Baby Shower, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Collabs With Portsmouth Department Of Social Services To Host Community-Wide Baby Shower

Mothers in Portsmouth, Virginia were gifted a community-wide baby shower with resources from vendors and maternal health professionals.

The Portsmouth Department of Social Services and the local Delta Sigma Theta Sorority alumnae chapter joined forces to host a community-wide baby shower on April 27, catering to current and expectant mothers.

Resources to support families during the pre- and postnatal periods were provided through a recent $3,000 grant from the sorority’s South Atlantic region. According to WTKR, Delta Sigma Theta members stated the event was launched as an effort to take action regarding the alarming rates of infant mortality and black maternal mortality in Portsmouth.

A 2022 overview of the state of Virginia by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services noted a 2019 goal from the state’s governor to “eliminate the racial disparity in the maternal mortality rate in Virginia by 2025.” The report noted the mortality rate in Virginia from 2015 to 2019 was 18.5 per 100,000 live births. White women saw a rate of 14.1 per 100,000 live births, while 38.2 per 100,000 were noted among Black women.

Resources offered at Saturday’s event were extended to mothers from vendors and a panel of maternal health professionals.

Seasoned midwife Nichole Wardlaw, who has aided in over 1,000 deliveries across her 19-year career, shed light on the issue. “Many of my clients come to me because they don’t feel seen or heard; there is implicit bias in our medical system; clients are talked to instead of spoken with. There is not enough informed decision-making and joint-decision-making and there is no conversation with the clients,” she said.

Gray highlighted similar concerns, stating, “We’ve been hearing more and more about the staggering numbers with the infant mortality and black maternal mortality rates that are happening in the city of Portsmouth, so we wanted to have an event to address that.”

Beyond connecting mothers to invaluable resources like doulas to accompany them to appointments, a key objective was empowerment. “We want to help them get to a better state where they understand how to advocate for themselves who they should be talking to, what are the questions they should be asking, what services they should be asking for or even demanding,” Gray said.

Fostering a supportive community network was paramount for these Portsmouth women and families. The sorority endeavored to create an embracing environment where new life could thrive.