Reclaiming Latinx Birth Traditions

–> En Español <–

Hi! I’m Cassie, a Mexican mom and doula from Chicago! I have one adventurous toddler I keep close to me. We are inseparable, and our bond came right away. Here’s a little bit about our journey together…

I am as determined as my toddler. When I decided I wanted to have an unmedicated birth, my family and friends seemed shocked.

After doing a lot of reading and research, I thought, “My grandmother had 6 children. I can handle this one single birth.” I considered the women who came before me and their strength. I thought of other mothers who are deemed “crazy loca” for wanting an unmedicated labor. So I decided to surround myself with positive birth stories.

First, I switched to Midwifery care. Meanwhile, morning sickness was hitting me hard for a long period of time. I decided to try natural remedies, such as tea and vitamins. By month 6, I was starting to feel more like myself. BUT it was my 6th month of pregnancy—I had a lot of catching up to do on my path to a “natural” birth.

I am as determined as my toddler. When I decided I wanted to have an unmedicated birth, my family and friends seemed shocked. ~ Cassie Calderone #birthequity #HHM18 Click To Tweet

I took a childbirth education class, found a birth doula, and began reading up on comfort techniques. I was drawn to the notion of moving throughout labor and watched videos of moms dancing to salsa in the early stages. Though my salsa moves never made an appearance at the hospital, I found comfort knowing that I wasn’t alone in my dreams of a natural birth plan.

The time I spent preparing for birth was time I took for myself. It was time I needed to reclaim my confidence, review resources, and examine the evidence based information I had available to me. This time is absolutely essential to us as Latinx birthing families.

New moms need an unconditionally supportive community to bolster the strengths and information they already carry. I’ve seen the power of a group of women who tend to a mother’s fears, worries, and overall questions. It can instill confidence that carries the mother through the difficult moments that come with motherhood. We can and should preserve these cultural traditions by being physically and emotionally present for our hermanas. Our support prenatally, during labor, and during the “cuarentena,” gives power to the mother’s voice.

New moms need an unconditionally supportive community to bolster the strengths and information they already carry. ~ Cassie Calderone #birthequity #HHM18 Click To Tweet

Looking back, as a mother and a birth doula, I am proud. I threw myself deeply into the unknown and searched for the information I needed. Reclaiming traditions—natural remedies, prenatal and labor support from other women, and even using a rebozo to help lift my belly at the end of pregnancy—reconnected me to what I wanted but couldn’t describe: a strong connection with my roots that had been there all along.

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Where to find me:
www.loveyourdoula.org  /  Facebook  /  Instagram

Affiliations:
Healthy Families at Advocate Illinois Masonic (tel: 773.296.5943)
Chicago Latina Moms
Chicago Volunteer Doulas

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ARTWORK by Cameron Light

You can follow Cameron on Instagram as @stellar.bear or on Facebook as Stellarbear. To purchase any current work, commission a new piece, or to find out more about Cameron’s new set of affirmation cards (which this picture is a part of), please feel free to contact Cameron through social media or by email at enlightenedcam@gmail.com.

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Editor’s Note: Thank you, Cassie, for sharing your perspective as part of the Birth Equity Leadership Academy‘s 2018 Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month Series, “Reclaiming our Traditions on Breastfeeding and Birth / Reclamando Nuestras Tradiciones Sobre La Lactancia y El Parto.”