Black women and their children in America are dying at alarming rates. Data and research over the last year have revealed that the medical needs of black women often go overlooked by health professionals during pregnancy. To fight against the odds, black women in Nashville, Tennessee, are training with the nonprofit Homeland Heart Birth and Wellness Collective to become doulas to help save lives.
Nashville Public Radio reported that many of the women are mothers with children who are living or deceased who are passionate about helping other women. The workshop is led by Kristin Mejia-Greene, an experienced doula who has given birth to two of her own children and is an advocate for mothers.
As women in Tennessee disproportionately face maternal and infant mortality, Mejia-Greene is on a mission to educate women about their bodies and systemic oppression. According to a Tennessee Justice Center report, black women are twice as likely to lose a child as white women.
Mejia-Greene told the WPLN that black women are looked down upon in hospital rooms.
“It’s supposed to be so beautiful. ‘I’m going in with my client, we’re leaving, we’re going to have a healthy baby. Everything’s going to be fine,’” says Mejia-Greene. “We don’t get to think like that.”
Giving Birth During the Pandemic
Women give birth every day. And during the global pandemic, there are serious concerns about the well-being of black women unrelated to the virus. Mejia-Greene expressed to the WPLN that given the new health regulations at hospitals, doulas might not be granted admittance during births. She also expressed concern that a number of women will delay going to the hospital when it’s time to give birth because of the lack of trust in the medical system.
“One of my biggest concerns is seeing black women take the chance of birthing at home unprepared,” said Mejia-Greene.
It goes without saying that delivering babies requires expertise. Nevertheless, some women are willing to take their health into their own hands.
Mejia-Greene told the WPLN that there aren’t enough midwives in Nashville to go around and that it would also be next to impossible to find another black woman in the profession who could accept a client in a late-stage pregnancy.
Her workshops are filling that gap.
To learn more about Mejia-Greene’s work and to read the full story, click here.