Shalon Irving was a 36 year old epidemiologist at the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2016, she
became pregnant with her first child. Three weeks after giving
birth, she collapsed then died leaving her newborn baby—-
motherless. This is one of many sad stories and this is
happening to African American women around the country. We
are dying and no one is noticing.
It may surprise you to know that black women are 2 to 6
times more likely to die in pregnancy than white women. It
seems we are undervalued and this is going unrecognized. Dr.
Allison Bryant Mantha is the vice chair of Quality, Equity and
Safety in the Obstetrics and Gynecology department of
Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "All told, some
African-American women are probably entering pregnancy less
healthy than other women," she said. Black women also
experience more complications during pregnancy than other
groups of women. Celebrities like Serena Williams are among
those women. So why is America ignoring this problem and
failing us? When a mother dies, it affects her family and the
newborn child. So why is this not a concern for those who can
do something about it?
THIS IS URGENT! It is important for us, as African
American women, to take better care of ourselves mentally,
physically, and emotionally. We have to know the warning
signs during and after pregnancy. We have to understand what
care we are receiving and educate ourselves. As usual, if no
one is going to notice that we are dying in childbirth, we have to
look out for ourselves. Our lives and the future of our families
depend on it.