Black Maternal Mental Health Matters

black mother

Black mothers are hurting, let’s talk about it. 

Being a Black mama during times of social injustice and racial disparity is, well, exhausting. For a plethora of reasons, you feel the weight of the entire community on your shoulders. Feeling the death of every child by police hands and hearing the sirens, hoping it is not one of your own. Teaching your children to drive slow, but not too slow, so the cops don’t pull them over. Teaching them to put their hands on the dashboard, never out of sight, and to describe every single movement to the cop. You do all of this, and then hope and pray that your child makes it home safely every night. 

It. Is. Exhausting. 

Being a Black mama means knowing the risks of birthing in the hospital. Knowing the maternal mortality rates of Black women are higher than those of White women can make birthing in a medical space uncomfortable, and sometimes scary. The statistics are staggering and it feels as though the odds have been stacked against the Black woman. The weight of the knowledge of hospital negligence is heavy. 

There is hope. 

This is why there is an entire week dedicated to the maternal health of Black women. Black Maternal Mental Health week was put in place by the Shades of Blue Project. Their aim is to break down cultural barriers, and raise awareness of the resources available to minority women. 

You deserve it. 

In a world where women are taught to suck it up and be strong for the family, I want to provide you a space to be vulnerable. The 4th trimester is just as valuable and important as the rest of your pregnancy. Once your beautiful baby is born, your primary focus is their health. I want to give you permission to also focus on your health. 

Reach out. 

You are not alone in this. Sometimes it feels like you are the only person in the world experiencing this, but as doulas we want you to know that we are here for you. What you are experiencing is common and solvable. There are plenty of resources that we can connect you with, to get you the support you need. 

Rest.

I have spent this entire blog talking about the exhaustion behind being a black mother, but this in no way takes away from the joy, love and excitement in pregnancy, birth and postpartum. You deserve to enjoy your babe, and you can. Take a few deep breaths, reach out, get the support you deserve, and let’s change the birth world for Black women, together. 

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