In Photos: Kindred Space LA

By: Clancy McCarty

Since moving to Los Angeles, Kimberly Durdin is a name that has been appearing constantly among maternal health circles. Kimberly is a Lactation consultant (IBCLC), Student Midwife, Childbirth Educator and Doula. She runs Kindred Space LA, along with midwife Allegra Hill LM, CPM, which stands as a hub for midwifery care, doula support, lactation consulting, education, support groups, enrichment, meditation and movement in central Los Angeles. In addition to providing a space for local parents and parents to be to come and receive care and community support before, during and after childbirth, Kimberly and Allegra also run the Birthing People Foundation which aims to address the disproportionate  maternal and infant health disparities among families of color by offering free and low-cost training, education and certification pertaining to pregnancy, birth and postpartum for women of color. They also run a community clinic every two weeks on Fridays where women can share stories, questions, and their own experiences with one another. Afterwards, women can stay for one on one care, either receiving prenatal exams or lactation support, directly with Allegra and Kimberly. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that group care states that “participate in group prenatal care have better prenatal knowledge, feel more ready for labor and delivery, are more satisfied with overall care, and initiate breastfeeding more often” (ACOG 2018).

On a Friday in early October, I sat in one of the community clinics. Seven women trickled in, some nearing their due dates and others with newborns and children. Allegra and Kimberly were also joined by one of the doulas, Sarah (who also happens to manage their social media) to provide additional assistance and support. Kimberly began the session inviting the women to ask any pressing questions. Inquiries ranged from sleep training methods to preparing children for the arrival of a new sibling, and gaining the courage to speak up for what you need.

Group Session

Sarah, Social Media Intern, Kimberly, Co-Founder, Allegra, Co-Founder

Genevieve and Shirley chatting after the group session. Genevieve is due in five days with her second child. She is planning a VBAC delivery with midwives at UCLA. Shirley is a teacher and delivered at Kaiser West LA. Her friend at school introduced her to Kindred Space LA.

Maya is 38 weeks pregnant. She stopped working last week and is trying to rest in advance of her delivery. She is planning for a delivery at a Cedars Sinai. Her baby is teaching her to let things take its course.

5-week old newborn, Ivy with her mom, Joanna.

Alicia is here with her daughter, Alejandra. She is due October 28th and learned about Kindred Space LA from a woman she met in West Hollywood. She had been looking for a place with birth workers of color. She is delivering at Cedars Sinai.

Rashida is 41 weeks and planning for a home birth with Allegra and Kimberly. She relocated from New York City. Her mom, Cheryl, remarked how lucky these women are to have this circle, as she wished she had access to a similar support system during her pregnancy with Rashida.

Rashida with group

Allegra, Co-Founder, Kindred Space LA, with Alicia’s daughter, Alejandra

Kimberly, Co-Founder, Kindred Space LA

In the US, a lack of access to needed support services and a fragmented health system contribute to poor outcomes and disparities. A small ratio of birth workers of color and a lack of culturally appropriate care further exacerbate disparities. Organizations like Kindred Space LA provide spaces that address gaps in maternity care by listening to women and meeting their diverse needs, contributing to improved pregnancy and childbirth experiences and outcomes.

Listen to the podcast, Under the Hood Ep. 4 #ListentoBlackWomen in which Kimberly provides a very detailed and historical perspective to racial disparities in maternal health care in the US (make sure to check out the whole series hosted by Patti Quintero and Aleks Evanguelidi).

Photo update: All the moms pictured delivered and had healthy births, including Genvieve getting her VBAC. The moms are now postpartum and still attending groups with their breastfeeding babies.

Topics: Birth Stories, Breastfeeding, Childbirth, Doula, Maternal Health, Pregnancy, Women