Interview with Nikki Helms from San Diego Community Birth Center
This month, Camille Kelly, LMFT & PHA’s Equity & Inclusion Co-Chair, met with Midwife Nikki Helms and toured San Diego Community Birth Center. Here’s a little peak into what Nikki has been working hard to create.
Nikki is one of four Black Midwives in San Diego county. While in Midwifery school Nikki dreamed of opening a birthing center that is inclusive and serves everybody: LGBTQIA+ family builders, marginalized BIPOC, immigrants and asylum seekers. Nikki found very limited BIPOC visibility in the birthing community. This made Nikki realize the importance of having a safe birthing space for everyone. Nikki stated, “When someone walks in (SDCBC) I want people to see us (BIPOC) everywhere.” SDCBC offers full spectrum services such as family planning, acupuncture, lactation consultation, women wellness exams, prenatal, and postpartum visits.
What was concerning to Nikki is seeing birth centers turn away families for not being able to afford services. Nikki wants to make all the services at her Birth Center affordable for all families.
When Nikki graduated from Midwifery school and got licensed she asked Midwife Darynée Blount to mentor her. Darynee has years of experience as a midwife and educator. She also started her own Birth Center in Chula Vista and also is one of the four Black Midwives in San Diego. After working together Darynée decided she loved Nikki’s commitment and joined her as a partner Midwife at SDCBC.
The funding for this Birth center was very grassroots. A Gofundme page was created around the time George Floyd was murdered. With the help of all the San Diego birth community on social media where Nikki was able to raise $100K in a couple weeks. Timing worked out because people were feeling generous and so many understood this is something that needs to happen. Nikki reminded Camille, “I hope that people recognize this help needs to be year round and not just in February for Black History Month. Donating to San Diego Community Birth Center Foundation will help families that have no way of paying for an outside of hospital birth. If you think you can’t afford these services; please come by and just talk to us. People will be surprised how many resources there are out there to make sure people have better birthing experiences. You and your baby only have this moment once. There are so many people that come in with birth trauma. They come into the birth center saying what they don’t want so we ask them what they want and try to make it happen.”
Doors opened for SDCBC at the beginning of January 2021. Their location is located in the Hillcrest/Bankers Hill area of San Diego.
Please check out this link to know more about the services provided and how you can help with donations.