This summer, we are delighted to host the East End Birth Network for a Spanish-language “birth circle” on the second Thursday of every month (beginning June 13th). The group’s president and co-founder, Sara Topping, was kind enough to share a little more about the 8-year-old organization, its mission, and how local parents and families can support the work they do here in the East End.
Can you tell us more about the East End Birth Network? How did it come about?
East End Birth Network started from a group of women who were concerned about access, education, and options for birth on the East End. We have been supporting parents and families of our community with our monthly birth circles for the past 8 years. We gather in support and hold space for mothers, parents, and families to share and educate themselves.
Part of your mission is to “identify inequities and disparities in the birthing and parenting culture.” What are some of those inequalities and disparities?
The United States is the only developed world with a rising maternal mortality rate and it spends the most per person on health care. Black and Indigenous women of color in the United States are 3-4x more likely to die during childbirth than white women. Their babies are 75% more likely not to survive their first year. In New York, that number increases to 12x.
The eastern end of Long Island is not immune to these outcomes with its infant mortality rate being one of the highest in the state. The reason is multifaceted, but systemic racism and access to care play a huge role in the outcomes for mothers and their babies. Monopolies of care and access are significant issues on the east end of Long Island and EEBN is trying to bridge the gap for those who need it through support, education, and advocacy.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, what is a “birth circle?”
A “Birth Circle” is the name for our gathering. We sit together, in a circle, and hold space for all people, questions and stories. Everyone is welcome and it is a safe, supportive space to ask questions and share birthing and parenting experiences of all types.
We’re delighted that you’ll be offering “Grupo de Nacimiento” (a Spanish language birth circle) at CMEE. Why is reaching the East End’s Spanish-speaking population so important?
The Spanish-speaking population is one of the largest on the East End. We hope that this will offer a place for support and education in a way that is safe and comfortable for all families in this typically underserved community.
How can parents and families get more involved with the East End Birth Network?
We are a non-profit (501c3) and are an entirely volunteer run organization. If you are interested in becoming involved you can join our email list at www.eastendbirthnetwork.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. If you would like to volunteer with us you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would also greatly appreciate any monetary support in the form of a tax-deductible donation that can help us extend our capacity to our local families.