October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month : You Are Not Alone!
In February 2013, Beyoncè's documentary, Life is But a Dream, premiered on HBO. Already a Yoncè fan, I didn’t need an excuse to watch, but my interest was further peaked when I read that she was going to discuss suffering a miscarriage for the first time. I remember at that moment, feeling a little less lonely, because I had recently come home from the hospital after a 4 day stay for the same reason. During that time, I met so many wonderful women, predominantly Black, who had similar experiences, yet it wasn’t a topic openly discussed…even amongst friends.
For the last 5 years or so, a spotlight has been blasted on the disparities in Black Maternal healthcare, with Serena Williams’ 2018 documentary, Being Serena, serving as one of the catalysts to opening up conversations. Highlighting her near fatal experience after giving birth to her first daughter, statistics revealed that non-Hispanic Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. Earlier this year, Bump.com did a wonderfully informative blog, compiling a list of organizations and services helping to “bring care directly to Black moms when they need it.” One of those organizations is Sisters in Loss, whose mission is “replacing silence with storytelling around pregnancy and infant loss and infertility of black women.”
I, like so many other women I talked to was embarrassed and wondered why my body betrayed me and of course everyone's . While my loss could not be definitively connected to one thing, my doctor (a Black woman I switched to post-miscarriage) suspected that it was due to fibroids. Fibroids disproportionately affect African-American women 3x more likely than white women. While the causes of fibroids continue to be researched, the foods we eat and the products we use are believed to be linked to their growth. The great news is, in 2023, there are a myriad of non-toxic Black owned beauty brands, which Ecocult.com compiled here for us all to enjoy and be informed about!
We would be remiss not to mention that October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, another disease where survival rates disproportionately affect African-American women compared to other ethnicities. Organizations like Susan G. Komen continue to dedicate resources in helping to close the gap in breast cancer outcomes for Black women.
While the healing journey has many highs and lows, it is comforting to see more organizations providing resources to Black women, undoubtedly helping to lift the stigma around loss and sickness that once plagued our communities. I am personally grateful for all the women, including Beyoncè, who shared their stories with the intent of saying “you’re not alone.” As a community of Black women who battle numerous obstacles on a daily basis, when ready, share your story because you never know who needs to hear it.