Happy Black History Month ya’ll!
We like to think it’s fate that Black History Month coincides with the month of love. It’s obvious that both holidays encourage us to go that extra mile when it comes to expressing our appreciation for the people who matter and have made an impact on our lives. But the truth is, we need to make conscious efforts to express (and receive!) that love every single day.
This year’s celebration comes in the wake of an international health crisis and racial injustices that have only magnified society’s structural racism. In honor of this year’s theme The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity, we'll be highlighting stellar Black womxn who are making strides to break down systemic barriers and fight for a future where everyone, everywhere is afforded the rights, respect, and resources to thrive before, during, and after pregnancy. Because it all starts in the womb.
As a company that works at the intersections of sexual, reproductive, and mental health, we can't passively watch as America — the only wealthy country with a rising maternal mortality rate — slides into deeper racial disparity.
The truth is, the United States is in the midst of a Black maternal morbidity and mortality crisis. We live in a country that doesn’t prioritize educating our youth (or, who are we kidding, adults) about sex and sexuality, let alone seeing, learning, or talking about the birth process unless we go through it ourselves. And these conversations only get further suppressed when they discuss marginalized communities.
It’s estimated that 700 mothers in the United States die each year from pregnancy-related causes, and thousands more experience severe maternal morbidity ranging from lochia to postpartum depression.
Statistics are readily available confirming that pregnancy related mortality rates are up to three times higher among the Black and Indigenous community than their white counterparts. These gaps are not changing with time.
Because of our country’s historical and current racial divisions, Black people don’t have equal access to preventive care, meaning they suffer from higher rates of preventable diseases, like diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. According to a National Partnership report released in 2018, Black expectant mothers are more likely to be uninsured and face the most significant financial barriers when accessing prenatal care.
We acknowledge these inequalities, but we do not accept them. Rather, we see an opportunity to learn and unlearn alongside you to collectively fight systemic racism and take meaningful action toward a more equitable future for everyone, everywhere.
We stand in solidarity with our community 365 days a year, and even though we can’t meet irl, we booked our digital calendar with live events, merch drops and guest blog posts. Follow along on Instagram and get on the list so you won’t miss out.
We collaborated with three Black artists who’ve designed limited edition wearables that we’ll be rolling out all month long. 100% of proceeds made from this artist series will go directly to the National Birth Equity Collaborative (NBEC), an organization dedicated to creating accessible solutions that meaningfully mitigate the Black maternal mortality crisis to optimize Black infant and maternal health.
The art is designed by independent Black artists Stephanie Torres (she/her) and Iris Kichenama (she/her) who captures the beauty and fluidity of Black motherhood. Your purchase supports the fight for birth equity.
We donated 100% of proceeds made from our Birth Equity Artist Series to the National Birth Equity Collaborative (NBEC).
We’re hosting live conversations with doctors and doulas to learn and unlearn alongside you in real time. It’s kind of like a date...right? Follow along so you don’t have to hear it through the grapevine.
Join us Friday 02.19.21 at 3pm EST to listen to a live conversation between doctor and doula discussing the Black maternal health crisis. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Dr Mare (she/her) @sweatandscalpels and Sevonna Brown (she/her) @sevonna will share their unique perspective as Black womxn working within a systemically racist healthcare system to help us reimagine the future of reproductive health and birth justice.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Dr. Mare is a NYC based OBGYN passionate about the health of all those with vulvas, especially patients of color and in the LGBTQ community. She strives to use her platform to reach a wider audience and provide them with easy to understand, evidence-based information that they can use for self-advocacy in their own lives. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Sevonna Brown of @sanctuarymedicine is a mother, doula, and birthworker dedicated to sharing survival strategies fo Black womxn to build from rituals, sacred truths, and finding ways to honor their intergenerational narratives.
There’s a lot to pack in the shortest month of the year! Our commitment to doing the work has to be sustainable, so we need to celebrate love in all its forms. Love for your friends, your chosen family, community, and perhaps most importantly, yourself.
READ MORE 8 Ways to Brighten Up the Winter Blues
We’ll be sharing resources and regularly updating this page with merch drops and new resources. Happy Black History Month, today and every day.
Redefining Activism by Kenta Ch’umil
Race, Gender, and American Gynecology by Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens
Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Pregnancy-Related Deaths in the U.S.2007–2016, CDC
Closing Gaps in Maternal Health Coverage: Assessing the Potential of a Postpartum Medicaid/CHIP Extension, The Common Wealth Fund, 2021