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Birth in Color LYH: A Conversation with Miosha McDaniel


written by Alyssa Wilson, University of Lynchburg Bonner Intern

Birth in Color LYH is an impactful organization that serves mothers and babies of color through their pregnancy and postpartum journeys. SHARE Greater Lynchburg sat down with Miosha McDaniel, one of Birth in Color’s doulas, this week to talk more about the organization and the impacts its making on the community of Lynchburg. 


SHARE: Tell me about yourself and the work you do with Birth in Color LYH.

Miosha: I am a wife, a mom and a birth doula. I’m currently going through my lactation consultant training, which is a very long process. I’m also the Grant Development and Fundraising Support Leader of Birth in Color RVA, but I serve as a birth doula for Birth in Color LYH. 


SHARE: What inspired you to work with Birth in Color LYH? 

Miosha: So obviously I am a black mother, and I went into my first pregnancy scared, because I knew that people who looked like me die three times more than our white counterparts. Not because of socioeconomic status or education levels, simply because of the color of our skin. I was very nervous about stepping into the hospital and having doctors that didn’t look like me and didn’t know my story look after me. So we made the conscious decision to get a doula for my birth, and it was a big financial thing, but it was necessary. 

When I found out about Birth in Color and they had their first big launch, I knew I wanted to be a part of it after I had my son. Last year was my first year serving as a birth doula and I love being a community advocate and speaker and sharing what I believe in. I knew I couldn’t pass it up.


SHARE: Give me a brief description of the services and programs that Birth in Color LYH offers. 

Miosha: We serve women of color within our community, but we are all over Virginia. We’re in Roanoke, Farmville, Richmond, Lynchburg and the Northern Neck. We serve women and their families for no additional cost to them because we believe that doula care should be free and accessible. We serve them throughout their pregnancy, birth and postpartum journey and we also do Dad bonding classes, lactation support, and family classes that help teach families what mothers need during their pregnancy.


SHARE: Do doulas get paid for the work that they do? 

Miosha: The main way we’re paid is through grant funding. A lot of community foundations help support us as well. All of our doulas do get paid, they don’t do it for free. But it’s never at the cost of the families. 


SHARE: What’s your favorite memory from your time working with the organization? 

Miosha: I had a client that was inspired by my own home birth, and she chose to have a home birth. She gave birth in November. If you’ve ever delivered, you know how hard it is. It’s not easy. I always tell them that birth is a marathon. It’s work and you have to train for that marathon. I got to watch her train and work hard for her marathon. It was a long birth, but it was a redemption story from her first birth which was hard and disappointing. I was so proud of her at that moment and it was cool to be the inspiration for her. 


SHARE: What would you like people to know about Birth in Color LYH that people may not know? 

Miosha: The biggest thing is that the families are not having to take anything out of their pockets for us to care for them. It doesn’t matter what socioeconomic status they are at. They could be below the poverty line or they could be very wealthy, because we just believe that every black woman should have access to a doula. We also support indigenous people and hispanic culture. We have resources to be able to break that language barrier. We have a very diverse group of clients. 


SHARE: What events and programs are coming up? 

Miosha: Our biggest thing coming up is Black Maternal Health Week which is happening the week of April 10-14. We will be hosting a night at the Hillcats game on April 14 and will be a fundraiser for Birth in Color. There’s also The Summit which will be in Richmond and is an opportunity for midwives, doulas, doctors, anyone to just come out and hear about people’s birth experiences. There will also be a Blaze pizza fundraiser happening that Wednesday. We will be sharing fliers and things on our social media as it gets closer.


Learn more about the mission and upcoming events Birth in Color LYH by visiting their SHARE Greater Lynchburg profile. 


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