Birth is a feminist issue and a human rights crisis. Our mission is to flip the system upside down so that women and birthing people are on top.
After the birth of her son in 2011, Cristen Pascucci left a career in public affairs to study American maternity care and women’s rights within it. In 2012, she joined ImprovingBirth as vice president, spearheading a multi-year grassroots media strategy to get the maternity care crisis in national news, creating a legal advocacy hotline for pregnant women, and raising awareness around obstetric violence through consumer campaigns, including 2014’s #BreaktheSilence–a campaign adopted in multiple European countries as a consumer advocacy strategy. Cristen has helped organize, strategize, and publicize major lawsuits related to obstetric violence in hospitals. She is co-creator of the Exposing the Silence Project and host of Birth Allowed Radio. As founder of Birth Monopoly, Cristen advocates for a freer maternity care market, working closely with leading national advocates, organizations, and birth lawyers, as well as educating the public and healthcare providers about women’s human and legal rights in childbirth. After a decade of full-time work on the issue of obstetric violence, Cristen is now working on a documentary film on the subject: Mother May I.
Cristen lives in Kentucky with her son Henry. Read “One Year Ago Today”: An Origin Story
Chanté Perryman is our assistant extraordinaire and also works as a producer on the Birth Allowed Radio show and podcast. She specializes in encouraging, supporting and educating families during their pregnancy, birth and postpartum transition. She believes in birth choices along with respectful care and evidence based education. She is a birth advocate in her community and also volunteers with the Kentucky Birth Coalition. Chanté is an Evidence Based Birth® Instructor, Spinning Babies® Certified Parent Educator and is also certified as a birth and postpartum doula, childbirth educator and a current midwifery student. She aspires for a world where birth can happen without politics, persuasions and propaganda but where consumers are being heard, treated with respect, and valued.
Meagan Thompson manages the International Map of Obstetric Violence Stories and hopes that these stories will not only spread awareness about obstetric violence, but may also provide healing to the witnesses and survivors that are able to share them. She also assists our Know Your Rights program on the back end. Meagan is a birth doula and photographer serving the Central Kentucky region. She believes that systems and people within systems that continually try to separate humanity from one of the most human experiences need that foundational misstep reflected back to them. And those whose humanity is ignored or abused during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum deserve to know that they’re not alone. Your experiences matter, and your words are heard and believed here.
Barbie Christianson, BSN, RN, PMH-C, is Program Director for Birth Monopoly and a parent of four who spent a decade working with students with autism spectrum disorder and/or complex mental health needs before becoming a doula and then a nurse in Labor & Delivery. As a nurse, Barbie found herself face to face with the systemic abuse and coercion of birthing patients within the hospital and began reaching out to anyone and everyone who might help. That was when she found Birth Monopoly and Cristen, and realized there was a name for the mistreatment: obstetric violence. Barbie left L&D largely because of the ongoing trauma of obstetric and workplace violence to become a community-based nurse and advocate, spending several years in maternal/child adolescent health and child abuse prevention, and as a disaster service worker for public health nursing’s COVID emergency and recovery response. Barbie travels selectively and works from home running Village Care Centers LLC, providing Trauma Informed Perinatal Advocacy Care & Education to individuals, groups, and organizations.
Expert Nurse Educator Paula Rojas Landivar, MSN, RNC-OB, C-EFM is a mother of four teenagers and an anxious dog, with more than 17 years acute care OB experience and a master’s degree in nursing with a focus in education. She has specialty nursing certifications in Electronic Fetal Monitoring and Inpatient Obstetrics and permission to teach a variety of things from the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nursing (AWHONN), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the STABLE Program® and Evidence Based Birth®. She grounds her consumption of nursing theory and research by continuing to provide care as a bedside labor nurse, preferably on night shift, and likes to nerd out about birthy-nurse things on Instagram under the handle @nursebrowngirl.
Expert Nurse Educator Mandy Irby, BSN, RNC-OB, C-EFM, LCCE, NSI-L1 (mandyirby.com/nurses) is a trauma-focused labor and delivery nurse and healthcare consultant who’s worked with thousands of compassionate nurses committed to improving psychological safety in childbirth. While intensely drawn to the power and magic of L&D for 12 years, she transitioned to the Birth Nurse business full time in January 2020.
After experiencing burnout as a labor and delivery nurse compounded by a traumatic birth as a patient, she discovered a gap in specialized birth support for survivors of trauma. Now, through the Embodied Trauma-Informed Care Framework, Mandy shows nurses how trauma-responsive strategy and physiology skills coupled with their patients’ unique experiences and self-expertise can together prevent birth trauma and facilitate powerful birth stories. Today, she works with leaders in perinatal healthcare to guide their teams in improving care cultures and outcomes for nurses and patients in tandem.
Partners AND FRIENDS