PULSE innovators & collaborators: Samantha Zipporah.

To start the community-building around PULSE early, I’ll be featuring some of the collaborators and innovators you’ll be meeting on September 18 here on the blog over the next few weeks.

First up: Samantha Zipporah, whom I respect for bringing both depth and a wide angle to her work, for her real-world compatible candidness, and for continuing to develop new avenues to make her knowledge and support accessible.

I’m also completely on board with her love for ampersands, so I left those unedited. You’re welcome.

If you are coming to PULSE, too, and would like to share your insights and projects as part of this series, please contact me to start that conversation.

How do you see your role in holistic healthcare?

I provide love & education for the womb continuum. I serve as an educator, resource provider, guide & mentor in the realm of women’s sexuality & fertility. A cornerstone of what I offer is compassionate holistic options counseling. I facilitate supported & truly informed consensual decision making in situations often mired in stigma & disinformation.

Throughout my 17 years of activism & advocacy, I have always been an avid reader & researcher, fully engaged in my passion & steadfast on my path.

I offer accurate clinical information along with intuitive & emotional wisdom. I balance science with spirit.

Rather than being a practitioner of any modality, I am well studied in a wide array of healing options & connected to a myriad of practitioners who offer them.

I spent several years in Portland facilitating womb-centric workshops & a few sliding scale clinics in a project called the Happy Hysteria Health Collective. My dream for many years was for this project to initiate the formation of a holistic women’s health cooperative. This experience created many invaluable connections in the Portland holistic health community, & as a result of that my resource list is a carefully curated work of art. Matchmaking personalities, needs, & modalities is a joy; I love connecting people with a need with the practitioner who can meet their needs perfectly.

In what area(s) do you find we need more innovation or collaboration?

I believe that the less culturally celebrated aspects of our fertile & sexual lives such as contraception, abortion, & miscarriage need innovation and collaboration.

I see not just an immense cultural need, but a hugely underserved market niche in these aspects of healthcare. The vast majority of women need support in at least one if not all of these experiences in their lifetime. What I have witnessed, even in the holistic community, is the compartmentalization of sexual health care that places conception & pregnancy resulting in birth upon a pedestal. This kind of compartmentalization & glorification does not serve the vast majority of fertile aged women who are avoiding pregnancy.

We need holistic care that honors the mind, body, & spirit as well!

I would love to collaborate with care providers who honor the worth of a woman’s fertility & sexuality as vitality & power, with or without the intention to give birth.

The terminology “full spectrum” is becoming popular among reproductive health advocates, doulas, & midwives to describe the “full spectrum” of pregnancy experiences including birth, abortion, miscarriage, & adoption. I prefer the word “continuum” because it speaks to the level of continuity & connection between all experiences of having a womb. I do not see abortion & birth as opposite ends of a finite spectrum; they are inextricably connected. Women need care that supports them in the entirety of their fertile & sexual well-being.

One of the ways we can create that support is through increasing accessible continuity of care. Outreach & education about the value of intimate, preventative, & continuous care is needed.

Too many women go to clinics & receive services from strangers with whom they do not share mutual trust & respect. While this care is better than none, it is a product of a model of medicine which is an industry rather than a healing modality.

Our fertility & sexuality are part of our holistic health, & need to be treated as gifts rather than pathologies.

I would love to see holistic providers create more accessible & welcoming healing spaces for women in all stages of their fertile & sexual lives, not just pregnancy & birth. I would love to see innovation & pursue collaboration that highlights the fact that our fertility is vitality & a hallmark of health, not a pathology. Bringing awareness to this reality is needed in our culture as a whole, but specifically & importantly within our culture of healthcare.

Are there any emerging trends or new ideas in healthcare that make you optimistic and excited?

I am thrilled that ACOG recently declared yearly paps for healthy women under the age of 30 unnecessary, thus eliminating a lot of undue trauma & invasive procedures.

I am delighted that last year a study came out in the UKy stating 45% of women are actually safer giving birth at home. Both of these instances are beacons of hope of the demedicalization of totally normal aspects of women’s sexual & fertile lives.

I am glad that folks with low income insurance in Oregon can choose NDs as primary care providers.

Shout out to the Vital Compass! Their cooperative business model is the only functioning example of my ideal that I know of existing in Portland, Oregon. I believe this is the healthcare business model of the future: the tangible investment from both practitioners & patients is a wonderful literal & metaphorical illustration of exemplary ownership of personal & community health.

Samantha Zipporah 1

What are you creating in your own business right now?

It is a time of major growth and change for me. I have many projects on my plate.

I am in the process of settling into my new home on a luscious 21 acres in Oregon City, a half hour outside of Portland. I look forward to inviting some of my favorite holistic care providers to teach out there as I develop this gorgeous space into a place for education & sanctuary. I plan to host regular workshops & eventually retreats.

After spending almost the entirety of my 20s on-call for birth, I recently stopped accepting birth doula clients & using the title of “doula.” These choices were motivated by many things, but primarily by the desire to pursue my path as a teacher & writer.

By letting go of birth work I am also deepening my commitment to providing invaluable resources, education, & care in the realms of sexual empowerment, fertility awareness, conscious contraception, abortion, & miscarriage. I look forward to informing more care providers & individuals about the unique care I offer through Sovereignty Sessions. I want to make the community aware that I offer phone consults & house calls for folks who end & lose pregnancies.

Slowly but surely, I am articulating & digitizing my body of knowledge via blog, zines, & e-books ~ eventually evolving the material into a bona fide physical book. Some of the titles I am currently working on include “Holistic Healing After Miscarriage”, “How to Have the Best Pap of Your Life: Because Spreading Your Legs Should Be Nothing Less Than Consensual & Satisfying”, & “Holistic Options for Healing Yeastie Beasties & BV”.

Among my many aspirations is creating a training & a certification program for both care providers & community members seeking confidence & competency in supporting holistic abortion & miscarriage experiences. I am hopeful that I can help create a resilient network & inspire an enduring culture of honor & care.

Finally, this winter I am planning to flesh out a year’s worth of education & inspiration for fertile aged women that I have been conceptualizing for years. Courses will be available a la cart or discounted in a package, online independent study, or in a live classroom with me out at my new space in Oregon City. I especially want to make this offering accessible to young women, & it will be available for free for those under the age of 18 when taken with adult companionship.

What resources or connections would you welcome? How can other PULSE participants support your work and your vision?

I am always looking to connect with more amazing practitioners, especially ones that authentically have no fear or shame around sexuality & abortion.

I would love to meet more care providers who openly specialize or have significant experience or passion supporting folks who are avoiding, ending, & losing pregnancies.

It would be wonderful to meet teachers with established followings who would like to explore offering their wisdom in the community teaching space I am cultivating out in Oregon City.

Finally, I would love to revisit my work organizing engaging & fun community clinic days like I did when I facilitated events under the moniker Happy Hysteria Health Collective. These clinic days were hosted by existing clinics with workshop / panel space as well as private rooms for consultation & treatment. During the morning I facilitated a panel of practitioners from diverse modalities discussing their personal approach & philosophy on a particular health topic or concern (such as HPV, menstrual maladies, or breast health) with time for audience discussion & Q & A. We’d break for a potluck lunch, & then during the afternoon those same practitioners who spoke on the panel would offer sliding scale consultation & treatment.

PULSE participants can also refer folks to me for full sessions or support in a myriad of fertility experiences. I offer a free 15 minute consultation to anyone interested in working with me.

Many thanks!

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