A couple of days ago I read a post from one of my favorite mamma bloggers Darcel over at Mahogany Way Mamma. She started off her post speaking about an article she found, read, and shared that discussed the more than alarming rates of maternal deaths in the African American community. An article that she knew was important enough to shared with others and an article folk on FB And twitter basically ignored.
The article shared some startling statistics. Some of the numbers I already knew. As an example: Black Women nationally are FOUR Times more likely to die from childbirth related causes than white women and the numbers of black women dying is RISING. Maternal mortality is counted in relation to 100,000 births. In 1997 the rates was 21.5, in 2007 it was 28.4 and in just ONE year it had risen to 36.1. WTF!!!!
In the great state of New York, a black woman has EIGHT times the risk of dying than her white counterpart. In fact in 2008 seventy-nine women died giving birth in the state of New York alone. What’s more alarming… YES there is more…. these numbers are not even accurate. The rates are believed to be much higher because of the inaccuracies and inconsistencies in reporting systems. Reporting is voluntary and often women who die from complications of childbirth are not even counted if her death came months after she gave birth. Don’t believe me?? Check out THIS 1998 report from the CDC and THIS study the CDC produced in 2003.
This is absolutely ridiculous, inexcusable, and it says a LOT about the conditions that black women live in and birth in. While I already knew some of these statistics, each time I read an article like this one I am once again shocked, upset, sad, dismayed, enraged, and I sit with blood boiling and I like Darcel begin to wonder if anyone is paying attention. As I read her blog post I could feel her passion, her frustration, her anger as she asked the question: “When Will You Care?”
There is no denying that there is a war on women everywhere. What continues to be swept under the rug however is the reality that WE… Black Women… are being forced to go into battle completely unarmed and we are dying left and right because of it. Birth advocates nation wide talk the talk of service and care for all women yet Black women and babies continue to get LESS than the short end of the stick.
No article is perfect and this article too left much out of the dialogue but it did successfully shed a beaming light on the problem. Unfortunately, as Darcel shared in her blog post… individuals are too scared or too unconcerned to share this information. Individuals are too apathetic to get involved in the fight. Getting involved in this fight means accepting the fact that RACISM is real, alive, and working in this country. Getting involved in this fight requires admitting that black women are treated differently and NOT in a good way. Getting involved in this fight means getting dirty, stepping on toes, and making some people uncomfortable.
We need EVERYONE who says they care to act like they care. We need all of you who talk the talk to get off your asses and make some noise, tell mothers, fathers, legislatures, daughters, aunts, brothers etc about what is happening. This. Is. SERIOUS!!! And We need to be screaming from the rafters and the mountain tops… … BLACK WOMEN ARE DYING AS THEY GIVE LIFE AND WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING.
Thank you Darcel for calling us to the carpet and igniting another fire in me. This is a battle my friend and I am going in with you. Who’s going with??