I’m exhausted. I’m getting into the last few weeks of my pregnancy and I feel like I’m falling apart. But fortunately my husband has been letting me rest and enjoy these days, I don’t want to over exert myself and go into labor early (I’m all about letting baby cook for the full 40 weeks).
This week I’ve had a light work load but closing last night was not my cup of tea 😒. Anyways I want to talk about a few things: one my appointment yesterday and the importance of birth workers of color and the importance of working from home (and how it relates to intersectional feminism).
So pretty frequently Black Women aren’t treated very humanely when receiving medical attention. I know that’s a difficult concept to grasp, as medical staff are committed to providing the best care possible for each patient. Nonetheless they are still human and are still predisposed to making rash judgements and succumbing to stereotypes. This could happen at the expense of someone’s life, especially the lives of black women. We already have soaring rates of maternal and infant mortality, so why wouldn’t health care professionals make a conscious effort to be culturally competent and make fewer decisions based on stereotypes (such as our higher pain thresholds or that we don’t breastfeed).
I discussed my own appointment with my mom and she asked me “well why didn’t you speak up?”. That’s an awesome question, probably because I have a history of trauma and I was paralyzed with fear, I was almost having an out of body experience. Next I felt as though I was in a space where I was protected and I was realizing that, that wasn’t true. By no means is it a problem for me to have a white midwife but having a midwife that looks like you (or any health care provider that looks like you) completely changes your experience because they share similar experiences.
If provided the proper support victims of trauma can have a healing experience during birth. This is as simple as being treated with respect and bodily autonomy. This should be the baseline for all prenatal care and as I’ve described it clearly isn’t. You should also be able to birth in a place where you feel safe and your vision is supported. If you don’t even feel comfortable with the staff, how could you possibly feel safe? All women should receive this level of care with/without disclosing trauma or abuse, but as we’ve seen this is all too often not the case.
Again this is what makes doula care important, it’s important for all women. It creates a thoughtful and caring environment where women feel supported and educated about what’s happening to them and their bodies. So please support local birth workers especially those of color who are doing the hard work in these communities.
I’m going to follow up this post with a part two, I had no intention of making this one this long. But sometimes that happens when you feel passionate about something.