To our dear healthcare and birthworker community,
We are aware that these unfolding moments call us into deeper and deeper layers of service, compassion, and commitment to the families that we support, and responsibility towards our broader community.
Our hearts are breaking as we bear witness to the grief and collective trauma experienced by Israelis and Palestinians, and Jewish and Muslim communities. We know that many people have lost loved ones, friends, and acquaintances to the ongoing violence. We stand with you in your grief and share your worry, confusion, and sadness.
As allies and friends to Jews and Muslims, we are deeply disappointed and appalled by the acts of antisemitic and Islamophobic hate that events in the Middle East have spawned. We know that many members of our staff and communities are afraid to engage in public life because of these disgraceful acts and we are truly sorry. We’re aware that there are many ripples of impact and that some of you and your families are directly and indirectly impacted by the conflict between Israel and Palestine. You belong here, and you are welcomed with compassionate hearts.
We know that even those who are not directly connected to the fighting are still experiencing emotional dysregulation triggered by the onslaught of violent images and stories and the mass grief that surrounds them. We see you and stand with you.
Call To Action:
Many organizations in the birthwork community may be justifiably afraid of saying things that cause more pain, and are therefore choosing silence. While this is an understandable and human response to trauma, silence and inaction are a huge part of how the conditions for violence are created.
We might be asking ourselves in these times:
What impact can I have? How will I show up to meet the pain of the world? How can I lovingly meet my own pain? How might I contribute to more compassion instead of more suffering? How can I incorporate a trauma-informed approach in my support to do less harm?
As doulas and perinatal educators, our direct support to families is a critical intervention and action for reproductive justice. Doing this work intentionally involves recognizing the systemic pathways that connect all forms of violence, and unequivocally denouncing and confronting violence wherever it is found. We support and amplify international calls for peace.
We recognize that there is only so much that we and each of you can do about this astronomical and overwhelming disaster. We believe that there are small but profound practices that we can all access to take care of our pain, grief, and powerfulness. Collective healing starts inside each of us.
Prioritize checking in with your body and your emotional state. Maintain awareness of the impact that consuming the news is having on you and know your limits. Develop a trauma-informed safety plan that includes practical things that you can do to regulate your nervous system and process your day. Fast, accessible self-regulation strategies include taking long deep breaths, checking in with your body, and engaging in activities that help you feel grounded and connected. Reminder not to hesitate to seek medical attention if you are unbearably overwhelmed.
We are aware that those in North America who are directly impacted by the violence may need professional support. Some culturally informed North American mental health support lines that can connect you to other resources are:
1 (800) 556-6238
1 (855) 543-5752
1 (866) 627-3342
1 (866) 315-6472
Talking to Kids
Letting our kids know that we see their reaction to what is happening and supporting them to begin to understand and have compassion for those directly affected is a profound action we can take to support and nurture our families.
Here are some resources to assist you with talking to your kids about the war in Gaza and Israel:
Here is some information about supporting your children’s mental health: https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/
Trauma Informed Care
One clear action that we must take as birthworkers is to offer simple acts of self-care towards ourselves and and take action in the ways that align best with our sphere of influence. Reach out to your Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, and Palestinian friends and families that you are serving, and make sure they’re not alone with their grief. Let them know you care, even if you’re not sure you have the right words. Create safe meeting spaces where people can process their grief, listen to each other, and build kinship and understanding. We all have the power to be a light in our communities.
We hope that you are finding ways to nourish yourself and breathe through whatever is arising in your life in these times of intense upheaval. We invite you to share this information with anyone who would find it of benefit.
DTC Management and EDI Team