FRESNO, CA—Recent research is revealing that career-oriented Black women who become financially sound are not shielded from incidents of racism and discrimination. In 2014 Report, Workplace Discrimination of the African American Woman by Schwartz, Kenneth Roy; Smith, Raymond Arthur, it was discovered that The combination of racism and sexism has severely limited the progress of the African American woman. To this day Black women are still discriminated against due to their color and gender.
The report continued: The discrimination is especially prevalent in the workplace, where black women earn significantly less, and receive fewer opportunities than similarly qualified candidates.
Consequently it is not surprising when the career-oriented Black woman ready to have children is a major part of the statistics of Black women having very high rates of miscarriages; Essence magazine, Dec 6, 2018 article, 'It's Different For Black Women': The Realities Of Our Struggle With Miscarriages, reported that Black women are not only three to four times more likely to die during and after child birth, but they also experience pregnancy loss, including miscarriages, at higher rates than their white counterparts. However more and more research is connecting the Black infant mortality rate to unavoidable societal pressures and inescapable bouts of racism and discrimination. Infant mortality refers to the death of infants before their first birthday. It is expressed as a rate by the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births in the same year. Preterm birth refers to a baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. The nationwide crisis of Black infant mortality’s high rate among Black women has many alarmed, wanting to help prevent pregnant Black mothers from feeling alone and isolated to deal with the birthing process by themselves. Former first lady, Michelle Obama, described the alienating, demoralizing experience of miscarriage and the feeling of failure because of it in her recent memoir, Becoming. “Though it is not rare — around 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage — Mrs. Obama said, “When you have one, you will likely mistake it for a personal failure, which it is not.”
Locally, Fresno County statistics regarding Black infant mortality is two times higher than the state of California stats; the Fresno County Department of Public Health’s Fresno Black Infant Health Program (FBIH) is proactively helping Black pregnant women who are 30 weeks along or less, and are 18 years-old or more. Aware of the startling statistics, FBIH has been ensuring that resources and services are available throughout the Fresno County community; in their recent online campaign, FBIH gave viewers a glimpse of what their successful group sessions entail for pregnant mothers involved in the 10-week program. Excerpts of Sista’ Talk authentically reveal the lives of the Black women in the video who openly share their experiences of past and present pregnancies and miscarriages. Within the group, the realities of discrimination, sexism and racism that the ladies are going through or have faced are discussed, shared and revealed as a common problem in general; public health nurses and professionals on staff help moderate the discussion (Janel Calybon), giving the pregnant mother’s healthy coping skills and solutions to deal with life’s unavoidable stressors. The group sessions are culturally sound to the Black experience in America, where program coordinator, Fanta Nelson, bridges the magnificence of motherhood with the rich heritage of African-Americans.
Black pregnant mothers 30 weeks or less are encouraged to join the free program, or find out more about the services. Pregnant Black women in general can still benefit from the plethora of free information on their website and online TV channel here.