In this episode of Birth Kweens, Tema Mercado, LM, CPM talks to the Kweens about postpartum healing rituals. Tema is a Xicana mother of five children, wife, and licensed midwife. She has dedicated the past 18 years of her life to serving women in various capacities – Gang Intervention Specialist, Sexual Assault Counselor, Perinatal Health Educator, Teen Parent Advocate, Breastfeeding Peer Counselor and Birth Doula. After being a doula for some time, Tema came to a crossroads. Being a doula meant she could support many women within the hospital setting, but it also meant she must bear witness to some of the traumatic routine hospital practices. She knew as a Doula that her care in the hospital was limited to the care provider and that if she wanted her clients to receive more dignified care that she would have to become their care provider. Tema received full funding to Midwifery School and completed her three years of clinical practice at Birth Roots Maternity and Women’s Health Center in Chula Vista, CA. She provides services on both sides of the border to families searching for a Parto Humanizado. She’s board member of the California Association of Licensed Midwives and President of the Baja California State Board of the Mexican Association of Midwifery. She is well-versed in the practice of postpartum sealing rituals and was kind enough to share some of that info with the Birth Kweens. Here’s an overview of what you’ll hear in this podcast:

  • Tema’s entry into birth work and how her training as a sexual assault counselor prepared her to be a great doula
  • Why Tema decided to make the shift from doula work to midwifery and how challenging and painful it is to bear witness to obstetric violence at the hands of another care provider
  • The tenets of a nurturing and thorough postpartum care routine (and how many of the things involved are simple and intuitive practices)
  • How hospital-based birth workers can incorporate some of the most important postpartum care rituals into hospital births
  • The role that belly binding can play in postpartum healing – how to do it, when to do it, and how long to continue it for
  • How one of the unfortunate side effects of advancements in medicine has been a lack of personal responsibility for one’s own health and how this manifests in maternity care specifically
  • Tema’s thoughts about the role that cultural appropriation plays in sharing the postpartum healing rituals of indigenous cultures
  • What Tema does during one of her postpartum sealing rituals
  • The role that herbs/herbal remedies play in postpartum healing and how establishing a relationship with the plants you use is an essential part of this process
  • The book Karly mentioned about herbs – Plant Spirit Medicine: A Journey Into the Healing Wisdom of Plants
  • Click here to check out Tema’s online store where she sells belly binding wraps, rebozos, fajas, and herbs

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