Hey y'all, it's your girl, Melissa Orijin here, a proud mother of three (still can't believe it lol!). Today, I want to talk about something that's really important to me and affects many Black women - Black Maternal Health.
For those who don't know, Black Maternal Health Week is a week dedicated to raising awareness about the Black maternal mortality crisis in the United States. This just past last week (April 11-17), but I wanted to post this week to encourage us to keep the conversations going. Black mothers are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white mothers, and the statistics are even worse for Black mothers with lower incomes.
As a Black mother, this is something that truly scares me. The thought of not being there for my children because of a preventable complication during childbirth is heart-wrenching. It's not fair that we have to worry about these disparities when it comes to our health.
photo - with my daughters, Esi and Africa in Accra, Ghana
But, Black Maternal Health Week isn't just about raising awareness. It's also about advocating for change. We need to demand better healthcare for Black mothers. This includes better prenatal care, access to mental health services, and more resources to combat the racism and discrimination that Black mothers often face in the healthcare system.
One thing that really hits home for me is the lack of support for Black mothers who are struggling with perinatal and/or postpartum depression. I know firsthand how difficult it can be to navigate those feelings, and it breaks my heart that so many other Black mothers are left to suffer in silence because of the stigma surrounding mental health in our community.
So, what can we do to make a change? For starters, we can support organizations like Black Mamas Matter Alliance and The National Birth Equity Collaborative, who are doing incredible work to address the maternal health crisis. We can also make sure that our voices are heard by contacting our elected officials and demanding that they take action to address this issue.
As a Black mother, I know that it can be hard to put our own health and well-being first. But we need to remember that our lives matter, and that we deserve to receive the same level of care and support as any other mother. So, let's use our voices and community to uplift each other, demand change, and fight for the health and safety of all Black mothers.