Here at the Center for Sacred Window Studies, we share voices from many perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the sacred weeks post birth, and the experience of humanity is experienced in countless ways. We learn by listening to one another and honoring our stories. The views and opinions of our writers do not necessarily reflect the mission, viewpoints or opinions of the Center for Sacred Window Studies.
What is Reproductive Justice and what is its role in postpartum caregiving?
First, let’s define Reproductive Justice. SisterSong, a southern BIPOC-led organization and pioneer in Reproductive Justice, defines Reproductive Justice as “…the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.”
Postpartum caregiving is rooted in providing a window of time to ease the birthing body into no longer being pregnant, and depending on pregnancy outcome, easing Baby into the world in a way that is healthy for both the birthing person and Baby.
It would seem, then, that Reproductive Justice encourages postpartum caregiving that honors all pregnancy outcomes and all pregnant people.
Reproductive Justice is rooted in giving a true choice for when it comes to reproduction and our bodies. For instance, if I choose to have an abortion due to financial concerns, am I really making a choice? If I choose to keep a pregnancy to avoid the stigma of having an abortion or choosing adoption, am I really making a choice? Reproductive Justice urges us to really tune into the needs and desires of the postpartum person for whom we are caring.
Some questions to ask ourselves and reflect on when providing postpartum care through a Reproductive Justice lens:
- Am I imposing any preconceived notions on the person for whom I am providing care? Am I leaving my judgements at the door?
- Am I making room for and honoring the cultural traditions of the birthing person?
- Am I listening to hear what the person receiving care has to say and am I listening for what they don’t say?
- What is my motivation behind providing this postpartum care, especially if I am providing cross-cultural care?
- What is the simplest intervention to make?
Reproductive Justice urges us to honor the birthing person and their unique experience.
To center the birthing person and assist them in guiding themselves through their own postpartum experience. We must learn to listen to hear so that we can provide the best postpartum care experience. Leading with a Reproductive Justice lens helps us in this endeavor.
Writing compliments of
Lauren Buchanan is a Black, queer, cis woman from Minneapolis, MN. She is an artist and activist working in the nonprofit sector and studying to become a postpartum doula. Lauren serves as the Board Chair of Our Justice, a local nonprofit dedicated to Reproductive Justice and radically funding abortion. She is an active member of the MN Healing Justice Network, a community of BIPOC folks living and healing themselves
and others in MN. Lauren provides coaching services for BIPOC folks and is excited to begin providing postpartum doula services to those experiencing abortion and/or pregnancy loss.