Being a pregnant black woman and unheard has got to be the most frightening matter that I can even imagine. Statistics show that black mothers are three times likely to die from complications of childbirth or postpartum; and as a black woman that wants to have children, this is very alarming.
So why is it that we are ignored and not heard? It is disheartening that I even have to bring awareness to this issue, but I have a few tips that can help thwart any grounds for being dismissed during a hard process such giving birth to a whole human being.
- Know your body. You are the first defense to know when something does not feel right. Many of times we ignore or purely do not know when our bodies are reacting in ways that it should not. When you now that something is not right, alert staff which is what leads to my next tips as many times, our raised concerns are ignored and dismissed.
- Get a doula. There are many doulas that will advocate for you. They are not limited to just home births. A doula can accompany you to the hospital as well as provide care for you while pregnant and during pregnancy. Some insurances cover a doula and should be considered.
- Know your doctor and pick a good hospital. This is where familiarity plays in. IF you end up at a hospital that you do not have a report with, that is where your advocate will come in and make sure you have extra protection.
- Lastly, SUPPORT! SUPPORT! SUPPORT! A doula does not have to be your only support system. It can be a sister, brother, friend, cousin, whomever. Having the necessary support to speak up for you when you cannot speak or when you are not heard it the best thing in that dire time. This cannot be stressed enough.
I hope that the figures and statistics change in the near future. Being dismissed/unheard should not cost our lives. Do you have any other tips to add? Do you have any experiences with being treated unfairly in a hospital setting? I will like to hear your thoughts.
by Nnenna Utom