Childbirth is supposed to be empowering, but for many birthing people it is not. For Indigenous women, immigrant women and women of colour, birthing within the western healthcare system can be anything but affirming. It can feel unsafe. In this raw and challenging talks series I host conversations about birth, racism and cultural safety with change makers working within the maternal health-care sector to break down the structures built on colonisation.
This podcast is written and hosted by Ruth De Souza.
Recorded at Windmill Studios in Melbourne on the traditional lands of the Eastern Kulin Nation
Sound design and mix by Regan McKinnon
Artwork by Atong Atem
Design by Ethan Tsang
Title music by Raquel Solier
Produced and edited by Pipi films.
Ep 1: Dr Naomi Simmonds on decolonising birth
Episode synopsis: Difference, writes Dr Naomi Simmonds, has always been intricately woven into the fabric of her life. A Maori woman, a mother, an academic and a leader Dr Simmonds’ world is encased by the structures of western thought and colonial legacies. Yet from within this space she finds ways to champion mana wahine in order to empower and liberate knowledge systems that have long been suppressed by western power structures.
Read Dr Naomi Simmonds PHD: Tū te turuturu nō Hine-te-iwaiwa: Mana wahine geographies of birth in Aotearoa New Zealand
Ep 2: Karel Williams on birthing on country
Episode synopsis: What role does community play in childbirth? And why has childbirth become centered on the western hospital system? Karel Williams is an Aboriginal woman with family connections to the Palawa and Western Arrernte Nations and is an experienced Indigenous policy advisor and midwife who champions the culturally simple yet politically complicated practice of birthing on country.
Read more about Birthing on country.
Find out more about the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM).
Ep3: Dr Mimi Niles on birthing bodies
Synopsis:Dr Mimi Niles has described healthcare as a very large, vast, deeply problematic institution. The New York-based midwife and academic grew up in Queens, New York to immigrant parents and this experience has led to the belief that every sort of disparity and inequity plays itself out in the bodies of black people in the United States.
Follow Dr Mimi Niles on Twitter at @mi_niles