Hey bebo mia fam!
My name is Ashley and I’m so excited to start this new journey. My wife is in the US military so we’re currently stationed abroad with our 3-year-old daughter. We’ve been together for 15 years- before gay marriage was legal, before being gay in the military was legal, or before having legal children was a possibility. It’s been a long road to feeling like a welcomed family in our society but it’s getting better every day. Being a mixed-race queer family in the military, it’s easy to feel like a unicorn, but without the magic. Haha. When I gave birth to my daughter I didn’t know a soul where we were stationed and I spent the first couple months alone caring for my newborn while my wife was away for training. I will never forget how sad and lonely those days were, and I want to offer myself to other individuals feeling similar.
Moving around every couple of years has been difficult on my career, so the last two years I have stayed at home with my daughter. Since I haven’t had an income for a couple of years I was very hesitant to start any training program. I applied for this scholarship so that I could independently finance myself without putting that burden on my partner. I specifically chose to apply for the Queers for Queer Care award because it is exactly what I want to do with this opportunity. I want to care for other queers, support them in their decisions, build and strengthen the bonds within our community.
One reason I chose bebo mia was because of their dedication to inclusivity. It was very apparent on their website, posts, and scholarship opportunities that they made great efforts to reach out to a variety of minority groups. Being queer, I love to support queer-owned businesses. Knowing that I could take a training program with an organization that was queer-owned and inclusive made me feel comfortable and even more excited for this journey. In my previous career, I was a teacher, and I’ll never forget the day I thought I was going to be fired for being gay. Other teachers were telling students that homosexuality was contagious, and they must stay far away from it. As one can imagine it was a very sad and scary time for me. To have the feeling that I am now celebrated and supported for being queer is one I will never take for granted. I also want to enter the workforce feeling knowledgeable and prepared. I knew I wanted a course that was extensive rather than being fast-tracked into the field.
Before getting pregnant, I never thought much about the world of birth. In true indoctrination form, I watched The Business of Being Born before giving birth. It was a very eye-opening documentary (and who knew Ricki Lake would make such an influential comeback in our lives! Haha). My sister and I were pregnant at the same time. I was fortunate enough to find a midwife and have the natural birth I wanted. My sister, on the other hand, was thrown into all negative aspects of birth the documentary shows, including suffering from an episiotomy without consent or knowledge of it happening beforehand. Hearing what an awful experience she had made my heart hurt. As the first few years went by, my Instagram feed was always full of babies, birth, and breast/chestfeeding. I shed a tear at almost every post (still do haha), but finally, during the lockdown, it clicked. My heart was being pulled towards birth work. I was ready for a career change, searching for what it would be, and here it was in front of me the whole time. Over the last 15 years, I have worked in a domestic violence shelter and as a teacher. Although directly unrelated, I feel these experiences with trauma and education are a great start into the world of birth work. I want to support families in one of the most pivotal moments of their life. I want to ensure individuals come out of this experience knowing they were loved and supported, regardless of the outcome.
My focus after the training will be to work with queer families, specifically, but not exclusively, in the military. I want everyone to feel they have a home away from home, a family member wherever they are. Military life can feel very isolating if you don’t feel like one of the pack (or possibly even if you do). Furthermore, we have only recently been legally and openly allowed into this department. Military birthers are often alone as their partner may be deployed or away for training. It is so crucial to have that support system. Queer military families are dotted throughout the world, but I want to connect the dots.
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