We are a labor of love built by a family and community of friends and colleagues who wanted our founder, Maegan, to have a thriving life where she felt seen, heard, recovered, and supported. We also wanted to help Maegan achieve her vision of providing the solidarity we show her to as many sexual trauma victims as we can possibly reach.
from upper left to right
Gabrielle Weinand, Edward Carberry Jr., Derrick Ashong, Kesila Childers, Matthew Hooper, Mike de la Rocha, Dianna Carberry, and Maegan Carberry
Maegan had an impactful career in U.S. politics and media for 15 years, but her attempts to manage rape-related trauma symptoms constantly undermined her quality of life. Eventually, the disconnect between the high demands of her work and her unhealed wounds became unmanageable. In the fall of 2014, Maegan knew she needed to address the problem before something terrible happened. She founded birdbrain to help herself and anyone else who might benefit from her willingness to be transparent throughout her journey.
birdbrain is the outgrowth of a personal epiphany. Having recently designed a handmade dress with her mother, Dianna, for a special event, Maegan discovered that crafting made her feel at ease in a way she’d never experienced. She decided to follow that instinct. Maegan had been a longtime advocate for veterans groups who successfully educate the public about PTSD, and she’d also been visiting California prisons with organizations that provide art therapy to incarcerated individuals. She connected the dots between these experiences and wondered if it was possible to improve the lives of sexual trauma victims using an approach that blends trauma awareness advocacy and art therapy in the fashion sector. She had to help herself first, but Maegan signed up for her introductory class at The Sewing Arts Center in Los Angeles. She hoped that if she could figure out how to make a pair of pajama pants, she just might have a chance at providing clothes and crafts to other sexual trauma victims someday.
Starting a mission-driven fashion brand was an unlikely proposition for someone who didn’t know how to turn on a sewing machine and had worked at Nordstrom for a couple of seasons. Determination prevailed. Maegan managed to complete that pair of pajama pants and gave them to Dianna for Christmas, then she spent the next two years learning to draw, embroider, and design custom fabric and patterns.
After gaining proficiency, Maegan decided to open birdbrain’s flagship Community Showroom in Palm Springs, CA. In 2017, we became part of the small desert town just outside Los Angeles. The Community Showroom is a place where people come for custom fittings and to shop, to participate in therapeutic group crafting activities like embroidery, coloring, painting, and shirt-making, and to experience representation, solidarity, and support. Having seen the positive impact on the local community, birdbrain took our unique experience on the road. We hosted our first Pop Up Community Showroom in Manhattan in 2019, beginning a tour of other major cities.
After years of learning and growing as a community, we proudly released our self-guided workbook, birdbrain: A Field Guide to the New Normal. Since our inception, Maegan dreamed of creating a resource that could serve the majority of sexual trauma victims who, like herself, chose not to report the incidents to authorities or immediately seek therapy. She wanted to equip people struggling alone with useful information that can be processed privately at your own pace on your terms. The Field Guide is based on observations from Maegan’s more than 20 years of personal experience. The workbook also includes resources for members of a victim’s support network, such as family, friends, romantic partners, colleagues, and faith leaders. It can also be used by health professionals as an ancillary tool for patients who are actively in a medically-supervised recovery process.
birdbrain is proud to have worked with countless volunteers and supporters to create a community that visually, emotionally, and physically reflects the diverse experiences and needs of people impacted by sexual trauma. This issue touches people of all backgrounds, and we believe that by honoring each individual’s journey we can use our collective strength and empathy to create a sexually healthy world.
— the Carberry family + the birdbrain Board of Directors
p.s. If you're interested in how birdbrain got its name, watch Maegan's talk at the Coachella Valley Storytellers Love and Heartbreak event.