Kate Ubermuth Intersectional or Bust Award Spring 2020

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Hello! My name is Kate and my pronouns are she/her. I am twenty-one years old and live in the beautiful state of Washington with my mom, cat and dog. I was born and raised in Connecticut until age seventeen when I moved across the country to attend The Evergreen State College. Many people from my home town thought I was crazy for moving all that way for a state school, but I loved its interdisciplinary teaching style and Olympia’s whole feel. It was a huge change but definitely the best decision for me. I am on track to finish up my B.A. in Gender/Women’s Studies with a focus on Reproductive Justice by this summer! 

 

I have known that I identify as an intersectional feminist since about Sophomore year of high school. While I knew that I wanted to advance the rights of women first and foremost as a career (I am using women as an all-encompassing term to refer to all who are not cis-men), I didn’t exactly know how. So, I took classes that interested me in college until I became interested in birth work in my Sophomore year. I think I watched a documentary about traditional Black midwives before the witch trials and was hooked. The sheer power that birthing people have as well as the gross injustices that they often face called on me to learn more. I created an independent study about the role of midwives and doulas throughout history and today, and recently finished up one about the reproductive justice movement. As part of this project, I interviewed local doulas/midwives/lactation consultants. After shadowing a childbirth education class of a local doula, I felt SO inspired. I just knew in those moments of observing and absorbing her knowledge that I, too, wanted to be a doula. She seemed so effortless and sure of herself. I want to be that way with my knowledge too. Before attending that class and speaking with her about her work, doula work only interested me in theory. Everything changed when I realized that it was my calling. 

 

When I shared this news with her, she automatically recommended Bebo Mia’s training because she had been through it herself and loved its comprehensive nature (which differs from many trainings that may only last a weekend). She noted that your training was also different in the sense that it sets people up for success with the business side of things, which is something that intrigued me. I do not know much about building a business and did not want to be left to figure it out on my own once certified! So, I applied for the Intersectional/Bust scholarship. I applied for this scholarship because intersectionality is very important to me. I believed in its importance before I even knew what it was called, and I know how extra important it is to endorse as a White woman who may be able to sway the opinions of other White people when people of color are either unable to, or it is unsafe to do so. Since I was not able to enroll in the doula training without accruing more debt on top of my already-existing student loans, I was very grateful to have been granted the runner-up award! 

 

At the core of it all, I want to be a doula because 1) I want to help people tap into the power and intuition that they have been told to ignore, and 2) I want to increase love and empathy in this world. As such, I want to spread the word about the importance of birth work and help counteract the horrific Black maternal mortality crisis in America in any way that I can. I believe that love and empathy has the power to connect all things, and I see that this is strongly exemplified in birth work. From my experience as a babysitter, an aunt, and a daughter, I know that being a parent is hard work that takes a village, and that strong family bonds are incredibly important. I want people to feel supported throughout the entire perinatal period so that they may focus on putting their energy towards fostering those bonds rather than stressing and worrying. On top of this, I want to expand my knowledge about pregnancy and postpartum so that I will be prepared for the day I start my own family (which I cannot wait for!).

 

After I complete this training, I plan to start my own doula business that includes not only birth doula work, but eventually postpartum and fertility doula services as well as photography/videography and birth art. One day I also want to train to encapsulate placentas, offer lactation advice, and possibly offer nutrition advice and/or food delivery to postpartum mommas. I really just want to offer whatever will be helpful to families. I also feel strongly about making doula care accessible to all people regardless of income, so I hope one day I can offer a sliding scale to my clients in order to be able to gift a few free births to families who cannot pay. This will also likely include community activism such as supporting the Midwives Association of Washington State and other local organizations that advocate for midwifery and doula care legislation. This is my calling, and I know that this training is the entrance to a pathway that will lead me on many eye-opening journeys. I am so excited to start  

– Kate

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