This black mother shares her nightmare experience giving birth

Today’s birth story features Denene Millner, who is sharing her experience giving birth to her daughter at a teaching hospital in Harlem, NY. Denene had a doctor that she loved, the support of her husband and made plans ahead of time for what she thought would be a great hospital birth experience. Unfortunately, she was treated like a second class citizen for the majority of her time at the hospital. In this episode, she shares her story and discusses some of the issues that many black women face when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth in America.

Sadly, Denene’s experience was not a unique one as this is a common thread among the maternal healthcare system in the U.S. Too many Black mothers are not only being treated poorly but are dying from preventable causes.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, recently put together the Black Mamas Matter: A Toolkit for Advancing the Human Right to Safe and Respectful Maternal Health Care, in response to this problem and spoke out saying, “the risk of dying from a pregnancy complication should not depend on one’s race or zip code. But the reality is that women in the South are at much higher risk than women in other areas of the country. A Black woman in Mississippi is almost twice as likely to die as a White woman in Mississippi or a Black woman in California.” Every mother deserves safe and respectful maternal health care.

Thank you so much to Denene for sharing her experience and for helping to inform women about these issues that are still prevalent today. You can connect with Denene on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or her website MyBrownBaby.

To listen to this episode, and the rest of The Birth Hour archives, join our listener supporter group here!

Denene Millner Bio

denene millner
New York Times best-selling author Denene Millner is a hotly sought after award-winning journalist whose insightful and captivating pieces have secured her foothold in the entertainment, parenting, social media and book publishing industries.

The former Parenting magazine columnist has penned 25 books, including Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, co-written with Steve Harvey, an upcoming memoir with iconic actress Taraji P. Henson and The Vow, the novel on which the hit Lifetime original movie, “With This Ring” was based.

She also is the founder and editor of, a critically acclaimed blog that examines the intersection of parenting and motherhood through the multi-cultural experience. Under Millner’s leadership, MyBrownBaby has won numerous awards, solidifying it as one of the most respected and celebrated niche blogs on the web.

Her work across the parenting, social media and publishing spaces led to her recent founding of Denene Millner Books, her new imprint that will publish books about African American kids, created by African American writers and illustrators. Millner also frequently contributes as an entertainment writer and essayist for various national publications, including Essence, Ebony, Family Circle and Redbook; her extensive broadcast experience includes appearances on The Today Show, The Meredith Vieira Show, HLN, MSNBC, NPR and the Rachel Ray show. The former political reporter and entertainment journalist lives in Atlanta with her husband and their two daughters.

Resources on Black Women Giving Birth in the U.S.

What’s Behind the Increased Numbers of Black Women Dying During Pregnancy and Childbirth in the United States?

Radical Doula -Where social justice & birth activism meet

Sun Kissed Doulas

Sister Song

Mamas of Color Rising

My Brown Baby


Having Your Baby: For the Special Needs of Black Mothers-To-Be, from Conception to Newborn Care

Pleasure: A Woman’s Guide to Getting the Sex You Want, Need and Deserve

Sex and the Baby Years (A Good in Bed Guide)

What Your Mother Never Told You About Sex

Optimized by Optimole