Words of encouragement for our black mamas-to-be.
Have you been following the news and reading about the black maternal mortality crisis? Have you heard the stories of the many black mamas whose voices went unheard? Are you praying that doesn’t become your story? If so, keep reading as I’m going to share some advice to empower you to make sure you are heard throughout your birthing experience.
Many don’t get the quality care they deserve.
Yes sis, sadly racism still exists! Black mamas aren’t getting the care they deserve. For many, what should be the most joyous time of their life is the most stressful. And, for some, it’s the scariest.
Many black mamas are left in the hands of care providers who don’t look like them, care providers who see their black skin and ignore their black voices!
Many black mamas are relying on care providers who:
- hate or resent them.
- confuse their training and expertise with authority.
- are hungry for power and abuse their role.
- are too busy making statements instead of asking questions.
- oversimplify procedures and intentionally neglect to mention the risks and alternatives.
- bully mamas into interventions that, in many cases, are not medically necessary.
- ignore black voices when they say they aren’t okay.
- misdiagnose and delay treatments.
- are responsible for preventable deaths.
I don’t want to make it seem like all care providers are bad; but, some are. Numbers don’t lie! The data show black women are three times more likely to die, due to pregnancy-related issues, than women of any other race. Our black mamas are dying because of racism and implicit bias. This isn’t my opinion, it’s public knowledge.
But, you have options. And, make sure they know that you’re aware.
I’m happy that the Biden-Harris Administration has committed to addressing these injustices. That said, it’s 2021 and we are still talking about racism, so, sis, don’t you wait for that.
I know we’ve been conditioned to just get along; but, when it comes to your pregnancy and your birth, the risks are too high to be silent. Don’t stay quiet and just let things happen because you don’t want to offend.
In case you didn’t know, you hold the power, not the care providers!
You have options.
You can choose where, with whom, and how you would like to birth.
You do NOT have to:
- stay with the same care provider.
- birth with an Obstetrician.
- give birth at a hospital.
- labor in bed.
- birth on your back.
- birth alone.
- medicate to manage your pain.
- rely on only one medical opinion.
I just told you a lot of things that you don’t have to do. But, if you want to, you can. That’s the point. Sis, it’s your birth and your choice!
Educate yourself on your options and be selective about who you choose as your care provider. Ask the hard questions, make sure they are the right person to help you reach your birthing goals, whatever they may be. And if something doesn’t seem or feel right, speak up.
We know they see your black skin, now let’s make sure they hear your black informed voice! And if they refuse to listen, ask for someone else.
Don’t allow anyone to hush you, to take over your birthing experience, or to convince you that you’re okay if you’re not. Use your voice, and if you aren’t sure how, make sure you learn. It could save your life.
Doulas provide information and support during your childbirth experience and empower you to advocate for the care you deserve. Check out the blog “What is a Doula and Why You Need One?” to learn more.
I hope you found this information helpful. Schedule a free consultation today to learn how M.A.M.A. can educate, empower and support you during your childbirth journey.
This article was originally published in Indie Incognito Magazine.
Dominique Jones, owner and CEO of M.A.M.A. Mom’s Advocate & Maternal Advisor, LLC, is a black mother of two young girls (ages 1 and 3). She is a trained childbirth educator, a birth doula, a postpartum doula, and a breastfeeding specialist. She educates, empowers, and assists families with having safe, peaceful, and joyous childbirth and postpartum experiences.