A Letter to Black Women...
We are DYING in the care of medical professionals at alarming rates during our pregnancies and births.
Why is this happening?
The suspicions are many...
Maybe it's because we project so much strength that the birth workers are incapable of taking our pains seriously?
Maybe it's because we are lacking efficient healthcare?
Maybe it's because of overt systemic racism affecting the hospitals we deliver at?
Maybe it's caused by stress developed over the years of dealing with actual racism?
Maybe we are genetically pre-disposed to having pregnancy and birth related complications?
Whatever the actual reason, there needs to be something done to stop that statistic from rising.
Our children’s lives and our own depend on it.
So what can WE do?
I’m a HUGE believer that representation matters.
The more of us who choose to share our birth stories means that more of us can benefit from the experience of others.
Everywhere we look, we see white and white-presenting women giving birth in all kinds of places and LIVING.
Where are we at?
Are we not birthing? NO!
Are we not sharing our birth experiences? NOT LIKELY.
We are each responsible for part of the bigger problem. I personally know of similar pages - like Birth United - who showcase births and who would like to show a more diverse group of birthers on their pages...but you know what? The content is LACKING.
How can we want to see more people who look like we do birthing, but refuse to do what's necessary to contribute to the representation of black women birthing?
You know how we can help shift what is seen in the birth world? BY GETTING OUR BIRTHS VISUALLY DOCUMENTED!
So, if you’re planning to give birth, regardless of WHERE you choose, I highly recommend hiring a professional birth photographer.
Yeah, I know that birth photographers are EXPENSIVE...but I also know that just about EVERY birth photographer I know offers a payment plan of some sort - some more flexible than others.
But our people don’t hire birth photographers!
Ummm...that’s part of the problem.
Outside of the fact that each birth is unique, special and showcases our amazing capabilities as mothers and we should want all the proof we can have of those moments frozen in time...
by documenting our births through photography, we can then inspire others.
Yes, I do know that some of us do actually hire a birth photographer, but prefer to keep our images private.
I get that. We are entitled to our privacy! Birth is sacred and deeply personal.
But, also consider that by sharing our stories and photos, we have the ability to change a life - or even save one.
Photos move people. If you see [insert your favorite idol here] doing something that moves you, you’d probably feel inclined to at least consider trying it because they did.
When we see more and more photos of black women birthing - and even birthing naturally outside of traditional hospital settings,
then - with each photo - we may feel more inclined to research the options available to us and may ultimately make a choice that would save our life.
So, I wrote all of that to say - just think about hiring a birth photographer for your next birth.
(the sooner you book, the less of a financial burden it would seem like).
It’s so worth it, because #blackbirthmatters, too.
And because I would like to practice what I preach...here's a photo from one of my own births.
A Black Mother Who Wants Change