The headline by Pro Publica/NPR caught my eye. It startled me. It read, “Nothing Protects Black Women From Dying in Pregnancy and Childbirth.” Does nothing protect us?
A month earlier I had learned I was pregnant with my second child. My first pregnancy ended at 26 weeks, 5 days when I gave birth to my son William. I spent 84 consecutive days in the hospital with him. I had no desire to repeat that experience but I wanted another child. And so my boyfriend and I began the journey towards having our baby with the cloud of statistics and location stacked against us. I live in Mount Vernon, NY near New York City which is one of the worst cities for Black women to deliver. According to the article “In New York City, for example, black mothers are 12 times more likely to die than white mothers, according to the most recent data; from 2001 to 2005, their risk of death was seven times higher.”
I started my first pregnancy in New York City back in 2011. I moved back to Texas during that pregnancy and eventually delivered there. Now that I live near New York City again, I have decided to have my second child in upstate New York, away from the city for obvious reasons.
My home state of Texas and the place of William’s birth doesn’t have better stats. #OGirlMedia decided to tackle this story by interviewing a doula based in Fort Worth, Texas, Nikia Lawson. For over 22 years, Ms. Lawson has been assisting women through pregnancy and the birth process. I had questions about what could Black women do to combat the obvious racism in the medical industry. Her answers may just surprise you.
Watch our chat! Have questions for Nikia Lawson? Leave a comment below! Share your birth story in the comments! #OGirlMedia is always looking for stories based near #NewYorkCity.
To find out more information about Ms. Lawson, please visit her website at The Natural Way Birthing Project.
The Texas Tribune has this amazing Prenatal/Postpartum Care Questionnaire that you can take to your doctor to ensure you are receiving the best care!