Midwifery and Racial Oppression, #BlkBFing Chat Highlights, Black Women and Medicaid Podcast and More!

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I’m going to try my best to post weekly/bi-weekly links to articles I come across. I forget that not everyone uses Facebook and Twitter, and that’s where I post most of the things I come across.

Anti-Racism and Anti- Oppression Work In Midwifery – Letter To Midwifery Today: Real Talk About Midwifery and Racial Oppression.
This powerful letter was collaboratively drafted by 97 BirthWorkers from around the globe.

While the article is gone from the Midwifery Today site, the discussion it has engendered is too important to disappear without a trace. It is important to us that your readers understand why the comparison between the anti-slavery struggle and the midwifery movement is wrong and profoundly hurtful. Even more than this, however, we hope to show that the struggle to provide a full range of birthing options must address our history of racial oppression if we really want to change birth in this country.

ChildBirth Connection Transforming Maternity Care – Urge Women To Question Elective Deliveries.

Don’t schedule elective, non-medically indicated inductions of labor or cesarean deliveries before 39 weeks 0 days gestational age.

MomsRising Blog – Breastfeeding: Obesity, Diabetes and Asthma Prevention.

Breastfeeding decreases the risks for obesity, diabetes and asthma. As a nephrology social worker, I see firsthand the consequences of obesity that can lead to diabetes and ultimately chronic kidney disease.

Healthy Black Women – Podcast on Why Black Women Should Care About Medicaid and It’s Expansion.

Twitter – #BlkBFing Twitter Chat Highlights.

Every Mother Counts via Jennie Joseph – Black History Month: Midwifery Matters.

As a Black midwife, newly arrived in 1989, I had no understanding of the history or legacy of midwifery in the USA, let alone the foundational role that African-American midwives played in the provision of maternity care for both Black and White women from slavery on upwards.

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Black Infant Mortality and Your Responsibility

Welcome to the Third Edition of the  Black Birth Carnival. Hosted by Darcel of  The Mahogany Way Birth Cafe and Nicole of Musings From The Mind of Sista Midwife.
The Topic: Infant Mortality Awareness: Saving OUR Babies. Many birth workers are talking about the alarming infant mortality rates in this country, but none are talking about infant mortality in the Black Community. That’s where this Blog Carnival comes in. We will talk about statistics, try to figure out why, and most importantly what we can do to help lower our infant mortality rates.
This post will be updated with live links by Noon, linking back to the other participants posts.

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If you haven’t heard by now, September is infant mortality awareness month. And if you haven’t seen the statistics yet, here is a brief overview from the Center of Minority Health….Black babies are 2-3 times more likely to die than white babies, or babies of any other ethnicity.
Maybe you’ve heard that it’s only happening to the poor black women living in the inner cities with little to no education, it’s because of poor health, lack of proper prenatal care.

Wouldn’t it be simple if that were true? Then we could all say “well their economic status has nothing to do with me” and keep it moving. That way the responsibility doesn’t fall on us. The truth is that myself, a black doctor, or a black woman living in the poorest conditions imaginable have one thing in common….we are all black women. That one factor puts us all at the same risk for losing one of our babies before their first birthday.

I have given birth to three full-term babies, all attended by white midwives, and I had proper prenatal care. My first two midwives were a little tough to deal with. I was always on edge with them and I felt completely abandoned by my first midwife. My 2nd birth the midwife seemed to not really like me towards the end of my pregnancy and while I was in labor. During my first two pregnancies I always wondered if I was treated so poorly because I was black.  The third was a dream and I’ve recommended her to several of my friends. I’m so grateful for my healthy children but sometimes wonder what it is exactly that causes another black woman to lose her child? I guess You could say its a luck of the draw between myself and the woman in this video.

More and more evidence is coming to light that racism has a significant impact on infant mortality.
As black women in this country, we are exposed to racism in the womb and it continues throughout our entire lives. I’ve heard stories of black mothers not getting breastfeeding help in the hospital because “it’s a well known fact that Black women do not breastfeed” but we know this isn’t true. I’ve heard of black women receiving less than prenatal care because “black women are super fertile and we don’t know how to keep our legs closed.” Then there’s the cashier that peers at you over the counter making sure you don’t steal anything. All of these things cause a great deal of stress on mother and baby and we all know that stress can literally kill you.

There is no excuse for the United States of America to have the infant mortality rate that it does, and there is no excuse for Black babies to die by the thousands because of racism in this country. Not when we have such an intelligent and classy Black First Lady(the first in history)and not when Blacks are fast becoming the majority population in this country.
It’s time to stop harping on black single moms, teenage moms, and black women in general. Talk is cheap and if we really want to help lower the infant mortality rate in our community  we need to band together and learn how to take care of our own.

Black women usually feel more comfortable being in the care of someone they can relate to on many levels….and this is why we need more Black Midwives, Doulas, Childbirth Educators, and Lactation Consultants. We need parenting classes that are centered on the black community being taught by black men and women.
We need groups like the Midwives Alliance of North America to recognize what a loss it is to the community to lose their entire board of Midwives of Color.

We need to create our own villages and offer support to allmothers and their unborn child. If you are pro-life then you need to sit back and think about what that really means. Are you really pro-life or just anti-abortion? To me pro-life means caring for that life before and after it’s born in every way. Are you willing to go above and beyond for your fellow sister and this child that she’s carrying? Will you cook, organize birth and breastfeeding support groups? Will you go out into your communities to serve and support that 16yr old carrying the baby that you disapprove of because she’s not married? She needs all the love and support she can get right now!  She needs to know that she is not a screw up and her life is not over….she needs to know there is a village of black women who are willing and more than ready to help meet the needs of her and her child(ren).

You don’t have to be a midwife to apply the Midwives Model of Care.
Take that statement and see how you can use it to best serve your community. It’s time that we say enough is enough-we need to work together to save OUR babies.

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Please take the time to visit the other participants posts. They are very thought-provoking and each woman has written about amazing solutions for lowering the Infant Mortality rate in the Black Community.

Amy: Health Programming and It’s Impact on Black Infant Mortality. Guest Post on Musings From The Mind of Sista Midwife.

Darcel: Black Infant Mortality and Your Responsibility. The Mahogany Way Birth Cafe

Nicole: Stop The Talking… Implement SOLUTIONS! Sista Midwife Productions

Darline Turner-Lee: Standing For Little Brown Babies By Supporting Their Mothers. Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond

#BlackBirth Carnival Call For Submissions: Infant Mortality Awareness – Saving OUR Babies

Hello and Welcome to the Third Edition of the Black Birth Blog Carnival: Infant Mortality Awareness – Saving OUR Babies. Hosted by Darcel of The Mahogany Way Birth Cafe and Nicole of Musings From The Mind of Sista Midwife. The Black Birth Carnival has been amazing in so many ways. Whether you participate by blogging, or sharing on various social networks, we thank you for joining us in talking about and celebrating Black Birth.

Have you missed the previous Black Birth Carnivals? If so you can read the first installment – Birthing While Black and the second installment, Not Without Our Fathers  now.

While we normally hold the carnival on the 2nd Tuesday ofthe month, we will run this carnival on the 3rd Tuesday of the month, September 18th in order to give respect to those affected by September 11th.

It’s no secret that the Black Community has the highest rate of infant mortality. Black babies are more than two times more likely to die than White babies before their first birthday. A very sobering statistic. There are MANY causes for this disparity, including low birth weight, prematurity, SUIDS(sudden unexplained infant death syndrome), maternal complications, lack of prenatal care, and even racism.
If you search the internet you will find article after article on our high infant mortality rates.While the numbers are good to know and helps us learn, there don’t appear to be many articles on ways to reduce Black Infant Mortality from the perspective of Black women and men. That’s where this blog carnival comes in!

We are inviting you to share with us your thoughts on infant mortality in the Black Community. When did you first become aware of infant mortality rates in the black community? Did you even know it was a concern? Do you know the rates for your specific state or country? What do you think will help to lower our infant mortality rates? Does your birth community do anything special for the month of September for Infant Mortality Awareness Month? How can we raise awareness and make our voices heard on this very important subject? What can we do as a community to save OUR babies? We want to hear from you!
No voice is too small to be heard! If you are a black mother, or father we want to hear from you. Don’t have a blog and want to write? We can host you on one of our blogs.

You do not have to answer all of the questions above in your post, we are just throwing out possible writing prompts.


What is a Blog Carnival?

A blog carnival is a collection of blog posts from a variety of bloggers on a particular subject, published on the same day. This blog carnival will be published/go live on Tuesday September 18thh.  In addition to posting his/her article, each blogger provides links to all of the other posts submitted. Because of this, blog carnivals are a great way to learn about other fabulous bloggers. They give you an opportunity to connect with others and have the potential to increase traffic to your blog. If you do not have a personal blog and want to participate, please email us ASAP at BlackBirthCarnival at gmail dot com so that we can find a host blog for your article submission.

Guidelines and Instructions for Submissions

We are looking for posts that are well written, informative, thought-provoking and relevant to the theme of the carnival. We prefer that you submit a new, unpublished post for the carnival however, if you feel you have the“perfectpost” that has been previously published we will accept it.

Please email your post to us at BlackBirthCarnival at gmail dot com no later than Tuesday, september 11th Be sure to put September Carnival in the subject line of the email and don’t forget to give us the title of your post. We cannot accept your submission without a title.

You will receive an HTML code with instructions via email no later than Saturday, September 15th. You will need to place this code in your blog post so that you will link up with all of the other blogs participating in the carnival. For the success of the carnival, it’s important that you add this code. Please do not publish your post until after midnight on the 18th. We are excited about this new Blog Carnival and we look forward to receiving your submissions.

In Birth and Love Darcel & Nicole
Follow us on Twitter @MahoganyWayMama  & @Sistamidwife
Twitter hashtag #BlackBirth

Infant and Maternal Mortality in the Black Community. When Will You Care?

I found this article this on infant and maternal mortality in the Black Community. They study focused on California and New York, but the issues highlighted run deep all over this country.

I liked the article and linked to it on Facebook and Twitter. I love that instead of the same old drivel about the rate being 2-4 times higher than that of white mothers and babies, they actually discussed the why, how, and what we can do to start working on this issue.

This Facebook page picked it up and shared it. You know what happened? It sat there for 3+ hours with no comments, not one like. You could say oh, it’s just Facebook, don’t get your panties in a bunch. This is the same as walking past a pregnant or laboring woman in trouble and doing absolutely nothing!

Don’t really know why I’m so surprised. This same thing keeps happening in various ways.

Here’s an example of one.

There was the ‘Get Karen There’ to send a white woman and her staff to Haiti. They went Beyond their goal…over $1000.
There was also the ‘Atlanta Bellies Project’ They reached $30.

I’m not a Doula, student midwife, or anything close. I’m a Black mother of three Black children, two girls and one boy. I don’t have a lot of money, infact, economically speaking….I would be considered poor.

I really want to know when will you care? When it’s your friend, someone you work with? When your son ends up with your half black grandchild? When you end up pregnant with a half black child?

When will you see these posts, statistics, articles, and do something about it? How can you call yourself a birth worker, or birth activist, and sit by while innocent black babies die at an alarming rate?

When will you be able to step outside of yourself to help a community and movement you claim to care so much about? Or is it that you only care when it concerns you?
You can say it doesn’t matter because we all bleed red, but it matters a lot.
You say your all about mothers and babies, but the truth is, as long as they aren’t black mothers and babies.

Racism plays a direct role in infant and maternal health. Simply being a Black Women puts me at risk, it puts my friends and our daughters at risk.

What is it going to take? We as a Black Community are going back to taking care of our own. Unfortunately it’s worse than climbing an uphill battle.
We take a step forward and someone sits at the top trying to knock us down. It really makes me sick.

Like someone said several months ago…”when allies fail.”
Things like the entire board of Black Midwives resign when allies fail.

I wish I had the time, money, and resources so I could do more. I’m one woman, one mother, doing what I can. Instances like this make me want to throw my hands up and leave me wondering why do I even bother?