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Sun Jun 14, 2020, 12:34 PM

As a Black mother-to-be, I'm already full of heartache

On Motherís Day, I was 22 weeks pregnant with my first child. I had recently begun to feel my son moving inside me ó a son for whom I already felt immense love. It should have been a day of celebration for me. But Motherís Day is also when the nation first learned about the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, who was chased by two white men and shot in the street. I could not stop thinking about his motherís pain.

From 2013 through 2019, about 2,000 Black people were killed by police violence, according to the researchers who maintain the Mapping Police Violence database ó a number that doesnít even include those like Arbery who died at the hands of vigilantes. I imagined what Motherís Day must be like for all their mothers.

As a Black woman, I often wonder when my unborn son will be old enough to be seen as a threat rather than as a child. Tamir Rice was only 12 years old when he was shot by police within seconds of their arrival at the playground where Rice was playing with a toy gun. The video of police shooting Tamir, then tackling his screaming sister to the ground before she could hold her dying brother, was one of the most soul-wrenching things I had ever seen. The police made no attempt to revive little Tamir because in their eyes, his life did not matter. Black lives have never mattered in this country.

When my husband and I decided to have a child, we did not make the decision lightly. In addition to our fear of raising a Black child in a society full of racial injustice, we also weighed the risk to my health, and my life. We live in a country where Black women on average are three to four times more likely than white women to die in childbirth because of individual and systemic racism (racial bias in medical treatment of Black patients; hypertension and other indicators of stress related to racial discrimination; redlining and other discriminatory practices restricting where Black women can live, work, shop for groceries, etc.) I spent the beginning of my pregnancy interviewing OB-GYNs to see if they took seriously the disparities that Black women face and had protocols for mitigating them. I wanted to know if they saw my life as having as much value as their white patientsí lives.


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Reply As a Black mother-to-be, I'm already full of heartache (Original post)
demmiblue Jun 2020 OP
Hip2bSquare Jun 2020 #1

Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sun Jun 14, 2020, 02:52 PM

1. Excellent Post!

I understand this woman. I'm a black woman also. I don't have children, but I do have a brother and cousins and it's hard to not worry about their safety at times. Racial injustice exists and it is damaging on the mind and body.

But, I would tell this mother-to-be to keep the faith. Anne Frank said people are really good at heart.

The number of times I've been treated nicely, with respect and genuine concern and friendship from white people far, far outnumber any bad times. Things seem different now...it will take time, but it will get better.

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