How Holistic Care Could Be The Empowering Approach To Healing Black Mothers Need
The dangers of being pregnant and Black in America have become an increasingly worrisome reality.
In an ideal world, those nine months carrying a baby should be filled with excitement, joy, and of course, some expected nerves. But for Black moms, anxiety about becoming another maternal mortality statistic looms threateningly over any daydream.
When Black women are 2.5 times more likely not to survive pregnancy than non-Hispanic white women, of course, the Black community and its allies have advocated for solutions to reduce the health disparities.
While the government has made slow efforts to address the disheartening data that puts the United States in first place with the highest maternal mortality rate among other developed countries, organizations, healers, and birth workers have stepped up to fill the gap in the healthcare industry.
They say it’s time to address the trauma of being a Black pregnant woman in America in a holistic way because it could be lifesaving.
Holistic wellness treats the mind, body, and soul to achieve the best overall physical, emotional, and mental health. This approach to healthcare can help Black women not only heal and remain healthy during and after pregnancy, but it can also help them navigate the damaging effects of racism in medicine.
The microaggressions Black women report of their hospital experiences, such as not being listened to, can trigger biological processes called “weathering” that threaten their physical and mental health. This is why holistic care is highly advocated for to support Black moms during what can be a traumatic time.
One psychotherapist and birth worker whose organization provides race-informed care to Black moms and families puts it this way:
“You cannot be healthy if you are struggling mentally and emotionally in a way that is preventing you from caring for yourself or your little one on a daily basis.”
Holistic care for Black women urges doctors, practices, and medical staff to “understand the cultural context, historical richness and complexity” of Black women and, most of all, center Black women’s voices in all discussions and recommendations regarding Black maternal health.
Finding one’s way through postpartum while recovering from traumatic experiences at the hospital calls for multifaceted care to treat Black women’s mental and physical stressors and pain. Holistic care could look like:
● Answering a patient’s questions
● Active listening
● Intentionally dismantling power dynamics
● Creating safe spaces for critical dialogue
● Making mental health services more accessible
● Accepting grounding spiritual and ancestral practices
Holistic healthcare can take on many different forms. Still, it’s vital that we listen to Black mothers themselves and Black-women-led organizations addressing the Black maternal health crisis. The need to turn our attention to the traumatic experiences of Black mothers in America is past us, and now it’s time that something is done about it.
While there’s still much for the healthcare industry to address when it comes to Black maternal health, prioritizing holistic care is a step in the right direction to healing.