BMH to be led by local birthworkers

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“We are in a time of growth and creative change.”

Breath of My Heart Birthplace/Navi Pin Haa un Mu, has always been a dream about transformation– not only the shifts  that occur for each individual and family during the process of bringing forward a new relative, but the transformation that occurs when we return to our roots, the knowing and instructions of our ancestors. The name itself– Navi pin haa un mu–  breath of my heart, bestowed to the birth center by Tewa grandmothers, resounds into the sacred connection that we have with our children, and by extension, all our relations. 

We are in a time of growth and creative change. As our birth center has developed we have continued the vision of a sustainable workplace for Midwives and other birthworkers by adapting the role of Executive Director into a shared leadership model made up of three positions: Clinical Director, Organizational Director, and Operations Manager.

Alongside our community we have been experiencing the rapid transformation of our work, our organization and our own lives. We have felt the grief, loss and shock of being front line service providers during a global pandemic and within the context of ongoing systemic violence. With these difficult experiences have also come parallel experiences of positive change and possibility, the self knowledge that we cannot continue in the ways that we have before if we want to move towards our vision of collective liberation. We have been guided to delve deeply into long term solutions of rematriating Indigenous birthwork into our community fiber and enact the next steps of the process: to be Tewa led on Tewa land. We know that by growing our internal strengths and capacity for supporting Indigenous and local community leaders, we can support shared goals of healing and birth justice in Indigenous and land-based communities. 

So it is both with excitement and deep acknowledgement of the challenges ahead that we introduce to you our new leadership team for Breath of My Heart.We are so honored to welcome these individuals into important roles in our community organization. We commit to supporting them as they take on the shared work of re-matriating birthwork and midwifery, seeding Pueblo lands and Acequia communities with Native and Chicanx midwives, and centering the strengths of Indigenous and land based families through the principles of environmental health and reproductive justice. Please join us in receiving our new team of leaders by offering a monetary donation or reaching out directly to them to offer words of solidarity and support as they begin.

Clinical Director: Glenna Belin is a Licensed Midwife from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. She became a midwife through apprenticing in Northern New Mexico in a home birth setting, similar to traditional midwifery passing from generation to generation. Upon being licensed in 2018, Belin became the first Indigenous midwife from a NM tribe to receive ‘Licensed Midwife’ status since its creation in the 80s. Some of her career highlights thus far include receiving both her grandchildren in their ancestral family home in their Pueblo village. Belin participated as a community member in the initial community convening that gave rise to BMH in 2011 and has worked with the organization as an apprentice, assistant, and staff midwife since 2013. She is humbled to accept the role of clinical director and embraces the opportunity. She is dedicated to supporting families in the Espanola Valley. As a tribal member of Ohkay Owingeh she has an affinity for working with the Pueblos and indigenous population. Coming into a role of leadership she is excited to move forward with the projects Breath of My Heart has in store.

Organizational Director: Beata Tsosie-Peña is from Santa Clara Pueblo and El Rito, NM. She is certified as an Infant Massage Instructor, as a Developmental Specialist I-Advanced, an Educator(B.A. and A.A), a full spectrum Doula and Lactation Counselor, and in Indigenous Sustainable Design (permaculture).  She is a Pueblo representative for the New Mexico Governor’s Task Force on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives serving a second term and  serves on two local community boards. She was also a founding board member of Breath of My Heart Birthplace. The realities of living next to a nuclear weapons complex called her into environmental health and reproductive  justice work and advocacy for over a decade. She does this work in honor of her roles as a Tewa mother,partner, aunty, seedkeeper,artist, farmer, and relative to all beings.

Operations Manager and Birth Assistant: Jeanette is a wife and a mother of 5. She is originally from Española and married into Santa Clara Pueblo.She is certified as a birth assistant, full circle doula through International Center for Traditional Childbearing and  is a Certified infant Touch & Massage Instructor. She is also a certified Lactation specialist and is currently working toward becoming a certified Lactation Educator. She participated as a member of the initial community convening that gave rise to BMH and has worked with Breath of My Heart since 2013. Her passion in life is of course family first, followed by being an advocate for mothers and families in her community.

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