We had the good fortune of connecting with Shayla Bryant and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shayla, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
Black women are at a higher risk of dying 3 times more likely from pregnancy and childbirth related causes than White women. For an example, per 100,000 live births, 40 Black women die compared to 14 non-Hispanic White women. That’s a 40-man roster baseball team vs. a 12 player roster volleyball team. In addition, the infant mortality rates of Black infants are dying 2 times more per 1,000 live births. More information and data can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Overall, the number of deaths amongst the rates of Black maternal mortality and Black infant mortality continue to rise at an alarming rate, which is quite disturbing. Families that are seeking alternatives to support them in their pregnancy and childbirth journey are looking into home births and/or working with a Midwife or Doula. However, there is still confusion surrounding the duties and responsibilities of a Midwife and a Doula. So what’s the difference, and do they work together or alone? First, a Doula should not be present at a birth without the Midwife; however, a Midwife is allowed to be present at a birth alone with the family. Yes, both of these professionals work together to ensure that a mother and her child are fully supported during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. Midwives provide medical and holistic care throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. In addition, they are experienced to keep mother and child healthy, safe, and low-risk with educational and nutritional support. Doulas provide emotional, physical, and educational support throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and during the first year of postpartum. I know you all asked for one thing, but this subject matter is extremely important. So, I had to share a few things that others may be unaware of and can come back to this article as a reference.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Malawi’s House is a family owned business that provides Birth Kits and Supplies. We started this vision in 2016 after experiencing my own home birth. We mainly serve Midwives who work with families that choose to birth at home. Our beautifully designed Birth Kits are shipped directly to the Midwife or to the family preparing for their birth. Our goal is to ensure that each kit is equipped with the supplies that are most essential for a safe birth. I am most proud that we took a risk to officially launch our business in the heart of COVID-19. There was nothing strategic behind it–like the rest of the world we had no clue it would hit us. We just felt it was time, as an entrepreneur, when you have put so much work in logistically; you finally reach a point that tells you “it’s time”. So, we fearlessly put it out there! We also recently released our own Affirmation Cards to empower mothers to Birth Life Fearlessly and to be fearless with everything they do. A lot of late nights and hard earned funds got us to where we are today and to say it was easy is an insult to every single entrepreneur! It most definitely wasn’t easy. We overcame the challenges by staying persistent and true to our vision and purpose, so we persevered through it all. I’ve learned to not ever lose sight, hold my team including myself accountable, and to always have integrity for self and our customers. I want the world to know that the story behind our brand is real, and that we will continue to fulfill our purpose.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The first day my best friend arrives we will most likely relax, rest and reminisce on old memories over some take-out and sweet red wine. Next, we will continue our spa-day at the 24-hour bathhouse, Jeju Sauna & Spa, get massages, yoni steams, and a cucumber body scrub. Then, we’ll go shopping at Lenox Mall, continue to hangout downtown Atlanta and go to the Sugar Factory. The next morning we’ll grab some breakfast at the popular Atlanta Breakfast Club. Later on, go out for a girl’s night at the Boogalou Restaurant & Lounge. Now, of course we are going to be hungry afterwards, so we’ll go to Spondivits since they’re open until 4am. The next day will most likely be a late morning from our night of fun! Then, we’ll get some breakfast at Arize Cafe in Camp Creek. Since we love sports, we’ll go to the Atlanta Falcons game at the new Mercedes-Benz stadium. For dinner, we’ll go to the classic Busy Bee Cafe right in the SWATS. As my best friend’s trip in the beautiful city of Atlanta comes to an end, we’ll have brunch at Garden Parc on Cascade. Lastly, we will sacrifice our feet and stand in the long line for some Slutty Vegan!!!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My loving and supportive husband, family and friends, and Midwife, Mama Sekesa Berry & The Atlanta Doula Collective for the opportunity to share my birth story and present my first Birth Kit box from my business, Malawi’s House way before I ever launched it to the world. Many thanks to all of our supporters!
Naiyah D. Scaife Isaiah A. Bryant