September 29, 2023

Rebecca Dekker:

Hello everybody. On as we speak’s podcast, we’re going to speak with Ms. Divine Bailey-Nicholas. Midwife apprentice, doula, licensed lactation counselor, and grasp herbalist about her profession in start work, advocacy and plant medication in Louisiana.

Welcome the Proof Primarily based Start® Podcast. My identify is Rebecca Dekker and I’m a nurse with my PhD and the founding father of Proof Primarily based Start®. Be a part of me every week as we work collectively to get Proof Primarily based data into the arms of households and professionals world wide. As a reminder, this data just isn’t medical recommendation. See for extra particulars.

Hello everybody. My identify is Rebecca Decker. Pronouns she/her, and I’ll be your host for as we speak’s episode. Earlier than we get began with as we speak’s episode, if there are any content material or set off warnings, they’ll be detailed within the present notes for this episode.

And now I’d prefer to introduce our honored visitor as we speak. I’m so excited to welcome Ms. Divine Bailey-Nicholas. Pronouns she/her. Ms. Divineis a midwife apprentice, licensed doula, licensed lactation counselor, and a grasp herbalist within the southern custom and founding father of Divine Start Knowledge.

Initially from Chicago, Illinois Ms. Divine is happy with her Delta, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia Roots. It’s that cultural basis that breathes via her plant medication and start work. Presently, Ms. Divine is a constitution member of the Afro-American Historic and Genealogical Society, Louisiana chapter the place her function is historian. She’s a member of the Wholesome St. Landry Steering Committee and member of the Group Companions Advisory Sub-Group for the Louisiana Perinatal High quality Collaborative.

Divine can be the founder and govt director of Group Start Companion, a nonprofit group working to lower toddler and maternal mortality charges via childbirth schooling, breastfeeding assist, and neighborhood doula assist in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, the place she resides along with her husband and 4 kids. We’re so excited that Ms. Divineis right here. Welcome to the Proof Primarily based Start® Podcast.

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be right here.

Rebecca Dekker:

Ms. Devine, we have now been followers of your work for a very long time, so I’m so excited for our listeners to listen to from you. Are you able to speak to us about what impressed you to get into start work within the first place and what your path to midwifery apprenticeship seemed like?

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

Sure, I’m going to inform slightly bit about my age right here. I used to be browsing Yahoo and I fell upon this superior web site from the Worldwide ICTC. It was Mama Shafia Monroe’s doula coaching web site. And I used to be doula work, however on the unique web site she had, when she began, it was tons and tons and tons of details about Black midwives and conventional Black midwives. And you may simply click on on a article, it could take you to an entire nother article. And it was simply this rabbit gap of details about the historic legacies of Black midwives.

And I couldn’t depart the positioning. I might be on there until 1:00 AM, come again the following evening, come again the following evening. On the time I used to be working in schooling. It was one thing in me that simply advised me I wished to be a midwife and once I had my first youngster, I need to have midwifery care.

And the phrase midwife was not international to me. My mom had a midwife for my youthful brother’s start, and I used to be all the time advised that my grandmother, my maternal grandmother, her first two kids had been birthed by a midwife. And so my objective was to be educated by Mama Shafia to be a doula as a result of my complete plan all the time was to be a midwife.

However I used to be like, effectively, how do I do know that I’m going to have the ability to deal with being on name? How do I do know that I’m not going to faint once I see a child come out? And so I stated one of the best ways for me to do this is to turn into a doula. And it took virtually six, seven years for me to be educated from that preliminary spark. I had had two of my very own kids earlier than I grew to become a doula. And so I’ve been doing start work since about 2010. 2012, is once I based Group Start Companion, and I simply have continued on this path.

Rebecca Dekker:

Yeah. So that you’ve been doing doula work for a very long time. How did your personal start experiences affect your journey?

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

Wow. Sure, and like I stated, I all the time wished midwifery care. With my first daughter, I had met midwifery take care of all the prenatal interval at a start heart in Lafayette. On the time it was known as Mild Decisions and it’s not there. It was in Lafayette, Louisiana.

And my daughter got here early. She got here at 36 weeks, and the midwife on the time stated, due to our start heart guidelines, although I feel I used to be like 36 and three or 4 or one thing like that, after which she was like, “We’ve got to switch you.”

My water had damaged and I used to be contracting. I wasn’t in labor. And so we transferred to the hospital setting and I simply noticed the best way the system handled me within the hospital setting, and I used to be simply so glad that I had had midwifery care and I might converse up for myself and my husband might converse up for his self as a result of it was issues that was thrown out so far as not with the ability to eat in labor. I used to be advised that each labor is a possible C-section. All of these items that might have made another person very nervous, very scared, particularly with their first being pregnant and childbirth that I used to be capable of push via.

However I used to be capable of push via that as a result of I had been midwifery care and since I used to be educated into what was regular and what my rights was. And I went on to ship vaginally a wholesome child woman. And from then on I had house births as a result of I knew I by no means wished to be in that hospital setting once more.

Having kids and navigating the well being system as a Black girl, having kids, has undoubtedly influenced my start work and that I’m very intentional in regards to the issues that I say to the neighborhood that I serve. I’m very intentional about the best way through which I share language, in the best way they will advocate for themselves, particularly not simply merely saying, navigating the medical system, however navigating the medical system in South Louisiana.

Rebecca Dekker:

Yeah. And for our listeners who aren’t accustomed to start in Louisiana and the remainder of the deep South in the USA, are you able to give us a snapshot of what it’s like to present start, particularly as a Black girl within the deep south?

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

Effectively, what I can say is that this. We’re in areas the place we have now numerous rural communities. We’ve got numerous areas which are simply maternal well being deserts so far as, there’s not native OBs. There’s a restricted quantity of birthing hospitals. There’s hospitals with 50% cesarean charges. There’s hospitals that don’t assist VBAC.

And so that you’re advised that, okay, not solely is it 50% cesarean charges, but when I do occur to have a cesarean, whether or not it was obligatory or a real emergency cesarean or as a result of I used to be excessive threat that actually did want a cesarean labor, that I’ll all the time have a cesarean. And that we all know that a number of cesareans improve the probability of maternal morbidity or maternal mortality.

We’ve got excessive ranges of maternal mortality and maternal morbidity charges within the South. I consider Louisiana titter totters on getting an F or a D from the March of Dimes for preterm labor and simply the care of preterm infants, small infants, NICU infants. The care of our neighborhood in these settings, it’s not the very best and it’s a establishment. The previous man’s membership sort of factor.

Rebecca Dekker:

I used to be simply going to say, an actual strict energy hierarchy with all white males in cost in most locations.

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

Oh, sure. And also you navigate, and I don’t know if it’s like this, I’ve performed nearly all of all my start work within the South, however coming to being a birther or being somebody who helps birthing girls, and also you come on to the labor and supply ground and also you don’t see any Black nurses.

And the hospital could also be serving a 60% African American neighborhood or what have you ever, and you continue to will not often see a Black labor and supply nurse. So all of which are points after we are within the system. You’re in a system through which they don’t ask you, they simply check meconium. Individuals are being examined, their infants are being examined for medication, no consent. You may have individuals on the hospital programs which have knee-jerk reactions to calling DCFS on sure communities. So you might have all of this occurring and we’re birthing our kids on this setting.

Rebecca Dekker:

I additionally wished to share, we’ve had a number of different midwives come on to speak in regards to the state of maternity care in Louisiana, and one among your colleagues, Ms. Charlotte Shilo-Goudeau got here on EBB 56 to speak about Black midwifery in Louisiana. And Nicole Deggins got here on in 156 to speak about navigating systemic racism and start work, notably from the labor and supply nurse viewpoint.

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:


Rebecca Dekker:

And naturally we’ve received Mama Shafia Monroe got here on EBB 152, which we replayed in 2022 as effectively. So I encourage our listeners, if you wish to be taught extra, we’ll put the hyperlinks to these within the present notes.

However Ms. Devine, I used to be questioning in the event you might speak slightly bit about, you’ve set the panorama or that is the setting that households are birthing in and Black households in Louisiana particularly. What advocacy work have you ever began? How did you go about in such a troublesome setting beginning to make an affect?

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

Sure. So in 2012, proper after I used to be educated as a doula, I inform everyone my query to Mama Shafia was, on the time I solely had two kids, had no automobile. I stated, “Effectively, how do I do that work?” And a Mama Shafia stated, “Effectively, turn into a useful resource.”

And so I used to be like, okay, I’ll have the households come to me. And I created a Group Start Companion, and it was very intentional for me to call it neighborhood, as a result of I wished it to be based mostly in, I do know lots of people simply say, “Oh, it’s for the neighborhood.” However I wished the neighborhood to take possession of it. That we had been doing extra of a neighborhood care piece, a neighborhood mannequin of care.

And what I did was I reached out to the native hospital, Division of Well being, Wholesome Begin, Head Begin, and I hosted a lunch and be taught. It was Save the Child’s Lunch and Be taught, through which we talked in regards to the maternal and toddler mortality charges of the state and of the world.

And at the moment, in 2012, that was the primary time all of these organizations, not less than in our space that served our area, had ever been in an area collectively to speak about maternal well being. And that will be loopy now, as a result of we have now all sort of suppose tanks now. So we take with no consideration that that all the time occurred however on the time that didn’t occur.

From that it sparked. Our native hospital, we have now one hospital within the space that I reside in, Opelousas Louisiana. And Opelousas Normal began going via the method of turning into child pleasant. And once they went via that course of, they wanted a neighborhood liaison. And so I grew to become one among their neighborhood liaisons. And simply from there, simply boots on the bottom work, placing a desk at every little thing that needed to do with mamas and infants, placing data out, speaking about doulas, speaking about breastfeeding.

And there’s totally different waves in healthcare and nonprofit work and grassroot work the place generally persons are prepared to listen to a couple of factor, generally they’re not. And at this explicit time, although my focus had all the time been on doulas and midwives, I used to be additionally breastfeeding my kids and the wave was breastfeeding. We’re speaking about breastfeeding, child pleasant, breastfeeding. And so I used to be capable of get my foot within the door by speaking about breastfeeding, however then additionally saying, “Effectively, you recognize what else will increase breastfeeding charges? Girls accessing doulas. Girls having midwifery care.”

And I’ve had the identical imaginative and prescient, the identical mission via all these years, is that we will do that work, we will higher start outcomes with childbirth schooling. Our neighborhood must be educated on their rights on what their physique does throughout being pregnant and labor and breastfeeding assist, as a result of we reside in areas the place our communities aren’t breastfeeding on the charge at which our neighborhood wants it as a result of we have now untimely infants, we have now small infants, and breast milk is medication for these infants and neighborhood doulas as a result of nearly all of our households nonetheless start in hospitals.

So in the event that they’re nonetheless birthing in hospitals and in these hospitals, only a few of them have even nurse midwives in them, then we want them to have some outdoors assist through doulas. And it’s nonetheless speaking about midwives as a result of my objective had all the time been to push, and I proceed to push the inclusion of midwives in bettering start outcomes within the state. And I feel the exclusion of midwives, it’s actually a detriment to our neighborhood.

Rebecca Dekker:

Yeah. Are you able to speak slightly bit about how midwives are excluded from the entire start industrial advanced in Louisiana and the way they’re not included and made to really feel welcome and issues like that? How troublesome is it to apply as a midwife in your state?

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

So I’ll say the issue isn’t exclusion, it’s an erasure. Whenever you erase otherwise you don’t even point out the midwifery mannequin of care, after we had been speaking about bettering start outcomes, there was an entire whole summit about bettering start a couple of years in the past in New Orleans and nobody wished to speak about midwives. All people wished to speak about checklists of creating certain, which was necessary, guidelines for preeclampsia, guidelines for the way we deal with hemorrhage within the hospital setting, which is all necessary, however nonetheless, simply not even saying midwifery care is exclusion and actually does create this concept that you simply’re not welcome.

So as an illustration, out of hospital start midwives generally must switch their purchasers to the hospital. And guess what? That’s okay. That’s the best way the system is meant to work. If one thing modifications, if one thing turns into an emergency, what makes it a fantastic work is that we must always have collaborative care and it must be a straightforward transition from the start heart setting or the house setting to the hospital.

And what was occurring, particularly throughout COVID, was sure hospitals had been saying, “Effectively, in the event you don’t have a doula badge, then we’re not letting you into the hospital.” However as a midwife, I nonetheless am purported to have a continuity of care. I may not be the first supplier any longer when the consumer does find yourself within the hospital setting, however I’m purported to be by my consumer’s aspect. And midwives had been being excluded from going into the hospital setting with their purchasers.

In order that’s only one instance of that lack of collaborative care. However it’s a heavy instance. As a result of if people who work within the hospital setting, within the medical business, don’t perceive what midwives do, don’t care to know. When our households go into the hospital setting, they’re handled negatively. They’re handled with sure sort of suspicions. They’re requested once more like, “Oh, you’re at that start heart. And what entry did the midwife must x, Y, and Z meds?” So this, that and the opposite.

We’ve got many, particularly our Black moms generally who could must go to the hospital in a postpartum setting, they could have a query or one thing and so they select to go to the hospital. Effectively then they’re given 21 questions on okay, not genuinely, however nonetheless believing someone’s giving start on the aspect of the highway, these midwives are ignorant, all these myths. And in order that setting in itself creates an unhealthy setting, an undesirable setting. And that’s simply the tip of it.

Rebecca Dekker:

So I feel it’s actually disheartening to listen to that midwives in Louisiana who’ve such a robust historical past, in the event you return greater than 100 years, to the variety of Black midwives and Indigenous midwives who’re delivering many of the infants in that state to as we speak once they’re making an attempt to erase their presence. After which when the well being system is confronted with having to work with midwives, they react with suspicion and even hostility.

So I do know you and Ms. Charlotte, who’s an EBB teacher, do numerous actually wonderful work at Group Start Companion within the midst of those troublesome circumstances. I used to be questioning in the event you might share slightly bit about what you’re doing like what are the actions you’re doing in your neighborhood and the way are you performing as that companion for birthing individuals?

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

Sure. So it’s humorous you stated and also you requested that. Simply yesterday we had college students from LSU Public Well being come and so they donated postpartum care kits. And in talking with them, we love chatting with college students, residents and actually attending to the minds of our future OBs, our future nurses, our future stat recorders and issues like that to speak to them about what we’re actually seeing in direct service.

I feel there’s a disconnect over what individuals see on paper to what we truly see boots on the bottom. And so we do numerous educating not simply locally or people who come to us that’s pregnant, that’s searching for breastfeeding assist, however continuously educating additionally those that are going to be main suppliers or some well being suppliers.

And what does doula work appear like and the way we must always welcome doulas however easy methods to be open for questions from our neighborhood, easy methods to perceive cultural variations and never essentially take it as that persons are being aggressive in the direction of you.

We are able to all reside in the identical space and nonetheless have alternative ways through which we talk and understanding that so when purchasers or sufferers once they’re leaving your care, they really feel that they’ve been heard and that is one thing constant that we’re educating about.

We love the time period shared resolution making. How does that truly occur? How does the affected person and consumer truly do shared resolution making with the physician or with the nurse practitioner, and the way can they really feel that they’ve sufficient energy to talk up for themselves and deserve the schooling to allow them to make the very best resolution for his or her child and their very own our bodies?

We’re continuously having these conversations. And so we had been capable of host the LSU college students from Public Well being yesterday right here on the Group Start Companion Clinic, which has been open for a couple of 12 months now. For years, we had been simply rolling in our automotive, assembly individuals at espresso retailers, in our houses and their houses, and we lastly opened up our being pregnant and breastfeeding clinic right here at Opelousas the place we host our breastfeeding assist teams.

We host our breastfeeding assist group month-to-month. We host childbirth schooling courses, which we do just about and in individual, and we additionally do our neighborhood doula trainings right here. And so it truly is a secure house. I feel I advised Ms. Charlotte and Ms. Charlotte shared with me the thought of a courageous house that we actually attempt to create.

We even have a partnership with a corporation known as Saul’s Gentle that works with NICU households. And so we have now a lending library, small library in our little kids’s space, a nook the place there’s books on easy methods to be a giant sister, a giant brother, or what does it really feel like when you might have a child within the NICU? And only a good house the place individuals really feel like they will convey all the household, and we actually need it to be a welcoming house for them.

Rebecca Dekker:

Simply up to now 12 months, you truly received your personal bodily house to have these sorts of occasions. Are you able to inform us about that?

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

Sure. It has been actually an outstanding feeling to have one thing to say that, okay, that is Group Start Companion. As a result of sadly, particularly as a Black girl beginning one thing from the bottom up, I didn’t have numerous fashions on how to do that work.

And so it was typically like, oh, I hand out a card and other people say, “Oh, effectively that’s nice. Effectively, the place are you all positioned?” And I’ll say, “Effectively, name me or we will speak on the cellphone, we will meet at a espresso store.” Or we had been simply going straight on to our moms and households and that’s superior as effectively. However it’s been actually nice to have this house the place individuals can come, really feel related, we will host them.

It’s been actually nice to have an area the place everyone can come and we will host them and so they really feel secure, and we really feel like that is our personal. And so I’m simply so glad and ecstatic that we will say, “Hey, meet us at X, Y, and Z.” And it’s ours. We don’t must hold placing out cash to lease something. So far as an area that’s not one thing we will frequently come again to carry diapers, we have now a couple of packing containers of the postpartum kits, issues like that. They’re right here and we will ask our moms and households to come back right here. And in order that’s been a fantastic factor.

Rebecca Dekker:

Yeah. And it’s wonderful in the event you observe Group Start Companion on social media, which I extremely advocate that each one of you listening try this, you may truly see that you simply share with us the occasions you’re internet hosting, the child showers and the totally different package assemblies and giving out of provides and the courses and the doula trainings.

And it’s unbelievable the way you’ve created this hub for perinatal care in a rural a part of Louisiana that, such as you stated, it’s a desert. There’s not sufficient sources for the individuals there.

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

And I’m glad you introduced that up as a result of we’re a perinatal secure spot. And that’s one thing that Jenny Joseph began. We’re actually declaring these maternal well being deserts and saying, are you doing the work there? And in the event you’re doing the work, and we had been a perinatal secure spot earlier than we even had a brick and mortar place to come back to, as a result of she would say, “Hey, this could possibly be digital. This might simply be that you simply present the providers.”

However actually being a perinatal secure spot, a spot the place everyone can get educated about easy methods to higher themselves, as a result of after we can higher ourselves within the language and the way we really feel about ourselves, we will advocate for ourselves within the birthing setting. And it takes you in all places.

I inform individuals on a regular basis, the language that we train you, you should use it if you go to the dentist, you should use it if you find yourself getting checked for breast most cancers. All of this it begins right here however you may advocate for your self in so many various areas.

Rebecca Dekker:

Yeah. And the college system with childcare, daycare, office, in all places. Yeah. So I’d encourage our listeners to go to and be taught extra about what’s being performed there and observe you all on social media.

Ms. Devine, I do know you even have an entire different a part of your profession give attention to plant medication and being an herbalist. So are you able to discuss the way you gained your intensive data in natural and plant medication and the place that each one comes from?

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

Sure. After I grew up, my mom’s favourite medication was chamomile tea with a scoop of Vicks in it. And that will be given to you whether or not it was the flu, the chilly, that was her go-to medication and a superb bathtub. I noticed my father heal wasp stings by breaking apart his cigarette, taking out the tobacco, heating it slightly bit and placing it on wasp stings. And so plant medication to me was very regular, however I hadn’t simply dug all the best way deep into it but.

It was simply very matter of truth. You retain sure issues in the home as a result of we didn’t go to the hospital on a regular basis or to the physician on a regular basis. And nonetheless we had chamomile in the home and we nonetheless had Robitussin in the home. So it wasn’t prefer it was completely plant medication, but it surely was not international to us.

In order I received older, I began navigating issues like my very own menstrual cycle and simply wanting to raised my general well being. I actually began getting deeper into vegetation. And that’s actually a love for me, making plant medication, speaking about plant medication. I contemplate myself a little bit of a folklores with regards to Black therapeutic and Black medication.

And once I discuss that, I’m talking about the best way through which we use vegetation to heal, the best way through which we use vegetation and our neighborhood respects or doesn’t respect sure vegetation and plant medicines to assist heal ourselves from through the years to current. And so I train a category known as Grandma’s Fingers, Being pregnant and Postpartum Herbs and Diet within the Southern Custom.

And it focuses on the vegetation that had been utilized by Black midwives and the communities they served to assist being pregnant, assist labor and assist the postpartum interval. However what’s additionally necessary in regards to the therapeutic modality of herbalism, it’s additionally simply our ideas and our mindset round how our physique works. And you could’t have the utilization of herbalism or teas with out additionally having physique work.

The thought of a therapeutic massage or laying up arms or the thought of the traditions surrounding the pregnant girl on the way you don’t go in all places, you don’t watch sure issues as a result of it could startle the mama or it could disturb her mindset. And what do you do to guard the being pregnant in an natural realm, but additionally a non secular realm?

And so all of these issues I like to check, I like to show about. And I’ve been doing that for some time. My husband is a herbalist and his father is a plant and soil scientist. He labored with farmers for about 30 years via Louisiana State College and Southern College Ag Middle. And so we’re an agricultural based mostly household and yeah.

Rebecca Dekker:

I’ve had the pleasure of attending to take a category from you about southern conventional natural use and also you’re an unbelievable trainer on the topic. And I used to be simply questioning for our listeners who perhaps are skeptical of natural medication or don’t actually perceive its depth of historical past, might you simply speak slightly bit about the place this custom comes from? I do know you briefly talked about the African American roots, however are you able to speak slightly bit extra about that?

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

So plant medication is the primary medication. So all individuals have some plant medication historical past. Most pharmaceutical medicines that we have now entry to now, the idea of it comes from some sort of plant medication. And so the concept, oh, I don’t suppose these work. However on the identical time, in the event you Google an herb, they’ll say, oh, this could hurt you as a result of it might do X, Y, and Z. It’s very fascinating to me this dichotomy that both it does completely nothing. It’s both snake oil or it will possibly simply completely hurt you. And it’s simply these two issues in nothing else.

Whereas vegetation are going to do what they do till people contact it and alter it. So what I imply by that’s they develop, a few of them are weeds, like dandelion is a weed. Lots of people reduce it out their yards. We put poison on it. However it’s an superior liver supporter, it’s nice for pores and skin, it has iron in it in the event you’re not allergic to it and so it additionally generally is a medication. And people have additionally used it as medication, can even make teas with it, you can also make salads with it, it’s edible.

After which you might have some vegetation they may be the snake plant or some individuals name it the mother-in-law plant, the sac from the leaves can even heal snake bites. So numerous vegetation have many usages. And I feel that’s one other factor that individuals can’t grasp onto. They’ll see this complete checklist of what a plant can do, and so they’re like, effectively, how can that do all of that? And in an entire plant setting.

And the best modality of taking in a plant for many peoples is a tea, an infusion, both a scorching water infusion or a chilly water infusion, utilizing that complete plant, not extracted, not taken right into a lab and pulling out what individuals could contemplate the lively ingredient. However it goes into the physique and historically or traditionally and culturally, so far as Black southern medication custom would say, that the medication goes into the physique and it begins to look the physique. What does that physique want?

So as an illustration, in the event you give someone ibuprofen, and so they may be taking it for cramps, so postpartum pains, however someone may be taking it for complications. So how does your physique know that it’s to your head and never for the cramping in your abdomen? No person asks that query. Effectively individuals ask it with regards to herbs.

And I feel that it’s a modality that must be accepted extra actually because it’s foundational and it’s a foundational method through which all individuals have healed themselves and their neighborhood. I’m glad to reside in a neighborhood that also respects that. In South Louisiana, lots of people nonetheless have numerous pleasure of their heritage. Their Creole heritage, Cajun heritage, Indigenous heritage, through which all of that features plant medication. And so it’s not too international right here. It’s not like I’ve to beat anyone over the pinnacle with.

Nevertheless, outdoors of that neighborhood setting, in the event that they go into the hospital setting to see their pediatrician, to see their OB or whoever, it’s not an excessive amount of shared since you might be seemed down upon since you use that. People might imagine that you’re unintelligent. That you simply’re silly or what have you ever.

Rebecca Dekker:

I feel it’s necessary you convey that up as a result of I’m certain numerous our listeners reside in elements of the world the place plant medication is seemed down on. As such as you stated, it’s both a snake oil or it’s poison.

And I grew up in Tennessee in a extra city slash suburban space, and plant medication was one thing we by no means talked about. We drank tea from the shop however that was it. And it wasn’t till I used to be in my 30s dwelling in Kentucky when a buddy launched me to the truth that there’s this weed that grows in all of our yards right here, that in the event you crush it or chew it up and put it on a mosquito chew, it is going to take the itch away and the ache away. And mosquitoes love me, and I’ve struggled with that my complete life. There’s different members of my household, they gained’t contact them and I’ll get 15 or 20 bites.

And I attempted it in the future. I used to be within the yard, I had these horrible mosquito bites. I had used all the steroid lotions, all the Benadryl lotions, even taken oral Benadryl, and so they had been nonetheless bothering me. So I grabbed a leaf. I didn’t really feel snug chewing it as a result of she had advised me to chew it, however I grabbed it, it was very straightforward to establish, crushed it in order that it had slightly little bit of juice popping out of it and put it on the itch and it went away instantly.

And I used to be shocked. I used to be like, that is rising in my yard and I by no means knew this. In order that was for me the second that my eyes had been open to the very fact, oh, I don’t even perceive the vegetation that develop in my neighborhood. We’re so specialised as we speak. We’re centered on studying one discipline that we don’t go searching us at nature. It was a really large second for me to understand that.

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

And it’s throughout us and it’s accessible. And in order that’s one other factor that I like to talk to is, okay, what do you might have entry to? If all you might have entry to is chamomile, what number of methods can you utilize chamomile?

You should utilize chamomile for pores and skin, you should use chamomile for colic, for gasoline, for fevers, so long as you’re not allergic to ragweeds and issues in that household. After which what grows in your space that you should use for easy issues like mosquitoes or easy issues like planting sure vegetation round your home to maintain mosquitoes away. So it’s all alternative ways through which to make use of vegetation.

I like to make use of vegetation to assist being pregnant and the postpartum interval. I like to talk on herbs and vegetation and spices which are very accessible from issues like cinnamon to cayenne pepper to alfalfa to nettle leaf. And I additionally like to speak about issues like castor oil and the way it may also be used topically for a lot of issues.

And so in educating about herbalism, we have now to additionally unmask how so many people in our neighborhood, particularly individuals of coloration, due to our integration, as a result of we have now felt the necessity to combine in that integration we’ve put some issues by the wayside. We’ve thrown some issues away, some issues that we contemplate or have thought-about or we’ve believed that both white individuals or white supremacy feels is soiled, it’s backwards, it’s one thing poor individuals do, it’s unintelligent.

And so what we’re discovering out although is after we threw these issues away, we threw out the very best of us. We threw out the ties that bind us culturally and that may assist us on this struggle we’re in so far as the deaths of our infants, deaths of our moms, us not feeling like we have now any sort of autonomy over our our bodies as a result of we don’t even have any autonomy over any therapeutic heritage.

So we expect as a result of we really feel like we’ve given all of it away, so it turns into a reclaiming work doing this work. It turns into a piece through which we’re calling a factor a factor. We are able to say, “Oh, my grandmother did this. My grandfather did this. Oh, I bear in mind seeing this rising.” So now I can take possession of a factor and it not turns into one thing that somebody simply does to me. It’s one thing that I can do and actually participate in my well being as a result of numerous instances we’re simply strolling into these clinics, strolling into these settings and simply being given a script or right here, go get this medication, take it two instances each day. And okay, the physician advised me to take that and I’ve completely no possession in that.

And so what plant medication does, it lets you reclaim that and reclaim your therapeutic and you are able to do it and combine it within the assist you’re having out of your main supplier. I feel the midwifery mannequin of care and neighborhood care lends itself to be a extra secure house for people which are into herbalism versus these which may be doing the common care with their medical doctors.

As a result of although we could say, “Hey, ask your physician if you should use this.” Most of them aren’t educated in plant medication. And they also don’t know until you’re working with someone who culturally or through their background or heritage grew up utilizing vegetation, they’re not going to be supportive of an individual utilizing that.

Rebecca Dekker:

Yeah, they’re going to have the both or dichotomy. They’re going to see it both as ineffective or toxic and never see the nuance within the center. And it appears to me although I feel one individuals’s concern of herbalism is that concern of doing one thing that could possibly be poisonous or toxic.

And I think about that there’s some security data and knowledge that has been misplaced as effectively. You talked about how we have to reclaim our heritage, no matter our heritage could also be with plant medication, however how can individuals go about studying the fundamentals that they know what to keep away from and what belongings you shouldn’t be doing?

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

I all the time encourage individuals to go to their native library and search for, each state has an agricultural division who has put out some sort of guide like edible vegetation in Colorado, edible vegetation of Louisiana, edible vegetation. These agricultural departments like to put out stuff like that. They’re encouraging individuals to develop vegetation or to farm.

Begin there. Begin with the ability to simply look and establish after which have a look at some basic items. I all the time return to chamomile as a result of individuals really feel like that’s tremendous secure, but additionally know something can provide an allergic response. I can eat a banana, someone else can eat a banana and escape in a rash. I can eat peanuts, my daughter is allergic to nuts. And similar to, hey, some individuals that may’t take penicillin.

And so if we will acknowledge that we must be doing individualized care, then everyone’s physique is totally different and the best way we react to issues it’s totally different. I feel we’ll method these modalities with a bit extra respect. However I might recommend everyone simply search for and in the event you don’t need to learn a guide, Buku Podcast on the market that talks about, effectively, what are the vegetation that’s round you? They usually’re sharing historic data of easy methods to use a plant that grows round you, you could attain out and contact. You don’t must get it flown from throughout the seas.

And it’s actually extra accessible data than individuals suppose it’s, as a result of even grasp grower gardener courses, that’s in areas like in the event you would Google taking a grasp gardener’s certificates in no matter state, you’ll discover data there. And that’s an enormous assist as effectively. Simply understanding about plant and soil and the way’s the filth round you? What’s the vitamins within the filth in your native space? So if you do begin planting your personal medication, how wholesome it may be.

So I feel that’s an incredible begin. However one other begin, as a result of look, I’m all the time going to return to historical past, I’m all the time going to return to household custom is to take a seat down with our elders and ask them, “Hey, if you had been a baby, what did you utilize for X, Y, and Z?” And after we can sit down and speak to our members of the family which will have that data, we turn into extra related to that therapeutic.

Rebecca Dekker:

I feel these are wonderful concepts, and that’s, to be sincere, one thing I hadn’t considered was simply asking my elders and sadly most of the elders in my household have handed, and I’ve misplaced that chance. So it’s necessary I feel in case you have somebody in your loved ones you may speak to about, I like that concept.

I additionally know you’re not one to self-promote. So I might encourage everyone to go to Divine is a tremendous trainer, has a extremely thorough six week course on ethnobotany known as Grandma’s Fingers Being pregnant and Postpartum Herbs and Diet within the Southern Custom. And it’s a web-based course and there’s totally different cohorts that open all year long.

And we received to have a pattern of that if you got here and taught our professional members in regards to the African perspective and Southern custom of plant and natural medication. You’ve led that coaching for us. You may have come to the EBB Convention, you’re engaged with Ms. Charlotte who teaches the EBB Childbirth Class. Are you able to share slightly bit earlier than you go about how your work interacts with Proof Primarily based Start® in your neighborhood?

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

Oh, I like this matter as a result of individuals will typically say, “Effectively, how does our conventional cultural modalities join with Proof Primarily based Start® or Proof Primarily based modalities?” And after we are utilizing Proof Primarily based Start® in our neighborhood just isn’t to remove from our heritage or how we heal ourselves, however it’s to make use of the language that their suppliers are utilizing.

And they also know easy methods to advocate for themselves. So it is not sensible for me to inform the supplier, “Effectively, the mother is, she’s utilizing Nora T, which is nettles, ostra, raspberry leaf, and alfalfa. She’s taking the infusion two or thrice a day,” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. If that supplier doesn’t respect that.

But when I outfitted the consumer, the birther that, okay, you may share, you must share along with your supplier that you’re an alternate assist for among the points you’re having or to assist your being pregnant, you do have that proper to share with them and see the place you all can negotiate so far as your care.

And we’re ready to do this by utilizing numerous the one pagers from Proof Primarily based Start®. They’re very easy to move out to our purchasers that we work with. We’ve got a neighborhood doula program through which we work with households all through this parish, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and we’re going into another parishes.

And so we outfitted our doulas with that, hey, that’s a useful resource for us. Proof Primarily based Start® is a large useful resource for us. These one pagers on, okay, that is what the physician is saying to you. Let’s take a while to elucidate it so you may have, what we all the time recommend is for every prenatal go to, go in with three questions, proper?

Rebecca Dekker:


Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

And so, okay, they’re saying that you will have gestational diabetes, they’re frightened of a giant child, so let’s go over what are the dangers? What are the true dangers? What’s your physician’s concern? And the way do you go about asking your physician, “Okay, what’s your concern proper now about my child?”

And I consider that Proof Primarily based Start® permits us the language that we will assist our communities with. In an ideal world, they wouldn’t must be taught the language. In an ideal world, I might are available in, sit down in entrance of a supplier, and they might deal with me equally. They’d deal with me pretty, interval. That’s not the truth.

So Proof Primarily based Start® turns into virtually some ammunition for us to make use of. So we have now that in our again pocket through which, okay, let’s have a look at the analysis. Okay, and the way do we are saying this in layman phrases? And that is what you may have a look at. And you’ll say, “Oh, effectively, I used to be on the positioning Proof Primarily based Start®, and I’ve been doing my analysis.”

After which now we have now an entire nother sort of dynamic occurring between the consumer and the supplier. After which it’s like, oh, so this individual is one thing, this individual is researching. So now we see that continuously that the dynamics change then and so it does assist the work that we’re doing.

And one doesn’t take away from the opposite. It doesn’t take away from our heritage work. And heritage work doesn’t take away from Proof Primarily based Start®. It actually does, in the best way that we do it, particularly the best way through which Ms. Charlotte and I work along with Group Start Companion in our space, it actually does mix effectively collectively.

Rebecca Dekker:

Yeah, it appears like a fantastic marriage that helps you degree the taking part in fields you could get the respect that you simply already deserve by yourself.

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:


Rebecca Dekker:

Yeah, I do know you what you imply. It’s like with the ability to construct slightly little bit of a bridge between the 2 worlds.

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:


Rebecca Dekker:

Yeah. Ms. Devine, earlier than you go, do you might have any sources you’d prefer to share with our listeners?

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

Sure. If there may be anyone who’s seeking to get extra details about the historical past of Black midwives, I might say search for, it’s a dissertation by Kelena Reid Maxwell known as Start Behind the Veil: African American Midwives and Moms within the Rural South. It’s a jewel. It must be simply accessible in the event you Google it. It’s known as Start Behind the Veil: African American Midwives and Moms within the Rural South.

And in addition, in case you have not already, undoubtedly search for, print out the Black Birthing Invoice of Rights. I feel everyone being outfitted with what their rights are as people, it permits us to, one, do that work, but it surely permits us to advocate for ourself.

Rebecca Dekker:

Yeah, and you will get that on the, the Nationwide Affiliation to Advance Black Start. They’ve been doing numerous work on the Black Birthing Invoice of Rights, which was lately awarded a trademark as effectively. So been following their work and really enthusiastic about them.

And yeah, I can’t wait to learn that dissertation. I used to be not conscious of that however I Googled it simply now, and yeah, it popped up. Was just like the second outcome. So we’ll make certain to incorporate the hyperlinks to each of these within the present notes

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

To observe me and to be in contact on Instagram, I’m at Divine Start Knowledge and Divine Start Knowledge on Fb as effectively. If you wish to go to my web site, it’s

Rebecca Dekker:

Sure. And it’s also possible to observe Ms. Divine and Ms. Charlotte and their work collectively at Group Start Companion on Fb and Instagram.

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

Sure. And

Rebecca Dekker:

Superior. Thanks a lot, Ms. Devine, for approaching the podcast and sharing your story and your knowledge with us. We actually honor you and respect you for every little thing you’re doing along with your neighborhood and additional.

Divine Bailey-Nicholas:

Thanks a lot for having me.