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Born in Chiapas

Women in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico often rely on traditional midwives when they give birth. They want to be cared for according to their indigenous customs, and they distrust government hospitals. Midwives in Chiapas are respected and loved for their skilled hands and wisdom, and for the affection and comfort they bring to women in labor. However, they have long felt marginalized in Mexico’s healthcare system. Only recently have authorities started to reach out to the midwives by registering them and by organizing sporadic training sessions. They hope that better cooperation between doctors and midwives could help lower the region’s alarming maternal mortality and stillbirth rates that are significantly higher than the national average.



Janet Jarman Producer, Photography, Video / Filip Lein and Yousur Alhlou Editors / Soo-Jeong Kang Senior Producer, The New York Times / Kati McKoy Production Assistant

With many thanks to: Juana Gomez Santis, Rosita Gonzalez López, Nadine Goodman, María López Gonzalez, Olga López, Antonia López Santis, Pedro Mesa, Maria Morales López, Ofélia Ruiz, and all the Chiapas healthcare officials, doctors, nurses, traditional and professional midwives who allowed me access into their lives and medical facilities.

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