First Lady Michelle Obama’s IG post hit me hard yesterday! “For the mother of a non-viable pregnancy, who is now forced to bring that pregnancy to term..”
Post from First Lady Michelle Obama on the Overturn of Roe v. Wade
The unimaginable pain and trauma for any woman that has to hear the words – “your baby has a condition not compatible with life” at any point throughout your pregnancy and especially when you are well through your 2nd trimester.
The only option is termination because the baby won’t survive. These are real life changing decisions and women should have the choice to make the best healthcare decision possible for them and their families! Personally, I’ve been there! I stand with all women that have been down or will go down this road! 💕
The photo below, I snapped over four years ago, 20 weeks pregnant with my miracle baby girl, Nia. I was inconsolable. Why would I snap this photo many may ask? Reasoning: I never wanted to forget the raw pain and agony inside of me having to make a life-altering decision with a tight turnaround deadline due to a limit on late term termination in our area. I reflect on this pic often as it really inspire MY WHY to get in the fight for #maternalhealthequity.
June 1, 2017 – My Life Changed Forever! My Maternal Health Advocacy was born at this moment!
Carrying a non-viable baby to term may not physically be a determinant to a mom’s health but it sure as heck is to her mental health. Those painful emotional scars never go away! My DNA changed on that fateful day of June 1, 2017. I was chemically never the same #facts! To be forced to carry a baby knowing the likely outcome with no options is literally torture.
Part of my Pregnancy Journey: I was advised to terminate my sweet miracle Nia at 20 weeks. I was never mentally the same afterwards. The postpartum anxiety and PTSD I endured was unreal,, despite a great healthcare plan. This is another painstaking gap as a Black Mama and shows our government should have no say in my reproductive choice!
As a Christian Woman, I maintain my stance on pro-choice. Not every pregnancy is black or white. Truthfully, many pregnancies are very gray! Think about this – my baby was said to be “perfect” at 12 weeks gestation and by 20 weeks she was so imperfect that termination was the only reasonable option. While my hubby and I ultimately decided to continue our pregnancy at the last minute – less than 24 hours to the appointment time, it was an agonizing decision to make. The other painful reality was this procedure would cost us a whopping $10,000 as our insurance company denied our authorization. At the time my hubby and I both were public servants. The whole process was gut-wrenching and disheartening. First an unfavorable prenatal diagnosis and then the astronomical costs tied to this critical reproductive procedure. The justification to not cover the cost was Nia didn’t pose a risk to my physical health.
The healthcare system and legislation completely disregarded the implications of my mental health without initially providing appropriate behavioral health resources to continue this pregnancy. I couldn’t imagine today not having options about my own body. My hubby and I had sleepless nights trying to determine what to do! I was left to find my own behavioral health team, and to make matters worse – some referrals that did not accept insurance. Thankfully we were in a position to be able to afford the out-of-pocket cost but not everyone is that fortunate. Yet it was still a complete nightmare.
In the WorkPlace: While I was mulling over this grueling decision – I still went to work and walked the halls of my former agency as a public servant and national security leader professionally together on the outside in high heels with beautiful proud belly, all smiles – yet broken on the inside. I pretended all was well during the day and cried my eyes out at night with my hubby trying the best way he knew how to be there for me – for an additional 17 weeks – with the realization that my baby was destined for certain death.
This is why #CHOICEMATTERS! I am grateful my little miracle is not only surviving but thriving despite being so close to death at birth, then at exactly 2 months (coding twice), and then open heart surgery. However, my trauma scars remain and my healing is a daily journey, and it’s costly to continue my behavioral health. Yet our healthcare or justice system isn’t designed to handle the unique needs for BLACK AND BROWN WOMEN LIKE ME! But you say pro-life while not understanding that the baby I might be growing is sucking the life out of me. #RAWTRUTH This is why #CHOICEMATTERS! I made the CHOICE to move forward. It was physically, emotionally, and mentally costly, but it was #MYCHOICE alone!
Present Day: Here we are today at the mercy of each individual state to be reasonable and empathetic, which over the last few years it’s becoming more apparent that’s not possible. Being forced to carry a non-viable pregnancy to a full pregnancy term is just downright cruel – inhumane. If you are reading my blog, and have not had to make this difficult choice, don’t allow religion to fool matters of the heart! Decision-making starts looking really differently when it hits your home! If you have been in my shoes, I will continue to stand with and by you! I am a safe space for you! #WOMENMATTER #MAMASMATTER
Final Thoughts: Let’s be clear, you can’t be pro-life yet also want to limit health and human services to families – food, shelter, healthcare etc. Minimum wage won’t cut it!
Also, it’s quite interesting that this country is screaming pro-life, yet Black Mamas are dying at an alarming rate – 3 to 4 times higher than other non-colored women to be exact! Oh and our babies have a much higher mortality rate as well! So are we really pro-life or just when it doesn’t involve black and brown women. We matter and our babies do too! It should still be OUR CHOICE!!! PERIOD! All Women should be the decision-makers of their own bodies.
I will continue to fight like hell as a #maternalhealthadvocate 💕
#ProChoice #ChristianMom #RoevWade #ReproductiveRights #MaternalHealth #ReproductiveChoice #MaternalMentalHealth #MaternalHealthStrategiest #WomensRights #HumanRights #BlackMamasMatter #BETHECHANGE