BIRTHFIT Podcast 121 Featuring Tracie Enis of National Black Doulas Association
Lindsey: [00:00:00] So welcome to the BIRTHFIT podcast.
Tracie Enis: [00:00:04] Woooo Lindsey I’m so excited to be here.
Lindsey: [00:00:06] Yeah I’m super stoked to have you too because basically I want to repeat you know three quarters of the conversation we had two weeks ago. and let the audience hear what’s going on. You know? So first let’s start with who you are and how your journey into the childbirth world started.
Tracie Enis: [00:00:30] Oh now I’m gonna date myself.
Lindsey: [00:00:37] Lets do it.
Who is Tracie Enis?
Tracie Enis: [00:00:38] So I started out in the year 2000 with DONA. And so I trained as a doula back in 2000 and up in Sacramento. And I have my practice going for about two three years into you know into the doula business into the doula world and was getting really great traction. But I always knew I wanted to deliver babies. So about two to three years into my doula career I transitioned and studied apprentice and practiced midwifery in Oakland and had my own midwifery practice along with another midwife and we primarily worked with women of color. I was delivering I was doing home birth at that particular time. And I took some time off after about a couple of years for two years as a midwife, a homebirth midwife–Yeah about two years into it and went and got a cullina– this is crazy. But I went and got a cullinary degree. But I did that because one of the things that I noticed while I was delivering babies was women were lacking in their nutrition on their postpartum– I mean their prenatal period. So I really wanted to be able to bridge everybody’s level of food with pregnancy. And so I was able to do that and fast forwarding some years later of course I went back onto the doula side and I just chose not to practice as a midwife. That’s something that’s going to always be with me: that education, how I approach birth or how I taught others to approach birth from a more holistic care, continuity of care. Taking care of the whole woman not just her vagina. You know when she goes into labor, but the physiology around birth and then also bridging the gap with nutrition. So as a result I’ve been able to cultivate a prenatal nutrition diet that really helps the body prepare for the most efficient labor possible and you know through iron and protein and really breaking things down so moms can actually see the nutritional benefit in relation to labor and how it could help expedite the labor process. As a result of creating that diet. I’ve had doctors going ‘Tracie what are you doing with these women?’ You know because the babies are like falling out I’m just like that’s nothing you guys can’t even hang on my level. They would be like we’re not doing anything Tracie’s doing everything and the nurses would see me come in and they’ll be like. There’s something else to her. She’s not just like a regular doula and once they found out my background and they’re like ‘Oh okay now we get it, we see it’, but I really have been you know I have had success in being able to marry holistic approach to birth and the hospital setting and understanding the policies and procedures, the bureaucracy, the physiology behind birth and being able to bridge it for the clientele base so they can have the most successful birth possible. My motto has always been healthy mom, healthy baby. I’m not like “You have to go natural”.
Lindsey: [00:03:44] Yeah.
Tracie Enis: [00:03:45] We don’t know what kind of labor her body is going to have. In labor where there’s a lot of moment by moment decision making process. You have to be as fluid as water when it comes to birthing your baby. So that’s one of the things that I you know now teach other doulas to teach their clients and that we you know still facilitate within the practice themselves.
Lindsey: [00:04:07] That’s awesome. I love that phrase: fluid as water.
Tracie Enis: [00:04:11] Be fluid as water.
Lindsey: [00:04:12] Yeah. So adaptable, yeah.
Tracie Enis: [00:04:16] You know you have no control. And I know I’m probably going to like ruffle some feathers by saying this but I hate birth plans and I totally hate birth plans.
Lindsey: [00:04:27] That’s okay we do too. We call it a worksheet.
Tracie Enis: [00:04:34] Lindsey.. this is why. But I don’t like them because I think it sets moms up for failure. It’s like you know where I’m looking at it from not just the day of, but how is her postpartum period going to be? More personally, there’s a lot of unrealistic expectations put on women in society period. And then when we complicate it with just a linear view of how birth is supposed to be especially if your body has never given birth before. Now if this is your second baby, at least we have a blueprint but we don’t even have a blueprint. You know so but you can totally impress me with the postpartum plan.
Lindsey: [00:05:10] Yes.
Tracie Enis: [00:05:11] It’s like you wanna do a postpartum plan? Now you’re talkin’.
What is a DOULA?
Lindsey: [00:05:16] So what was the–I still get this question a lot and I’ll back up a sec because we could go off on a thousand tangents, but with doula and midwifery you know still to this day we’re in 2018 people are like ‘What’s a doula?’ So you know let’s just say we have somebody new that’s listening on the podcast. ‘Wait a sec, what’s the difference between a midwife and a doula? Was there any certain thing that– Because yeah. Was there any certain thing that made you choose the doula lifestyle over the midwife lifestyle?
Tracie Enis: [00:06:00] Yeah I got that question today. And the best way you know them the midwife does everything medical, the doula’s role is nonmedical. As long as you are operating with the scope of what a doula means it is nonmedical, so is emotional, mental, and physical support. When you began to take heart tones or blood pressure or read urine sticks or began to diagnose that out of the scope of practice. I’ve had clients because they know my background they’re like. ‘Will you do it’– Nope that’s a whole nother mindset for me that’s a whole nother paygrade you don’t wanna do that for me.
Lindsey: [00:06:39] Yeah and then how would you explain midwifery vs OBGYN to somebody.
Tracie Enis: [00:06:49] First of all I mean– I don’t know if I can cuss.
Lindsey: [00:06:50] Yeah you can, I do all the time.
[00:06:59] Ok thank you. But midwives are the shit. The reason is because we’re taught to be led by our intuition and our skill set has to be so keen because we’re not we don’t have access to those emergency you know technology. All that all that stuff OR. Being a midwife you’re trained in preventative you’re not trained in reactionary. So and that’s the difference. I mean of course OBGYN’s do surgery and all of that. But the midwifery care is so involved in the whole woman how you know past trauma can affect her–the course of her delivery can affect the course of her labor or pregnancy. You know how is her health before she got pregnant. You know what’s the plan afterwards? When–And just to give you a brief example when you deliver with the midwife or when you do your home birth. It’s like we used to do 24 hour visits postpartum, 72 hour visits postpartum, five day or one week, a two week visit, a four week visit and a six week postpartum.
Lindsey: [00:08:08] That’s…That Is unreal.
Tracie Enis: [00:08:11] Yeah yeah.
Lindsey: [00:08:13] Compared to like the western medicine approach.
[00:08:17] Right see you in six weeks ‘Ok that’s it, you’re done’ and then the woman’s like ‘What?’.
Lindsey: [00:08:20] Yeah their head is spinning.
Tracie Enis: [00:08:26] Yeah. Their head is spinning, their body is confused trying to adjust to their new normal. They’re still healing. It’s we know, you and I both know postpartum it takes about a year and I’m so over this especially with you know Serena Williams and now Beyonce has said her whole thing about what she’s dealt with. And just based on Cardi B’s post alone I’m convinced that she has postpartum depression and nobody knows how to–Nobody in her circle knows how to get to her and say this is what you need. So I don’t like the whole mentality like ‘Snapback and get back to work’, and–.
Lindsey: [00:09:06] ‘Get your butt–pre-baby body back’. That’s the worst.
Tracie Enis: [00:09:11] There is no such thing even.
Lindsey: [00:09:13] Yeah you’ve evolved.
Tracie Enis: [00:09:15] Oh my God yeah. And it’s just totally different so really looking at the fourth trimester which is the postpartum for you know as a 12 month thing you know as a twelve month thing. First there’s a sixth week. Oh my god.
Lindsey: [00:09:31] Yeah. It’s not six weeks ‘Okay. Go exercise have sex get back to life’ it’s like what?.
Tracie Enis: [00:09:40] None of that. And even if you do you’re so out of your body. That whole thing takes a process of getting back into our body you know adjusting to being a mom, producing milk, ‘I’m sleep deprived’. Taking a shower is a luxury. Can I eat–you know all of the basics that you know you take for granted until you become a parent.
Lindsey: [00:10:05] Yeah using the bathroom alone. That is huge.
Tracie Enis: [00:10:11] ‘Oh my god please don’t let it sting when I pee. Oh my god. I mean the basic stuff.
Lindsey: [00:10:20] So let’s turn back to nutrition because you said you’ve got a culinary degree. You know incorporated that into what you were doing as a doula. What were you know if you could say top three things that would support a woman in her pregnancy? Or that you would incorporate if you want to share. Get out the myth that protein comes from animals. You can get some but there are more healthier ways to incorporate protein into the body. Understanding how to support the immune system and how the protein and the immune system got together when it comes to healing and connective tissue is when it comes in that it also comes to tearing and helping to minimize tearing let me see what else. Hydration.
Lindsey: [00:11:19] Hydration’s key.
Tracie Enis: [00:11:20] Hydration and how dehydration mimics early labor. So oftentimes when you have clients who are– it’s the summertime it’s hot and she’s in her third trimester and she was experiencing uterine contractions and she contacts you like the first thing you always want to ask is are you hydrated. Oftentimes you know like when she thinks about it’s like oh no never really hydrates. because if you go to the E.R. The first thing you’re going to do is give you fluids.
Lindsey: [00:11:54] Right. They’re going to put an I.V. in and start that. Yeah. That makes sense.
Tracie Enis: [00:11:58] And then also how to incorporate dark leafy greens but how your postpartem diet has to change. It can’t be necessarily the same you can’t combine all of those dark leafy greens in the postpartum period. Your baby’s digestive system is very new. They are trying to get adjusted. Imagine if you eat a whole bunch of kale and collard and chard like four hours later you’re going to be on the toilet your body is going to be cleaning itself out. Imagine what your newborn’s digestive system is going through too. So it’s really important to learn how to isolate your foods.
Lindsey: [00:12:35] Those are good tips. Any other tips postpartum wise like for that immediate two to six week time?
Tracie Enis: [00:12:44] Eat! Eating at least eight meals a day. Your only job is really to eat, sleep and eat your baby. That’s it. You are not the nurturer you are to be nurtured. Also for the partner in the situation you are to be nurtured as well. It’s really important to come up with a postpartum plan how your family can support you how your friends can support you. If you are going to have a postpartum doula. Like all of those things are key, but for immediate postpartum you want to eat and stay hydrated. And I mean eat around the clock. 24/7 because moms their body is producing milk. And oftentimes they feel like oh my God my baby screaming they’re not getting enough milk. Are you eating an egg. We have to go back to the basics because mom isn’t thinking like this. Are you eating enough? What are you eating? We want your milk nice and thick even though we know breast milk is watery. There is a consistency that we’re looking for that’s gonna fill baby up. So it’s really important to have good healthy snack foods near you and then also healing foods.
Lindsey: [00:13:50] What’s your favorite healing food? You personally.
Tracie Enis: [00:13:56] Me. I haven’t been pregnant in 15 years. In general or just like?
Lindsey: [00:14:05] Yeah yeah.
Tracie Enis: [00:14:05] Oh You know my go to food is salad. I can really make–I can eat salad like winter, spring, summer, fall. Yeah beautiful–I love produce like a beautiful array of colors and I get excited when I go to the produce. I love dark leafy greens and even like being a black girl we know we have the greens, the pot of greens. And you can make greens so many different ways you don’t just have to soak em and cook em for hours you can saute them in coconut oil.
Lindsey: [00:14:43] That’s what I do.
Tracie Enis: [00:14:43] Isn’t it so good? You can saute them in coconut oil. Collard Greens sauteed in coconut oil or kale sauteed in coconut oil is amazing and you just put some yeast on there and some red pepper flakes and a little bit of Braggs and you’re good to go. Feel like I just gave a recipe.
Lindsey: [00:15:02] You can invoice everybody for that one.
Tracie Enis: [00:15:10] I just gave a recipe. But those are my healing food, I would definitely say that or a pot of [unintelligible]. Yeah you know good warm stuff that really warms your soul. One pot meals.
Lindsey: [00:15:24] Yeah I like that. All right so back to your life story. Yeah. So how the heck did you go from Oakland to Atlanta? And when was that?
Tracie Enis: [00:15:37] So it’s been a transition but primarily in the course of a year. But I have been going back and forth to Atlanta for a while and it’s just home. Just like when a place resonates in your spirit and it just was that for me. But you know I grew up in Oakland my practice is still going well and strong in Oakland and Caitlan, my doula partner facilitates that primarily and now I’ve just launched an Atlanta doula group here. And it’s just we’re doing it we’re trying to make a difference.
This is America. This is BIRTH in America today!
Lindsey: [00:16:20] Awesome, so let’s take a timeout and we’ll stop talking about your life journey. But talk about what the heck is going on in America today. Like your face just changed everything. So for those of us that have been following BIRTHFIT they know you know if you follow BIRTHFIT on Instagram we share some facts you know hopefully I can do a better job of sharing facts. But we try to, whether be through breast feeding or maternal mortality rate, share some information just so people wake up and see what the hell’s going on because women of color specifically black women are dying at a rate of three to four times White women, correct? Yeah. So tell everyone what the heck is going on. And then maybe we can dive into like how the heck can we do anything about it from where each one of us are in our you know in Venice, California or Davenport, Iowa or Oklahoma City you know.
Tracie Enis: [00:17:29] So first it’s a couple of things, it’s a few things, it’s several things. It really dates back to the father of Gynecology and how he taught doctors, let me go back even farther. So we all know the granny midwives. Ok we know that black granny midwives in the south they were delivering these babies and midwives go back even further than that. Women were always healings and villages and the midwife was always the one doing the work with the family for the family. She was the herbalist she was the you know the midwife she was there at the beginning of life and end of life transition. So that’s just that you know the little bit–.
Lindsey: [00:18:17] That’s powerful like just to sit and think about that. Like the women were the spiritual healers and that gets passed on to generations.
Tracie Enis: [00:18:28] Passed on through generations and it’s not only like spiritual healers, physical healers you know this is why I like I mean this–I’m digressing just a second, but transition in labor is so important because moms are at that window of life [unintelligible] a transitional period. And if you don’t know how to handle a woman in labor in that transitional period with no medication, you are going to do her a disservice.
Lindsey: [00:18:56] That’s so true.
[00:18:58] Yes they’re at that window it’s a cross between two worlds it’s a real fine line it’s an extremely fine line but so there’s that you know that history of women healers and then you have the granny midwives, but then you have [unintelligible] introduce western medicine and white male supremacy and so they come and they’ve gone on with information and this knowledge but now they oust all of these granny midwives that have done all of the healing. I can go further and further and further into that. But then in doing that what has happened as the father of gynecology, he taught that black women did not feel pain and there were experiments done on black women that were done without any anaesthesia. So this is you know in recent relative history you know and as a result this mentality has been passed down in the medical system and society.
Lindsey: [00:19:59] It’s like taught in schools.
Tracie Enis: [00:20:02] It’s taught in schools but also understand that you know “black women don’t feel pain”. They are taught not to listen to us. They’re not trained in preventative measures we’re trained in–when you come up from a holistic background–you’re trained in a holistic approach as far as how to deal with the body to prevent X,Y, and Z. They’re trained in how to intervene or how to look for problems or how to create problems or how to create a domino effect. So there is a lot of that you know in that history but moving forward what’s happening is not only is it systemic because of the medical system that’s been taught. You know now we have the nurses and doctors and OBGYN they’re not listening to black women. They’re telling black women this is not what’s happening to you. “Yes you we hear you but you’re not in pain. We have somebody else that needs addressing”. So there is a prejudice and there too. You know “We’re turning a blind eye. We’re being ignorant. We’re not–What you’re saying is not valid”. And we can go into other areas in society where they’ll say black women and what we’re saying is not valid but we’re just talking specifically about our bodies right now. And you lived in your body for your entire life and you know what’s normal and not normal and you see what I’m saying here. So but if you say it and I say it then the reception will probably be different. So when you add that into that culture and what’s happening in the medical society. Okay. And it doesn’t matter your socioeconomic background it doesn’t matter your education level. It does not matter. This is why we have to change the mentality of what is happening and what is being listened to. This is why black women are dying. This is why people are making decisions on our behalf that don’t have our best interests at heart and it’s costing us our lives. So not only is the black family structure being you know [unintelligible] doubled the mothers are being–are losing our lives because of childbirth or immediate postpartum and you know the father, we all know what’s happening with that. So it’s you know just a whole attack on the black family structure and it’s hard to heal from that now when you complicate it with nutrition and the lack of healthy resources and options in certain neighborhoods that becomes another factor then when you keep information from people and we all know like information and knowledge is power. So when you keep that information as far as “this plan will help you do X,Y, and Z or if you hydrate this much you will change or if you move 30 minutes a day just imagine how much easier your labor would be”. All of these things and so we’re seeing things on a lot of different levels. But now that we have people who are helping to say ‘Hey this is me and this is what’s happening to me’ you know where we are trying to be as vocal about it as possible and to help end the black maternal mortality rate because we don’t have to die. There’s no reason. Like you go in a hospital, I go in a hospital to have a baby at the same time. We should still be able to come out and go home and both have a healthy postpartum.
Lindsey: [00:23:30] Right, and taking a step back. It’s from the research that I’ve done in which you know I came up with all of that. Like the granny midwives them experimenting on black women with no painkillers. Like that’s so inhumane and then I forget what the father of the obstetrics–.
Tracie Enis: [00:23:56] Yeah obstetrics and gynecology I was trying to look it up too.
Lindsey: [00:23:59] I forget his name but it’s like all those text books they were written without A) a woman’s point of view at all, but much less any woman of color. So it’s like white males wrote obstetrics textbooks.
Tracie Enis: [00:24:16] But remember now we go back but they went to learn it, the practice, from us.
Lindsey: [00:24:21] Yes which is unreal and then it’s–I mean it’s plagiarism. It’s taking intellectual property. Like for sure in today’s day and age, but holy holy hell. So how do we change? Like I know the schools like that’s that’s a mess. I don’t know how you do that, how do we change the school? Like can we get in there and say we’ve got to rewrite these textbooks?
Tracie Enis: [00:24:55] You know what helps is having allies. It’s having you know people who have resources or who are in certain professions. Literally listen to what we have to say. We have facts of life to back us up. There is Black Mommas Matter Allliance and they are I think I’m saying the name right. But they are amazing and they’re headquartered in Atlanta and are doing amazing work to help change how you know politically what’s happening with black women and the maternal mortality rate. So they are doing an amazing job. So I just think we need to start with awareness and acknowledgement. And then also like I think white women need to acknowledge and have a conversation with us. Like don’t be afraid of our voices or our experiences. It’s OK for us to be different. You know the best thing that we can do is let’s help bridge this gap because you guys have resources or access to things that we don’t necessarily have. But will we create a bridge you know that that creates the education it creates opportunity to ask questions, even hard questions. And you know so we can begin to make the difference and change.
Lindsey: [00:26:09] For sure. I like that. Is there a new way you can elaborate on bridging that gap like let’s say and I’m trying to think of a scenario. But let’s go to like Oklahoma City or middle like Nebraska or somewhere you know where they may have like some of our regional directors in these areas are professionals have maybe one OBGYN that they love that will support you know maybe a v-back or breach birth or you know in some states like Alabama don’t even have midwifes right or homebirths like one of them is not an option. Yeah. How do you think if you could ask white women to step up, what would be like the top two or three things you would ask them to do? To bridge the gap.
[00:27:09] First of all I think you should listen. I think you can’t– You have to listen with the intent to make a comment. Just listen from your heart. And after you listen you need to also talk to your peers you know talk to your circle. That’s really important because you not sharing information. Information is meant to be shared especially if it’s going to help better somebodies experience on this earth. And then from there we can take it into the professions. It starts with having having an open safe space for information to be shared and then having that table talk with your girlfriends like having that table talk or that pillow talk with your spouse. Because we all know we can’t compete with pillow talk. There’s nothing that can compete with pillow talk you know if your spouse just so happens to be an OBGYN guess what difference that makes? You know. So I think it needs to we need to shed light on organizations that are doing the work. Black women who are out here in the birth world doing the work trying to get in and and save us. Yeah you know to get in and save ourselves. And what resources are available to do that. Yeah I don’t even think I gave that question a good enough answer.
Lindsey: [00:28:43] No I think you. I think it’s great it’s– you got to keep the conversation going. Like many people have stepped up and you know thank God for Serena Williams and Beyonce and their following because they’ve brought the conversation to light even more, but it’s say yeah we can’t. The information’s there it’s out there we can’t put it under the rug. You know that would just be turning a head and you know if you turn a head then you’re on the other side basically. And another thing too is for white women to stop asking for black women to be there for their causes and not showing up for ours. You know black women have always been on the forefront of political change. Now it’s like I’m at a point where I stopped showing up for other people. Like black women you gotta stop it because you need to show up for yourself first if you’re not healthy. What do they say when you’re flying in the safety measures? You have to put your own oxygen mask on first before you can help somebody else. We need their own oxygen mask on first then we can help someone else. And so there are a lot of people who are able to benefit off of the knowledge of that black women have had or have shared or may have taken or you know willfully given. But now that those tables need to turn and we need those numbers and now we need our allies to show up for us. And I’m not going to be apologetic in saying so. It’s like this is what it is.
Lindsey: [00:30:14] Yeah exactly. I like that. Show up for what you believe in.
Tracie Enis: [00:30:21] Right, but in the mist of all of that Lindsey it’s going to save lives. We’re not going to have black women hemorrhaging because nobody’s listening.
Lindsey: [00:30:29] Oh my. Yeah. That for me it’s like so–when you read about in your like how is this happening when we spend 98 billion dollars a year in the you know birth world and then just on a, I guess nation viewpoint or nation view, is that we are terrible with more maternal mortality rate but even worse with black women you know and it’s like OK somebody take a step back and let’s review the whole process because it sucks.
Tracie Enis: [00:31:08] It sucks and it’s costly.
Lindsey: [00:31:10] Yeah.
Tracie Enis: [00:31:12] And on the other thing there really needs to be looked at it is insurance.
Lindsey: [00:31:15] I was just about to say that. What your opinion of the insurance game in our country?
[00:31:20] Is a scam I’m glad you said that. Insurance need to cover. They need to cover doula they have to cover doulas because we save not only do we save money but we also help save lives. And I had one of the members of the National Black doula association and recently identified a postpartum preeclampsic mom and the hospital released her. And then shortly thereafter she’s swollen I think within the 72 hour period she’s so swelling and she’s having all of these pre-eclampsic– All these signs. And they went back and of course it was postpartum preeclampsia but had the doula in the situation not identified it we would have had a mom go into a preeclampsia postpartum you know. So it’s and as a doula you have to understand even though your knowledge is you know your work, your scope is within not physical not medical you have to be aware to identify certain signs that best support the mom and what’s going on with her body.
Lindsey: [00:32:31] Right. And the doula, whether they’re doing midwifery birth or you know with an OBGYN they probably know this mom and that couple or you know whoever. On a deeper emotional level then let’s say at the hospital you know and so they can tell when something’s off. Exactly. And I tell people this I say your doula is going to be there with you through out. She’s the one consistent back or it’s her team or in that practice or in that group they’re the one consistent factor. But the nurses and the doctors depending on the shift are just meeting you for the very first time and they’re changing shifts too. So they’re not gonna–when they’re passing your information on as far as doing review before they come and introduce themselves to you they’re reviewing your chart. But wait what’s happening and how things are progressing. You’re not talking about what happened at home because they don’t–they’re not privy to that information.
Lindsey: [00:33:25] So true. So how do we get insurance to cover preventative care?
Tracie Enis: [00:33:31] Oh my God. I have no idea that’s legislative. I think it’s organizations definitely like the Black Mommas Alliance who are doing the work on a political level but that’s where funding and money comes into play is because like whoever has the most money gets heard in D.C.
Tracie Enis: [00:33:52] Yeah basically. And you know our resources are are tapped. We don’t have the resources available to us than our counterparts necessarily would.
Lindsey: [00:34:05] Right, right.
Tracie Enis: [00:34:07] It’s loaded it’s just so much stuff.
Lindsey: [00:34:11] Yeah. It’s so much stuff. The more like I have to–whenever I read stuff like open a new book about you know anything like The Big Let Down is what I’m reading right now. But like those type of books like they just can be really pissed off and so I have to like be in an okay mindset, you know not read it before I go to bed or first thing in the morning because they’re just really pissed the rest of the day so I couldn’t even frickin imagine like being Serena Williams and be like “Hey this is my body I know” you know.
Tracie Enis: [00:34:46] And she is the supreme athlete.
Lindsey: [00:34:48] And she knows her body. Yeah.
Tracie Enis: [00:34:52] Isn’t she like the top athlete or ranked the top athlete at one point?
Lindsey: [00:34:56] Yeah.
Tracie Enis: [00:34:57] Recent history. So she knows her body and for it to be ignored. Like to read her postpartum birth story. I read it and was like oh my gosh. She literally could have died.
Lindsey: [00:35:13] Ok let’s take a breath. Okay so what is National Black Doulas?
Tracie Enis: [00:35:22] So in October of last year. Let me go back just a little bit being from Oakland and I have my you know a successful practice for almost 20 year I’m an OG in this field now.
Lindsey: [00:35:37] Wait say that again, 20 years.
Tracie Enis: [00:35:41] Almost 20 years. You Know I’ve been very fortunate when it comes to working with families. However, I was like “Where are all the other black doulas just like what’s going on”? It’s like I’m here solo black girl like what’s going on. Working with doing 60 births a year like five births a months you know being very active in Oakland when it comes to my practice. But by myself like my counterparts were my one of my mentors is or my main mentor she’s Latin, but there were no other other black girls that I knew of. So last year I had an epiphany. I was like I want to create a resource or a directory where black doulas can be found nationally and hence the National Black Doulas Association and I’m very pleased to say that we have doulas now Hawaii, California, Texas, DMV, the south east region. We have some in the Midwest. I’ve had somebody reach out from Johannesburg. Literaly saying how do I be a part of this organization. So we have folks in Spain who are you know chiming in and Canada is like knocking at the door like “how do we be a part you know how to be a part of the National Black Doulas Association so we’re getting ready to be an international association.
Lindsey: [00:37:08] Yeah. I was gonna say you got to change that now.
[00:37:13] But I created it literally as a directory and as a result of you know putting your life into it and seeing the reception that it is getting. I want to create business resources so black women can learn how to have a successful practice, run a business how to really– because when you go through a doula training, they train you and then you figure it out.
Lindsey: [00:37:41] Yeah. Good luck.
Tracie Enis: [00:37:43] Good luck. I was like what kind of shit is that? Like okay. And then you just you figure it out and there’s a lot of burnout in this field because people get tired of just trying to figure it out. So I started working with doulas one on one and offering doula business coaching to help them at all stages of their career. From the onset to ten years into their career or more to help them cultivate their business structure and practice. You know we all you have something that I don’t have. I have something that you don’t have. So I’m pulling out that unique quality where you can carve out your niche to be able to service people that you you want to. And I get into you know all kinds of things for business development, but I provide a ton of resources for her for them to be able to take advantage of.
How to become a member of the National Black Doula Association:
Lindsey: [00:38:35] That’s awesome. So if somebody is listening right now and they’re like I need to check this out, what do they need to apply? And can anybody go to your website and apply any time of year or do you have it open at a certain time?
Tracie Enis: [00:38:51] So they can first of all National Black Doulas Association just kind of like says what it is. So for that you know you are a person of color and a reason my phone just keeps ringing of course no one calls [unintelligible] then all the sudden now that I’m busy. But in order to be a member of the National Association you have to be a black holistic practitioner. I open it up to holistic practitioners because it’s about healing our community from from inside out.
Lindsey: [00:39:27] I like that. Yeah.
Tracie Enis: [00:39:27] We have to be able to take care of us. So it’s primarily comprised of doulas but we have to black doula trainers in there and you can go online as a as a black doula or a black holistic practitioner if you are a chiropractor, a Reiki massage therapist, massage therapist, acupuncturist, midwife, nutritionist, a naturopathic doctor to go in and you apply on BlackDoulas.org and I mean yeah Blackdoulas.org. You go in and there’s a member application it’s just a monthly fee to be an listed in our directory. But then I take it a step farther and what I do is highlight every new member because I want to bring recognized– know recognizability to the work that they’re doing in their geographic region.
Lindsey: [00:40:17] Yeah. Oh yeah I’ve been and I know some of the other BIRTHFIT crew has been following you like “Oh they’re in my area. Let me connect”. You know that sort of thing.
Tracie Enis: [00:40:27] Yes. Like Laura you know in Atlanta like you know I’m getting– Me and Jenny keep missing each other in San Francisco, we’ll make it work. You know getting and being able to be an immediate resource because what you guys offer at birth we don’t necessarily do. But you can have this rotating door and guess what we’re producing? We’re producing healthy women. We can get in. We can help. We can help bridge gaps and that knowledge we were just talking about you know sharing that information so they know and we can get in and be advantageous on so many different levels.
Lindsey: [00:41:08] Yeah it’s about women supporting women like that’s when we all win you know.
Tracie Enis: [00:41:13] Yeah exactly. We all win.
Lindsey: [00:41:16] Yeah. So do you have big goals for the future for National Black Doulas or International Black Doulas for the Atlanta do a group or even your Oakland doula group? Anything on the forefront for the future?
Tracie Enis: [00:41:34] Just really to do the work. Let’s start with the association I really want black women to win, you know we were losing so much like it’s enough of loss. Come on and I always say that you cannot be for women empowerment if you are not about them empowering themselves financially. They have to be able to eat and provide for their families and you know just like anybody else. So we’re really highlighting these these black women out here doing this work, forming partnerships you know like with BIRTHFIT in different regions to where they can go in and they can be like “Oh my god they have a doula in our area. Here’s a doula”. Guess what that does? Not only does that mom you know get that support that she needs but that black was is able to provide the resources as she’s been trained in and then also be able to support her family. Is it just it’s a win win situation. And that is where I see that doing. Just making sure these businesses or these women owned businesses are getting the recognition that they deserve.
Lindsey: [00:42:50] Yeah you mentioned providing for their families. And I noticed this in the doula world that it’s really hard for doulas and I noticed this specifically in my training when people were like “So how much do we charge”? And you’re like–
Tracie Enis: [00:43:07] Lindsey, you’re really feeling it aren’t you? You’re pulling out some stuff today.
Lindsey: [00:43:13] But it’s like charge for your worth. Like that–Like how do you get that across to two women of all colors?
Tracie Enis: [00:43:22] Let me say this you’re first. There’s a lot of push back from women charging. Women judge other women for charging their worth. And people make provisions for what it is they want. For me I believe like when a doula lowballs herself, you know it’s really important you know what your geographic region is going for like the services in a geographic region. I’m just gonna use Oakland for an example and you can easily pay twenty five hundred dollars for a doula in Oakland. And you know it can go between 15 to 25 hundred dollars. Price yourself competitively but as a–when you’re coming out of the gate and your training and people think “Oh I’m going to just charge lower so I can get the experience, but you’ve already invested in your training”. At the end of the day this is a business and this is what I teach the doulas in the association. You have to approach it from a business standpoint. I mean I know you want to get out there and want to save the world, but you can’t save the world if you’re not able to eat. So lets look at it from a practical standpoint. You charge what it is, you price yourself competitively for your area. My price point for my Oakland practice is 1300 to 2200 dollars. We are priced you know within the range for that geographic region. And so is the Atlanta practice for the geographic region. But when I hear those women who say “Why are you charging are you charging so much” it’s like what happens is it’s about proper energy exchange is about putting a value on the service. This person is going to be on call for you when you go into labor. Not only that but you are already tapping into her knowledge base and into her resources. Before you go into labor so she’s providing you with all these services pre-labor you know in the pre-natal period and the gestating period and then it depends on if you move over into the postpartum period like what does that look like? So I am a firm believer that no doula should charge less than a thousand dollars. And don’t even blink. And that’s coming out of the gate. Like if you think I’m going to come to your birth and if you really want Tracie to show up it’s like you can afford me. Even beyond that birth is such an energetic field. In the birth room there’s a lot of energy exchanged in there a woman in labor is the most powerful thing to witness. And when you are on call for clients year round this person’s she neglects her family. She leaves her children. She may have to pay for a sitter or a nanny. There–she’s missing out on holidays and birthdays and I think that’s the piece that people are missing. So when we doulas who are not charging fairly you are not doing–your doing a disservice to the overall profession and you are definitely doing a disservice to the women who’ve been in it for years on end. And that’s one of the major reasons why there’s doula burn out because they feel like they cannot live on this. People don’t want to pay because they’re competing up against–people would rather pay for less knowledge than to pay more for experience.
Lindsey: [00:46:50] I love that you said it’s an energy exchange like money is an energy exchange. That birth is energy. Yeah.
[00:46:58] You know and for her for that doula to not have resentment brought in to that birthing enviroment. Your birthing space is so sacred. Like I tell people like it is an honor to be invited into that space as a professional or even as a person just as someone that you know. So when they invite you in pay that woman her worth and what she’s asking and stop asking for a discount. Like don’t do that, don’t do that.
Lindsey: [00:47:28] Yeah I love that. I totally forgot what we were talking about before but I had a butt in and say “why don’t women charge what they’re worth”.
Tracie Enis: [00:47:39] Like that. And you know I’ve gotten a little bit of pushback because I recently wrote a write up on getting rid of the free consultations. Like people coming in don’t understand the value. The doula business, like they understand the value of a midwife or a doctor but they don’t understand the value of doula until they get in the labor room. So it took a lot of convincing but if you have to pay for her time at onset then guess what? You understand number one that this is a business and you are carving out time of her day to get this information like the parents need to be responsible for doing their own research. I require that people look over my website review my Yelp page. Like you understand who you are speaking to before you even get a chance to speak to me. Yeah. So I’m the professional and I lead the consultation. And I tell you what is in the value that you will receive and then you have to figure out or we have to figure out if it’s a good fit for us and it’s okay not to be a fit, but they understand at the onset because guess what happens? They’ll respect those boundaries and the parameters that you set and having a–you know an airtight contract because contracts are forever a work in progress because there’s always going to be a situation and circumstance that that will change that. But you know my contract has been tested and they’ll report back and be like “Damn she’s said it”.
Lindsey: [00:49:07] “She’s good”.
Tracie Enis: [00:49:08] Like “We signed it”.
Lindsey: [00:49:10] Yeah.
Tracie Enis: [00:49:11] You can be great at your work and still approach it from a business perspective. And Women, when the doulas get on board and understand that then it will be easy.
Lindsey: [00:49:23] Yeah yeah. I’m with you. I love this. I could pick your brain forever but I won’t. I love this conversation. So before we get going what do you do for self care? Cause you have all these businesses. How do you stay sane?
Tracie Enis: [00:49:56] I don’t know that’s the part I suck at. I love dreaming about vacations. I just need to put my butt on a plane and–.
Lindsey: [00:50:04] Go do it?
Tracie Enis: [00:50:07] Self care…
Lindsey: [00:50:09] Is there anything you do like once a day, once a week, once a month you’re like “Oh I have to do this”.
Tracie Enis: [00:50:17] No. And that actually keeps coming up for me like it’s literally like been in the cards like you need to play more. That’s something that I’m working on. That’s my self growth. Is like how do I–because I’m so passionate about women and I can’t help it, it just doesn’t go away. Even when I try to decide so I’m trying to get better.
Lindsey: [00:50:39] Yeah you can tell you love the work you do, which you know you could do that 24/7. Laura Mattison if you’re listening you got to hold Tracie accountable.
Tracie Enis: [00:50:55] That’s a problem. But I try to like lessen my load. I try to do it a little bit differently. I try to make sure that I’m putting other doulas under my wing so they can you know service the clients. And I really look at myself as being in the doula’s doula for business now. And I believe that you know I just need to teach, so I wanted to be able to work from anywhere and I’ll create that, but I still find myself working too much. How about this? When I go somewhere I’ll post a picture and I’ll tag you in it and you’ll know.
Lindsey: [00:51:29] Yeah. Please do so before we get off: Top three pieces of advice that you would give a mom during the motherhood transition and some people they like to just focus on pregnancy or preconception or postpartum, but I say the motherhood transition in case you want to cover all of it.
Tracie Enis: [00:51:56] Give yourself a lot of permission. I say that everybody I do I say that to the clients. You have to give yourself a lot of permission. I told my oldest who is 25 now. I told her, I said “You are the first one so I’m going to mess up on you the most”. So she knew not to have high expectations. There’s no there’s no such thing as perfection. You’re human. You’re learning how. Now with my youngest who’s 14 it’s like I’m so seasoned at being a mom I say “Are you bleeding? Are you breathing?”. If you answer no to both of those questions leave me alone. So you have to give yourself a lot of permission and there is no such thing as failure. It’s like okay “Yeah I messed up or I made a mistake. But like what could I do differently?” Don’t be afraid, number two, to ask for help. You can not–in this society unfortunately we’ve created this whole ‘independent woman’ thing. That’s a bunch of bullshit. It’s like it’s like no no no.
Lindsey: [00:53:05] We need connection.
Tracie Enis: [00:53:07] We need human connection. We need other women, we need our girlfriends, we need our significant others, we need community, we need safe spaces to just be. So once again it’s like you know give yourself a lot of permissions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And the final thing is women we’re the fucking bomb! Remember that if nothing else you are getting ready or you have just passed a human being through your body just like sit back and be like “I’m the shit”.
Lindsey: [00:53:40] That’s so good. Yeah. Where can people find you at?
Tracie Enis: [00:53:49] Go ahead what were you gonna say.
Lindsey: [00:53:50] I was gonna say social media stuff.
Tracie Enis: [00:53:52] Yeah social media stuff, so then there is on IG there is a National Black Doulas Association, you can go there and there on Facebook as well and Blackdoulas.org for that. And you also can find me on Tracyenis.com for my Atlanta–I mean for my Oakland practice and for my Atlanta practice is Atlantadoulagroup.com.
Lindsey: [00:54:16] Awesome. Thanks so much for hanging out with me.
Tracie Enis: [00:54:21] You’re so–it’s just that beautiful smile so you make it feel just so warm.
Lindsey: [00:54:27] Oh well thank you. I’ve loved this episode and I can’t wait to chat with him more and see what the future brings for us.
Tracie Enis: [00:54:35] I know I’m just so excited just with BIRTHFIT and how we are just like “Okay”.
Lindsey: [00:54:41] The Connection.
Tracie Enis: [00:54:43] “We can both figure it out. Let’s make this work”. Let’s get in here and support.
Lindsey: [00:54:46] Yeah. No, this has been good and thank you so much for doing this.
Tracie Enis: [00:54:51] Oh another thing I wanted to make sure that I highlight is that we in one of our doulas has a postpartum Center in San Diego, the very first in California. You see what I’m saying.
Lindsey: [00:55:06] Woah.
Tracie Enis: [00:55:06] One of the doulas in the organization and it’s–Okay so she said it’s onsite postpartum center and from women who are just had babies can go there and they can get extended postpartum care and support from a chef to breastfeeding support 24/7. So I’m not looking at the list that she sent over to me, but I wanted to make sure that it highlighted that because number one: first in California. And we talked so much about postpartum wellness and support. This is a good way to like get the information out about this resource. And she’s in San Diego and her name is Lindsay Hines. So Lindsay for listening I wanted to make sure [unintelligible]. But I wanna– I would like to align BIRTHFIT San Diego. Yeah if there is–.
Lindsey: [00:55:54] Yeah there’s two down there yeah. So we’ll connect them. Yeah for sure.
Tracie Enis: [00:56:00] I would love to do that. Alright Lindsey.
Lindsey: [00:56:02] Enjoy The rest of your Wednesday. Stay cool.
Tracie Enis: [00:56:07] Thank you so much.
Lindsey: [00:56:09] Bye Tracie.