Today we’d like to introduce you to Danellia Arechiga.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Danellia. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
It was 2010, I was in my 4th year of college at Cal State Long Beach. I wanted so badly to be the first of my family to graduate from college yet there I was, completely lost in life, and graduation was nowhere in sight. I had changed my major a total of 6 times and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. At 21 years old, I became unexpectedly became pregnant and my life was instantly changed.
Being the perpetual student I am, I instantly went into learning mode, immersing myself in anything and everything I could get my hands on about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Friends recommended documentaries like The Business of Being Born, and books like Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin and I devoured all of it. “Why didn’t I know any of this?” I was raised by women, yet I knew very little about pregnancy and birth. We didn’t talk about it enough, and when we did, it was usually the complaints, fears, and pains….why didn’t anyone ever tell me birth could be orgasmic?! I was hooked.
I signed up to take childbirth classes at Bini Birth in North Hollywood (now in Sherman Oaks) with Ana Paula Markel. Taking her class completely shifted my perception of how birth works, how it can be a spiritual experience, and how empowering it is to call the shots when you are birthing in a hospital. I used all of the knowledge I gained in Ana Paula’s class and had a very enjoyable labor and birth experience. But I couldn’t shake the question…”Why aren’t we talking about how birth can be enjoyable and powerful?” I knew I had to be part of the change in making this information more accessible and less fear-based.
In 2015, I finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration after eight years. After I graduated, I delved more deeply into birth work as it lit a fire within me. I kept in touch with Ana Paula and studied with her for a few years as I completed my DONA International training and became a certified birth doula. Shortly thereafter, I also became a childbirth educator through The International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA). After my first birth, I knew this is what I was called to do; work with birthing people to provide support through information, physical support in labor, and emotional support throughout pregnancy and birth. As I started my work, I discovered how much generational trauma presents itself in the birth experience for many people of color and I have devoted myself to working towards ending those cycles of oppression and trauma.
Since 2012, I have attended over 50 births, taught over 30 expectant families, and recently opened a community space with my partner in Long Beach called La Fuente: Birth, Postpartum, y Mas. We teach childbirth classes as well as offer free and donation-based support groups and classes for families and birth workers.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has not been a smooth road in the least. I had to give up a lot including financial stability, benefits, and security in order to do this work. I am grateful to have a supportive family and community who helps me out and is patient with me. Giving up my past life in the corporate world is worth it knowing that the families I work with feel good about their birth experience and feel supported and safe. I believe we are healing generations by doing this work and that is invaluable.
Please tell us about Ma Mi Amor Birth.
My company is called Ma Mi Amor Birth. My daughter Corrie-Rai playfully calls me ” Mami Amor” and the name just stuck as it perfectly encapsulated how I feel about my clients. “Mommy Love” because I genuinely love them. My company is all about love for the mother, to the mother, with the mother; love from one mami to another.
Over time, the essence of my company has evolved to be an overarching support system to the family unit. I provide educational and informational support throughout pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum as well as hands-on support during labor, birth, and postpartum. I also provide placenta encapsulation using Traditional Chinese Medicine which is when the birthed placenta is steamed with healing and warming herbs, dehydrated, and placed into capsules for the newly postpartum person to consume for healing. More recently, I have begun offering mother-centered postpartum support to new families using Mexican Traditional Medicine after studying with my mentor, teacher, and friend Panquetzani from Indigemama. This work has brought me full circle and allows me to provide support and care to my clients from pregnancy into parenthood.
I am most proud of my commitment to intersectionality and inclusivity of ALL familiy models, not just hetero-normative family models.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite childhood memory is when I was in 4th grade, I was training for the LA bike marathon with a group of friends and my dad. We were on our last ride before the marathon, which was the longest one, 28 miles. We were at the halfway point when I lost control of my bike at high speed and fell over, scraping my entire lower body along the blacktop on the beach trail. I was bloody and bruised and begged my dad to go get the car and bring it over to pick me up. He said he couldn’t leave me alone there while he grabbed the car and that I would have to ride back with the group. I was in pain, but I knew I had to ride back, so I did, blood and all.
This experience has taught me a lot about my resilience. It has become a metaphor for my life. It can be difficult and at times painful, but discomfort often leads to growth, and that is exactly where life has led me.
- 10-hour Childbirth Class $300/couple
- Placenta Encapsulation Packages vary from $300-$350
- Birth Doula Offering ranges from $1000-$1500 depending on location and family’s budget
- Address: 4093 Long Beach Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90807
- Website: www.mamiamorbirth.com
- Phone: 3106166091
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/mamiamorbirth
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/mamiamorbirthdoula
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/ma-mi-amor-birth-long-beach
- Other: www.lafuentelb.wordpress.com
Karissa M Raya, Paz Kinnaman