My name is Rosalba Montoya and I am from Mexico, where though the memories of my homeland continue to resonate within me, I have found a new home here in the U.S. in order to pursue my dreams. Coming from a small rural town, I dreamt of seeking higher education or serving a higher purpose and eventually migrated to Chicago with some family, then Wisconsin with the person who would become my husband. With its immense landscapes full of agricultural activity, Wisconsin reminded me of the place I used to call home and I knew I could make a home here as well. It was a few years before I would have a son, Ángel, and find a larger Latinx community at Centro Hispano that felt like home through his 4K program. From it, Puente Alba was born there, one of the LLCs of Roots for Change Cooperative that I belong to.
As a promoter and teacher for the postpartum group, I am able to be a resource and plan various activities not just for mothers, but for the community that surrounds them as well. We provide ample information regarding a baby’s development and the emotional health of the mother by focusing on topics like postpartum depression, the benefits of having a doula during pregnancy and childbirth, and emotional support during such a vulnerable time of one’s life. Many mothers suffer in silence due to stigmas in society, which is where postpartum depression can be complicated, but it is more common than not in all social classes, particularly among the Latinx community. My role as a doula is to empower, educate and encourage women to help make childbirth a trauma-free experience. Some of my services include: breathing coaching, emotional support, training prior to delivery, prenatal massages, pain-reducing massages during labor, and lactation support following birth.
In my teaching roles through Roots 4 Change Cooperative, I always try to emphasize that our classes are merely meetings where adequate information is provided and a space where their experiences are validated by the pediatricians that trained us. Through these roles, I have been able to establish an experience-oriented learning opportunity where I’ve seen mothers gain confidence and share their experiences with each other. For nearly 6 years, I have focused on continuously learning in order to have the necessary tools to be an information bridge for those who need it. Based on our meetings, we’ve found a general lack of information on topics like maternal and child health and have decided as a cooperative to focus on family health as well to ensure food and nutritional security, emotional well-being, and increased community education. At the moment, my goal is to increase community access to information and youth involvement in these programs because it is vital that we explore the connections between food, mental health, growing our own food, and women support systems since all four directly relate to family development and well-being.
Professional Qualifications / Areas of Expertise / Certifications / Training