Black maternal health week. BLACK maternal health week. Black MATERNAL health week…
I will NOT capitalize the word health because we BLACK MATRONS don’t have any health to spare for that. The experts have weighed in and the studies have been conducted to make what WE have known for eons an “evidenced-based public health fact.”
A concern, a movement, an initiative, turned an awareness week, and I am here. I am here to help plan and coordinate an event hosted to promote the viewing of an informative documentary The Naked Truth: Death By Delivery that included the statistic proven within one of the aforementioned studies in the New York Times that “Black women in New York are 12 times more likely to die due to childbirth complications than their white counterparts.”
Colonizers have been killing us for generations.
So, of course, it’s the black mothers who die.
But there is strength in numbers and empowerment in having positive birth outcomes. Having positive birth empowers women by proving they have the strength and they don’t need a man doctor institution to “save” them.
I am here to discuss that the documentary that was filmed in other states, the studies that were completed in other states, the statistics that were computed in other states, yet all transfer in their entireties to YES Rhode Island, YES the woman living beside you, YES, even your best friend.
I am here to tell you that you are the problem.
Whenever you sit in a doctor’s office and you hear me struggle to schedule my appointments because I am the primary breadwinner for my family and you do not request for evening office hours, you are making it harder for me to be a healthy mother. Whenever you take a stand to not see me for the color that I am and refuse to acknowledge that walking in America while being black puts my body into a constant Fight-or-Flight reaction, you are not addressing the chronic stress I am experiencing, therefore missing the heightened cortisol levels in my bloodstream and misdiagnosing me with “minor fatigue.”
Whenever I am the problem, I work to also be the solution and so I leave you with 3 challenges for Black Maternal Health Week 2018:
FIND: Find local resources that will help facilitate stress reduction for a black mother.
BUILD: Network with your community so when a mother, any mother, is in need everyone will know you are a great resource connection.
CREATE: If you cannot FIND the right resources and you cannot BUILD the right connections, BE a resource yourself. You have been called to action. I am here. I want all of my sisters here with me. Let us keep them.