Fourth-generation midwife Racha Tahani Lawler-Queen has made history in Virginia by opening the state’s first Black-owned birthing center. The Gather Grounded Midwifery facility is a safe and inviting space for parents expanding their families. 

Earlier this year, Lawler-Queen opened Gather Grounded Midwifery’s doors in Richmond, Virginia. She told WTVR then that she was inspired to do so after participating in a home birth. 

“In my 20s, I went to my first home birth, I was invited by a family member. We have seen as midwives when the care provider reflects the community, then the community has better outcomes,” she shared with the outlet. 

While the midwife was able to help mothers and families in Richmond, city permits stunted the center’s growth, WTVR reported. But Lawler-Queen didn’t give up. She found a new home in Chesterfield County, Virginia, and in August, she officially reopened Gather Grounded Midwifery.

Of the journey ahead, the midwife shared that the experience will likely resemble giving birth. 

“This is going to be like labor, it’s going to take me down all different roads and I know where I’m trying to get to know but I don’t know how I’m going to get there and I couldn’t have opened this space without all the generous donations, all of the love,” she told WTVR.

The center comprises intentional spaces for expectant mothers, including a family room and birthing room, which support all kinds of families. 

“Families have care that reflects them, that supports who they are and how they live their lives, and they are provided with the opportunity to experience pregnancy without fear, without interventions,” Lawler-Queen explained to WTVR. 

The midwife told the outlet that the community and supporters made this relaunch happen. Gather Grounded Midwifery raised over $30,000 via GoFundMe, and people donated money, art, toys and diapers ahead of its grand opening. 

“It really gives them even more power and a greater voice and provides them an opportunity without fear to birth in freedom to give birth in a way that affirms them and their family and how they want to move forward after they have this baby,” she told WTVR.