Savannah Staten is the new maternal and child health fellow at Lydia’s House. The following is her narrative on the decision to take this position and move from her home state of North Carolina to Cincinnati for the two year commitment:

From the outside, being a mother seems like being a superhero. When we think of a mother’s love, we imagine a force that can move mountains and save the world. We see mothers go above and beyond for their children. However, we seldom hear about the hardships that accompany motherhood and pregnancy specifically. During my second semester at North Carolina State University, one of my classes allowed me to explore those hardships for black women since they have higher maternal mortality rates than other races. From that point on, I believed becoming an OBGYN was the path I was meant to take.

The saying “We plan, God laughs” truly encapsulates my reality of becoming a doula as a stepping stone to medical school. Before my birth work journey, I believed that the only way I could make impactful change was by being a black female OBGYN—the doula work was not an end but a means to the “real work” of fighting for black women as physician. Doula work seemed like an obvious but temporary way to merge my passion for women’s issues and get experience in a delivery room alongside obstetricians. My thinking changed once I saw the power in connecting with pregnant people and their families as a trained companion. I was grateful that these families could be vulnerable with me by inviting me into their lives. They were able to share their fears, weaknesses, and questions. I knew that the work of providing a space of vulnerability was as impactful as the medical expertise a doctor could offer. I enjoyed learning about and practicing the benevolence of doula work more than I enjoyed the biology and chemistry classes I was taking as a pre-med student.

I decided to refocus my career aspirations on how I could serve women in a meaningful way and use my strengths of humility and kindness. While completing my undergraduate degree, I worked as a doula and served low-income individuals by providing free doula services. I also worked as a substance abuse technician for mothers struggling with addiction during this time.

After graduating from NC State, I found this opportunity to become a maternal and child health fellow. It seemed like a match made in heaven. I loved that the team at Lydia’s House addressed homelessness for women logistically while simultaneously focusing on hope and healing. I am excited to serve the community created here at Lydia’s House and learn even more about serving and advocacy. I look forward to exploring the Cincinnati area and all of its exciting opportunities. I hope to go back to school to get my MPH in Maternal and Child Health following my time at Lydia’s House.