“As you focus on clearing your generational trauma, do not forget to claim your generational strengths. Your ancestors gave you more than just wounds.” — Xavier Dagba
Audrey Gentry-Brown, Full Spectrum Birth Sista, Certified Blactation Educator (CBE), Student Midwife, and Medicine Woman in Loudoun County, Va. often found herself asking why?
While present at her sisters’ childbirth experiences, she couldn’t help but question the medical interventions imposed on their bodies. “Why aren’t these doctors allowing their bodies to do what they were designed to do?” she wondered.
Audrey, hailing from a family with maternal origins in the Southern United States and paternal roots in Jamaica, noticed a stark difference in breastfeeding customs. In the U.S., it appeared that nobody from her maternal lineage embraced breastfeeding, while in Jamaica, it was a widespread tradition.The puzzle deepened when she observed the aversion of many Black women to breastfeeding.
Just as she diligently tends to her garden, Audrey embarked on a quest for answers and is now sharing the abundance of knowledge she has cultivated.
In her own words, she is rewriting cultural norms within her community, introducing “Afrofuturist healing modalities” that reconnect to “ancestral magic.”
“I engage in this work to revive and reclaim the traditions that we have abandoned. I advocate for, educate, and guide our women through a system that often neglects our needs. My dream is for us to give birth as our foremothers did, within the comfort of our homes, surrounded by love,” Audrey passionately explains.
She says she sees a glimmer of hope in the growing trend of families choosing to reclaim their traditional birthing practices by opting for out-of-hospital births, which grants them greater control and the ability to curate their birth experience.
Having recently been awarded the Accessing the Milky Way scholarship, she is currently pursuing the Lactation Counselor Training Course (LCTC) and continually equipping herself with knowledge to assist her community in addressing deeply ingrained trauma related to infant feeding.
Audrey points out a concerning statistic: Black women are more likely to face in-hospital formula introduction (Echols, 2019), along with other marketing tactics targeting them.
“I’m here to tell you that there’s a better way,” she declares.
Moreover, she is dedicated to educating families about traditional practices like babywearing, which encourages breastfeeding and responsive parenting.
In her quest to preserve cultural traditions, Audrey invokes an African proverb: “When an elder dies, a library burns down.” She urges people to reach out to the matriarchs and patriarchs in their families, seeking knowledge of their ancestral customs, and ultimately, to revive, safeguard, and uphold those traditions.