EBB 283 - How Colonialism, Environmental Instability, and Politics Impact Birth in Puerto Rico with EBB Instructors, Tania Silva-Meléndez and Tamara Trinidad-González, CPM
On today's podcast, I talk with Tania Silva Meléndez and Tamara Trinidad González, CPM, birth workers and Evidence Based Birth® Instructors about giving birth and midwifery care in Puerto Rico.
Tania Silva Meléndez is a certified birth, postpartum, and abortion doula serving families in Puerto Rico since 2009. She's also a certified childbirth educator and breastfeeding/chestfeeding educator and counselor. She is the general coordinator of the team of Caderamen, a nonprofit community-based organization that works towards reducing inequalities in reproductive care, and she also supports Alimentación Segura Infantil, a community-based organization born after the impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 to support breastfeeding and chestfeeding families in their lactation journeys, help them relactate their children when needed. Tania is also a human rights activist and advocate in her community and part of the Observatorio de Violencia Obstétrica in Puerto Rico and Las Mingas de Aborto, an abortion doula collective that offers free support in Puerto Rico.
Tamara Trinidad González, CPM, is a community parteira/midwife, perinatal educator and herbalist born and raised in Puerto Rico. Tamara is a mother of two children who were born at home with midwives and has been actively involved in birth work for 10 years. She holds a Master of Science in midwifery with foundations in botanical medicine from Bastyr University and is a certified professional midwife. Her midwifery and herbal practice is called Semilla Creciente, Midwifery & Herbalism.
In this episode, Tania and Tamara have a very candid conversation about the realities of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care in Puerto Rico. They speak to how Puerto Rico’s birth landscape has been negatively impacted by the island’s history of colonialism, economic crisis’, environmental changes, and changes in political power. This has culminated in a system with far too few midwives and obstetricians, as well as high surgical birth rates, low VBAC rates, high prematurity rates, and more. Both Tania and Tamara educate our listeners on these issues but also raise awareness to the community organizations who have the trust of the pregnant and postpartum families they serve and the work being done to better support the families of Puerto Rico.
If you are interested in joining with Tania and Tamara and volunteering your time or skills to help them reform the maternal health system in Puerto Rico, they are currently looking for volunteers with experience in law, public relations, funding, data collection, research, and writing. OR if you have resources, or access to connections that could help fund their work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read about the history of Puerto Rico:
· Learn more about Caderamen, a nonprofit organization that has a service program that is called SePARE, which offers education and doula services, midwifery services and naturopathic medicine services, social workers, mental health by clicking here.
· Learn more about the Asociación de Parteras of Puerto Rico here.
· Learn more about Alimentación Segura Infantil, a community-based organization born after the impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 to support breastfeeding and chestfeeding families in their lactation journeys by clicking here.
· Learn more about Observatorio de Violencia Obstétrica in Puerto Rico here.
· Learn more about Las Mingas de Aborto, an abortion doula collective that offers free support in Puerto Rico here.
Check out the work by Puerto Rican journalist Biana Graulau here: https://www.youtube.com/@BiancaGraulau/videos
If you would like to read a transcript of this episode in Spanish, please visit the blog post here or you can watch the captions in Spanish on YouTube.
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