Birthing and Justice with Dr Ruth De Souza

Dr Ruth De Souza

Childbirth is supposed to be empowering, but for many birthing people it is not. For Indigenous women, immigrant women and women of colour, birthing within the western healthcare system can be anything but affirming. It can feel unsafe. In this raw and challenging talks series, health researcher, clinician and nursing educator Dr Ruth De Souza (RMIT University) hosts conversations about birth, racism and cultural safety with change makers working within the maternal health-care sector to break down the structures built on colonisation. This is a series that will give birthing people hope and power when they’re at their most vulnerable. read less

Series 4 Episode 1: Jacynta Krakouer and Indigo Willing on how colonisation and the idea of the “white saviour” have shaped responses to child welfare
Jan 11 2023
Series 4 Episode 1: Jacynta Krakouer and Indigo Willing on how colonisation and the idea of the “white saviour” have shaped responses to child welfare
Synopsis:What does it mean to be part of a community without access to your birthing stories? Dr Jacynta Krakouer, a Mineng Noongar social worker and Dr Indigo Willing, a sociologist and adoptee from Vietnam contribute a powerful discussion about the history and politics of out-of-home care and inter-country adoption addressing justice, kinship, and belonging. Jacynta and Indigo bring their lived experience and their community advocacy into dialogue with a critical analysis of the institutions and mindsets that underpin how children are born in the lands now known as Australia. Notes:Links to Jacynta's workResearchGate Google Scholar Separated at birth: Racism and unconscious bias in perinatal health servicesThe Family Matters report 2022First Nations families need support to stay together, before we create another Stolen GenerationFirst Nations children are still being removed at disproportionate rates. Cultural assumptions about parenting need to changeLinks to Indi's workResearch GateGoogle ScholarSiren Spotlight: Hybrid academic careers in sport—bridging scholarship, community, and consultancy workPodcast interview on The Vietnamese with Kenneth NguyenErika Hayasaki presents "Somewhere Sisters" with Indigo Willing We Skate QueenslandMusicMusic in this episode includes ‘Developing Peace Health Wellness’ by Luca Tomassini, and ‘Native American Dream’ by AudioLion used under an Audio Standard Licence from Adobe Stock.Birthing and Justice is written and produced by Dr Ruth De Souza on the traditional and unceded lands of the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nations. Sound editing by Olivia Smith.
Series 3 Episode 7: Carla Pascoe Leahy on connecting the past and future in the Anthropocene
Jun 14 2022
Series 3 Episode 7: Carla Pascoe Leahy on connecting the past and future in the Anthropocene
Synopsis:Historian Carla Pascoe Leahy was surprised at how her own experiences of new motherhood were affected by the relationships and stories she was told by her own mother and grandmothers. In this episode, she talks about how learning about her past led to researching the experience of birth in Australia over the last 75 years. Carla discusses the importance of her local community, what she’s learned about being vulnerable as a researcher and how climate change is influencing mothering.Notes:Carla's website has extensive links to her work, but here are a few highlights below.BooksCarla Pascoe Leahy and Petra Bueskens (eds), Australian Mothering: Historical and Sociological Perspectives (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9783030202668Kristine Moruzi, Nell Musgrove and Carla Pascoe Leahy (eds), Children’s Voices from the Past: New Historical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives (London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/978303011895ArticlesC. Pascoe Leahy, ‘The afterlife of interviews: explicit ethics and subtle ethics in sensitive or distressing qualitative research’, Qualitative Research (2021), https://doi.org/10.1177/14687941211012924C. Pascoe Leahy, ‘Maternal heritage: remembering mothering and motherhood through material culture’, International Journal of Heritage Studies (2021), https://doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2021.1893792C. Pascoe Leahy, ‘The mother within: Intergenerational influences upon Australian matrescence since 1945’, Past & Present Supplement 15 (2020) 263-294, https://doi.org/10.1093/pastj/gtaa041Carla Pascoe Leahy, ‘Maternal metamorphosis: how mothering has changed in Australia since the second world war’, The Conversation, 17 January 2022Carla Pascoe Leahy, ‘Looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift? Why not smash the patriarchy’, The Conversation, 7 May 2021Carla Pascoe Leahy, ‘Childhood masked’, Arena Online, 8 October 2020Carla Pascoe Leahy, ‘Eudaimonia: meditations on pandemic life’, Arena Online, 3 September 2020Carla Pascoe Leahy, ‘‘Helicopter parenting’ and ‘tiger mothers’? Relax, Australian kids are alright’, The Conversation, 31 December 2019 Video: https://carlapascoeleahy.com/link-in-bio/Music in this episode includes ‘Tympanum’ by REWBirthing and Justice is written and produced by Dr Ruth De Souza on the traditional and unceded lands of the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nations. Sound editing by Olivia Smith.
Series 3 Episode 4: Natalie Kon-yu on writing, birth trauma and medical sexism
May 26 2022
Series 3 Episode 4: Natalie Kon-yu on writing, birth trauma and medical sexism
Synopsis:What if you thought pregnancy was going to be easy, a breeze? You had even planned an overseas holiday – but then suddenly, pregnancy became frightening and stressful, needing admission to a mental health unit?Natalie Kon-yu – a Naarm-based writer descended from Italian and Mauritian migrants – talks about the experiences of medical sexism, birth trauma and medical mismanagement detailed in her book The Cost of Labour. She also talks about the ways in which motherhood is simultaneously exalted and undervalued In contemporary colonial Australia – and how she’s looking to challenge those norms.  [Content warning: This episode addresses mental health, suicidal ideation, medical trauma and negligence.]Notes:Read Natalie's powerful essay in Overland: The most natural thinghttps://overland.org.au/previous-issues/issue-235/feature-the-most-natural-thing/Shelf Reflection: Natalie Kon-yuhttps://www.killyourdarlings.com.au/article/shelf-reflection-natalie-kon-yu/5 Questions with Dr Natalie Kon-yuhttps://www.liminalmag.com/5-questions/natalie-kon-yuThe #PublishingPaidMe hashtag reveals how Writers of Colour are undervaluedhttps://www.sbs.com.au/topics/voices/culture/article/2020/06/15/publishingpaidme-hashtag-reveals-how-writers-colour-are-undervaluedNatalie Kon-yu is a feminist firsthttps://www.dumbofeather.com/conversations/natalie-kon-yu-is-a-feminist-first/The cost of labour https://affirmpress.com.au/publishing/the-cost-of-labour/Music in this episode includes ‘Salientia’ and ‘Tympanum’ by REWBirthing and Justice is written and produced by Dr Ruth De Souza on the traditional and unceded lands of the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nations. Sound editing by Olivia Smith.
Season 2 Episode 7: Eleanor Jackson on the poetics and politics of birthing
Feb 6 2022
Season 2 Episode 7: Eleanor Jackson on the poetics and politics of birthing
Synopsis: To Eleanor Jackson, pregnancy and childbirth are formative practical, philosophical, and social experiences that connect us to life force and joy. The arts producer, performer and author of Gravidity and Parity brought a book and a baby into the world during the coronavirus pandemic. She joins us to talk about medical acceptability, shared responsibilities, and birth’s capacity to bring about new relationships between the body and the public that reflect and sometimes transform deeply held political beliefs. Notes:Eleanor’s reflections at the start of the pandemic lockdowns and her third pregnancy. https://womensagenda.com.au/latest/pregnant-in-a-pandemic-facing-physical-distancing-great-unknowns-so-much-more/An article for Meanjin about how deeper engagement with pregnancy and birthing might influence our collective future over the next 80 years (subscription needed)https://meanjin.com.au/essays/gravidity-and-parity/Link to her book Gravidity and Parity which is highly commended in the 2022 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. The book explores the narrative opportunities of pregnancy loss, pregnancy and early motherhood set against the unfolding experience of the COVID 19 pandemic.https://vagabondpress.net/products/eleanor-jackson-gravidity-and-parityMusic in this episode includes ‘Me on the Inside’ by Ketsa and ‘Salientia’ by REWBirthing and Justice is written and produced by Dr Ruth De Souza on the traditional and unceded lands of the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nations. Sound editing by Olivia Smith.
Season 2 Episode 5: Nisha Khot on making a difference in obstetric care
Jan 23 2022
Season 2 Episode 5: Nisha Khot on making a difference in obstetric care
Episode Synopsis:  Nisha Khot’s experience of working in women’s health in India made her determined to make a difference in the field. Dr Khot’s working experience across various medical contexts around the world, from India and the UK to Melbourne and regional Victoria, brings perspective and depth to her practice. Her current roles see her working across rural and urban settings, moving between education, practice and leadership. She joins us for a chat about health literacy, perinatal rituals, quality and safety in the healthcare system and the need to address systemic racism in Australia’s health system.Episode notes: Just a note that the term M&Ms used in the podcast, refers to Morbidity and Mortality meetings. These are meetings where staff review deaths and complications in order to improve the quality of the care that is being provided to their patients as well as professional learning.Please look after yourself, and access support if you need it. Other  resources available to help are:SANDS https://www.sands.org.auBeyond Blue https://www.beyondblue.org.au/Lifeline 13 11 14 or https://www.lifeline.org.auMusic in this episode includes ‘Things Before Dawn’ by Floating Spirits, ‘For the Record’ by Daniel Birch and ‘Rabota’ by Victoria Darian and Alexei Kalinkin, used under a Creative Commons license from Free Music Archive.Birthing and Justice is written and produced by Dr Ruth De Souza on the traditional and unceded lands of the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nations. Sound editing by Olivia Smith.
Season 2 Episode 4: Annabel Farry on finding the sweet spot
Jan 17 2022
Season 2 Episode 4: Annabel Farry on finding the sweet spot
Episode Synopsis: Annabel Farry's forte is in finding a balance between the personal and political, theory and practice, embodied time and clock time, and the physiological and spiritual. She's a midwife, parent and academic, and a third generation Lebanese immigrant to Aotearoa who considers herself Tangata Tiriti. In this episode, she talks about facilitating cultural safety in birthing services as well as in midwifery education, validating the anxieties of birthing people whilst ensuring equitable care, and ensuring her children can claim their birthright of Te Reo – whilst acknowledging the loss of her Lebanese ancestors' names and language.Episode notes: Comparing perinatal outcomes for healthy pregnant women presenting at primary and tertiary settings in South Auckland: A retrospective cohort study: https://www.midwife.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Jnl-55-article-1-Comparing-perinatal-outcomes.pdfMidwives’ decision-making around artificial rupture of membranes in low-risk labour: https://www.v2.i3-uat.nz/our-work/resources/halo-tool-artificial-rupture-of-membranes-poster/Pasifika women’s choice of birthplace: https://www.midwife.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Jnl-54-article-2-Pasifika-women.pdfMusic in this episode includes ‘Can We Be Friends’ by Lobo Loco, used under a Creative Commons license from Free Music Archive.Birthing and Justice is written and produced by Dr Ruth De Souza on the traditional and unceded lands of the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nations. Sound editing by Olivia Smith.