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…..