Every year, thousands of Black mothers in America & Canada suffer from poor maternal and reproductive care. The problem isn’t just that they are more likely to die during childbirth than other women – there is also a huge racial disparity when it comes to the quality of their prenatal care. So this week, let’s talk about how we can work together to make sure that every black mother gets top-notch health care services.
I know all two well, from many personal experiences , when, I have been at the receiving end, of below par, health care services. I know the frustration, shock , which then leads to anger, when one is repeatedly belittled, outright ignored, during the pregnancy, and post partum period; when desperate pleas are ignored, even at the risk of the health and safety of myself, and my born, and unborn babies. Having that sinking feeling of , ” uh, uh, its going to happen again”, and reliving it, over and over again” is dehumanizing. Knowing in all honesty, that they treat animals better than you, adds to your frustration. Not to mention, when confronted with their behaviors, they gaslight you, telling you it didn’t happen, or they didn’t perceive the situation the way you did.
Furthermore, when you experience these challenges, and, it is not seen as a problem of importance by others who shares my cultural heritage, but is instead seen as “normal”, this is extremely alarming. This means that this inhumane treatment is something which has become expected through generations of oppression. This madness needs to stop.
For those of you who have been affected by poor care , at the hands of healthcare professionals, I am very sorry you had to experience these things. I feel your pain, as I’ve been there too many times. I take comfort in knowing that these ignorant people represent only a small percentage of health care providers. There are good men and women, who regularly check their biases and make conscious efforts to do better because nobody is perfect. These are individuals that work daily, to help all people irrespective of the color of their skin, religion, socio-economic status, political affiliation, abilities and gender or sexual identity.
This week, is Black Maternal Health Week, in the United States, though every day, is a chance for us collectively raise the awareness of maternal health outcomes for women of color. Together, we must walk the path to health and wellness. And while the road may difficult, I welcome the challenges, with every ounce of my heart. Each challenge makes us stronger. The harder you fall, the sweeter the comeback is. It’s important that we all stand in solidarity together as well, to advocate on behalf of marginalized individuals. We must ensure that everyone has access to quality, compassionate care. As female, black mother, and also a physician, I will use my voice, my authority and position of influence to uplift those who have been pushed down systemically over generations. Society has no choice, but to the improve, as our voices collectively grow stronger and stronger. We shall overcome.