Portrait by Devi Pride Photography.
María Ascención Ramos Bracamontes
I am a Mexican Indigenous certified nurse midwife in Watsonville. I was born at home in the Coca territory of Ayotitlán, Jalisco, and raised between Ayotitlán and the beach flats in the coastal Awaswas territory called Aulinta, now known as Santa Cruz, California. I am the mother of three earth angels. The last two were born gently at home in the water.
My awareness of racism and discrimination developed as a child crossing the border and growing up undocumented. The seeds for my partera journey were planted in my womb and heart at seven years old when my mother, a farmworker, died during childbirth with her twelfth child. At 19, I began my journey towards healing and birth justice when my 17-year-old sister gave birth while addicted to heroin, and the system tore my family apart once again.
The suffering and destruction in my life, my community, and the planet are caused by patriarchal, white supremacist narratives. Only original Indigenous ways of tending to life will nurture, sustain, and restore the world to health and harmony. I come from an uninterrupted lineage of people who know how to live in ceremony and reciprocity. By revitalizing Indigenous birthing and healing practices, we have a chance at preserving the sacredness of humanity and life.
Being a pregnant midwife during the pandemic and working with undocumented Indigenous farmworker women gave me the courage to show up directly, womb-to-womb, on my own terms, to create Campesina Womb Justice—a mutual aid project bringing womb care kits, PPE, and herbal medicines to campesinas. My vision is to acquire land for a campesina-led, self-sustaining, autonomous Indigenous community that practices Indigenous medicines and thrives free from patriarchal violence and systemic oppression.