From the Editor
We turn our attention to the women of color not receiving the care they deserve.
“Too often, women of color don’t get the care they need [during and after labor].”
Confession time: One of the reasons it took six years of marriage to have our first child was because I was terrified of childbirth. You strong moms out there surely think I’m a wimp ( you’re not wrong), but hear me out.
When I was in high school, my mother reconnected with a long-lost friend. She asked about a mutual classmate. That’s when she learned that woman’s sad fate. She had died ... in childbirth.
That was all the birth control my naive teen self needed.
Even though there were literally thousands of examples around me of moms who’d survived having children, it took years of talking myself into the fact that it probably wouldn’t happen to me to even consider trying to conceive.
I was lucky. While my pregnancy was the pits, my delivery was textbooksmooth. But about 700 women a year in this country end up like my mom’s friend, and a disproportionate number tend to be African-American. When outlets like NPR, ProPublica and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee started exposing this, it left my team wondering: What happens to those moms after they give birth? The grim picture: African-American women are also twice as likely to suffer from a postpartum mood disorder such as depression or anxiety. So many women of color return to work just weeks after giving birth, struggling both physically and mentally.
It’s a tough topic that felt fitting for this, our Multicultural Women issue. Too often, women of color don’t get the care they need—certainly less than their white peers. Check out the jarring piece on page 38 by senior editor Audrey Goodson Kingo, a maternal near-miss survivor herself. Find out what you can do—at work and at home— to help these women and give them the necessary support when they need all their strength to care for a needy newborn. And feel buoyed by all the efforts being taken by Working Mother’s Best Companies for Multicultural Women (starting on page 21) to up the chances of success for female workers of color.
As you’re reading this, the maternity leave I’m so fortunate to have is winding down, and you can be sure I’m trying all the tips on page 50 to restore sleep to my bleary-eyed family. Even if you don’t have a baby at home, chances are, you can use more shut-eye yourself. The mom-tested expert advice here might be the ticket to a summer full of rest (or at least higher-quality z’s that’ll lead to more-productive days).
Although sleep is elusive, I’m happy to report that I faced my childbirth fears again and successfully delivered my baby boy, Zachary, on February 18. That’s a sweet dream too—one I hope we can make a reality for more women.
He arrived so quickly, I couldn’t even get an epidural.