I am a midwife in full-time practice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. There, I am a preceptor for midwifery, nurse practitioner, and medical students, as well as residents in family medicine and OBGYN. My favorite things to teach are gentle gynecologic exams, hands-off birth care, feminist language, and empowering counseling.
I serve on the Board of the American College of Nurse-Midwives as Secretary. Through that role I am Chair of the Gender Equity Task Force (GETF), which is examining queer and trans inclusion and education for midwives. I recently worked with a group of people writing the Position Statement on “Access to Reproductive Health Choices” and “Midwives in Abortion Care,” currently in draft form and being submitted for approval.
I serve on the Board of Nursing Students for Sexual and Reproductive Health, a national grassroots organization dedicated to providing nursing students with the education, tools, and resources necessary to become social change agents within the healthcare system as it relates to sexual and reproductive justice, including teaching abortion care. I am entering into the position of Co-Chair.
I serve on the Board of the Midwest Access Project, an organization training providers in the midwest in abortion provision.
I am working toward training any provider who wants to know how to do abortions, to be trained to do them safely and in an empowering way. As a provider in Chicago, I am intimately aware, thanks to the Jane Collective, about the needs to have abortion providers trained and ready, now and always.
I am out as a queer midwife. I’m vocal about it not only as it is important to myself to live truly, but also to build community among queer midwives who seek the knowledge that this is a profession where you can be out and work toward change for our queer family: each other and our patients.
I write, often. I write this blog. I write statements of solidarity for the organizations I am honored to serve in. I write chapters in books to teach students about holistic, empowering, trauma-informed, queer and trans inclusive gynecologic exams. I write to build community. I write to remind feminists that intersectionality is the only way to be a feminist.
When I think about my work, I think about aligning myself to do the best I can with the time I have in this world. I had aligned myself with ideas and goals based on the existence of certain rights and privileges, and only working toward expanding those. I am now in community with everyone mourning opportunities for expansion and instead fighting for the status quo. It’s a hard place to be in, but we’re here, and it’s happening. Additionally, I acknowledge that being out as both queer and an abortion provider puts me at increasing social and professional risk with the changing political climate. I know that and it only makes me want to talk about those identities more.
Since the announcement of the election results, I have received an outpouring of love and support from readers who find empowerment, revolution, safety, love, and encouragement in this space. Virtual hugs, direct messages, emails… I read them all and my heart is full instead of heavy, my tears are of joy in the collective passion instead of sadness, and my energy is toward change instead of anger. Thank you for those who have reached out: it refuels me, I need it, and it helps me keep going.
And thank YOU to everyone out there doing the same work I’m doing but not nearly as publicly. Thank you to the people on the front lines of the demonstrations and peaceful protests. Thank you to the people of color under attack for sharing your stories and telling us what is going on in your world so we can identify ways to step up. Thank you to the providers and lawyers and students and activists and donors for stepping up with whatever energy you have.
And, really, know this: I’m just fucking getting started.
A few notes:
- If you are still struggling with immediate reaction to the results, here is a healthy place to start to recenter yourself.
- Hug each other, ask how the other person is, and wait and listen to their response.
- Pay attention to the rapid changes in society around you. Be aware of your own safety, and stand up for the safety of others.
- Know that the ACLU already has their shit together.
- Reach out to your friends in abortion care. Lift them up, offer your safety, order them food and flowers. The work is hard enough without worrying that it’s going away.
- A friend’s lawyer posted this about queer couples and their children: Trump cannot invalidate same sex marriages via executive order; If you are married to someone of the same sex and you’re raising children who are not yours biologically and you have not yet adopted them, adopt them as soon as possible, as it is a difficult and nearly impossible process to undo an adoption but it is much easier for legislatures to make it more difficult for the LGBTQ community to adopt.
- Consider the people you know who dedicate their lives to caring for people whose rights and safety and livelihood are currently threatened. Send them a care package of their favorite snacks. Write them a letter extolling their work in the world. Lift them up.
- While all this is going on, there are still people fighting for #NODAPL. Don’t let support for them waver. Donate to the midwives and health workers in the protection camp.
- And here are places to donate post-election.