Yep, this racism thing is everyone’s problem-including mine, and I’m going to do something about it.
-Dr. Anneliese Singh, The Racial Healing Handbook
How Racism Impacts Birthgivers of Color
African American women are three to four times as likely to die during pregnancy, birth, or postpartum as other women in the United States. Our statistics for maternal and neonatal mortality are among the worst in the developed world—but they are even worse for women of color.
Black college graduates have, on average, worse birth outcomes than white high school dropouts (Lockhart 2018).
Black women who enter pregnancy at an ideal weight fare worse than white mothers who are obese at the time of conception (Lockhart 2018).
Black women who seek prenatal care during the first trimester have babies with higher infant mortality rates than white babies whose mothers received no prenatal care (Novoa and Taylor 2018).
Perhaps most disturbing, those dismal statistics don’t hold true for African or Caribbean immigrants who give birth within a year or two of arrival in the US, but by the time an immigrant’s daughter grows up here and gives birth, her chances of a negative outcome are the same as for other African American women (Villarosa 2018).
In certain parts of the country, particularly the Deep South, the rates of mother and infant death for black women actually approximate those rates in Sub-Saharan African. In those same communities, the rates for white women are near zero.
Anti-Racism Birth Worker Training
Melanated Birth Workshop ($10+)
Take this training! A few brief videos with lots of insightful and must-see resources. If you’re tight on cash, you can finish the training and challenge in a week or so and pay only $10. Or you can keep your support going and get access to additional resources and links as she posts them on Patreon. Being anti-racist starts with education and never ends, so it’s useful to get these reminders, eye-openers, and ideas for change along the way. Either way, you’re supporting The Work.
Understanding Bias & Anti-Racism
How to Overcome Your Bias-TED Talk
What to say when people exhibit bias or racism around you.
This list of things you can say when you stand up to racism in everyday life came from the National Museum of African American History & Culture.
- Clarity: “Tell me more about __________.”
- Alternate Perspective: “Have you ever considered __________.”
- Share Your Truth: “I don’t see it the way you do. I see it as __________.”
- Don’t Agree, But: “We don’t agree on __________ but we can agree on __________.”
- Come Back to It: “Could we revisit the conversation about __________ tomorrow.”
- Boundaries: “Please do not say __________ again to me or around me.
Support Diversity + Equity in Birth Work
Find a Black Midwife, Doula, Educator
Black Therapists in Maryland
This is a list of mental health providers who identify as black and also specialize in women’s issues. The list came from Postpartum Progress, an excellent resource for postpartum mental health support. These practitioners don’t necessarily have considerable training or experience with issues like postpartum depression or anxiety, so as with any provider, be sure to ask about your specific concerns first.
Baltimore – Desiree Israel
Bethesda – Ajita Robinson LCPC
Catonsville – Shawna Murray-Browne LCSW-C
Catonsville – Olivia Baylor LCPC
College Park – Avalaura Gaither Beharry
Frederick – Erica Burns LCSW
Largo – Lauri Preston
Lutherville – Safiyyah Rahman MD
Odenton – Angela Hill LCPC
If you know of a practitioner or resource that should be listed here, let me know!