Acknowledging Racism In Birth Work
The topic of racism in birth work has been on my mind for years. I've spoken to a few trusted friends, but never on social media. I've never even spoken publicly about its existence. Why? Because it's a scary topic. It's also a topic I'm pretty ignorant about as a white woman and I know I have zero authority on the topic.
Taking It All In
After Ina May Gaskin gave a controversial answer to a question about race affecting birth outcomes some much needed conversations arose, and I've been watching & listening. Quietly I've been reading responses and paying close attention. I've agreed with some comments, disagreed with others and felt challenged by a few.
I want to publicly say, I see racism in maternity care & birth work. I know racism throughout a woman's life affects her pregnancy outcomes. I know that a woman of color with the same level of education as me, same income and same access to care is LESS likely to birth a healthy baby. This is my starting point letting all women of color, but especially black women, know that I see it and I'm open to conversations about it. I promise that if you try to talk to me about racism I will listen and I will never deny its existence. I promise if I can support you in bettering the birth experience for women of color in our area I will. I don't have a solution and this isn't much, but I can start here.
I thought this video did a great job of explaining the effect of racism on pregnant women. Please take 12 minutes out of your day to watch this and hear the statistics and evidence. Did you know about this? Was this a surprise to you?