Black Birth Blog Carnival

Welcome to the First Edition of the Black Birth Carnival. Hosted by Darcel of The Mahogany Way Birth Cafe and Nicole of Musings From The Mind of Sista Midwife. Our first topic is Birthing While Black: A Historical Perspective. At the end of this post you will find a list of links to the other participants. Some of these posts may contain Emotional Triggers and will be labeled at the beginning of the post.

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When I think of the history of Black Birth, I picture women in the back woods, down dirt roads, with a midwife in attendance. The laboring mother was probably surrounded by family, her mother, sister, cousins, friends. I picture a strong black woman who trusts her body and baby to do the work they were meant to do together. A crossing over from girl, young lady, or woman…. to mother. Like the women in All My Babies: A Midwife’s Own Story. It’s a sacred and spiritual event.

While I would love to keep the positive picture in my head of Black Birth, I know that not all of that is true. I know that mothers and babies died back then. But I also can’t shake the feeling that Black Birth was a celebration, not a medical event that it is today.

It’s harder for me to picture slaves birthing in the cotton fields, and moments later with their babies on their backs, going back to picking cotton. I’m a wuss! Talking about babymoons after I birth my children. I need a few days to relax, to lie and cuddle with my baby, to establish breastfeeding. Not these slave women. Then I think of their strength. What kind of woman it must take to not only care for, and nurse the child of your master, but to go through labor, birth and nurse your own child, and keep it moving as if nothing ever happened. I think as beaten down as they were, somewhere deep down, they had a strong mental state. I imagine you would have to….to endure all that they did.

From this book – Birthing A Slave.

“Slaves suffered extremely high mortality. Half of all slave infants died during their first year of life, twice the rate of white babies. And while the death rate declined for those who survived their first year, it remained twice the white rate through age 14.”

You can read the rest of the article at Life Under Slavery. Does the above paragraph sound familiar? In case it doesn’t…. black babies are still dying at 2.4 times the rate of white babies right now in the 21st century.

It blew my mind the first time I heard the story of how blacks were finally allowed to birth in the hospital. It was meant to mean that they had finally arrived. If a black woman could birth in the hospital you would think it was a sign of equality, but it wasn’t. Black women were and still are treated as if we are beneath the rest of society. Why did black women fight so hard to get into a system that didn’t want them there, that didn’t care about their health, or the health of their babies?

Why do we let a community that doesn’t understand us tell us what is the right way to birth? Why do we settle for white birth being more important than Black Birth? Is it because the Black Community as a whole doesn’t know their worth? Is it because we are afraid to challenge our Doctors? Is it because our dignity and human rights were dragged through mud, and our spirits were broken so that we would submit to the white mans way of thinking Black Birth should be? What happened to our strength? Why did we stop trusting our bodies and our babies?

It’s true that way back when we had little control over our lives, but it’s 2012. The color of our skin does not make us any less human.

How can we stop history from repeating itself? By creating a new history, which is what I think we are doing right now. Little by little Black Birth will be seen as the beautiful, scared, spiritual event that it once was. Our women will stop birthing in fear. We will be treated with dignity and respect. We will find that strength and beauty that our ancestors

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Black Birth Carnival Call For Submissions

There are many blogs, and many bloggers out, there talking birth. Some are bloggers who blog about birth occasionally, while others talk birth regularly. Regardless of the frequency, they blog about the statistics, the interventions and the cesareans. They talk about the good births, the bad births, breastfeeding, the postpartum period and more. They discuss the how comes and the why’s, and there is no shortage of opinions on why you should and why you shouldn’t.

Amidst these many blogs are the few bloggers who might classify themselves Black, Mocha, African- American, Mahogany, Afrikan…. I call them Sista Midwives. Those few os us who in addition to blogging about birth often, and some exclusively, write posts that are written specifically for, about, and from our perspective as Black Women. One might ask…” So is birth really THAT much different for Black Women, when compared to Latina, Asian, or Caucasian?” I say yes, Yes, YES.

Sure the babies physically are born the same way. However… the joys and the pains of birth manifest differently in our lives; the spiritual, psychological, physical, emotional and cultural difference that exist are real and significant. It is just as important to note that as no two women of any ethnic group birth exactly the same, the birth stories and experiences of Black Women nationally and internationally are wide and varied.

That is why I came to Nicole, the fabulous Sista Midwife with the idea of putting together a new blog carnival. I am so excited that she jumped right on board. That being said, I am very excited to be introducing you to the The Black Birth Carnival, that we, myself….Nicole @SistaMidwife Deggins & Darcel Harmon @MahoganyWayMama, will bring to you throughout the year. You can follow both of us on Twitter and check out #BlackBirth to get continued updates about the progress and postings of The Black Birth Carnival.

In this first Carnival: Birthing While Black…A Historical Perspective, we invite you to submit an article or blog post that incorporates in some way, the history of Black Women giving birth. Write about the images that come to mind when you read the title for this first carnival. Tell us how your birth choices today are affected by your personal historical perspective. How do you think our birthing history affects the birth choices of women in our/your community? What unique bit of history can you share about the historical perspective of Birthing While Black? What gives you special pride when you look back into history and visualize Black Women giving birth? Submit an article or blog about anything you feel will highlight and incorporate our theme Birthing While Black…A Historical Perspective.

What is a Blog Carnival

A blog carnival is a collection of blog posts from a variety of bloggers on a particular subject, published on the same day. This blog carnival will be published/go live Tuesday March 27th. In addition to posting his/her article, each blogger provides links to all of the other posts submitted. Because of this, blog carnivals are a great way to learn about other fabulous bloggers.
They give you an opportunity to connect with others and have the potential to increase traffic to your blog. If you do not have a personal blog and want to participate, please emails us ASAP at BlackBirthCarnival{at}gmail{dot}com so that we can find you a host blog for your article submission.

Guidelines and Instructions for Submissions

We are looking for posts that are well written, informative, thought-provoking, and relevant to the theme of the carnival. We prefer that you submit a new, unpublished post for the carnival however, if you feel you have the “perfect post” that has been previously published we will accept it.

Please email your posts to us at BlackBirthCarnival{at}gmail{dot}com no later than Tuesday, March 20th Wednesday March 21st at Midnight.
Be sure to put March Carnival in the subject line of the email and don’t forget to give us the title of your post. We cannot accept your submission without a title.

You will receive an HTML code with instructions via email no later than March 26th. You will need to place this code in your blog post so that you will link up with all of the other blogs participating in the carnival. For the success of the carnival, it’s important that you add this code. Please do not publish your post until after midnight on the 27th. We are excited about this new Blog carnival and we look forward to receiving your submissions.

In Birth and Love
Darcel @MahoganyWayMama & Nicole @SistaMidwife
Let’s Celebrate #BlackBirth

Love Notes

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