Entrepreneur Spotlight: Meet midwife Jamarah Amani
In honor of National Entrepreneurship Month, the South Florida Times is highlighting Florida entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs to let readers know about the various products and services they provide. Meet Jamarah Amani, a local midwife.
Jamarah Amani is a community midwife who believes in the power of birth and that every baby has a human right to be breast fed. Her mission is to do her part and build a movement for Birth Justice locally, nationally and globally.
A community organizer from the age of 16, Amani has worked with several organizations across the United States, the Caribbean and in Africa on various public health issues, including HIV prevention, infant mortality risk reduction, access to emergency contraception and access to midwifery care.
She is currently the director of Southern Birth Justice Network, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Amani studied Africana Studies, Women’s Studies and Midwifery at centers of learning such as University of Pennsylvania, Clark Atlanta University and, most recently, International School of Midwifery.
Amani is also a Certified Lactation Consultant. In addition to raising four active children (who she said are also raising her), Amani offers midwifery care, breastfeeding consultations and childbirth education to families and communities across the state of Florida.
Tell us what industry you are in and what led you down this path?
My industry is birth work. I started as an apprentice midwife and then went to midwifery school. I have been a licensed midwife in Florida since 2013. I was first inspired by my own experience giving birth to my now 16-year-old daughter, with a midwife.
What do you think are the best ways to encourage and assist women in becoming leaders (i.e. education, mentoring)?
The best way to encourage women to become leaders is to start young, working with girls to let them know that they are valuable. There are so many things in our society that give young women negative messages about their bodies, their intelligence and their worth. Girls are subject to mental and physical violence on a daily basis, just turning on the radio, walking in their neighborhoods and even in their homes. We have to be vigilant about nurturing girls, particularly Black girls who are under some of the greatest threats due to systemic racism and sexism. It is important to let them know that they matter, that their communities need them and that the world needs their magic.
What, in your opinion, are the top qualities of women leaders?
The top qualities that I value are honesty, integrity, boldness, authenticity and a commitment to social justice.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
Living my life on-call as a midwife, I strive to be balanced by focusing on family and self-care. I usually wake up in the morning and do deep breathing and meditation. I make quality time for myself (often reading or watching the sunrise) at least once a week and quality time with each of my children daily. My favorite thing is ‘Self-care Sundays!’
How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?
A lot of people helped me get where I am, starting with my mother and my grandmothers, and even before that my ancestors. I come from a long line of first-born daughters with high standards.You know, that Black women excellence. Along the way, teachers and elders saw a lot in me, believed in me and nurtured me through growing pains and beyond my insecurities. Today, I am still transforming into my highest self and continuously reaching back to help others as well.
Jamarah Amani is a community midwife.