Before I share my thoughts on pregnancy during this current time, I want to first say congratulations to you if you are expecting! I see and support you if you are trying to conceive. I value your choices that children are not for you at this time. I send positive thoughts, vibes, and empathy to you if you have lost a baby. I want to normalize and validate any emotions that may show up with this topic and journey of pregnancy for you. My encouragement to you is to take what feels best and authentic to your life as I share my thoughts and feelings as a pregnant, black woman.
Let me first begin by saying pregnancy can be both beautiful and scary. It can be rewarding and regretful. It can be exciting and emotionless. It can many things at once so there is no right or wrong way to feel about this new phase in your life. Naturally for me, excitement is not the first emotion I feel after peeing on the stick and seeing those 2 lines of a “pregnant” confirmation. Hear me out on this. It is not that I am angry or not happy about a blessing but it is because of the mere thought that I am a black woman that’s pregnant and realistically many things go wrong for us. So when I say BLACK. PREGNANT. AND FEELING AFRAID, here’s why. According to the CDC, Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy related deaths than white women. Of course that is alarming within itself so why would I jump for joy immediately without acknowledging those facts but also recognize the importance of not discrediting the positives that come with pregnancy.
Again my thoughts and feelings so I am not writing this to project but simply honor the normalcy in fears around pregnancy. You learn you are pregnant and plan to do everything the “right” way. Drink plenty of water, take your vitamins, relax, eat healthy, get plenty of rest, exercise, and everything else they [doctors and society] say do to only experience the possible tragedy of having to choose between you or your baby’s life. So hell yeah, I’m Black. Pregnant. And Feeling Afraid. Not because it is going to happen to me but because it has happened to so many of my sisters, so many women who deserve to enjoy the beauty of motherhood, so many unanswered questions in this loss.
From gestational diabetes to preeclampsia our numbers are much higher and it is frightening. What becomes even scarier is that healthcare system appears to lack the same awareness and respect as the justice system around people of color. It often feels as if there are not enough people that look like us to advocate or protect us during these moments of labor. Similar to the lack of care when our black and brown brothers, fathers, cousins, and uncles are being murdered. Now, I am not saying this is what is happening to women of color of during pregnancy I am simply sharing that we do do not have the same consideration as our counterparts and it is disheartening.
When it comes to this journey we have to do our homework around finding the best doctor, researching the best hospital to deliver at, being mindful of so many other aspects that often it can take away one of the most beautiful experiences in our lives. I do not want to feel afraid while I’m carrying life. I want to know the doctors, nurses, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals will go to bat for me like they would if I was a white woman. I want to know I am safe and will come home to my babies. I want to know that the fear is a fragment of my imagination and I have no worries or anxieties to think about. I want to believe that we are cared for just like anyone else.
I failed to mention this is my second pregnancy and the amount of fear I hold now actually did not exist much 4 years ago. I believe the reason for that may be the increasing role of media, news, and other social platforms in our lives. Also, the speaking up of many celebrities, friends, family members, and others talking about their near death or connections to those with these deadly experiences during pregnancy. We have so many ways to see what is happening in the world so it can definitely ignite those fears as a pregnant, black woman even more. I also believe this has always happened, it is just easier to tell a story through an Instagram or Facebook sound wave.
Although these have been my fears recently, I have chosen to not allow it to dictate my journey as I carry my baby girl. I am growing with excitement to bring a mini-me into this world and share her with her dad and big brother. I want her to know that even through mommy’s fears and anxieties she is loved, valued, and one of the best things to happen to her. I want her to know she will be protected and cherished in all the days of her life. I also want to remind any woman reading this whether African American, Native American, Hispanic, Ethiopian or White that we must stick together a unit because we are already having to stand up for our rights in many other ways against society—that will be a whole other blog post to write. Seriously, it is our duty to advocate, protect, and speak up so no one has to be BLACK. PREGNANT. AND FEELING AFRAID.