Cessilye Smith is founder and executive director of Abide Women’s Health Services in Dallas, a judgement- free zone to help protect Black mothers and their babies. According to the nonprofit’s Instagram page, donation- based prenatal care, free confirmation of pregnancy, free COVID-19 material goods relief, childbirth education, and free lactation support are provided.
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Abide Women’s Health Services’ website said the organization is operated by women of color, for women of color.
“This life-saving team is a perfect blend of practicality, vision, empathy, and passion for care and change in maternal healthcare,” the online information explained.
Supporting Black mothers in babies is serious work. In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than White women, although most pregnancy–related deaths are preventable.
In an interview with Texas Metro News, Smith said that she wished that Abide Women’s Health Service’s did not have to exist.
“If it weren’t for the rate of Black maternal death in this country, it wouldn’t,” Smith told Texas Metro News. “Abide is important because it provides a place of refuge. A place of safety for Black mothers. A place where they can feel free to be themselves, a place where they are heard and their lived experiences matter. A place that address biases that in the end kill Black women. Abide is necessary in every city.”
According to the article, Abide provides pre- and post-natal care as well as postpartum doula support and assistance with diapers and formula. Midwives are included on Smith’s team. The activist also told Texas Metro News that building Abide Women’s Health Services from the ground up is for more than today’s mothers.
“It’s for my children and my children’s children. I want the future of Black maternal health to change for them and many more. The biggest success for me is birthing my babies at home and building a legacy for them through Abide,” Smith said.
Click here to learn more about Abide Women’s Health Services.