Born Into This: The Conversations Shaping Our First Conference

In only a few weeks, Born Into This will gather in Austin, TX on July 12th and 13th to convene birth workers and leaders. During this two-day conference, DTI will be hosting brilliant individuals who are leading the space for a series of panels to explore the intersection of social justice, technology, and creativity.

Here is a little snippet of the panels at Born Into This

Decolonizing at the Root: Settler Colonialism, Granny Midwives & the Mayhem of Intersectionality within Birthwork (In Loving Memory of Erica Garner)

As a discussion between M. Carmen Lane, MSOD and Dr. Alicia Bonaparte, this is an invitation to engage in a public conversation among birthworkers, a call to accountability, to make contact across our differences in service of the past, present and future possibilities of both the field itself and of our lives, asking the fundamental question: What were we born into?

While we are aware of the myriad benefits that midwives and doulas bring during labor and postpartum, there is a paradox within the field of birthwork. We all too often ignore the structural dynamics (including race, class, gender, sexual orientation, nation status, etc.) that deeply impact how we all enter the world (or don’t). In this talk, we will seriously consider the intergenerational inheritance of racism and the dilemma of giving birth on stolen land—and how these intersectional issues affect mortality rates among birthing persons and newborns.

Advocates and Activists for Change

Moderated by Surabhi Kukke of Futures Without Violence, this panel will consist of Miriam Zoila Perez of The Radical Doula, Dawn Thompson of Improving Birth, Allison Bravo of Empower Generations.

Activism means many things to many people. Some of us shy away from the label because we think our work is not radical enough—while some of us see practitioners of activism as angry or disrupting.

Currently, the role of activism in the birth world is up for debate. At Born Into This, we believe birth work, at its core, is a form of activism. We see anyone working toward providing more options and care for maternal and infant health as an activist.

During this conversation, we will talk with those who are doing the work in big ways. They will also share their struggles, their vision and the collaborative efforts that can unite our shared purpose and ignite momentum.

Teaser! This image will be on the Born Into This conference shirts!

Birth World Meets Innovation

Moderated by Jada Shapiro of Boober and Birth Day Presence, this panel will consist of Estrella Jaramillo of Bwom, Dr. Jessica Shepard of Her Viewpoint, and Elvie Chitra Akileswaran of Cleo.

Technology has had a profound impact on the birth world. Community and healthcare can now be found online via apps, websites, forums, and social media. Consumers’ expectations of what maternity and paternity leave looks like are also shifting. In Birth World Meets Innovation, our panelists will discuss these shifts and tap into a conversation from founders leading the way.

Social Media as a Change Maker

This panel will be moderated by Sera Bond of Circle of Health and consist of Katie Vigos of Empowered Birth Project, Heather Gallagher of Heather Gallagher Photography, Sarah Tucker, journalist and author of There Is a Hidden Epidemic of Doctors Abusing Women in Labor.

There is no denying that social media can be a useful tool for storytelling, networking, and ultimately shifting the status quo within the birth world. A viral hashtag can hold the power of catalyzing a movement for justice; it can be a conversation shifter, a comforting and empowering reminder of “Me Too” or “Black Lives Matter”

Sometimes, it is frustrating. Learning how to communicate clearly and authentically with people online about your practice or a call to action can be tough. Whichever stage of effectiveness you’re in, our panelists will share their own stories about approaching the birth world via social media. Their experience and insight will help us all be better storytellers — with purpose and mission on many different platforms.

Stories of the Doula

In this unique panel, M. Carmen Lane of Doula Trainings International will read “PAIA/Call: Stories From The Edge of Life & Death”. In November of 2015, Carmen lost their grandfather, Paul O’Neill Murphy after five years of being his caregiver. This moment reignited a long held desire to become a birth and postpartum doula. Using poetic prose and family stories, Carmen will weave together their journey in becoming both a birth and end-of-life doula—a two:spirit living at the edge of life and death.

Following, Barbara Verneus of Tiny & Brave Holistic Services will share her powerful spoken word pieces. More info coming soon!

Leading with Language

This discussion will be led by members of the DTI team (M. Carmen Lane, Tara Brooke, Gina Giordano, Malika Hook Muhammad and Jenny Bennett) and moderated by Becky Alford, Lead Educator, Doula Trainings International.

The language we choose to use in and around birth greatly affects the health of our clients and the inclusivity of birth culture. Using more inclusive language is the difference between a birthing person feeling seen and supported or mismanaged and misunderstood. In this conversation, the DTI team will discuss the purpose of inclusive terms in the birth world and how this provides better services and care to all birthing people.

The 5 Year Itch: What’s Next?

This panel consists of Lindsay Askins of ‘Exposing the Silence Project’, Francie Webb of TheMilkinMama, and Ash Spivak of Cycles + Sex. It will be moderated by Rachel Yellin of Yes! To Birth.

Work—BIG work, with activism at its core—has high rates of burnout and can be very hard to sustain. For those of us in the Birth World who have managed to keep it going, what has made the difference? How can we continue to evolve, create, and feel inspired when the work can be so taxing? In this panel, we will highlight birth workers who have sustained their careers and evolved in creative and inspiring ways. Together, we’ll explore their career paths, journeys, and the projects they are working on now.

We hope to see each of you there to join the conversation as we explore this powerful and essential intersection of social justice, technology, and creativity!

To learn more and to get your tickets, visit

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