Here at the Center for Sacred Window Studies, we share voices from many perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the sacred weeks post birth, and the experience of humanity is experienced in countless ways. We learn by listening to one another and honoring our stories. The views and opinions of our writers do not necessarily reflect the mission, viewpoints or opinions of the Center for Sacred Window Studies.
Black Maternal Health Week is April 11 – 17 every year. The purpose of this week is to focus on what Black women need to be well in the space of pregnancy, birth, postpartum and mothering. Black women’s maternal health is of crucial importance with the crisis of the maternal mortality rates of Black women being the highest in the nation. The Centering Black Mamas in Practice webinar provided critical resources and real changes that White birth workers can make to be sure that they are centering Black women and providing them with the care they need.
White birth workers need to focus on: acknowledgment, respect, and support while caring for their Black clients.
Here are some questions for self reflection for your personal practice:
- Are you treating White women the same way that you treat Black women?
- Do you address cultural differences in the women you care for?
- Are you addressing maternal health complications in women who have experienced infant loss?
- Are you simply asking your Black clients “How are you doing? Is there anything that you need?” Be able to provide resources if you are not able to address their needs alone.
- Are there any resources that you need to be able to work with Black mothers to the best of your ability?
Cultural competence is required to center black women. There are resources following this article for further information. Make sure that you are including Black women in the images that you are putting out there.
The system needs to be dismantled and rebuilt. Reclaimed. Recreated.
Everything that Tanay Harris said during the webinar lit me up. She used a focus on liberation for Black people, Black mothers as the center of her presentation. Black women have the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the nation. The medical and obstetric system that was built on abusing black bodies is not working for them. A system that has racism ingrained into it cannot care properly for Black people. The system needs to be dismantled and rebuilt. Reclaimed. Recreated.
I dare to dream about what things could look like. Black people centered in their care. Black people being loved by those who care for them. What the birthing person wants comes first, period. Communal, family births. Birthing people being surrounded by those who are the closest to them. No hierarchy imposing. The power being with the Black birthing person. The experience being created by them, held by loving support people.
Then there’s Ubuntu. “I am because you are”.
What if Ubuntu could be the guiding principle of care for birthing people? Caring for others to care for yourself and for the greater community at large. In Ubuntu, if one is not well, no one else is. We are all connected. The microcosm reflects the macrocosm, as we learn while studying Ayurveda.
To care for Black mothers well, you must be committed to their liberation. You must use Ubuntu as a guiding principle. Please add the following resources to your tool belt. Reach out to the Black mothers around you and let them tell you what they need and how you can improve in caring for them.
CULTURALLY CENTERED CARE // live online event
Presented by the Postpartum Care Collective
Tuesday October 20th at 1:00 PM EST
As a follow up to Culturally Centered Care – Part 1, this will be a panel discussion where BIPOC people can talk about what they need to be centered in care and what working with other BIPOC looks like for them. With Asha Hernandez-Bailey, Roshni Kavate, & Marika Clymer. Purchase your ticket here.
*Enrichment Talks are free for full members of the Postpartum Care Collective. Sign up for Student, Professional, or Organizational membership here.
Story compliments of
Mother, Advocate, Educator
Asha is a recent graduate of the Ayurvedic Postpartum Caregiver Cohort program. She is a mother of 3, and a fierce advocate for BIPOC liberation. Asha plans to utilize her new practice to help BIPOC in her community to learn Ayurvedic care to strengthen the health and wellbeing of new mothers and families.