FIT4MOM Holland - BMHW21 Kyria' Pregnancy Photo.png

Black Maternal Health Week is April 11 - 17th

April 11 - 17 of every year is recognized as Black Maternal Health Week founded and led by the Black Mamas Alliance.

This is "a week of awareness, activism, and community building intended to:

- deepen the National conversation about Black maternal health in the U.S.;

- Amplify community driven policy, research, and care solutions;

- Center the voices of Black Mamas, women, families, and stakeholders;

- Provide a national platform for Black-led entities and efforts on maternal health, birth, and reproductive justice and;

- Enhance community organizing on Black maternal health" - Source: blackmamasmatter.org/bmhw/

To start, I want to remind us all that the man known as "the founding father of gynecology" is a man named James M. Sims. And he is rooted in White Supremacy and Racism. There is no other way to put it.

This doctor would operate on enslaved Black women and infants without their consent or anesthesia. His belief was that ensalved Black women didnot experience pain, or at least have the same pain threshold as White women. He would operate as many as 20 times on a single patient.

We know of three patients, but records indicate that there are at least a dozen more.

We need to say their names. Say these names with me: Lucy, Anarcha, and Betsey.

We need to remember Lucy, Anarcha, and Betsey and share these stories. We need to share the horrible history, as hard as it is, because the truth is - society is forgetting. And this forgotten truth is leading to continued racial bias in the medical field.

While I do not have a personal story to tell, I am asking you to please listen to the stories of women who have. These are not made up stories, these are their lived experiences. They are not exaggerated. They are real.

Google search "Dr. Shalon Irving".

Check out @4kira4moms on Facebook and Instagram, in honor of Kira Johnson.

Read the experience of Serena Williams, whose fate did not end up in death like the previous two moms I mentioned.

Again, these are three stories. Three too many, but they are not alone. And every experience is one too many.