Today we’d like to introduce you to Tammy Arias.
Tammy, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve always been interested in health & wellness and social justice in some way or another. I was in a medical magnet program in high school, and I was the kid in pharmacy class giving presentations about the benefits of turmeric, talking about prevention vs treatment while everyone looked at me like I had three heads.
By my sophomore year, I’d decided that I was going to graduate from IIN (Institute of Integrative Nutrition) and become a midwife. Life happens, and it took me a while to circle back to my dreams, but now, I’m an IIN grad and in the process of completing my training to become a birth justice doula and help bridge the gap in healthcare outcomes for black and brown pregnant folks.
My interests also led me to organize for Veggie Mijxs, a women/non-binary collective for the vegan (and veg-curious) POC that highlights the importance of a plant-based lifestyle through educational and empowering events.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Not at all! In between all of this is life- circumstances, money problems, relationships ended, bad decisions, learning, exploring. Not to mention the lack of resources and accessibility. It took me nearly eight years to come back to what I always knew I wanted to do.
I was able to attend IIN and complete my doula training through Southern Birth Justice Network because I had to position myself in a way that would get me there. I had to look at my finances and lifestyle and make decisions that would get me closer to my goal.
My advice to young women is to do the legwork and look at all your puzzle pieces to see what picture you can create for yourself. Always keep an eye out for opportunity and be willing to leap out of your comfort zone. Look for programs that offer sliding scale/scholarships, and know that you have the flexibility to create your own niche, even if you haven’t seen it done before. Don’t be afraid to take risks so long as they’re calculated. Social media is a tool, use it as one! I found my doula training program through Instagram and it turned out to be the program of my dreams because it was rooted in social justice. Now, I can use what I know about health and wellness as a doula, and maybe one day a midwife.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I think for most creative-type folks this is a loaded question because we tend to dabble in a bit of everything- but if I had to sum it up, I’d say I’m an intersectional health-conscious vegan organizer, activist, and birth justice doula.
A birth doula supports pregnant folks throughout their pregnancies, labor, and post-partum through stretching, educational resources, nutritional guidance, essential oils, yoni steams (post-partum), massage, placenta encapsulation, and more.
I’m really passionate about uplifting my community and spreading information about natural health and wellness, and I think that’s what people tend to know me for. The methods may change, but that’s always at the core of whatever I’m doing at the time.
What I’m most proud of, and what I hope also sets me apart is my inclusiveness- it’s difficult for LGBTQ families to receive quality trauma-informed support, or for overweight folks to go into a natural health space without being judged/triggered- so I try to change that in every way I can. In my work, that means not making assumptions and asking more questions to make sure I’m speaking in a way that validates folks and they feel safe in my care. That looks like asking clients what their family structure looks like instead of asking if they have a husband, respecting pronouns and gender-neutral wording, and celebrating all bodies as good bodies.
Do you recommend any apps, books or podcasts that have been helpful to you?
Trauma Stewardship is a great book that helped me understand how to avoid taking on secondary trauma as my own- I’d really recommend that for anyone who is exposed to trauma on a consistent basis.
Some of my favorite podcasts are Small Doses with Amanda Seales, Chats with Cat, Let it Out, How to Survive the End of the World and Seek The Joy.
- Website: www.veganxdoula.com
- Phone: 7864932512
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @veganxdoula
- Twitter: @veganxdoula
Yogi Taji of @souldreamin