Written by Amber Hawkins @ambbamm_
All Photos by Tamara Gilchrist, owner of @sheradiatesphotography
Career: Birth and Postpartum Doula
Tanya grew up on the beautiful Caribbean Island of Antigua and migrated to the US over a decade ago to pursue her college education. She’s a graduate of Georgia State University where she obtained her Bachelor's of Science degree in Public Health. She is passionate about women, maternal and child health, and plans to pursue a Masters in Public Health and get a Nursing degree. She is a Birth and Postpartum Doula and a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist. Tanya uses her platform to educate and empower when it comes to women’s health and maternal health as she believes every mother should have access to the birth they desire. She is also the founder and president of the nonprofit organization Scrub Life Cares which is dedicated to serving the youths in the underserved communities of Antigua and Atlanta, GA by promoting Health & Education. Through her nonprofit organization’s Essential for the girls initiative, Tanya has given back to young girls in her community by providing sanitary napkins and other essential items. Her organization has also given back books, backpack and other items to students in need in order to set them up for success. She is also the host of the Tea With Tanya Podcast where she talks about many different public health stories, wellness and lifestyle tips. Tanya also works as a Behavioral Aide working with children in the foster care system as well as parents who have children in the system, she also volunteers as a court-appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children. Tanya believes her purpose in life is to be of service to others. Tanya has worked as a nursing assistant on both the medical-surgical unit and the pediatric intensive care unit.
Tanya Ambrose IG account: @laobrwithtanyak
YV: What inspired you to become a Birth and Postpartum Doula?
Tanya: I knew I wanted to do something in the healthcare field. If I’m honest, I wasn’t all that knowledgeable about the maternal and child health sector. I made the decision to go to nursing school to become a labor and delivery nurse. However, I took a detour and got a degree in Public Health and that’s when I became more knowledgeable about maternal and child health. I will say my inspiration to become a birth and postpartum Doula came from when my sister gave birth to my niece at 20 weeks pregnant. I remember vividly doctors telling her she had a 50/50 chance and that they were more leaning towards 50% that was not a good outcome. I became an advocate for my sister at that moment. This was before I knew Doulas were a thing. Since then, I’ve had a passion for helping expectant mothers and their families through this sacred space. Knowing that the maternal mortality rates are higher for black women was another source of inspiration, I want to help to close this gap and be an advocate for mothers.
YV: What are your organization’s goals this year?
Tanya: My nonprofit organization Scrub Life Cares, is dedicated to serving the youths in the underserved communities of Antigua, the greater Atlanta, and Middle Georgia area by promoting Health & Education. Our mission is to execute a diversity of programs to help enhance their educational experience, provide counseling, and develop critical life and social skills for success after high school. Our goal is to start and further a conversation around period and women’s health and help to end period poverty and the stigma through service, education, and advocacy. For 2021 our goal is to launch our period poverty program that will be geared towards educating and providing the basic essentials for women.
YV: What are some common myths/beliefs you feel the minority community has regarding women’s health/maternal health that you would like to clear up?
Tanya: One myth that jumps to mind is that Black women/people tend to exaggerate their pain level and they have a higher pain tolerance. This statement is furthest from the truth. Providers should listen to their patients regardless of race and also not assume. This is where cultural competency comes into play. This is one that I’d like to clear up. Let’s learn to listen to our black brothers and sisters.
YV: Of all the roles you serve what would you consider to be your favorite?
Tanya: Ahh! I can’t choose. I love every role I play. I truly believe it is my life’s purpose to be of service of others and with my role as a doula and the founder of my nonprofit, I get to do both. They both intersect and are all intertwined. I’m grateful for the role I play.
YV: For those who aren’t familiar with placenta encapsulation, can you share a few details and what are the benefits of it?
Tanya: Yes, yes! Placenta encapsulation is the custom of consuming the placenta which is known as placental encapsulation. It is centuries old and is often practiced in Chinese medicine. Placental encapsulation is the practice of ingesting the placenta after it has been steamed, dehydrated, ground, and placed into pills. Traditionally, this is taken by the mother and is believed to impart numerous health benefits. It is frequently taken shortly after giving birth, during a woman’s menstrual period, or during menopause with the belief that it helps counter some of the symptoms of menopause.
I will say that there is little evidence-based research available in regards to placenta encapsulation and its consumption benefits. However, tradition and holistic customs embrace numerous potential advantages which come from ingesting the placenta.
Some of these benefits are: Increase production of milk, increased supply of Iron, a decrease in post-partum depression levels, better maternal bonding with baby, reduced post natal bleeding, reduce hair loss, increased in energy, and increased release of the hormone oxytocin, which helps the uterus to return to its normal size
YV: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Tanya: I see myself being a full-time birth worker by way of being a full-time Birth and Postpartum Doula, running my nonprofit full time, and having functioning period poverty and women’s health programs in the Caribbean, Africa, and North America. I also see myself teaching aspiring Doulas and also being a Nurse Practitioner.