YVK: Creating Circles of Support

In 2008, Tewa Women United started the Yiya Vi Kagingdi Doula Project to serve first-time Native American mothers with culturally appropriate birth support.

Over the last nine years we have expanded our reach to include services for any family within Rio Arriba County and the Tewa Pueblo Homelands. YVK Doulas provide services for the whole family, across generations to encourage everyone to gather around the new parents.

We provide:

  • Prenatal Visits: childbirth education & labor preparation, birth visioning, creating a birth plan, emotional support, safe space.
  • Labor Support: continuous support & presence during labor & birth, methods for relaxation & coping with pain, support to your family/partner.
  • Postpartum Visits: care for the new parents, breastfeeding support & newborn care tips, retelling the birth story, community resources.

By creating circles of support around the birthing family, we become part of the tradition of community coming together to recognize the sacredness of new life.

To be a doula is to be a witness to the special moment of birth.  Doulas are a star within the constellation of a families first moments.  We hold space, prayer and intention as this new life comes forward.  We hold hands and sing and breathe deeply with the birthing parents. We advocate for the family to make sure that their wishes are heard and make sure that they understand all their options when giving birth.

Over the last two years we have worked to create a Doula Training & Certification Program that guides doulas to be passionate about birth justice and prepared to provide services within Northern New Mexico context. Like the soil which nourishes our crops, the Indigenous foundation of our YVK Doula Project and its vision of reclaiming birth wisdom are what primarily inform our curriculum. Our YVK trained doulas will respect birth as a ceremony; circle around the whole family; honor the sacredness in all things; attune to the qualities of our relationships; support a culture of consent; protect the right of parents to birth in the way of their choosing; and acknowledge Women as the First Environment.

Our doulas will also be able to serve our families with the skills and knowledge that our communities think is most important. They will be able to bring compassion to every stage of creating a family – from conception to the transformation of parenthood. They will know about local foods and herbs and will be able to use them to support our health and wellbeing, just like we have always done.  YVK trained doulas will understand and be sensitive to the diverse experiences of families including: young parenthood, LGBTQI+ identities, poverty, trauma, incarceration, substance dependency, immigration, domestic/sexual violence and stigma. YVK trained doulas will also have the skills to provide informed, compassionate and non-judgmental services to pregnant and parenting families.

Our pilot training will take place in 2018. We are looking for people who want to be trained as birthworkers. If you are interested in taking the training please send an email inquiry to doulas@tewawomenunited.org.

Our training will take place over the course of seven weekends. Doulas will have access to mentorship throughout the training and certification process and a circle of fellow birthworkers with whom to find connection and support for this very sacred work. We are also looking for individuals who would like to support a local person to become a doula.  Those interested  can make a donation on this page. (In the “Tribute Information” section, please note that your donation is intended for  YVK Doula Training Scholarships.)

We know that our communities are stronger when our families are connected to tradition and to each other. And we feel proud to be a small part in continuing to make that happen. We believe providing culturally appropriate birth support is fundamental in achieving our goal of building Beloved Families and Communities where women, girls and Mother Earth are honored and protected.

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