From the Ed­i­tor

Working Mother - - Contents - Mered­ith Bodgas Ed­i­tor-in-Chief Mered­ith.Bodgas@work­ing­

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.

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