As Mother’s Day approaches, I wanted to take this time to resurface the systemic inequalities faced by Black mothers in America. Though we live in one of the richest nations in the world, mothers of every race and ethnicity are dying at higher rates compared to other economically advantaged countries. Additionally, this rate is continuously rising. A fact that is even more alarming, is that Black mamas are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than their non-Hispanic white counterparts. No mother should worry about fighting to live.
This Mother’s Day you can support a Black mama by doing one, some, or all of the following:
Learn all that you can about the Black maternal health crisis. It is not enough to casually acknowledge that this issue exists. Black maternal health concerns are not new, even if the conversation may be new to you. A quick web search should expose you to a wealth of information, but if you need a jumpstart I recommend checking out this New York Times article. As well, keep your eyes (and ears - hint, hint!) open for something we are creating over here at Family Tree Wellness that will get you connected to the real experiences of Black mamas, from Black mamas.
Discover what is available to Black mamas in your community. Let’s say you come across a Black mama who is needing additional support and searching for community. Would you know where to start? What we know is that Black mamas have better pregnancy, birthing, and postpartum outcomes when they are supported by other Black birthing professionals: doulas, doctors, midwives, and mental health therapists. Here at Family Tree Wellness, we offer a free pregnancy and parenting support group called Mahogany, curated for the unique needs of Black mamas. In this space, moms form community, share experiences, and express sisterly love for those walking alongside us as we navigate what it means to be a Black mama in America. This group meets every first and third Saturday of the month at 10 am - so I encourage you to join, if this is how you identify!
Find and support organizations doing the work to address Black maternal health concerns. There are countless organizations that have been supporting and empowering Black mamas for years. The National Birth Equity Collaborative, the Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BAMA), and the Black Women Birthing Justice are just a few of the many organizations seeking to transform the Black birthing and parenting experience for Black mamas across the nation. Can you hyperlink these orgs?
Finally, support the Black Maternal Health Momnibus of 2020. Let’s face it - significant and sustainable change tends to occur when there is some legislation backing it! This act seeks to address preventable maternal mortality concerns for Black mamas by providing funding to community-based organizations, growing and diversifying the perinatal workforce, improving data collection, and much more. You can learn more about this act by visiting the Black Maternal Health Caucus website.
Still have questions or need ideas? Want to know more about our Mahogany: Pregnancy and Parenting Support Group? I would be happy to connect with you! Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to support Black mamas.
Written by Dr. Qu'Nesha Sawyer, APCC