental health specifically. And what you see in the community and what you see with the work that you do,

Unknown 10:03

yeah, so the statistics are jarring. So, black women are four times more likely to die. During and after childbirth than any other race, which is really heartbreaking. And Georgia being the number two worst state for maternal health outcomes is literally insane, but it's also a driving force for why we do what we do right. And then when it comes to mental health for black women, you know, culturally, therapy is not the pain, right? It's religion. It's faith. It's, you don't have anything wrong, you pray it away. But what happens when you can't pray it away and you're still stuck with these feelings, right? How do you process those things? Don't let those things go. So really, Michael has been amplifying the importance and the value of therapy, in addition to having your faith right, because you can have the faith you can be a believer, right? But also not be a believer that suffering unnecessarily, right. God gave us all different gifts and talents to be able to move through this life peacefully and in harmony with ourselves and with others. So that's been my goal just promoting that in the space especially for black women. And I think it's helpful to when they see someone that looks like they're in this space, it's like, okay, wow, like, maybe they can relate to me, maybe they can understand we have a shared experience, you know what I mean? And that's been super helpful, and I've seen a lot of good outcomes from that with my own clientele. And then you know, just with coupling that with doula support my clients I tell I tell everybody this because I'm so proud of this. None of my clients who given birth vaginally have ever pushed longer than 30 minutes. So I don't I don't understand why some moms are like pushing for hours and hours and hours on in it the body's not ready. Just listen to the body trust the moms just the babies to do what they need to do. Because usually, birth is low intervention unless something happens it's a it's not a medical emergency,

Unknown 12:12

to give birth that normally theological birth

Unknown 12:15

or physiological birth. Is not a medical emergency unless something occurs and it makes it that right. So I think what we're doing here, especially on our side is kind of pushing away those fears or those moments where they are projecting their fears or things that they may have witnessed in both settings. Were kind of dismantling those providing them with quality education and quality support and quality guidance in those spaces to kind of make a turn in those outcomes for birth planning, hearing

Unknown 12:50

those numbers to and hearing those statistics that can also incite fear, you know, and so I can totally understand that as well too, you know, for black women that were, you know, giving birth is specifically in Georgia, but like in the US as well and knowing those statistics and those numbers so I think that definite that doula support that having having someone to help you advocate for yourself not to speak for you but to help give you help you find your voice a little bit, and especially for black woman. So I think that doula support can be good. What are some other things within the birthing community that you think and you mentioned that therapy as well too, as far as how that may not necessarily be the go to? Was there anything else in the birthing community that you would like to see be kind of mainstream or ways or things to help with those black maternal health rates?

Unknown 13:56

Yeah, or support groups, right. For black and brown moms, more connection just in general with other moms right? Feeling welcomed in all spaces. I think that's what everybody's desire is right? Not to feel like an outsider, because you shouldn't have to. We're all living the same. Living in the same world and trying to run the same race, right. So I think just having community based support, whether that support groups, whether they're going on a walk, whether they're processing feelings that have come about whatever it is things that build solid connections, because what I found is that moms and dads who feel connected, they feel empowered, they feel more confident, and their ability to go through the parenthood journey, right? And it's always helpful to be able to talk to other people who have gone through what you're going through or even not gone through what you've gone through, but kind of can relate, you know, or can offer their empathy or their sympathy and their support. So definitely more support groups. There definitely should be more visibility about perinatal mental health as a classification of mental health services. So I know psi does a lot of great work surrounding black maternal mental health, they have their summit coming up.

Unknown 15:14

And that's that Postpartum Support International, they have to climb out of darkness and know that but yes,

Unknown 15:19

they have a really good program. Psi Georgia, excuse me is actually very active. So I'd love that also to what I would like to see normalized as universal screening for perinatal mental health and anxiety disorders, and also universal screening that doesn't put fear into people, right. So I have a high school classmate that was unfortunately incorrectly 1013 Because she was honest about her feelings. And because the staff that she gave those feelings to were not equipped with the knowledge and knowing that she's not a danger to herself, she's actually afraid of these things happening. They turned 13 her and separated her from her two year old, her newborn baby and her husband without contact for like days. And that's super traumatic and that cause a distrust is not and it causes a distrust in the system. So I think there needs to be more reception around education surrounding perinatal mental health. You taking one class, I don't know what the classes look like in nursing school, but at least I don't remember because I actually started as a nursing major, but I don't remember taking any mental health classes. But I don't know what that looks like for doctors. I don't know what that looks like for nurses. I don't know what that looks like for anyone except for therapists, right? But I will say that what class is not enough to make you equipped to know what's the best thing to do for people who are experiencing mental health concerns and crises, and should not just be frivolously done that that's giving way to people who are having severe psychiatric issues, and not to a mom or a dad who is fearful that they're gonna do something wrong or undercooked something, and it'll affect her or her baby, right? Or him and his family, or them and their family, whatever it is, whatever the family dynamic is. We need education surrounding dirname mental health universal screening needs to actually be universal. And then doctors, chiropractors, so before therapies, anybody who's involved in the birth team needs to have a list of resources to be able to refer their clients out to because the only way we're going to get a handle on things is if we're screening and if you're identifying that these things are manifesting for people

Unknown 17:44

being seen and being heard and actually listened to, in and having that safe space to communicate those thoughts and feelings. And so I love that you mentioned that like that network, you know, and I know you're probably really big with creating that referral network like I have a very good trusted referral net because I want to meet with these people. I want to know how do you talk how do you interact with people what are you know, what are your thoughts, feelings and views like I think that's so important rather than just like oh, yeah, Google, you know, such and such. I think that's what's so nice about the birth community too is how intentional we are with those trusted referral resources. For sure network. Yeah,

Unknown 18:30

I agree. That is important to me. I have I don't refer my clients, anybody haven't spoken to, at least, whether that's in person, whether that's be chatted up in the DMS or whatever, exactly. I need to know what your energy is before I send somebody in a vulnerable space to you. I need to know that you're going to provide them with the care that they're seeking. Right? Because everybody there's a lot of doulas there's a lot of chiropractors, but I don't refer to every chiropractor, right? Because I haven't met them. I haven't felt their energy. Same with any other provider. You know, I'm gonna just gonna put you on my list just because you said this is what you do. Let's talk

Unknown 19:06

show me show me Yeah.

Unknown 19:09

I could be confident in saying, hey, you know, if I have clients up in north Georgia, hey, you need to go see Dr. Shannon, at sunrise chiropractic. This is her energy. She's amazing. She's going to give you that comprehensive care that you're going to need, right. Hey, you need a pelvic floor therapist, you need to see Dr. Tina or Dr. Juan, you know, I like to be able to call people by name or even like shoot them a text or a quick. Let me let me see what they have available. You know, because that makes the connection warm. It makes it

Unknown 19:42

warm and I match vibes you know, even Rachel mentioned to because I take credit for introducing her and Hannah to each other. Your vibe, your vibe is jam and this needs to happen. And so I think that's a little bit too I know. I think that's a little bit too of that birth workers knowing that that who's going to vibe with who, especially in the doula world and again to like, you know, there's a lot to do, there's not the chiropractor, so if this vibe doesn't match with yours, that's fine. I need you to find a vibe, though that you match with because it's important for matters. For your experience. Yeah,

Unknown 20:19

for sure. I'm a stickler about that in my practice. I don't catch a vibe with you during the college. So I'm not going to do that. Because that's not fair to you, or is it fair to me because I don't want to feel uncomfortable and you shouldn't feel uncomfortable, right? Yeah. So it's just kind of like, I don't think I'm the best. But I know some really dope doulas and I think check them out. And as always, thank you for introducing me to so and so. So it's just like, Yeah, everybody wins.

Unknown 20:45

Everybody wins. Um, you know, I thought it was interesting too. And looking over statistics as far as, you know, kudos to doulas, but when COVID hit and there were no longer support people allowed in the hospital settings for birth. Yes, there was an uptick in home birth, which I love for, you know, really harnessing that normal physiological birth. But noting that cesarean rate increased significantly when you remove that support person. And so I always you know, I like to mention that with my doulas, but I was thinking of you too, and then it's been used, you know, especially in that black community too, because you're so important as that doula that you said some women are going to identify with and say like, I see me in you. And I feel comfortable and I feel seen and I feel heard. And so I would love what you and brandy do. I love it. Thank you so needed, friends. Let's see, is there anything else that you want to mention or chat about? Because I don't even know if I got to all of all of the cornucopia of things. So did I leave anything off?

Unknown 21:57

I think we did. I think we did it justice my friend. Yeah, I think we hit a lot of points, but a lot of good solid points that I think will be helpful, my prayers that it'd be helpful to those who listened to it. I think we did great.

Unknown 22:11

Yes. D stigmatize the that perinatal mental health and that in general, one of my favorite things you mentioned too, was your faith, but also, you know, reaching out for help. It's not just a prayer, you know, I always I always look at it. As like I pray and then I'm taking action like it's it's not just like a pray and I'm just gonna like wait around and do nothing because that to me, I don't think that that's that's what we're here for. You know, it's yeah, we pray and then you you listen, you get the guidance, but then you've got to take the movement and the animals so I think that's important that you mentioned as far as especially cultural culturally for you and knowing Okay, prayer is such a big thing, but you can also seek out those mental health resources.

Unknown 22:58

Yeah, for sure. You know, something did drop in my mind that I have been saying a lot. I would love for us to normalize not qualifying mental health in the perinatal period period as postpartum because that's not postpartum all the time. So postpartum is quite literally, the time after you give birth. Everybody goes through the postpartum period who's given birth. Right? Everybody does not go through perinatal depression and Perinatal anxiety. Everybody does not go through those things. So I think it's helpful for us to be mindful of not qualifying that period as a disorder because it's not

Unknown 23:39

yeah once you have a baby, you will go through postpartum you may or may not have mood, you know, disorders within and I think that's important. Yeah, definitely. Yeah.

Unknown 23:49

The girls on Tik Tok were mad at me when I said that, but it's true. Yes, a lot of them were mad tock, but I made my point and then some of them came back and we're just like, Okay, I see what you're saying.

Unknown 24:05

Exactly. Yes. I love it. Um, okay, so, where can people connect with you and find you? You got all this find me

Unknown 24:18

on all the spaces. Okay. So I'm on Twitter at rebirth wellness. So that's our eBay r t h wellness. And then I'm on Instagram at rebirth. Wellness. And I'm on Facebook at rebirth wellness, or Imani buyers coordinating. And then I'm also on tick tock rebirth wellness 20 Those are my spaces I think I you know I told you so good. I have a virtual assistant. So he does my social media even down to like sometimes my caption is he captures my voice really well because he asked for like recordings of me speaking and stuff like that. So he captures my voice. So sometimes when you think it's me, maybe not.

Unknown 25:10

But that's beautiful. I never you know you had posted about him the other day or something. I was like I don't know what to do just in my use because I'm

Unknown 25:19

awesome. He does my graphics and everything. I don't have the time for it. And I also don't care to do it, but I know it's a space as needing. Yeah, so Yeah.

Unknown 25:29

You mentioned that that's so good. Yeah, you're like, well, and that's recently too I had connected with Rachel Hart from Yeah, it's her birthing, right? Yes, thank you. Yes, she's got herself centered woman podcast and I was recently on that podcast and talking about. I know, I'm sad about that, but we're talking about I said, some of them are like I don't do at all. Like there's things that just don't go to the wayside or we delegate out and so I think that's kind of beautiful that you just mentioned. Sure. Well,

Unknown 26:01

like no one's superhuman, absolutely not. There's no way I could do that. Right. So yeah, there's balance for sure. But I love Rachel shots every so she was actually the first midwife I ever worked with.

Unknown 26:12

No way she was. I love the first

Unknown 26:15

midwife I ever worked with and I was like, Holy crap. Why? Because when we started working together for gvn, I was like, Do you realize you're the first midwife I've worked with? And she said, my clients name and she was like, Oh, my gosh, I was like, I know. So yeah. And

Unknown 26:31

if Senator Rachel she said Good, yes. Right. Well, this was so good. I hope you know the goal with these always are just education, just speaking words that people maybe you know, haven't heard or and, and always with the interviews is introducing people to other birth workers in the birthing community and to know that, you know, there's people out there with resources, talents, time and energy. So hopefully, people reach out and you had said something to, you know, the big goal is that education, that education piece for you, because that really does help us make the informed decision. So I know that's your big goal with all the work that you do. We're so very thankful for you. And thank you so much for taking the time to chat today, my friend. Thank you for having me. It was a pleasure.

Transcribed by