In the Midst of Tragedy

Dear PSVa Community,

I have been worrying that this message was too late to send since I did not send it right away.

But that is a false narrative steeped in perfectionism and urgency, of being right or wrong, good or bad. We cannot be too late to bring our true selves, authentic feelings, and leadership to an issue. 

I know many of us are still reeling from yet another school shooting. For those of us who struggle with depression and anxiety, such incidences heighten our pain and symptoms.

It is ok to grieve. It is ok to be angry. It is ok to take the slow path as we feel our feelings. 

One of the most transformational shifts that I have made in both my professional and personal life is the shift to understanding reproductive justice.

Reproductive justice is a framework that is grounded in human rights. Reproductive Justice teaches that to have full access to our humanity, individuals must have: 1. Bodily autonomy to decide if and when to have children (including freedom from coercion); and 2. The ability to parent the children they have in healthy communities, fully resourced, free from violence. 

It is a world view of both/and — something that our culture is not so good at holding.

This year, the school shootings, 27 in total, are a tragic reminder that we cannot parent our children in communities free from violence. This lack of freedom from violence affects our ability to live our fullest, most joyful lives. Freedom from violence is a human right, and it should certainly be a right for our babies. 

While none of us are safe from the terror of the possibility of an active shooter in our community — we must at the same time hold the painful reality that many mothers, parents, and grandparents wake each day with the knowledge that their children cannot live in a world free from violence due to structural racism, homophobia, bigotry, and other systemic isms. This violence is not an individual tragic event but an ongoing daily experience of small and large aggressions. 

In this moment, we must do the hard work of remembering the both/ands that exist in this world. 

Each time I think of the children and adults who lost their lives in school shootings, my heart breaks. My heart cracks open again as I hold the truth that we do not live in a world where all human life is valued and celebrated, where all people are free from violence. 

The antidote to heartbreak is community. Together, we can build a new world that allows us to be fully human, free from violence, coercion, hatred, and bigotry.  

I know that we are in this community together because we care deeply about the health of mothers, birthing people, parents, and babies. We want to see a world where families thrive physically and emotionally. 

In this spirit of community and care, I will be hosting a processing session on Friday, June 3, at 1:00 pm via zoom. Please join me. I invite you to bring your messiest feelings so we may leave stronger for being together. 

In the Spirit of Community,


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