We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Shindreia Chase. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Shindreia below.
Hi Shindreia , thanks for joining us today. Was there a defining moment in your professional career? A moment that changed the trajectory of your career?
In the beginning of my doula career I was very scared and imposter syndrome had set in very heavy. I was fresh out of the DONA International training for becoming a doula and still felt very unsure of the calling on my life. It was clear to me that the space wasn’t set up for me as young, black, lesbian woman to navigate such a gatekept field. I was four months post graduate with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology- Premed and working as a server for Red Lobster. I truly felt lost and as if the thing I’d set out to do since I was 6 years old, just wasn’t obtainable. I was being denied repeatedly at my request to gain mentorship and was becoming defeated spiritually. My older sister was pregnant with her fourth baby, and was set on having me be the person to deliver her. It was still a high hopes that I would become the first doctor in my family. In April of 2015, I was mentored under another black female doctor. and had the chance to physically deliver my niece. That moment was defining for me. It didn’t quite feel like that was my calling, but I knew I was on the track. It showed me that I could do anything I put my heart into. In March of 2016, I experienced my first home birth as a practicing birth doula. It was then my life’s purpose was defined. Being apart of something so pure and raw lit afire inside of me. I was able to guide, love and care my client through over 16 hours of labor and watch her birth her third child in such an empowering way. It was then that I knew I was meant to be ShinDoula.
Shindreia , before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
How Did I Get Here?
I am a native of West Baltimore , Md where I learned and cultivated my love for the arts, nature, and all things ancestral. I am a devoted auntie to 13 little people, Godmom to 4 angels, and the sister of 8 warriors! I obtained my B.S , majoring in Biology from Virginia State University. I originally trained and completed courses in child-birth, lamaze, lactation and postpartum care through DONA International (2015). With more respect and awareness of ancestral practices, and traumas in western medicine for women, particularly black and brown women, community advocacy, reproductive and social justice framework of birth and equality became more prevalent in my world. I further trained and acquired certification as a Virtual and In Person Full Spectrum Doula with Ancient Song Doula Services (2020). And because knowledge is power, I will continue in furthering my education in childbirth and all things babies!
As a child my mother was always fascinated with my interest and determination to “deliver babies”, no seriously (lol) she was always so amazed by how I’d wanted to be something I had never seen before. Never really having a specific name to give to my dreams, I would obsessively watch the TLC network, day in and day out catching all episodes of Birthday and anything baby and mom related. My childhood dreams would only keep growing, I dreamed of becoming a teacher, a vet and stay at home mom! Life and the universe would take me on a journey and lead me here, to this very moment.
During that time of working and navigating life as a new and lost graduate, I’d shadowed and interned with an OB/GYN and family practice doctor to narrow my childhood quest to “delivering babies”. During that quest, The statement of one of my professors that so confidently said to me would continuously ring in my mind “ You will never get into medical school, black women don’t belong there!”. Although I was crushed initially, I would love to send thanks. Because of him I didn’t go to medical school, but it pushed me to be who I KNEW I’d always wanted to be, “The Baby Whisper” lol. Graciously so, I was set to assist a black woman OB/GYN on a naval base in delivering my niece in 2015. She gave me the complete experience and closely guided me through the entire birth. My fire was set! I knew where I belonged. During that time I engrossed myself in all things momma and baby. After many tears, questions, and open google tabs, I soon enrolled to become certified as a doula through DONA International. After experiencing my first Native American/ Musilm ceremony for an at home birth to a third time mom, as her doula I felt complete. She thanked me with so much love and gratitude! Explaining that, the third birth was her best experience in birth ever and she couldn’t have done it without a doula! She explained in full detail to me just how necessary and essential having a doula has been to her and how many mothers needed and SHOULD have access and knowledge to that kind of care! She was right!
Today, my life has been dedicated to the betterment of humanity. For many years I have worked in education and mental health, Special Education to be exact. As well as working with children and teens with Autism and other disabilities.I juggled my passions of education, doula work and special education. But I needed to do more. In August of 2020, I took a leap of faith and finally announced and launched my doula business, Mpenzi Tundae LLC.
The year 2020 has brought forth unprecedented times and many changes to maternal care and resources! Many that have left the fate of our babies and mommas in the hands of poor care and unchanged fate in trauma. I wanted to continue my quest to help my Baltimore community. After many no’s and uncertainties, in 2021 I joined a team of doulas for The Womb Room Wellness Center of Baltimore and Baltimore Doula Project in 2022.
We still have many strides to make in the maternal health realms. It is my mission to be what my ancestors and elders were in more communal times, community, holistic healers, and warriors and a safe space for black k and brown women. We have many more strides to take but have no fear, ShinDoula is here!!! We are in this together!
Have you ever had to pivot?
I am currently in the motion of pivoting from being a special education educator, into tech and photography. I want to use and develop my love of problem solving and creativity into a new field that will also allow me more physical freedom and excite me! I have always been blessed to be one of many talents and gifts. Fortunately for me, they are dedicated in the fields of humanities and just being a help in problem solving for many or just empowering others! I particularly find that my body is demanding me to accommodate , and follow it ‘s lead. In early 2022 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and that has changed my entire view on life and what I call living. I want to go after all of my dreams! As a little girl, I was always interested in tech and coding, just as much as art and birth work. I always say, I have done or am doing most of the dream jobs I wanted as a little girl. However, two things that are on the list to jump into is tech, which I have discovered I want to do UX Design and Researching or Digital Media (I’m still learning and figuring out which one suites me best) , and editorial photography. I am always eager to learn and I believe gaining access to new opportunities will help me flourish all the more! This pivot in life has been breathe taking , both in good and not so good, however its going to work out.
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
I had to unlearn to lesson of ” your are a child. meant to be seen, and not heard.”. Growing up there was an taboo of how to and when I should use my voice. It was often shunned that I was inquisitive and asked many of question to things I genuinely wanted to know or was unsure about. And that theme would continue to develop in my story for many years, In school, at home, in relationships, in careers. For so longed I was used to my voice being stifled, that it warped the value I saw in that small voice. After many years of trauma, and self talk I decided that I had value in what I thought, felt, and said. I went to therapy, which was certainly another taboo in my community, and started the journey of self discovery and healing that small child, so that i could comfortably use my voice!
- Website: https://www.mpenzitundae.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mpenzitundaedoulacare/
- Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/shindreia-chase-775ab1169
photos taken by @KeepGoingDre – Shindreia Chase