Meet Iya Sauleiha Akangbe
My black is beautiful, my black is Sun-kissed, my black is sweet light brown mixed with honey swirls, my black is untouchable and unapologetic, my black is strengthened by my Orisha and supported by my ancestors. I am descendant of those who could not be killed and each and every one of their prayers uplifts and empowers me to be the Black Woman I am. My ancestral heritage, cultural background, life experiences and elders qualify me to do this work. I was raised by Black women who come from Black women who were for the Black community.
I am a Pan African-American Woman of Slave Descent. I am a mother, a wife, a priestess in Ifa/Orisa Isese Lagba and I am unapologetically black.
Along with running my business, I have created the first ever hospital based Postpartum Doula Program in the United States, I created the Black Birth Empowerment Initiative with the Swedish Doula Program and have created the JUST Birth Network at Swedish Hospital.
I have been doing community doula work most of my life, and I officially trained as a doula with the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) with Mama Shafia Monroe in April of 2017 and am now a Certified Birth and Postpartum Doula through Shafia Monroe Consulting Birthing Change (SMC), I am currently a student to a midwife in Osogbo, Nigeria where I partially reside. I have additionally trained as a midwife assistant, a perinatal and infant loss advocate and I have continued education in lactation, culturally congruent doula care, mental health for postpartum families, and traditional birth and postpartum practices/rituals.
Sauleiha Akangbe was born into an African-American of enslaved descent family who instilled in her a deep respect for the African American Traditional Culture. She was conceived of and raised in an environment where she was taught to love no matter religion or race. From a very early age, she understood the importance of honoring her ancestors. Her large and diverse family studied and practiced the teachings of Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Ifa/Orisha (Isese Lagba). Although she did not realize it at the time, these varied traditions and beliefs of her family would play a huge part in her own spiritual journey—ultimately grounding her in her own path.
From the time she was a young girl, she was listening to the songs of the old. Her grandparents, her parents, aunts, uncles all were singing traditional Yoruba chants as an aspect of their work, as part of family gatherings and important community events or simply as inspired. She heard these songs in her sleep, while she played and soon learned the words and sang along. In addition to the traditional music, she grew up watching the dance. Through a daily study of the Bata Drum maintained by her grandfather, she was exposed to the traditional Orisha dances and how to express herself through movement. Sauleiha knew nothing beyond her own family’s unique culture. This was simply her life.
As she matured and developed, something inside Sauleiha grew as well--her burning desire to learn more. This desire sparked her pilgrimage home to Africa. Upon her arrival, she met elders who were singing the exact same songs that she heard as a child. At this moment, her spark would become a flame; a flame of truth and light that would guide her from this day forth. This destiny would became even more evident and indisputable when the techniques and practices she was taught from
both her doula work and her families unique culture which were confirmed through rites of passage. Sauleiha was shocked, amazed and now determined to fulfill her destiny. As she met with more elders she learned more about the culture and the ways of her ancestors. She learned how to prepare traditional meals. She trained with Doulas and Midwives of the Motherland learning their customs and their methods. She was even given a traditional name as they recognized her as being “a child who has returned home.” Sauleiha was blessed with the name Iyanifa Ifashike and after marriage and thereafter is known as Apetebi Ifashike Ogun.
Iyanifa Ifashike is offering you the opportunity to have community and healing with other birthworkers in her community and for clients to enhance the experience of motherhood as it was practiced many moons ago by your ancestors. She has learned doula work from her mother, her grandmother, her doula training instructor Mama Shafia Monroe and when she travels to Nigeria, she pursues her study with Iyalaje Ifaleke Ifaponle Ojeniyi (Traditional Midwife through Ifa/Orisha). She continues to be guided by the powerful priests and priestesses in Nigeria as well as the Diaspora. She has brought her knowledge of the teachings, songs, dances, meals, rites, and rituals across the Atlantic Ocean and from her own family’s tradition for you to experience.
She welcomes you to experience who you are and will treat you with love, sincerity, and respect. Through your journey of motherhood or your journey of connecting to your culture, she will guide you by utilizing the principles of IFA Orishas. All services are offered worldwide.
Please feel free to click the link to begin your journey of cultural actualization.
Let the journey begin with you