Err, yes, fear and loathing, eh?

In the bathroom of a friend’s house in Washington DC, I waited anxiously for a few minutes before turning to look at the pregnancy test. It was positive. My eyes filled with tears; I was overjoyed, grateful and excited, but also very scared.

I think many parents can relate to this feeling, which seems to start as soon as we see that test result, and continues until our children are adults; we are overwhelmed with happiness for their mere existence while simultaneously terrified of the possibility of losing them. But as a Black feminist scholar, I was well aware that I had even more reason to worry.

I knew the dangers for a pregnant Black woman. I knew that neither my degrees, nor my access to resources could protect me from the Black maternal health crisis in which Black women in the US are three to four times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than our white counterparts.

17 per hundred thousand live births for the country as a whole, 43 per hundred thousand for black women.

OK, about a trebling of relative risk and sure, we’d all like that not to be true. But as an absolute risk, well, very scared might be overdoing it.

But then hormones, you know…..

17 thoughts on “Err, yes, fear and loathing, eh?”

  1. Obviously, the correct answer is racism.

    Myself I’d think it’s probably in part to do with socioeconomics. Blacks are, on average, poorer, maternal outcomes are worse for those poorer. I’ve not investigated this number to see whether that is accounted for.

    I’d also mutter something about diabetes. This is higher among blacks. Maternal, or pregnancy related, diabetes is something to worry about.

    I doubt any of it is due to racism, rather than socioeconomics and a tad of genetics.

  2. Hormones or ‘whore moans’?

    Actually, is the 17/100k skewed by having 43/100k for whatever proportion of the population is black? If blacks make up 10% of the population, the figure for the rest is about 14, not 17. If they are 15% of the population, then for the rest, it’s about 12.5.

    Perhaps it’s something to do with the behaviour of the impregnator.

    Pity about Meghan, but then she had a white father.

  3. “I knew that neither my degrees, nor my access to resources could protect me from the Black maternal health crisis”

    how did you know this Anna? did they break down the figures by college education and the risk stayed the same?

    “My doulas empowered me to feel in control” – resources either helped or they didn’t. Which?

  4. I wonder how many of those 17 or 43 per hundred thousand mothers had indulged in substance abuse during their pregnancy or aren’t we supposed to ask questions like that?

  5. Diabetes is probably it. Yanks are ridiculously massive flabberbeasts on average, but the black ones particularly so. Lot of them seem to be auditioning for the role of Guild Navigator. Guardian lady doesn’t look like a hambeast and probably isn’t slurping purple drank, so she’ll probably be fine.

    Not that facts make any difference to terminally boring racial narcissists and their constant childish whingeing. Apparently actual Africans and black Jamaicans don’t think very highly of African Americans, and it’s hard to say they’re wrong.

  6. I was wondering how any remotely educated could write something like “my access to resources” couldn’t protect me. Srsly, you think rich black people have the same problems as poor ones? Then I noticed “as a black feminist scholar” – pretty well explains it.

  7. As usual with these whiney “poor me” articles there is the giant unanswered question: WHERE IS THE FATHER? Pregnancy can be difficult and having the father around can certainly help out.

    Given the high rate of fatherlessness in the black community, it is not surprising that pregnancy outcomes are worse.

  8. There’s quite the disparity in volunteering for vaccine trials
    https://digital.nhs.uk/dashboards/coronavirus-covid-19-vaccine-studies-volunteers-dashboard-uk
    Obvs the ethnic data doesn’t show the population ratios in the older age groups, so some mental adjustment is needed, but still the differences.

    The ethnic groups most affected by the virus are clearly being discriminated against and not being invited on board. Only explanation is racism – has to be. Any reason which suggests things are more complicated than that can be ruled out.

  9. @Tim

    There are a variety of papers that have attempted to correct for socieconomic status and education level, which reduces, but not by much, the disparity. None of the ones I saw corrected for pre-existing medical conditions. Interestingly, this UK study – which shows black mothers are more likely to die, does show another factor. It turns out that only about a third of maternal deaths are due to obstetric complications, with the remainder occurring within a year of birth, due to medical and mental health issues.

    It’s thus possible that what we’re observing here is a higher mortality rate amongst black females of child bearing age in general, which is being reflected in the higher maternal mortality rates. What would be useful is to know whether the problem is both in the direct obstetric care and the indirect post-partum healthcare or concentrated in one or the other.

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/ppe.12640

  10. Fear and Loathing in the Privileged…

    She actually has a hubbie, look him up…
    I very much doubt she would have had to fear much in the way of The Vagaries of Black Womanhood with her hubbie being a major of Stockton, Cali, and by the looks of it, well on track for Greater things.

  11. Maybe a pregnant black woman has a higher probability of having a Saint George (Floyd) in their lives than a pregnant any other type of woman? That would include all the associated lifestyle choices, habits, hangers-on, etc, of a Saint George (Floyd), too, probably.

  12. Bloke in North Korea (Germany province)

    C’mon Tim, the biggest lesson of the last year is that a 1 in 2300 risk is something that requires us to shut down the whole of global society.

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