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Elaine Welteroth Details Midwife Experience at BirthFUND Event

Elaine Welteroth Details Midwife Experience at BirthFUND Event

Elaine Welteroth Details Midwife Experience at BirthFUND Event

Elaine Welteroth, former co-host of The Talk and editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, held a VIP brunch in Los Angeles Thursday afternoon in honor of her non-profit birthFUND. The organization, which upholds midwifery as a single solution to the maternal health crisis in America, officially launched last month with the support of A-list founding funders including Serena Williams, Abby Phillip, Kelly Rowland, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend.

The event took place at the private residence of interior designer Brigette Romanek who, along with Rowland, made up the host committee for the brunch. Celebrities in attendance included Tina Knowles, Kris Jenner, Khloé Kardashian, Lauren London, Yvonne Orji, Holly Robinson Peete, Denise Vasi, Jeanie Mai, Angela Rye, Ryan Michele Bathe, Aisha Hinds, Allison Holker, and Melanie Fiona, who closed out the gathering with a performance.

“When I went through the life-saving experience of being cared for by Black midwives, I came through that experience not just alive, but thriving,” said Welteroth during the program. “I understood for the first time ever how transformative motherhood could be, how transformative birth can be. No one told me that part, and I want that for other women. We need that for other women. In a time, in an age where our rights are being stripped from us, they do not want us to be acquainted with our power. Midwifery acquaints us with our power.”

CNN anchor Phillip, who created the report, “Homebirth Journey: Saving Black Moms,” for The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper this past December, also spoke about her experience using a midwife at the event.

“I didn’t really want to talk about my birth story because at the time, midwifery felt like it was so shrouded in secrecy, but it also felt a little bit like a secret weapon,” said Phillip. “The thing that I went searching for, and that when Elaine and I met and talked about our shared birthing experiences, was I wanted to feel joy when my child came into the world, and, instead, I was terrified, and too many women are experiencing that exact moment in their lives in all of the wrong ways.

“We know the statistics,” Phillip added, “but the question is, do we know that there are solutions?”

According to research cited multiple times throughout the event, midwifery could prevent more than 80 percent of maternal deaths. That figure underscores birthFUND’s focus as an organization.

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“The most important part of our mission is that we are directly investing in covering the cost of families who need access to midwifery care right now,” said Welteroth. “When you donate to birthFUND, it’s not just sitting in our accounts. It’s not going to show up on my shoes. We are collecting that money, along with invoices from women who are entering into care at BIPOC-owned-and-led birthing centers, all across this country and we are paying their medical bills for them. That is where your money is going.”

Nearly $250,000 was raised by guests in attendance at Thursday’s brunch, which included a donation of $50,000 each from Mai and Briogeo Hair CEO and founder Nancy Twine. Knowles wrote a check for an additional unspecified amount onsite. A grant of $25,000 was presented to Allegra Hill and Kimberly Durdin, who were honored with the Community Birth Hero Award at the luncheon. Hill and Durdin are the co-owners and co-founders of Kindred Space LA, the only Black-owned birthing center in Los Angeles.

Toward the end of the program, Welteroth made a special personal announcement which added to the celebratory nature of the day when she told guests she and her husband Jonathan Singletary are expecting baby number two. “As we were building birthFUND, we happened to find out my baby’s going to be a part of the first birthFUND cohort,” she said rubbing her belly. “Kimberly and Allegra are my midwives again, so let’s go. Let’s do this, joyfully.”

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