Coming January 2022
My name is Kiala Löytömäki. I am a queer, nonbinary settler of Sámi, Italian, Russian and Scottish descent. I use they/them pronouns and was born and raised in Ontario in a big extended family. As the oldest of 14 grandchildren I grew up caring for my cousins and walking around with babies in my arms by the time I was 5 years old. At age 12 I knew all I wanted to be when I grew up was a parent. This is when I began to feel my passion for birth. Through my teenage years many of my friends had babies. This is when I began, unknowingly at that point, practicing birthwork. I would take care of teenage mom and baby, sit in the hospital during the birth, organize baby showers, and hold the babies when mama needed a break. When I was older I learned about the role of a doula, and then in my mid-twenties an experience with pregnancy loss became my doorway into the world of birthwork. This loss showed me the importance of doula support, of friends and family and how it takes a community to move through birth and loss.
I have attended full-spectrum doula training with Birthing Advocacy and am currently mentoring with the amazing Eventide Doulas! I am also a social worker, and have many years of experience working on the frontlines of mental health and addiction. I have dreams with birthwork: making doula support more accessible to those who cannot always afford our services. This is such a powerful principle in Reproductive Justice. I believe that the way babies come into the world can imprint and inform the rest of their lives. I believe that the parenting of children, that is, the raising of future generations, can lead to the revolutionary changes this world needs. The work of Alexis Pauline Gumbs gives me butterflies of excitement and resonance every time I read her writing. Her vision centers around mothering not necessarily in a gendered way, rather as an action and a revolutionary work in the world that can change social systems and futures. This vision sees children and all their different types of parents as powerful and brilliant. There are so many parts of birth that inspire me, and these are only a few of those pieces!
When I am not within birth world I am loving up my friends, making art, writing poetry, walking in the forest, giving people tattoos and dreaming of the day that I get to have my own little baby!