This past weekend we had the opportunity to invite local birth workers into the rose garden at the historic Wyck House, Farm and Garden for a tea talk on environmental factors impacting pregnancy and birth in Philadelphia County. Over the past few years we have seen a number of articles and media pushes for improved hospital conditions for BIPOC mothers. The local reports are deeply concerning, with an article in WHYY stating that “Black people are three times more likely than white people to die from complications related to childbirth in the U.S. In Philadelphia, Black people represent 73% of pregnancy-related deaths, but only 43% of births…” The existing conditions require immediate action.
We took our luke-warm knowledge of the conditions to the streets and facilitated one-on-one conversations with local women as well as some of the top traditional American birth workers in the United States. We found a dire need for more regular fellowship amongst the women’s wellness workers across Philadelphia County. Since so much of our work has been focused on capacity building in the north and northwest sections of Philadelphia since 2016 we asked some of the local women wellness workers that we knew to join us for a tea talk in the garden.
As is custom, we found a way to do our part by creating a safe space for cultural exchange; when grandmothers, mothers, daughters and the women in the community that have pledged service to them gather in garden spaces, feet to the soil, something really magical happens. They open up slowly just like a delicate flower. Then, together with the environment itself, they begin a self-sustaining restorative process that is not separate from nature. This is, for our team, the beginning freedom.
Nina Simone once said “I’ll tell you what freedom is to me: no fear. I mean really, no fear!”
We believe that fearlessness begins with fearless mothers birthing fearlessly.
This autumn, beginning on September 28th, Sally Blagg will be hosting #wellnesswednesdays as a meetup for BIPOC birth workers, wellness advocates, mothers, mothers-to-be, women that have lost children (because you are still mothers) and daughters interested in fellowship with a community of women over tea in the garden. Subscribe to the newsletter for more info.