Self Reflection for Birth Workers: An interview with Cheyenne Scarlett
I am so so excited to welcome Cheyenne Scarlet to the podcast
She has a particular interest on how childbirth affects the mental health of parents, and in turn their relationships with their children
Let’s talk about Baby Planner
Baby Planner came about after doing my master's research and realizing that there's a lot of gaps, some of them being on the part of the healthcare providers, and some of them being on the part of the parent
There's a go with the flow attitude towards birth, which it's good to be flexible
But often, when people say go with the flow, that means I'm not going to do any research, I'm not going to learn anything about birth, I'm just going to show up and see what happens. And I feel like that approach is particularly dangerous.
We do know that making a plan and sort of having an idea of what you want, maybe not even a strict rigid plan, but sort of preferences or an outline of what you would like, you know, can help you reach that or help you have a more positive experience
I can support pregnant people and parents.
But that is just me, you know, saying, here's the tools to protect yourself from the fire without actually putting out the fire
And at the end of the day, it is not the responsibility of the person giving birth to stand there and like, protect themselves and like be fighting off interventions and things that they don't want
I am also working with the people that are perpetuating this thing
My book for healthcare workers is called My Deep Dive: a self reflective workbook for birth workers
It was honestly created out of a place of frustration, mostly surrounding the use of inclusive language
I was really frustrated that people are feeling offended by using the term birthing people birthing person, rather than mother
I, as a black woman, belong to two groups of people who had to quite literally fight in court to prove that they were a person and should be valued in society and should have rights and should be able to vote
The workbook itself is 10 chapters. And only two of them are actually about birth, like one is your beliefs about birth, and the second one is your practice as a birth worker
But all the other eight chapters are about how you live in the world, how you feel about the world, how you learn things about the world
It's great for anyone that works with anyone who has experienced reproduction in any capacity - a lot of things are applicable for, like childcare workers or, or people who are working with young families in general,
I'll give you an example from my study: a black mom had a really, really difficult birth. And the nurse asked her, Hey, do you want me to take your baby to the nursery, so you can take a nap? And her immediate thought was, Oh, my God, I can't say yes because she's going to think that I'm incapable that I'm a bad mom, you know, she's gonna want to call CPS because I am not capable of caring for my baby. And that might be if you don't know the history, in Canada, with, with cis, taking black and indigenous children more frequently than anybody else, you might think that's totally irrational, but it actually is totally rational for black woman to think that way. And if she had, you know, gotten defensive, the nurse would be like, Oh my god, this is just a difficult patient, right? And not recognizing that connection. So it's not even always about you and what you are doing, it's about the person that you're working with and how they are viewing your interaction.
It’s not your fault if you hold stereotypes or bias towards a certain group of people
But it is now your responsibility to address those things and to change them
Cheyenne (she/her) is a researcher, educator and advocate. Cheyenne has an education background in child development and has a particular interest in how childbirth affects the mental health of parents and intern their relationships with their children. For her master's thesis, Cheyenne conducted a research project on the childbirth experiences of Black women in the GTA and has since been advocating for better perinatal health care on social media. Cheyenne is a trained childbirth educator and doula and she works with both parents and healthcare providers to improve birth for all people. Cheyenne is a mother to 2 biological children, 1 step-child and is currently expecting again
Buy Cheyenne’s journal My Deep Dive: A self reflection workbook for birth workershere.
Digital and hard copies available for order.
If you sign up for the mailing list at babyplanner.ca then you'll get a $5 off coupon for My Deep Dive Journal