I address the growing crisis of the Black maternal mortality and morbidity rate in America through painting and multimedia. Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women. Motherhood, for Black women, is not detached from the state of being “Black” in the United States. For us, the decision to enter motherhood involves considerable risk, personal identity, healthcare disparities, burden-bearing and survival.
My first pregnancy abruptly ended with a traumatic delivery. I was diagnosed with preeclampsia at 32 weeks and 4 days. Two days later, I delivered by emergency c-section. My baby boy was born prematurely with a low birth weight of 2 pounds and 13 ounces. Mothers who have suffered similar complications that lead to more adverse birth outcomes are considered to be a “near miss” meaning that they suffered severe maternal morbidity (SMM) in which Black women are disproportionately affected.
While uplifting Black mothers and children, the images and sound narratives serve as a call to action for more awareness, research, and eradication of unnecessary maternal and infant death in the United States of America.