Hello Everyone! I hope you all are ready for the second part of my series!! This is such an important topic to me because 1, I am a Black Woman in America and 2, I intend on becoming an obstetrician/gynecologist in the near future! As a future healthcare professional I wonder what it could be that is causing these numbers and if they can be prevented at all!
Here’s some food for thought from a tweet I came across while scrolling through my twitter’s timeline. Why is it 2018 and black women still need to be worried about giving birth in America??
According to the CDC, for every 13 white women who die during pregnancy or within one year of giving birth, there are 44 black women. Most of these deaths can be prevented. Why is it that the rate of deaths among black women is much higher than white women. Essentially, it all stems from our nation’s racist roots, that black people’s bodies are “different” than a white person’s body so their reaction and tolerance to pain must be different as well? Wrong. Below is an excerpt from an article I found that states racism is the key root to all problems, it’s whether you search deep enough to see where from is the real issue.
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — 11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data — a racial disparity that is actually higher than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery. In fact, a black woman with an advanced degree is more likely to lose her baby than a white woman with less than an eighth-grade education.” That statistic was for the people that assume white women must be more advantaged because of their socioeconomic or education status which they are not. Next.
Towards the end of this comment, where @alwaysovaryacting mentions no one else is doing anything there are actually some groups that have been established to advocate for the reproductive justice of women of color! Sister Song, Black Mamas Matter, and those are just two of the organizations that I have found that they are continuously fighting for reproductive justice for women of color, which is, “the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.” This concept was actually initiated by Sister Song is continuing to be a goal for women of color everywhere. In addition, in 2014, Monica Simpson, an executive director of SisterSong spoke before the United Nations Committee on the elimination of racial discrimination by saying the United States was failing to address the crisis of black maternal mortality. Unfortunately, this didn’t go far among many states and I can’t help but wonder why.
The comment above also leads me to leave you all with this statement… What are some suggestions that I have for black women or for individuals to do to help doctors and nurses not be blinded by prejudice and stereotyping and held accountable for their actions? Is there anything at all? I leave this open for comments because I’m honestly not sure if being educated and speaking up is enough anymore. Some thing needs to be done, a revamp to the entire system, I’d even suggest if possible women seek doulas for in-home births and making their birthing process their own so they are not putting their lives in the hands of a system that was never made for us. That’s all I have for this series, but not all I have to say, @ferociousfem out….for now.
Photo by Shelly Shell on Unsplash
5 thoughts on “Why I Am Afraid To Give Birth As A Black Woman in America”
THIS is so important! I wish I knew more information on this topic but thank you so much for bringing this issue to my attention. As someone who has a close black friend who gave birth a few years ago I wonder how much of this was brought to her attention and why she didn’t discuss it with us? Thanks again for a great post!
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Yes! She probably wasn’t aware of it! It’s interesting that a lot of black women are not aware because it is society’s job that everyone should feel comfortable and trustworthy of their doctors when in reality we should always be checking up on them because they are Practicing medicine and do not know everything that we, as patients are feeling. Thank you also for your support!
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As a black woman, in my 20’s, it was not until recently that I learned these statistics. As someone who hopes to have children one day, these numbers scare me as well. The worst part is that it stems from the idea that white bodies are more valuable than white bodies. This has been an ideology that has been integrated into American society for centuries but, I never thought about how that impacted childbirth. To answer your questions, I am not sure if there is anything we can do. I don’t even know where to begin. However, I do agree that we need to take action and people need to be made aware of this issue. By providing more information, as you have done with this article, and creating a call to action, we may be able to create some change.
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Thank you for your support! Yes, I didn’t realize how drastic and alarming these statistics are and not even to scare others out there but simply to make more women and men aware of these stats and to remain alert and check on things that don’t seem right. I found an article while researching for this post about how black women can also have a hard childbirth because of the stress they have acquired throughout daily life as a black woman in America. In regard to creating some change, I’d also suggest if women are able to look into at home births and sharing concerns with their doctor ahead of time to at least have them aware that they are not going to be overlooked in this appointment, hopefully with some of the national organizations support and more awareness, fewer cases like the one from my previous article will start creating the change we need to see in America.