October is National Pregnancy and Loss Awareness month. A time for remembrance as we honor those have lost a child during pregnancy or lost a child in infancy.
While at least 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, large in-part, pregnancy loss is an unacknowledged risk for being a reproductive woman. Just as black women lead in maternal mortality rates, black women are at a particular risk for miscarriage when trying to have a child. It is an invisible trauma that too many women are left to heal both physically and emotionally in silence.
The rates of every kind of pregnancy loss, including miscarriage, preterm birth, stillbirth and infant death, for black women are all significantly higher than any other racial group. In fact, the National Institute of Health have found that black women are twice as likely to suffer late pregnancy and loss.
The risks are irrespective of social economic status or any identifying genetic factors that may explain the discrepancy. Basically, whether you are a highly educated and affluent black woman or a working-class black woman, your risks are equal.
Pregnancy loss expert, Elizabeth Czukas speculates “The continuous, low-grade stress of racism may be the factor that unifies all African Americans, and may contribute to the increased risk of pregnancy loss.”
The risk factors for black women and pregnancy and infant loss as well as other related factors that contribute to the disproportionate black maternal mortality are all of crisis level.
To the mothers who loved (and absolutely still love) and lost as it relates to pregnancy loss and infant loss, you too are LOVED. Let us create more safe spaces that are for support and healing for our mothers who are grieving. We must acknowledge their pain and encourage them to look to a brighter day.
Perhaps, for some that will be the “Rainbow Baby” in their future and for others it may just be a sense of complete healing. Whatever the case, please know there are other black mothers, black women, who sincerely care about you, validate your trauma and will support you through your grieving process.
This is in reverence and remembrance for you!
Until the next time... Be courageous, be encouraged, MELANIN AND MOTHERHOOD is here for you!
Yours truly in Melanin and Motherhood,
Crystal D. Charley-Sibley, MBA
Founder of Melanin and Motherhood, Co-Founder of Queen Village LLC, is a community activist, women's empowerment speaker, a first-time mother, and wife, chronicling her journey of motherhood!