Childbirth International ‘s values are grounded in inclusivity, diversity, and sustainability.
Childbirth International’s core values have always included the goal of offering a learning platform that is welcoming, safe, and inclusive of all individuals. We strive to develop reflection and empathy so our students can interact in their community with dignity and respect for all persons. We believe that every pregnant, birthing, and parenting individual has the same right to equitable, kind, and respectful care. We use inclusive language in all our courses and believe in the right for every individual to be treated with equity and kindness. CBI trainers have all undergone professional development on using inclusive language and how to support all students, regardless of their gender identity, religious and spiritual beliefs, and race.
We recognize the disparities in health care and outcomes for minority and marginalized groups and seek to be part of the solution in eliminating these through listening, understanding, dialogue, and education. We embrace and celebrate the diversity of humanity and continually seek out diverse perspectives. We recognize the importance of not having ethnocentric approaches to our training. In order to understand and respect the diversity of all people, there are several steps we have taken in 2020. We support the Black Lives Matter movement and actively seek out opportunities to educate ourselves and support grassroots organizations working to deconstruct the systemic disparities for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
All CBI trainers and our Head Office team have participated in professional development during 2020, in programs led by BIPOC people, in order for us to understand the challenges faced as a result of racism and racist policies and recognize the responsibility of all of us to participate in anti-racist actions. This professional development is something that we are committed to and will continue to form our ongoing learning.
Throughout 2020, we have also all been broadening our understanding of issues that affect diverse groups through watching and discussing documentaries, books, and websites that highlight racism and celebrate the uniqueness of different cultures. As a group, we discuss these and seek to further explore and enhance our education and understanding. This is important and ongoing work that we are committed to as a team and as an organization.
We offer scholarships to students who are working with grassroots movements that focus on marginalized and vulnerable groups. The scholarship provides a 25% discount on all our courses and enables a student to pay for their training over ten months with no instalment fees and is available to those directly working with marginalized and vulnerable groups, and are themselves part of the community. Applications can be made by contacting our support team.
We recognize that birth and lactation services are predominantly offered and available to those who are White and have the financial means to afford these services. We also recognize that in order to have more marginalized and vulnerable families supported by birth and lactation professionals, the industry needs people from those same communities, where they understand the lived experiences of those who do not have equity. In order to support BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ birth and lactation professionals, we have supported and will continue to support, grassroots organizations that are best positioned to determine the needs of their communities. Rather than centering our own voices in the services and needs of marginalized communities, we ensure that our donations are used to support grassroots organizations, run by BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ groups, across the world. In 2020, we have supported a number of organizations through financial donations.
Black Mamas Matter Alliance
“Black Mamas Matter Alliance is a Black women-led cross-sectoral alliance. We center Black mamas to advocate, drive research, build power, and shift culture for Black maternal health, rights, and justice” (quoted from the Black Mamas Matter Alliance website). In our drive to support Black-led initiatives working with birthing families, CBI contributed in 2020 toward their programs. Black Mamas Matter Alliance
The Chigamik Community Health Centre
The Chigamik Community Health Centre is based in Ontario, Canada. Run through the Strong Women Strong Nations Project with the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) of Simcoe Muskoka they provide free doula
services to First Nation, Métis, and Inuit families. Our contribution was given to support the free doula services they offer together with the training of First Nations doulas through their own training programs, ensuring that birth and lactation professionals are able to provide services delivered by First Nations people to First Nations people. Chigamik Community Health Centre
Birthing on Country
Birthing on Country is an Australian initiative to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to have their babies in a supportive, culturally safe, and respectful environment with a known midwife. In 2020, CBI contributed towards the initiative which is seeking to raise funds to build the program. Birthing on Country
We will continue to identify organizations that are supporting diverse communities to financially contribute to.
Childbirth International regularly has openings for new trainers. We recognize that, while we have a diverse student and graduate body (30% of CBI’s students and graduates are BIPOC and our students and graduates are from 134 different countries), we do not have a particularly diverse group of trainers. When we offer opportunities for new trainers to work with CBI, we actively welcome BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ CBI graduates to apply for the position. In 2021, we will be launching a Train the Trainer program for graduates of all training programs or those with extensive experience as birth and lactation professionals, to develop the skills for providing training. Graduates from this program will be welcome to apply for positions within the CBI Trainer and Head Office teams as they arise and we will give priority to these applicants.
We are regularly updating our course materials to ensure that where disparities exist for marginalized communities these are highlighted in our course materials. Using the latest evidence, we outline for all students the challenges that communities face and how, as birth and lactation professionals, we can not only become aware of them but actively participate in changing these disparities and dismantling the systems that allow them to continue.
We are in the process of updating our course materials through our student website to ensure that all our course materials are accessible for everyone. Throughout 2020 and 2021, we are adding audio recordings and videos to ensure that as many people as possible can access our materials.
We are committed to social, cultural, environmental, financial, and personal sustainability and look for ways to minimize consumption of natural resources, support individuals in fostering healthy communities, and encourage a maintainable work/life integration through flexible employment and study arrangements.
Our courses are available in both an online format, and a printed format. Printed materials are printed on recycled paper. Our trainers work from home, reducing their use of limited resources. We support our trainers in maintaining a work-life balance that enables them to support their families while also carrying out the work they are so passionate about. All those working within CBI are paid above the minimum wage and their rates are increased every year above the level of inflation. Trainers have a Trainer Mentor to support them through their work and to support them emotionally when needed.