Celebrating Midwifery, Gratitude, and New Adventures - Q2 2023 Newsletter

Celebrating Midwifery, Gratitude, and New Adventures - Q2 2023 Newsletter

Everything we've been up to in April, May, and June!

So much has happened for Abide in the last few months. If you follow us on social media, then you'll know we stay busy!

This past quarter, we're most proud of our inaugural Juneteenth Lunch & Learn, where attendees got the first look at renderings of the Abide Birth and Collective Care Center, featured in D Magazine. We are full speed ahead in preparing for the first-ever Black-led birth center in sunny South Dallas!

Read about the Birth Center

Loriell's Story: The Transformative Power of Midwifery

Abide's Lead Midwife, Kennasha, with Loriell, her husband, and their four children after receiving an ultrasound at our Easy Access Clinic™ (the oldest is holding a picture of the youngest!)

As a Black woman in America, Loriell’s pregnancy journey has been a tale of two strikingly different experiences. As a 21-year-old single mom on Medicaid, she was cycled through an impersonal healthcare system where her care had less to do with what she wanted, and more to do with what her insurance would pay for. She saw a carousel of doctors who knew her not as a person, but as a patient chart.

During labor with her first child, she felt unheard, violated, and rushed. Her negative experience in the hospital system culminated into a sudden C-section that she would discover years later was never needed in the first place.

For her next pregnancy, Loriell found herself moving toward the more intimate, empowering, and understanding world of midwifery. Now, as a mother to four children (one on the way!), she navigates her pregnancies and births with the support and guidance of Black midwives, whose service she describes as the embodiment of personal care and respect.

In Loriell’s own words, “Having two Black midwives with my first two births and having Kennasha now has just been amazing for me and my family because they’re Black women and mothers and females that work in the industry, so we get each other. We’ve become like family, like cousins-at-the-cookout type family.

Even when I’m not pregnant and not in her care, we’re still on the phone and texting like, “Hey girl!” It’s just been great to have that type of care and to have somebody who knows you and knows what you could possibly go through as a Black woman – because she is a Black woman. 

I don’t know what other words to use to describe midwifery care other than it’s been great.

My first child’s birth was rushed, impersonal. It wasn’t about me – it was about what I could afford and my insurance – and that’s it. I can’t tell you a single doctor or nurse’s name who cared for me during that time because the faces changed every appointment, every time, every hour. So that was really rough.

But knowing that I’ve had the same care providers for the past three births, and knowing that they know me and my body and how to respond to things. . .They know my personality, my husband, my kids. I feel seen, I feel heard, and I feel empowered to make decisions regarding my birth that I likely wouldn’t have been able to make at the hospital.”

Program Updates: Supportive Pregnancy Care®

Client Resource Specialist and Childbirth Educator, Krystle, teaches a Supportive Pregnancy Care® group at our Easy Access Clinic™

We are thrilled to announce a significant development in our partnership with March of Dimes Supportive Pregnancy Care®. March of Dimes gifted Abide a generous donation of 100 blood pressure kits, a vital resource in our mission to address the risks associated with pre-eclampsia or high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Each kit is like a little health toolbox. It has a blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter, blood pressure monitoring log, and even QR codes that lead to videos with helpful information. With these kits, our clients can keep track of their blood pressure right from home, making it easier for them to stay healthy.

Monitoring blood pressure is important throughout pregnancy in order to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia, one of the leading causes of maternal mortality. By providing our clients with the resources they need, we aim to enhance the overall well-being of both mom and baby.

We are immensely grateful to March of Dimes for selecting Abide as the recipient of this generous donation. We are excited to witness the positive impact this initiative will have on the lives of our clients and their families!

Donor Appreciation: THANK YOU

Your generous gifts this quarter are helping us reach our financial goals that will allow us to continue to advance our mission of providing holistic pregnancy care to Black women in communities with the lowest quality of care.

Over 40% of you are monthly donors! WOW!

You all are our lifeblood, our firm foundation that supports the seeds we're planting.

On Juneteenth, we invited community partners, friends, and guests to learn about our mission, hear from our CEO and founder, Cessilye R. Smith, about where we are going as an organization, and shared the opportunity to donate towards our Capital Campaign, funding The Abide Birth and Collective Care Center.

Our goal in building this center is to provide opportunities for our families to not only have access to a safe, healing environment that centers their care but also to have access to healthy produce grown on-site while gaining the education and skills needed to carry healthy habits from the birth center home.

Thank you all who attended virtually and in person your support that day was important and so meaningful to us. We loved sharing space with you. 

Friends, not only does your support help fund our campaign — it also creates many opportunities to make a positive impact within our community through our Easy Access Clinic™ by providing lactation support, childbirth education, full-service prenatal and postpartum care, doula support, non-diagnostic ultrasounds, pregnancy tests and a host of resources.

I have to give a HUGE Thanks to our top funders: The Boone Family Foundation, The Muse Family Foundation, Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation, and the Addy Foundation.

Again, thank you for being a part of the Abide Family. We couldn't do any of this work without you!

Tiffany Washington
Donor Relations Specialist

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Volunteer Spotlight: Ifeoluwa Kehinde

"I am really enjoying my time volunteering with Abide Women’s Health Services. Volunteering with them has shown me places I can make an impact in my community and social circle. They were very helpful in educating me about the issues we need to address and providing solutions that I can support. It is also always a blessing to be around women uplifting each other."

Volunteer with Abide

Ways to Get Involved

Here are some ways you can get involved with Abide Women's Health Services:

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Administrative Support: Help with data entry, phone support, filing, and documentation, mailings, reception support, or event coordination
  • Community Outreach: Join our team in raising awareness about women's health issues, participating in health fairs, workshops, and community events

Fundraising and Donations:

  • Organize Fundraising Events: Host or participate in fundraising initiatives to support our programs and services
  • In-Kind Donations: Consider donating items such as hygiene products, baby supplies, educational materials, or office supplies

Spread the Word:

  • Share Our Newsletter: Help us expand our reach by forwarding our quarterly newsletter to your friends, family, and colleagues
  • Social Media Advocacy: Engage with our social media platforms by liking, sharing, and commenting on our posts

Professional Expertise:

  • Volunteer Your Professional Skills: If you have expertise in areas such as marketing, graphic design, IT, or event planning, consider lending your skills to assist us in specific projects or initiatives

To explore these volunteer opportunities or discuss other ways to get involved, please reach out to our Community Outreach Coordinator, Tamara, directly at tamara@abidewomen.org.

Employee Highlight: Gabriella Federico

Gabriella at the 2022 Abide Staff Retreat in Palestine, Texas, enjoying the Texas heat!

Gabriella began her journey with Abide as a volunteer in 2018 and joined the team full-time in January 2022 as our Marketing Director and grant writer. Gabriella's marketing and grant writing expertise has made a great impact on Abide, which includes increased visibility and awareness of our services and significant funding from various foundations.  We continue to be blown away by her creativity, standard of excellence, and high capacity.

"If I were to choose one word to describe Gabriella, it would be consistent. She has continued to be an ally in this work of pursuing justice for Black women and she has remained consistent and humble in her act of service, all while consistently going above and beyond what has been requested of her.  She is trustworthy and I am incredibly grateful that she is a member of our team."
- Cessilye, CEO

A few words from her peers:

"Gabriella is incredible and she deserves to be recognized for all of her efforts. She is often doing work behind the scenes that nobody else sees or knows about. She is collaborative, creative, intelligent, and hardworking. She is always willing to provide help and go above and beyond to do excellent work. The fact that she is in another state doesn’t stop her from being present with her coworkers, and truly being an integral part of the team."
- Melissa, Executive Coordinator

"She is amazing at what she does when it comes to funding, social media, and design. Even though she isn't here in DFW, you still feel her presence."
- LaQuita, Midwife

Upcoming Events

  • The Barbara Jordan Leadership Institute in conjunction with the Afrocentric Communiversity presents Dallas's 2023 Self-Care Fair for Texas Fibroid Awareness Month. This Self-Care Fair will be all about self-care with vendors, giveaways, health screenings, educational tools, feminine hygiene supply drive, and more! Abide will be attending this event as a vendor so please come see us on Saturday, July 16, 2023 from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM.
  • Community Engagement Day sponsored by the State Fair of Texas on July 13, 2023 is a special occasion for nonprofit organizations to meet and connect in person and come together to celebrate the diverse organizations that make our vibrant community thrive. Abide will be presenting to the Dallas nonprofit community about the inspiring initiatives, projects, and services that our organization offers.

Social Media Highlights

Check out this virtual tour of our clinic, led by the one and only Cessilye!

We appreciate your continued support and commitment to Abide. Together, we're making a difference in the fight for safe, equitable, evidence-based maternal healthcare.

To the journey,

The Abide Team

Abide Women's Health Services logo