Critical conversations: 21st century MeXicanx maternity experiences
Our rights as womyn and mothers to assert jurisdiction over our own bodies and lives are being deconstructed at an alarming rate – dare I say as alarming as the miles of ice cracking and melting off the poles of our Mother Earth.
With no more lands to conquer on the U.S. mainland, the personal landscape has become a frontier. The 21st century geography of colonization and population control: the body of womyn and in particular, womyn from marginalized communities.
It is true that legislated dominion over native peoples bodies has gone on for over 500 years. But generations of wasichu methodologies in law and capitalist structures have reached a point of refinement that demands our attention because of its power to creep so deeply into the personal, affecting our realities and influencing if not outright controlling our sacred personal decisions. The State of Texas is of particular reference and leads the attack but it is certainly not the only one. The current situation is inextricably intertwined with colonization, thus impacting native womyn across borders.
But within the context of the U.S., this imposition of state control over a womyn’s body manifests in the forms of womyns right to choose, access to healthcare (including mental health services), access to assistance programs, womyns right to (and access to) choose the form of maternity medical care, womyns right to (and access to) determine the birth experience, family law legislation, domestic violence, litigious abuse, access for non-citizens and mothers/kids in FAMILY PRISONS to obtain birth certificates for U.S.-born children, trans and LGBTQ rights, and in other ways with intersections too numerous to describe.
And of particular importance is that at every single crossing point between the State and marginalized communities – and in particular womyn – from the greater MeXicanx community, there appears increasing forms of legislation imposed upon the living geographies and landscapes of the brown female bodies in ways which overtly and covertly carve pathways to unjustly deny access and exercise of our human rights. The system seems be in a rush to find ways to justify taking power at any moment over our bodies, quickly legislating definitions/layers of illegalities and constructing legal, economic, and geographic barriers that directly work against us to obstruct our ability to exercise our human rights, our health/well-being, our families, and our life experience on this planet as we know it.
Perhaps this article is only a drop in a bucket, but there is simply no other way to deconstruct and decolonize this mechanism without having a few critical conversations. And today’s topic is no exception: the right to choose (and access to) maternity care, asserting jurisdiction over the self in determining the birth experience, and working with pregnant womyn and mothers from marginalized communities.
Our featured guests include yaocihuame (warrior womyn/community leaders) and come from Houston, El Paso, Austin, San Antonio, and Guadalajara, Mexico. We are honored to have with us:
Maribel Valdez Gonzalez, Educator, San Antonio, Texas Donate
Gisela Sarellano, Danzante, El Paso, Texas Donate
Marisela Orozco-Herrera, Danzante and educator, Houston, Texas
Emerita Citlalli Ramírez Grande, Danzante and culture worker, Guadalajara, Jalisco
Rachel Caballero, Student midwife at Mama Sana clinic in East Austin, Texas
Nana Yvette Mendez, Elder, San Antonio, Texas
You are invited to read and listen to their stories, they are critical and important. You are also personally invited to counter the systemic attack and effect change NOW through donating to the fund drives for these hermanas.
Author’s note: I can personally testify to the fact that online donations towards the birth of children really DO make a direct impact at a time when pregnant womyn, and in this case community leaders, need it the most. Thank you.