Despite a long history of midwifery in the black community, black women currently represent less than 2% of the nation’s reported 15,000 midwives. Relatedly, black women and infants experience the worst birth outcomes of any racial-ethnic cohort in the United States. And because of that once a month Tiny & Brave will be highlighting current and aspiring midwives of color. Today I will be highlighting the beautiful sister Yasmintheresa Garcia.
When did you know you were called to Midwifery?
As a young girl I had always had the aspiration to be a Doctor. My sisters always made fun and called me the bubble child because I was allergic to many things and often enjoyed visits to the doctors office. I found it so much fun to investigate everything my doctors would be doing when performing exams and suggesting prescriptions. I became an avid reader of health magazines and took full advantage of researching things about my anatomy. The female body I lived in became a masterpiece that I wanted to learn everything about since no one spoke much about its reoccurring changes in my household therefore I took initiative to learn about it myself. In junior high school two of my friends became pregnant and I immediately became their doula without knowing it was an actual occupation. I became extremely passionate about serving my sisters in learning more about their bodies. However it was not until I went away for college to California on my own, in pursuit of a fashion career that I found myself, and built up the courage to truly believe that I was capable of being that doctor I always knew I could be. It didn’t matter to me anymore that no one else believed in me. I learned going to university for fashion was not my true purpose and by then I’d survived enough to know I was capable of becoming a servant for woman in need as a midwife.
Womanhood is a privilege bestowed upon a chosen being to carry out the example of God. A true demonstration of the cycle of life. Being born and creating life in many forms throughout each transitional phase is what womanhood is to me.
What do you do for self care?
I read for mental clarity, inspiration, and spiritual healing.
I am vegan therefore I treat myself to food that heal me from inside out like fresh fruits and veggies. I also exercise daily and enjoy taking care of my beauty with home made beauty products like my favorite, coffee body scrub. I also dance in my underwear in my mirror and pray to my body in gratitude of holding up each day. I never told that to anyone.
If you can give one piece of advice in terms of becoming and/or being a midwife what would it be?
My advice to anyone becoming a midwife would be to learn the true history of midwifery from the historical granny midwives to the pioneers of modern day midwifery the Farm midwives of Summertown Tennessee. In order to respect and do this kind of work one must learn how it started and why we follow the scope of practice that differentiates us from Obstetrical care in hospitals. I would also say learn yourself as a woman, love yourself as a woman and take the best care of yourself as a woman because once you have empathy and love for yourself you are able to care for other woman in a selfless way.
What is your favorite part of your body and why?
My entire body was a gift from the universe so I love everything about it. It has been deemed a baby bearing body therefore I honor it all. But if I had to choose; My boobies. My boobies can feed my family and thats too dope! My vagina also provides protein but this is why I celebrate it all.
What is the current theme song of your life?
Rise Up by Andra Day is a reminder of the power in us we all have to live a fruitful life.
Yasmintheresa Garcia is a Brooklyn native of Afro-Dominican descent. The developer of IbiOp App; The first App that list Doulas, Midwives, OBGYNs worldwide.
Yasmintheresa works as a Midwife in training, Prenatal & Postnatal Doula, Childbirth Educator, Vegan health coach and has founded YtheGirls “Hang out.” She has always had the desire to work with the community and help it progress in any way. Through her vision, creations and experiences she is dedicated to inspire others to produce self-sustainability in their communities.
“At a birthing, the mother is the main channel of life force. If she is cooperative and selfless and brave, it makes there be more energy for everyone, including her baby who is getting born. Giving somebody some makes you and everyone else feel good. You don’t have your baby out yet to cuddle and hold; so giving the midwives and your husband some is giving your baby some. If you are in a hospital, you can make there be more energy by finding someone you can connect and be friends with.
During a rush, keep your eyes open, and keep paying attention to those around you and to what’s happening. If you feel afraid or if something is happening that makes you uptight, report it—the midwives can help sort it out until it feels good.
Don’t complain, it makes things worse. If you usually complain, practice not doing it during pregnancy. It will build character.
Talk nice; it will keep your bottom loose so it can open up easier. It’s okay to ask the midwives or your husband to do something for you, like rub your legs or get a glass of water. Ask real nice and give folks “folks some when they do something for you.
Be grateful that you’re having a baby, and be grateful to your partner who’s helping you—it’s an experience that you only do a few times in your life, so make the very most of it, and get your head in a place where you can get as high as possible.
Remember you have a real, live baby in there. Sometimes it’s such an intense trip having a baby that you can forget what it’s for!
Learn how to relax—it’s something that requires attention. You may have to put out some effort to gather your attention together enough that you can relax.
Keep your sense of humor—it’s a priceless gem which keeps you remembering where it’s at. If you can’t be a hero, you can at least be funny while being a chicken.
Remember your monkey self knows how to do this really well. Your brain isn’t very reliable as a guide of how to be during childbirth, but your monkey self is.”
Excerpt From: Ina May Gaskin. “Spiritual Midwifery.” Book Publishing Company. iBooks.
Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itun.es/us/JjV4x.l
Many women including myself have swayed through life not understanding why we suffer from health disparities. We often face issues like PCOS: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, PMS, Fibroids, experience miscarriages, and infertility for years without understanding why and usually are told to treat the pain and discomfort with drugs rather than being educated about the cause of the syndrome and encouraged to create a lifestyle suited for our personal predispositions.
An exam may be necessary
I was once lucky enough to have visited the most prestigious Emergency room I have ever been to. While living in Thomasville, NC when I started feeling lower abdominal pain in fear of it being cyst like I’ve had before, I was referred to an OB-GYN that was adequately trained. This OB was doing my follow up and wanted to thoroughly exam my pelvis to understand why I was having pain near my ovaries. After I mentioned having once suffered a horrific burst of an ovarian cyst that left me on bed rest for almost a month; She wanted to rule out all worst case scenarios. This doctor felt a sonogram was not sufficient therefore she went on to perform a vaginal sonogram on me. It was a bit nerve wrecking for me because I was not sexually active at the time but the information she provided me with during this exam made the whole examination worth it. My boyfriend at the time held my hand through the exam and made the experience less dreadful. This doctor proceeded to educate me about my uterus being retroverted.
A retroverted uterus (tilted uterus, tipped uterus) is auterus that is tilted posteriorly. This is in contrast to the slightly “anteverted” uterus that most women have, which is tipped forward toward the bladder, with the anterior end slightly concave.
Generally, a retroverted uterus does not cause any problems. If problems do occur, it will probably be because the woman has an associated disorder like endometriosis. A disorder like this could cause the following symptoms:
- Painful sexual intercourse
- The woman-on-top position during sex usually causes the most discomfort
- Period pain (particularly if the retroversion is associated with endometriosis).
- Natural variation – generally, the uterus moves into a forward tilt as the woman matures. Sometimes, this doesn’t happen and the uterus remains tipped backwards.
- Adhesions – an adhesion is a band of scar tissue that joins two (usually) separate anatomic surfaces together. Pelvic surgery can cause adhesions to form, which can then pull the uterus into a retroverted position.
- Endometriosis – the endometrium is the lining of the uterus. Endometriosis is the growth of endometrial cells outside the uterus. These cells can cause retroversion by ‘gluing’ the uterus to other pelvic structures.
- Fibroids – these small, non-cancerous lumps can make the uterus susceptible to tipping backwards.
- Pregnancy – the uterus is held in place by bands of connective tissue called ligaments. Pregnancy can overstretch these ligaments and allow the uterus to tip backwards. In most cases, the uterus returns to its normal forward position after childbirth, but sometimes it doesn’t.
In most cases of retroverted uterus, the ovaries and fallopian tubes are tipped backwards too. This means that all of these structures can be ‘butted’ by the head of the penis during intercourse. This is known as ‘collision dyspareunia’. The woman-on-top position usually causes the most pain. It is possible for vigorous sex in this position to injure or tear the ligaments surrounding the uterus.
In most cases, a retroverted uterus doesn’t interfere with pregnancy. After the first trimester, the expanding uterus lifts out of the pelvis and, for the remainder of the pregnancy, assumes the typical forward-tipped position.
In a small percentage of cases, the growing uterus is ‘snagged’ on pelvic bone (usually the sacrum). This condition is known as ‘incarcerated uterus’. The symptoms usually occur somewhere between weeks 12 and 14, and can include pain and difficulties passing urine.
- A retroverted uterus means the uterus is tipped backwards so that it aims towards the rectum instead of forward towards the belly.
- Some women may experience symptoms including painful sex.
- In most cases, a retroverted uterus won’t cause any problems during pregnancy.
- Treatment options include exercises, a pessary or surgery.
Since learning about being with a retroverted uterus I realized how my physiology differed from other women. 1 in 6 women are born with a retroverted uterus. Some may live their wholes lives not knowing unless they inquire to find out or they experience some of the disparities I was dealt. Some of the causes are, painful sex, yeast infections due to high levels of acid in your ph., and painful periods. Some women learn about having this, way into their pregnancy and if their lucky enough they will have a Doula, who will instruct them on how to minimize the nausea episodes and perhaps provide some insight on why it is detrimental to eat the right foods for a more comfortable and easy going pregnancy.
It is very important to understand that our body parts are not separated. We often lose sight of the truth being that everything is connected and in tuned especially when we are not in tuned with our own bodies. We often pop a pill an ignore aches and pains when it can very well be our body telling us to pay attention BEFORE something goes wrong. I was grateful to have learned about my beautifully unique uterus because I was able to change my diet and life style in order to prevent things like fibroids, endometriosis, PMS and more. I learned early that my diet effects my PH-balance and if my PH (hormones) are off then my body becomes a home for disease and ailments especially when I am already sensitive because of the way I was created.
Before we continue our lives not knowing how magical and intricate our bodies are I hope we can all become a bit more curious about our Uterus’ and how different they can all be. Perhaps now we can tend to our personal needs as women and not be shocked when sudden issues begin to effect our health during our child bearing years.
The good news is that in most cases it is possible to have a baby if you have one of these uterine abnormalities:
This is an uncommon abnormality where the uterus has two inner cavities. Each cavity may lead to its own cervix and vagina. This means there are two cervixes and two vaginas. It affects about one in 350 women.
A unicornuate uterus is half the size of a normal uterus and there is only one fallopian tube. Because of its shape, it is described as a uterus with one horn. It is a rare abnormality, affecting about one in 1,000 women. It develops in the earliest stages of life, when the tissue that forms the uterus does not grow properly. If you have a unicornuate uterus, you probably have two ovaries but only one will be connected to your uterus.
Instead of being pear-shaped, this type of uterus looks more like a heart, with a deep indentation at the top. It is called a uterus with two horns, because of its shape. It’s thought that fewer than one woman in 200 women has a bicornuate uterus.
This is where the inside of the uterus is divided by a muscular or fibrous wall, called the septum. About one woman in 45 women is affected. The septum may extend only part way into the uterus (partial septate uterus) or it may reach as far as the cervix (complete septate uterus). Partial or subseptates are more common than complete septates. A septate uterus may make it more difficult for you to conceive.
This looks more like a normal uterus, except it has a dip, or slight indentation at the top. It is a common abnormality, affecting about a quarter of women.
About one in six women have a uterus that tilts backwards toward the spine (retroverted uterus). This is not an abnormality. It won’t affect how your baby grows, although it may mean your bump starts to show later than for other women.
“We’re back took a little break for labor day hope you all enjoyed. Excited about the direction of the show and its only getting better! Today we had a chance to speak with Yasmintheresa Garcia she lets us know the origin of her work as a Doula. Describes her passion for help and informing our community about pregnancy and other health concerns. Excited to talk about the launch of her new App IbiOp where people can easily find information on Doulas and Midwives near them.”
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The 21st century lends itself to a shift in the role of women in society. Inspirational women have been around for centuries, with the 1990s giving birth to the next generation of creative and exceptional female activists.
At 24 years old, Yasmintheresa Garcia is one such outstanding individual. A Brooklyn native born to Afro-Dominican parents, she recognized her calling as a doula from a very young age. In addition to successfully managing her own doula practice, Ythedoula, Garcia is a midwife in training, community activist and vegan health coach. Doulas are not medically licensed.
Garcia gained interest in the vocation at the age of 12, when a number of fellow students became pregnant. “I started giving them advice and giving them emotional and educational support that they needed that they weren’t receiving from the community they lived in,” said Garcia in an interview.
Community uplift and female education is the reason Garcia has created a get together called Ythegirlshangout. A group for women of all ages and backgrounds come together in a sacred space to discuss everything from financial literacy to career goals and body images. “Things that we in our culture wouldn’t normally speak of in our household,” said Garcia.
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Each month, Let Your Voice Be Heard! Radio presents “The Dreamer and Doer Series,” which spotlights inspirational Millennials who are using their talents and influence to better their community and the world. In July 2016, we spoke to Yasmintheresa Garcia, the founder of YtheGirls “Hang out,” a Midwife in training, Prenatal & Postnatal Doula, Childbirth Educator, Vegan health coach and Acupressurist.
Being a birth Doula or Midwife consist of two different responsibilities. It is not a hobby or a job you do because it seems easy. It is not a job for the weak minded or selfish hearted.
Being a Doula is a metaphysical calling on your soul to want to be apart of ushering in new life knowing that you will do more Good than harm as a gatekeeper of the cycle of life. What both a Midwife & Doula do have in common is that both roles have a responsibility to educate & empower their clients in order to make evidence based decisions that are best for their family in respect to their culture. We are pretty much the gate keepers of the human life cycle we often witness death and birth at the same time. Perhaps in most cases death of an old life style and birth of a new life and new adventure of a whole family. How we practice in both roles has a major effect on how that family will transition into, and operate in their new life style.
Be passionate about your calling in life and live it to the fullest. ~YtheDoula