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On today’s podcast, we’re going to talk with student midwife and Evidence Based Birth®’s new Program Team Manager, Chanté Perryman about life as a student midwife.

Chanté Perryman (she/her) is a midwifery student studying to become a certified professional midwife in Central Kentucky. She owns Baby Dreams Maternity Concierge and has a goal of opening a freestanding birth center to continue to provide community support, education, and advocacy for birthing families.

Chanté is the new Program Team Manager here at Evidence Based Birth®. She is also a professionally certified birth and postpartum doula, a certified childbirth educator, an Evidence Based Birth® Instructor, and a Spinning Babies® Certified Parent Educator. Chanté also volunteers with the Kentucky Birth Coalition helping to advance legislation for midwives and families. In her spare time, she loves reading, lettering, drinking hot tea, and traveling with her family to explore local museums and restaurants. 

We talk about Chanté’s passion to become a future midwife and what motivated her to start her journey as a student midwife. We also talk about Chanté’s dream goal of owning a freestanding birth center and the barriers she has faced as a Black student midwife. 

Content warning: We mention racism and trauma.

Resources

 Learn more about Chanté Perryman here. Follow Chanté on Facebook and Instagram

Listen to Episode 79 here

Listen to Episode 136 here

Listen to Episode 145 here

Listen to Episode 183 here.

Learn more about Indiana Black midwife, Amanda Chandler, here.

Learn more about Karie Stewart and Melanated Midwives here.

Transcript

Rebecca Dekker: Hi, everyone on today’s podcast, we’re going to talk with student midwife and Evidence Based Birth® Professional Membership Coordinator, Chanté Perryman about life as a student midwife. Welcome to the Evidence Based Birth® Podcast. My name is Rebecca Dekker and I’m a nurse with my PhD and the Founder of Evidence Based Birth®. Join me each week as we work together to get Evidence Based information into the hands of families and professionals around the world. As a reminder, this information is not medical advice. See ebbirth.com/disclaimer for more details.

Hi, everyone my name is Rebecca Dekker, pronouns she/her, and I will be your host for today’s episode. Today, we are so excited to welcome student midwife and EBB’s professional membership coordinator, Chanté Perryman to talk about life as a student midwife. Before we interview Chanté, I want to let you know that if there are any detailed content or trigger warnings, we always post them in the description or show notes that go along with this episode. 

And now I would like to introduce our honored guest.

Chanté Perryman pronouns she/her is a midwifery student studying to become a certified professional midwife in Central Kentucky. She owns Baby Dreams Maternity Concierge and has a goal of opening a freestanding birth center to continue to provide community support, education, and advocacy for birthing families.

Chanté is the professional membership coordinator here at Evidence Based Birth®. She is also a professionally certified birth and postpartum doula, a certified childbirth educator, an Evidence Based Birth® Instructor, and a Spinning Babies® Certified Parent Educator. So Chanté does all the things. Chanté also volunteers with the Kentucky Birth Coalition helping to advance legislation for midwives and families. In her spare time, she loves reading, lettering, drinking hot tea, and traveling with her family to explore local museums and restaurants. We are so thrilled that Chanté is joining us today. Welcome to the Evidence Based Birth® Podcast.

Chanté Perryman: Thank you for having me.

Rebecca Dekker: So I’m so excited to get this chance to just talk one on one with you today Chanté.

Chanté Perryman: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: Usually we’re in group meetings together, so we get to talk one on one while having thousands of people listening. Can you share with our listeners how you got started in your journey as a student midwife?

Chanté Perryman: Yes. So my journey actually began in 2011 with the birth of my daughter. I had a very textbook pregnancy, no issues, but we ended up having what I call now, an unnecessary emergency cesarean. So after that I wanted to know why I had to have the cesarean, what I can do to have a VBAC the next time. And it led me on this half of learning, what a doula is and learning more about midwifery care. And from there, it was like, this is what I want to do. This is how I want to help support other families. So that’s truly where my journey began with the birth of my first daughter.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah. And I wanted to let our listener know if you want to hear all of Chante’s birth stories. Well, I think three of them, they are on Episode 79 of the Evidence Based Birth® Podcast. You can go back and listen to some very empowering VBAC stories. And I think you had another VBAC after we recorded that episode, right?

Chanté Perryman: I did.

Rebecca Dekker: Before?

Chanté Perryman: I did in 2019.

Rebecca Dekker: So tell me a little bit about why midwifery though? Because I know you loved being a doula and a childbirth educator, and you were very involved in our community here in Kentucky with advocating for legislation to license certified professional midwives. What made you realize that you wanted to go that next step and shift from doula work to being a midwife.

Chanté Perryman: It all comes down to making a difference, the birth community, as far as like doulas and midwives, it’s an amazing community, but then when you enter in families going into the hospital, it’s a completely different atmosphere. Now of course we have like some really amazing providers. And then we have some providers who are not so amazing. And then it was always those families who were ending up with those, not so amazing providers. And they were like, I just can’t do this again. How can I have a better experience the next time? And I was like, you know what? I can help make a difference from the beginning. Why do I have to continue putting myself in these situations and seeing families enter into those situations? And it’s like, I can make a difference before we even get to that point. So I just need to become a midwife. And that’s ultimately what happens. I have to be able to help support families and let them know that they have other options.

Rebecca Dekker: So what steps did you take to get into midwifery school? Did you have to do any prerequisites? What kind of planning did you have to do?

Chanté Perryman: So I started my planning back in 2018. I took like a whole year and I like researched every single school because I knew that in 2020 the process was going to change. I was like, “I’m just going to go ahead and go to school anyway.” So I did that and then I figured out what school I was going to go to. And then I applied this year. I did have to take a few prerequisites, but I already have a degree. So a lot of those, we’re not going to say a lot, my English and math transferred over. So I didn’t have to take those, but I did have to take statistics again. Oh my goodness, statistics. So summer of 2021, I did statistics and I took a few other. I applied early. So they actually let me take two classes this summer in addition to my statistics. So I was able to have like a lighter load this fall semester.

Rebecca Dekker: Oh, okay. So you started planning though about three years in advance?

Chanté Perryman: Yeah. Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah. What else did you have to do to set yourself up to be able to start midwifery school this year?

Chanté Perryman: I had to make sure that my support system was in place.

Rebecca Dekker: Okay. And what do you mean by that?

Chanté Perryman: Because I have four kids.

Rebecca Dekker: Okay.

Chanté Perryman: And I homeschool. And so I had to make sure that my husband, JaMichael was on board because I was like, “I know that I’m not going to be doing as much doula work, but I’m still teaching childbirth education and I’m still going to need time to study.” So we literally had to sit down and work out a plan of, “Okay, these are my study times, these are my study days.” He’ll be with the kids, take them to the park, whatever. And then my mom, she also comes to help a few days out the month. So I was like, I have to make sure that my support system is there because if I’m going to do this, I want to do it in an excellent manner.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah, because you are a high achiever.

Chanté Perryman: I am. Super happy.

Rebecca Dekker: And you probably could not handle getting into midwifery school and not having time to study.

Chanté Perryman: No I couldn’t. I had to have that plan done and we’re already starting to plan for next semester, so yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah. But I also know you and you love planners.

Chanté Perryman: Yes I do.

Rebecca Dekker: It’s definitely one of your strengths. So you just completed your first like full semester and then you also coursework in the summer?

Chanté Perryman: Correct. Yep. And I finished with the 4.0.

Rebecca Dekker: Yay. What would you say have been like the biggest challenges over the past year as you like transitioned into starting midwifery school?

Chanté Perryman: Just with the whole pandemic thing. So I’m attending Mercy in Action, which is based out of Idaho. So all of our learning is online right now because of the pandemic, but before they would have students come out for like a few weeks. So that has been a challenge because now I don’t get to be able to do those classes in person. Now I’m going to have to try and figure out how I can do them here in Lexington, but that’s been the biggest of just not being able to do the one-on-one hands-on support with them in person.

Rebecca Dekker: So having to kind of be part of that whole shift to mostly online education has been challenging. What are some of the rewarding experiences you’ve had over the past year?

Chanté Perryman: Oh my goodness. Just learning so much from my textbooks and just from being in class and being able to share that information at the appropriate time to students. I did take a few virtual doula clients, but that’s another story, but just being able to share the information that I’ve learned with them. As a doula, I didn’t know some of these things, but now as a student midwife, it’s like, oh, I know more about preeclampsia now, and this is what I learned, and this is what you can share with your provider. And then that gives them like, “Oh, I now have this tool and I now have this information also and I can go back to my provider with this.” And so it makes them feel even more empowered. So, that’s been like the most rewarding thing.

Rebecca Dekker: So you’re taking what you’re learning in school and you’re already passing it on to your childbirth education students. So you’re still teaching, and you’re teaching the EBB Childbirth class, correct?

Chanté Perryman: Correct. Yes.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah. And I know some of my friends have taken your class and had amazing experiences. So that’s really cool that you can take that more advanced information and help more families with it. What are some other things you’ve learned? You mentioned preeclampsia, but I know sometimes you’ll be studying and you’ll post on Instagram. Like I learned this today. What are some things that are covered in midwifery school that you weren’t given info about when you trained as a doula?

Chanté Perryman: So the placenta, oh my goodness. I think I’m falling more in love with the placenta and just all the amazing things that it does. As a doula is like, “Yeah, that’s your placenta. That’s what keeps your baby living.” The very simple, basic thing, but then once you really start to like learn its function and how it’s created and what it does, it’s like, oh my goodness, like that’s amazing. Another thing, Pelvimetry, how your pelvis is shaped and how that could potentially have an impact on like, if your baby can pass through, just these things that nobody ever says to you. And it’s like, wow. If somebody told me that my pelvis was too narrow from the beginning, then we could like have a discussion beforehand before it’s like, oh nope, you’re rushed off to cesarean now. But nobody explains to you why you had to have a caesarian because-

Rebecca Dekker: And do you learn about how Pelvimetry is a very inaccurate?

Chanté Perryman: We haven’t got that far yet. We’ve just learned how you can do it and the spacing of it. That’s as far as we got this semester.

Rebecca Dekker: Okay. So you basically learned that it’s something that clinicians know how to do at least or are aware of. Interesting. I think we’re going to talk more about that. We have a whole section on the failure to progress article that we’re going to reveal later this year, we’re updating that article and we’re going to have a whole section on the history of pelvimetry. And you might not know this Chanté, but there’s a big history of racism with the science of pelvimetry and a lot of abuse of that measurement to coerce people unto C-section and that sort of thing.

Chanté Perryman: Wow.

Rebecca Dekker: We’ll talk more about that later.

Chanté Perryman: Okay.

Rebecca Dekker: Just for our listeners to stay tuned.

Chanté Perryman: Okay.

Rebecca Dekker: So what are some takeaways for any of our listeners who are like interested in going to midwifery and specifically you’re going into direct-entry midwifery so you’re not going through nursing school first and you’re not doing the CNN path. So what are some takeaways you’d like to share with others on like how people could prepare if they want to become a midwife in the kind of path you’re taking?

Chanté Perryman: I would say research all of the different programs because there’s quite a few of them, but I knew that I wanted a program that was going to be at least four years because that’s just how my brain works. I need the bookwork.

Rebecca Dekker: You wanted four years of education?

Chanté Perryman: Yes. I wanted all of the bookwork. And then the hands-on portion. Research a program that you can also do the clinicals with someone in your community. And then if there’s the option to do clinicals at your school, do that also. I’m a person of knowledge, I just love learning. So I want to know all the things. Another tip I would say is find people in your community who you can call and ask questions. For me I shared this one-on-one in our work chat today. But for me, like I’m a person of community. And right now I feel like I’m missing that. Like I don’t have somebody like, “Hey, I’m learning about build imagery in school this week. What are you working on? What information can you share with me?” So see if you can find others in your community or just in your class, in your cohort that you can call up and be like, “Hey, let’s talk about this. Do you understand this because I don’t, maybe you can give me better insight.” I think those would be my tips, researcher your schools and find community.

Rebecca Dekker: And when it came to researching schools, so you mentioned there is also for people who want to become certified professional midwives, there’s the apprenticeship path. But you knew from working on legislation in Kentucky, that was going away in the state of Kentucky, at least. So you knew you would have to go through an actual credited school?

Chanté Perryman: I did.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah. Was there anything else interesting? Other options you learned about when you were looking at schools?

Chanté Perryman: I did learn that there are some programs that are shorter, like two and three-year programs and they are more focused on just you getting right in there with the clinicals and doing the bookwork at the same time. But again, I knew that wasn’t for me, but for others who are like, “Yes, I can do clinicals and bookwork at the same time and be done in two years.” Go for it, the sooner you can get out there and be a support in your community, go for it, do it.

Rebecca Dekker: So it sounded like you wanted to kind of more like ease into it, not go too fast.

Chanté Perryman: So my kids are still really little so for me, this worked out perfectly where I could still be at home with them, still do my own school work. And then in four years when I’m done my kids will be four years older. And so even if I’m supporting families in the community, I might only do one or two births a month, but I can still be here for my family also.

Rebecca Dekker: Can you talk a little bit about your involvement with legislation. I know last year we featured Mary Kathryn DeLodder on the podcast. It was Episode 183, where we talked about pushing for a licensing certified professional midwives in Kentucky. Can you talk a little bit about what that process meant to you as someone who was hoping to become a certified professional midwife in our state?

Chanté Perryman: Yeah, the day that bill passed was like an amazing day, but the process to get there, wasn’t a quick process. It was a few years in the working, but it was just me being able to share my voice with legislators. Of course, here in Kentucky, a lot of our legislators are male. And then we also have some legislators who are in the medical profession, but as an advocate of families, I wanted to make sure that I was sharing their voices also so that they could understand that home birth is safe. Having a birth center, which that’s our next thing that we’re working on, having birth centers in Kentucky, they are a safe option. Some families don’t want to be in the hospital for various reasons, but if we need to go to the hospital, we’re thankful to have them and we know that we can go there in a transport. But it was just making sure that they understood that these options are still safe options.

Before we had hospitals, we were doing home births. So I just wanted to make sure that they heard that side of it also because of course, the big people with money, they’re going to come in and say, “No, no, no, no, no. We have hospitals. We’re doing the same thing. Why can’t everybody just come here?” Everybody doesn’t want that.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah. And I was lucky enough to be in the room with you when you would advocate with our Senator, because we shared the same state Senator and he really listened to you and he listened to JaMichael and I loved how like you always made a family event like you brought your husband and your younger kids along and you would sit there and talk about why it was important to you as a mom to have access to home birth and as a future midwife you wanted to be able to of work in the state of Kentucky and you couldn’t until they passed this legislation.

Chanté Perryman: Yeah. Because my long term, which is really not that long anymore, but my next five to 10-year goal is to have a birth center. So before we can even get to the birth center, midwives have to be licensed. For me in my mind it’s like, this is a step by step process and I know that it’s not going to change overnight. So I’m here for the long run to make sure that these things happen because we talked about this last night, we’re doing work now for the next generation. The work that we’re doing now, we might see minimal change now, but like in 10 years there could be a great change in our state. And I want to be part of that work to see that it happens.

Rebecca Dekker: I love how you’re not rushing. I know that some people feel like I need to fix things right now. And I admire that. But I also know that’s not sustainable to keep up that kind of pace. So I really love how you’re working like towards a long-term goals, like generational change and not putting pressure on yourself to like get it done immediately.

Chanté Perryman: Yeah. I mean, even when I teach my childbirth class, it’s like, this is one family, but in two to three years they may have another baby. But then even when their babies are having babies in 20 to 25 years, they can share their experience of like, this is what I learned. This is what happened. And their babies can be like, yes, I can make a change too. Whatever is going on in 20, 25 years. So it is generational.

Rebecca Dekker: So why do you want to own your own birth center someday? And we’re talking about a freestanding birth center, not a hospital that calls itself a birthing center, which is some, a problem that we have in Kentucky. We have no freestanding birth centers in our state. So what makes you want to open one?

Chanté Perryman: Support, education, and advocacy. Those are the things that I believe in, and I believe that family should have a choice and have options. We have hospitals here. We can do home births here, but there’s no like in between point and we’re missing that. I love Jennie Joseph and the model that she has down in Florida. And it’s like, wow even if I could just provide something like that for families in our community, especially for families of color, because we do not, I think I could probably count on like one hand, how many providers of color we have who like are in OBGYN-

Rebecca Dekker: In the whole state.

Chanté Perryman: Yeah. It’s not a lot. This is not including midwife. And like families need support. The research says that families of color would rather be with someone who looks like them. So why not have a birth center where they can come in, they can have the birth of their choice and be able to make decisions for themselves and not be harassed or have CPS called on them for whatever reason or have a trauma experience. Birth looks different for everyone. And a birth center looks different for everyone, but I want a birth center where families come in feeling like, “Yes, I’m supported here. I’m heard here. My options are respected here.” So that’s ultimately why I want a birth center.

Rebecca Dekker: And the research shows that birth centers have better outcomes than hospitals. So it’s an important way to make a difference in the actual health of families lives here in Kentucky. So can you talk a little bit about why we don’t have a birth center in Kentucky? I know the answer, but our listeners probably do not know. And I know you’re involved in the advocacy for new legislation.

Chanté Perryman: Yes. So there’s this thing called a Certificate of Need and it’s not just for birth centers. It’s for like ambulatory clinics, anything medical, you have to have a Certificate of Need. Well, here in Kentucky, as we stated before, there are no birth centers because we’ve had advocates in the past who have presented before the state their Certificate of Need-

Rebecca Dekker: Or they’re applying for a Certificate of Need.

Chanté Perryman: Yes, applying-

Rebecca Dekker: Just to prove that we need a birth center.

Chanté Perryman: Yes. And they have been denied and they have spent millions of dollars to get this process going and nothing has happened. Nothing has come for. And I think now people are like, I saw what happened there and I don’t want to go down the same path and spend all this money and still not be able to have a birth center. So the next thing that we’re working for legislation is to have the Certificate of Need removed so that people can come in and have a birth center.

Rebecca Dekker: And you don’t have to go through that lengthy process.

Chanté Perryman: Right.

Rebecca Dekker: And the problem we found, because I was around when all of that was happening with a wonderful nurse-midwife, who you used her retirement savings to pay for this legal process. And it was denied because the hospitals lobbied against it. They basically were able to say, we don’t want a competitor. And the judges agreed with them and said, “Nope, we don’t need a birth center because we have hospitals.” And it’s literally away for hospitals to avoid having any competition that was heartbreaking for our state because once she was turned down, like you said, nobody else is going to spend their life savings to go down that same path and get denied again.

Chanté Perryman: Yeah. It is very heartbreaking because it’s almost like, okay, if you have a birth center, my goal is to have like a four-room birth center. That’s not a lot of births in a year compared to what’s like the births that are taking place in a hospital. But like I said before, it gives those families an option of in between, they might not want to be at home. They might not want to be in the hospital. So here at a birth center, it’s that happy medium for both where they can come in and still birth and still have an amazing experience and go home in a day.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah. And I have to point out again, this is different than a birth center in a hospital.

Chanté Perryman: Yes.

Rebecca Dekker: When a hospital calls itself a birthing center, if you can have an epidural and if you can have continuous fetal electronic monitoring, that is not a birth center, that is a labor and delivery unit, that’s a hospital. So we do have a problem in Kentucky with hospitals calling themselves birthing centers but they have very high intervention rates and they take care of very high-risk people. They’re hospitals, they’re acute care facilities and it creates a lot of confusion among legislators. And so there’s a lot of education that has to be done to convince legislators that no, we actually have zero birth centers in Kentucky and families want this option.

Chanté Perryman: And I think they’re starting to understand that because the surrounding states have birth centers and we’re starting to see more families go to Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee to birth at a birth center.

Rebecca Dekker: Yep. They cross state borders to go to one. I’m glad you mentioned Jennie Joseph too because that gives me a chance to remind everyone. I think one of the best episodes we ever published here was our interview with Jennie Joseph, Episode 136. So, that is super powerful. Can you talk a little bit about as a Black student midwife and what barriers have you faced in the past or recently?

Chanté Perryman: I can say, because I just started this year that I have not personally faced any barriers. I’ve heard stories of like other Black student midwives who like they’ve been with a preceptor and the preceptor has done them horribly. Thankfully I haven’t experienced any of that. And the only thing that I would say is probably like raising funds, like finding scholarships and finding monies for school because a lot of programs, they don’t accept the traditional funding. Like if you do the FAFSA and get grants, the way that there’s set up, they don’t accept those types of funding. So a lot of times midwives or student midwives are having to raise this money and do the funding on their own.

Another one for me is also that there are like no Black midwives here in Kentucky. We do have Amanda Chandler, who’s in Indiana. I mean, she can do births here in Kentucky, but like close to where I’m at, where we’re at, there are no like Black midwives. And I would love to be able to like sit under a Black midwife and just learn, especially like the traditional midwifery. I think that would be amazing, but there are none here. So those are the things that I’m facing right now.

Rebecca Dekker: And you raise a really good point about Black students having to have GoFundMe in order to pay for school. It shouldn’t be that way. In my opinion, our country owes reparations to all the Black people who should have been able to become midwives but because our system tried to eliminate the Black grand midwives that seems to be like, especially the field of obstetrics and nurse-midwifery and other professionals played a large role in trying to eliminate the Black grand midwives. And here we are watching students trying to like personally fund their own education.

Chanté Perryman: It’s crazy.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah.

Chanté Perryman: Because it’s like, we see that mortality rates are so high and they’re talking about on a national level, how do we help solve this or correct this? And it’s like, hello, we have people who are trying to go to school to be a better support in their community instead of spending money on whatever else. Like can we just get a few dollars here and there? Set up a fund and help pay for the education so that we can be a part of the solution. That’s just me in my head. That’s just how I think.

Rebecca Dekker: Well, it’s a really great lead-in because we are interviewing Karie Stewart, I believe next week of Melanated Midwives, which is a nonprofit that is devoted to raising funds to provide scholarships for Black and Brown students. So, keep your eyes peeled for that interview because I get really excited when people tackle these issues head-on, we need more funding for Black midwives, how can we do that? And then they do something. So I get really excited by changemakers like that. When it comes to like caring for yourself, even just reading your bio, in your bio you didn’t even mention that you have four kids in addition to everything else that you do and working and being a student and having your own birth business and everything else that you do. How do you incorporate care for yourself into your busy schedule?

Chanté Perryman: It’s very hard around here on many days, but for me, my self-care looks different than what it used to. But for now, if I can get like a 15-minute shower by myself, without somebody knocking on the door or calling my name or burning toast, we’re doing good. Like, yes, I showered today. My hot tea is my thing. Oh, I have a new one, but I just started a few months ago. Like in the middle of the afternoon when the sun is like at its highest point, I sit in a window and just let the sun like beam on me and I’ll just read or like do my devotion or do my planner. And it’s just like 15 to 20 minutes by myself. Nobody talking to me and just sitting there and like listening to silence. It’s the most beautiful thing. That’s how my self-care looks nowadays, showering and sitting in the sun with tea.

Rebecca Dekker: And we’re lucky enough here in Kentucky that we do get sun most days of the year. So it’s possible to do that here. Can you tell us how you’re kind of documenting your student midwife journey and can people like follow along as you’re going through midwifery school?

Chanté Perryman: Yes. So I have been sharing my journey on my Instagram page. I’ve kind of switched it over from like doula support childbirth stuff to like, this is my midwifery journey. I mean, I’ve just been sharing like what I’ve been learning in school. Sometimes we go through these diagrams. And so I’ve been showing like my not-so-great drawings. Rebecca, you are like an amazing artist, but me on the other hand is like who? So that’s where I’ve just been sharing it on Instagram basically.

Rebecca Dekker: And that’s at Baby Dreams MC, correct?

Chanté Perryman: Correct. Okay.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah. Although, there was something else I wanted to ask you. We talked about how there are so few Black providers in our state and we’re hoping to see that change. One of the things that’s been really exciting to me is like the increase in the number of Black doulas and students who want to go to midwifery school. Can you talk a little bit about how that interest has just like grown, I feel like drastically since the legislation passed.

Chanté Perryman: Yes. It has grown tremendously. For a while I think I was like one of the only Black like doulas in Central Kentucky. And it was kind of lonely out here. But yeah, like within the last three, four years, like we’ve seen an increase in Black doulas and I think there might be like five or six of us Black student midwives in the state now. And like you said, I think that just changed after the legislation passed and was like, yes, I can do this now, I can get my license. I won’t get in trouble for anything. But the increase is amazing. And I love seeing new people come on the scene and be like, “Yeah, I just finished my doula training. I’m new in the community.” And it’s like, yes, come on in. We need you. There’s so many families to support. It’s been amazing to see the growth.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah. It’s very encouraging and exciting. I feel like we’re entering like a new era.

Chanté Perryman: Yeah.

Rebecca Dekker: And you’re going to be one of the first to graduate and become a Black certified professional midwife in the state, but there’s going to be more and more and more.

Chanté Perryman: I know. And I just want to be like, “Come on, let’s just do it.”

Rebecca Dekker: Let’s do it. That’s a whole philosophy of abundance, right. You and I both, we don’t believe in the whole scarcity mindset and competition and stuff. It’s more like the more the merrier and please, please come.

Chanté Perryman: Right, please come ask me questions. Let me help you. I can shave off a like two years of like learning for you. Let me do that for you. These are the things you need to know because I’ve been there. I had to do the work by myself for a while and it is lonely. And it’s like, man, if I just had somebody I could ask this question to. So yes, I do believe in community over competition. And I do believe in abundance and there’s plenty of work for everybody.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about the peer-to-peer support group meetings that you’ve been helping facilitate in the EBB pro membership and like how that’s kind of changed and grown?

Chanté Perryman: Yeah. So we started that this year I think, 2021. And it’s just been amazing to have like our pro members jump in once a month and just break off into small groups and talk about the things that are going on in their community. Sometimes we share our wins, we share challenges. Sometimes people just come in and like, I just need to sit here and I just need to like soak it in and listen. That’s like great, do that. There are times where people are just want to be like, I feel so heavy and I don’t have anybody to talk to. And the others in the group are like, “Yes, we’re here to listen, share.” And so it’s been an amazing, amazing thing to just see people like make connections and even be able to like make friendships and like continue the conversation outside of the peer to peer calls.

So this year in 2022, we are excited because we’re going to do more peer-to-peer calls, but they’re going to be like more focus-based. So like doulas, student midwives, nurses, birth workers of color, we’re going to have like special peer to peer calls just for those groups of people to come in and be like, “I’m a doula or I’m a new doula. This is what I’m going through. Can somebody give me some talking points for when I have a client intake. Or I’m an experienced doula, but I’m having this experience for the first time. Can somebody share with me, how do you think I should handle the situation.” So it’s going to be like more focus-based and we’re hoping that more connections would be made even in those support groups.

Rebecca Dekker: Yeah. I think you and I both have realized over the years that a lot of people, they go through their initial training and then they just kind of feel lost. I don’t have anybody to talk to or like, where can I get some mentorship? So we want to help people build those connections and support one another.

Chanté Perryman: Exactly.

Rebecca Dekker: Well, Chanté, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today.

Chanté Perryman: Thank you for having me.

Rebecca Dekker: We’re looking forward to continuing to follow your student midwife journey and just wanted to give you a reminder. You can listen to Chanté empowering birth stories. Some really cool VBAC stories on Episode 79 and Chante’s husband, JaMichael came on Episode 145 to talk about fatherhood and advocacy. And he’s played a really important role in our community as well with helping educate parents and legislators. And so you two are like a powerhouse team. So I want to encourage people to listen to that interview as well.

Chanté Perryman: Thank you.

Rebecca Dekker: All right. Thank you everyone so much for joining us today to talk with Chanté about life as a student midwife, and we look forward to continuing this conversation about midwife scholarships and the life of a student with the Melanated Midwives Podcast. Thanks, everyone. Bye.

This podcast episode was brought to you by the book, “Babies are Not Pizzas. They’re Born, not Delivered.” “Babies are Pizza” is a memoir that tells the story of how I navigated a broken healthcare system and uncovered how I could still receive evidence based care. In this book, you’ll learn about the history of childbirth and midwifery, the evidence on a variety of birth topics and how we can prevent preventable trauma in childbirth. “Babies are Not Pizzas” is available on Amazon as a Kindle, paperback, hard cover and audible book. Get your copy today and make sure to email me after you read it to let me know your thoughts.

 

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