Where Babies Come From

Midwife-run nonprofit births alternative for expectant mothers

by Christie Chisholm, Weekly Alibi, August 4, 2011

Dar a Luz Birth & Health Center sits on a lush plot of land in the North Valley, set back from the road and abutted by agricultural plots. The sprawling center seems about as un-hospital-like as Abigail Lanin Eaves could make it. Dotted with skylights and large windows, it looks like a place people go to stay well, not get better.

Even the front door is preceded by a bridge and pond. The theme of sanctuary is reflected throughout the center, with art by locals, a lending library, a kitchen and a classroom. There are two futon-stocked exam rooms, which Eaves likes to call “visiting rooms,” and two dedicated birthing suites that resemble rooms at a bed and breakfast.

Eaves says she knew at age 12 that she was meant to deliver babies. She assumed it would be as an OB-GYN. When her sister had a home birth years later, Eaves was introduced to the world of midwifery, and there was no turning back.

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New Mexico Business Weekly's 2011 Women of Influence

by Christie Chisholm, New Mexico Business Weekly, February 2011

Adriann Barboa

Helping women rise to positions of influence both in their lives and their communities is what fuels Adriann Barboa, the director of Young Women United (YWU). Her organization works to create community for young women of color, holding a megaphone up to voices that are too often overlooked or diminished. 

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Sexual Assault in Albuquerque

Reports are on the rise but resources are spread thin

by Christie Chisholm, Weekly Alibi, April 29, 2010

You probably know someone who’s been raped. In fact, you probably know several people who’ve been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives; and if you’re a woman, there’s a one in four chance one of those people is you.

Rape isn’t a popular topic of discussion. It’s painful and terrifying and uncomfortable—none of which are characteristics of great conversation. But according to KC Quirk, executive director of the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico, silence helps perpetuate what she calls “some of the worst parts of humanity.”

New Mexico has the second-highest rate of forcible rape in the nation, according to 2008 statistics issued by the FBI. (The report defines “forcible rape” as “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly against her will.”) Though crime rates in Albuquerque are falling, rape cases are increasing. And for every reported rape, there’s a far greater number that go unreported. Quirk says nationally, only one in 20 women and one in 100 men will report they’ve been raped, while one in four women and one in 20 men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime.

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More Than Muses

Women and Creativity 2010

by Christie Chisholm, Weekly Alibi, March 4, 2010

One of the books I remember best from my childhood is a picture book about women’s suffrage. Although it may not have a place in the kids’ book hall of fame alongside such heavyweights as Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are and The Berenstain Bears, I think it probably had more influence over me than that literary triumvirate. As my mother read it to me, she would pause to talk about how relatively recent women’s liberation was; how she had been the only woman in her math and science classes in college; how her generation had fought for equal rights, equal pay and equal respect, all of which are still not always granted. It made me appreciate what my mother’s and my grandmother’s generations endured, and it taught me that I should never settle for less than what I deserved.

March is Women’s History Month, which exists to not only remind us about the battles women have waged against shortsightedness and prejudice, but also to celebrate women’s accomplishments throughout history. In recognition, the National Hispanic Cultural Center presents its fifth annual Women and Creativity initiative, a monthlong series of more than 60 classes, workshops, performances, exhibitions, lectures and other activities that rejoice in women’s contributions.

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New Mexico Business Weekly's 2010 Women of Influence

by Christie Chisholm, New Mexico Business Weekly, February 2010

 

Tracy Alexis

Director of Development, St. Martin’s Hospitality Center

The first time Tracy Alexis volunteered, she lost her toenails. She was 16 years old, and after raising more than $2,000 for the March of Dimes Foundation, she walked 20 miles for the cause in heavy, cold rain. “My toes were so frostbitten,” she says, “I lost every toenail.”

Alexis was raised to believe in charity. Her parents taught her and her three siblings about relativity—that no matter how hard they thought their lives were, someone else’s was always harder. “I used to hear about the man who complained that he didn’t have any shoes,” she says, quoting a colleague, “until he heard about the man who didn’t have any feet.”

Alexis spent most of her career in project management in the private sector, aside from the nine years she spent in Atlanta working for Habitat for Humanity. These days, she’s the director of development at St. Martin’s Hospitality Center in Albuquerque, an organization devoted to helping the city’s homeless population. Alexis is a one-woman team, in charge of the nonprofit’s grant writing and fundraising, who also acts as its community spokesperson. She’s also one of the reasons the organization is still alive in the recession.

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