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- Los Angeles is home.
I was born and raised here.
I come from midwives
and I heard their stories as a child growing up.
In Los Angeles County African American women
are two to three times more likely to suffer
premature birth or to have a baby die within the first year.
You have to ask the question:
is the hospital really the safest place for them?
And my mission is all around making a change in
these statistics.
(soft music)
Oh, it's okay!
Midwifery is closing the gap
because each person is given a path.
Midwives are not anti-hospitals,
midwives are not anti-doctors.
We are advocates for people having access
to the care that they want.
That means they have the choice to give birth
in a hospital, in a birth center
or at home but supporting them whichever way they go
and then them getting the best possible care.
Right now if you were to Google midwifery you would find
the majority of people represented are an elite group.
More specifically, white and so I see myself
as hopefully someone who's an advocate for those
that are completely disregarded and unseen in
our community
and if you ask those women,
they'll tell you.
Well, it feels really good to be seen by someone
who looks like me, who understands the micro-aggression,
who understands the stress of just being a person of color
in the United States.
This is the Community Birth Center
and it's located in mid-city.
I run the birth center.
It was funded by women in the community
who I had served as a midwife.
What they find when they come
is a warm, inviting space.
When they make it into the exam room,
it's a conversation.
What's going on, what can I do for you today?
You're fine.
- When I get to nine months I'm gonna have like a
small planet attached to the front of me.
- You're great.
Last year, 2014, I had one premature baby
out of 100 babies born outside of the hospital
and in the hospital.
One premature baby.
That's kind of a big deal.
Are you having any dizziness
or any light-headedness?
Most midwives in a day are gonna see six to 10 people,
maybe on a really busy day 20.
As opposed to having to have the caseload of a doctor.
This is where we see a big difference
specifically for African American families.
(soft music)
The Community Birth Center offers a sliding scale
for families in need.
The average cost for out-of- hospital birth with a midwife
in Los Angeles is 6,500 dollars.
I charge $5,000.
I could never charge someone something
that I couldn't afford.
Being a single mom,
there are days that I don't feel like I have enough:
fiscally, emotionally, spiritually,
all of them; I just don't have enough
but I figure it out.
Will lack of income ultimately close
the Community Birth Center?
It's a very strong possibility
but I'll keep doing it for as long as I can
and I will never stop giving people care.
I will never stop the sliding scale.
It comes with great sacrifice
but it's worth it.
(soft music)
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The Midwife Helping Families in Need

64 Folder Collection
許大善 published on September 1, 2019
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