Trina Lathlin – The Birth Justice Scholarship Winner Spring 2020

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tansi, Trina nitsiyihkâson

Hello, my name is Trina
I am a Swampy Cree woman with my maternal family originating from Treaty 5 territory but I was born and raised on Treaty 4 land in Saskatchewan, Canada. Acknowledging the land I live and work on is important to me as a person with some non-Indigenous ancestry because I am definitely a guest here regardless of my Indigenous homelands being only a province away. I want to always honor the lives lost here caused by the system and laws used in the creation of the cities we live in today and I observe that it is a big reason for current events we see passed down to the next generation.
I was blessed with many things in my life, especially when it came to the birth of my 2 beautiful kids. I was surrounded by a strong partner and supported by a great midwife team. I know there were many factors that played into how my births unfolded, including the access to education that I had as an urban Indigenous woman with parents who had found some stability in life while I was still young. With my post secondary education I found stability in my own life right before having my children and it helped both pregnancies to be somewhat stress free with benefits and maternity leave.
My births were beautiful, but the pregnancies and parenting were not as gentle on me, suffering from extreme morning sickness as well as prenatal depression followed by reoccurring postpartum depression. It was actually in the deepest of my depression that the spark was ignited within myself to search for a way into the world of birthwork and I began my personal healing journey forgiving myself for choices I had made in the past and reconnected with my culture. 
Coming across bebomia and seeing the scholarships offered was an amazing moment. I remember the excitement I felt when the description of the Birth Justice scholarship was spot on with the work I hope to do for mothers who face many hardships on their parenting journey. As I am still paying student loan debt off, I jumped at the chance to start something I had only dreamed of. It felt surreal writing about what I hope my business will look like and it felt so important to identify the types of situations that my sisters face and who I think I could support with these skills that would literally be at my finger tips! Thanks to this scholarship my student debts will be cleared much sooner because I can continue my current work while building my new business. This allows me to follow my passion now and begin to help families sooner.
As I have seen repeatedly in regards to bebomia is how important it was to find training that was inclusive and I cannot stress how impressed I was with this aspect of the training. It was very intimidating to think of walking into a weekend class surrounded by ladies who have never met someone with severe addictions or faced child apprehension and although it may not be a topic that has a title in this training I feel extremely comfortable to reach out and find someone who has ideas to benefit my own work in relation to high risk pregnancies. Pregnancies that are high risk usually mean more doctors who only have short appointments to explain treatment plans and the follow up supports after devastating news may take longer than needed to help guide a mother to all the supports she may access.
My current career as a medical laboratory assistant has provided me many opportunities to observe the current situation that Indigenous people face specifically in Saskatchewan. The public statistics say enough but actually seeing the amount of samples going through our system for Indigenous people facing both addictions and preventable infectious diseases feels so overwhelming some days and I have grown to feel like I can do more with my skillset and compassionate personality. I desire to one day be on the frontlines of fighting preventable diseases armed with education and knowledge of how the medical system operates here locally as well as helping families find new normals while empowering them to face their addictions. This knowledge that I hope to gain and pass on to my sisters will give them the power to predict and prepare for anything that comes their way in pregnancy and I am so thankful bebomia is here to share it with us and support us as we transition from students to birthworkers.
I would love to someday work in partnership with a non profit or in conjunction with the infectious disease clinic, but I know systematically that might be a long time before that can happen so I would first begin with advertising my services through friends and family and creating my own website platform and attending some mom and baby expos for my first year. I would love to find a business partner and build a business based on teachings from the Cree language, and finding out where the family came from as that is how you find where the pain began in your family line and how forgiveness and healing begin. Helping the families build a strong bond in pregnancy is often the one chance of finding and keeping them in sobriety and it is the reason I want to do birth work. It is important for me to guide them towards good opikinawasowin (child rearing) but also meeting them where they are at not where someone thinks they should be. Having a sliding scale and a mixture of low – high risk pregnancies will prevent burnout while keeping my services affordable. I hope to include mentoring in the birthwork I do and offering support to new doulas. I am looking forward to the challenges ahead and I am again so very thankful to have the #bebobabes support system and all the extras they have to really build the business I want!
 – Trina
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