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Today we are doing things a little differently on the podcast. I’m going to be replaying an episode from Denene Millner, who shared her experience with pregnancy and childbirth as a black woman in America back in 2016 on The Birth Hour. But first I’m going to share some clips from NPR’s Code Switch podcast which recently covered this topic. NPR reports that, “black women in the United States are 243 percent more likely than white women to die of pregnancy or childbirth related causes. There’s evidence that shows this gap is caused by the “weathering” effects of racism. Weathering is a term coined for stress-induced wear and tear on the body.” This statistic is true across all socioeconomic classes because “it’s a type of stress for which education and class provide no protection.”
Denene Millner of My Brown Baby shares her experience
Today’s birth story features Denene Millner, who shares 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, 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 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 inform women about these issues. You can connect with Denene on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or her website MyBrownBaby.
Denene Millner Bio
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 MyBrownBaby.com, 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.
Anti-Racism Resources for White People
- The Conscious Kid – resources for parents
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
- Black Mamas Matter
- Black Maternal Mortality – Examining what we know about the public health crisis and where we go from here.
- Restoring Our Own Through Transformation—a Black women-led reproductive justice organization.
- 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
Know Your Options Childbirth Course
This episode was sponsored by The Birth Hour’s Know Your Options Childbirth Course and Back-2-Work Breastfeeding Course. Enroll for a limited time today!
Thank you so much for following up with recent research regarding this episode. I love that you’re using your awesome podcast to tell birth stories, and that you’re being explicit about the fact that we need to hear more black women’s birth stories. Your show is such a gift.
Being a nurse I see how differently we see our patirnts. Non ehite patients are assumed to be attention seeing when emotions are expressed, any emotional “outburst” is negatively viewed. The same issue or C/O with the same emotional display is treated the opposite.