Nikki Brake-Sillá  – Performance – Group 2, Round 2 Awardee

“The Fourth Trimester” will use devised theater to heal people who have suffered traumatic births.

Impact Statement

Our intent with “The Fourth Trimester” is to have a six-to-eight-week psychotherapeutic group, helmed by Jabina Coleman, a licensed Social Worker, reproductive psychotherapist, and International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant, that will combine group therapy with individual devised monologues, patterned after “A.M.A. – Against Medical Advice.” Each participant will be able to create a monologue about their fourth-trimester experiences. Participants will also be provided a care package of resources and journals and an anonymous artistic representation of their time in the support group. Childcare will be provided to parents to eliminate the barrier to participation.

The goals and intended impact of this performance is to heal the wounds traumatic fourth-trimester experiences have layered on the bodies of Black parents. Through art, we hope to begin a conversation that brings light and lifts layers of pain from the persons involved. The more a story of trauma is told through a lens of light and care, the less the experience is held.

Participants will be identified through a vast network of midwives, OBGYNs, women’s health nurse practitioners, and doulas. We anticipant having more requests than available spots and would implement a lottery system to ensure equitable access. Due to the nature of the work, those not selected for the psychotherapy sessions will still benefit from the materials, handouts, and monologue exercises.

This project engages the community by demonstrating what situations can be encountered as birthers of color in the health system. It’s a way for people to see methods used for self-advocacy while shining a light on how health care providers can be more holistic in caring for their patients. We are more than a wristband to be scanned each time a medication is given. We have a right to be seen. How we feel is valid. We have the right to care that is kind, humane, and compassionate. Through the lens of the participants, we would like to bring awareness to maternal mental health, provide access to resources and support available to new parents in Philadelphia, hold legislators and policyholders accountable for centering Black and marginalized birthing people and continue the voice of advocacy through action.

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