Letter To The Community

Dear Community,

I want to thank the incredible families that have allowed me to be present at both the births & difficult transitions of their babies. After almost 15 years of midwifery, I have experienced many powerful, life affirming births. So many of these births have been through the lighting rod that is The Community Birth Center!

The outpouring of support over the (almost) 5 years keeping mothers, babies, and families SAFE while conceiving/being pregnant/loss/birthing/postpartum has been awe inspiring. ONE on-call midwife, 4 wonderfully supportive licensed midwives, over 10 student midwives of color, and volunteers could not have done this work for THIS long without the support of friends, family, and often times complete strangers.

It is with tearful regret, that the season of our beloved lighting rod of a Birth Center has come to an end. Too often, clients did not make their payments, sometimes YEARS after their births. Too often those that could afford our full fee took advantage of our sliding scale. Many promised payment and just…didn’t. We are unable to sustain the Birth Center under these circumstances. We are most saddened to see the end of “Community FREE Fridays,” a donation of time and commitment by midwives, student midwives and lovely volunteers. 

Long before the The Community Birth Center, serving community was my motivation. I will ALWAYS challenge social norms. I will ALWAYS be part of changing the narrative around birth for descendants of Africans. Our birth statistics and our lives will forever and always be my priority!

I look forward to providing more intimate midwifery care for very special families. Interviews and intakes will continue, the process will be only slightly different. Prenatals will be more intimate and specially tailored to each client. My hours will be more flexible. Homebirth and waterbirth in Los Angeles County will continue. In addition, I will return to taking clients outside the United States on a case by case basis. Postpartum visits will be similar to my “baby midwife” days –with ceremony, delicious homemade food, infant feeding support, breastmilk donation, home visits with a pediatrician, and overall MORE care!

The conception, pregnancy, and birth of The Community Birth Center was always a painfully quiet, but regal struggle. It’s now time for me, Racha Tahani Lawler, CPM, LM to stand in my new place in midwifery. Which is a beautiful, exciting, and sacred place, rich with African traditions. A place so protected and ancient, only elder midwives could put me here, and to them everyday I am thankful.