Black Maternal Health and What Black Women are ExperiencingBlack Maternal Health and What Black Women are Experiencing
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – “I’m not a bodyguard, I’m a doula,” SeQuoia Kemp proclaimed. “Patients call and ask for help, and they’re told to just put their feet up. Meanwhile their placenta is detaching from their uterus,” she continued.
This is the reality of many women in Onondaga county, many of them have near deadly experiences giving birth to their own children. Onondaga’s maternal mortality rate per 100,000 live births is 20% higher than New York State average, a concerning number for mothers in the area. People like SeQuoia Kemp are trying to do their part to help those in need, both directly and indirectly. Sequoia founded Doula4aQueen, which gives women who are pregnant support both mentally and physically through doula’s.
Right now she says the attention revolving around the issue has improved, but still not where it needs to be. Black Maternal Health week is in April, a perfect time to talk and discuss this issue with the public.
In fact, SeQuoia held a press conference at Syracuse’s South Side Communication center. The conference had many women, black women, in attendance to voice their stories and concerns. But the one group that was missing was lawmakers in Onondaga County.
“It’s disappointing, it’s very disappointing to see,” said Mia Wade, another Syracuse mother who says she feels as if this issue isn’t at the top of the Syracuse government’s priorities and it never will. She’s not the only mother that feels like this, Julyanne Rosario-Vasquez, another Syracuse mom of three says “ I don’t think that they see themselves trying to fix it anytime.” She says things might be different for her and many other black mothers if they looked like the white politicians in the Syracuse government.
Julyanne personally had a near death experience in a hospital when delivering her child, but not in the ER. She nearly died in the waiting room as doctors and nurses passed her by, bleeding through her dress as her water broke. “They are really going to let me die out here.” she thought at the moment, she only got her help when SeQuoia came in and demanded for the staff to help her. “I call it getting buck,” she said about the night, “I try not to get there but sometimes you have to be assertive,” she continued.
As this issue is one that is growing as years go on, SeQuoia wants women to know that they are not alone and that this is a community. “Know that you’re not alone, and I think that’s the biggest thing,” she said.
By the way on patients, because patients call in ask for help, and they’re told to just put their finger on the placenta, it detaches from their uterus and they nearly die. That’s what’s happening in our communities. I shouldn’t be the one I’m not abiding by educate. I’m here to support. I’m not a binding. I’m not here to just because my black client, my client lives a lot.
These people aren’t let me die. And here. These people are really about to just let me die here waiting.
A mother nearly died giving birth to her child. What if I told you she’s lucky? Many mothers unfortunately suffer this faith as issues of maternity deaths are still prevalent, notably in black mothers. So Kuya Kemp is a doula and a doula gives support to these birthing mothers with information or emotional support. She found a doula for Queen which helps women across Onondaga County, and she’s been doing this for nearly a decade. So I’m
gonna do this, to get experience so that when I go become a midwife or a doctor, I’ll have all this experience, but it really just took off from there after my training I, you know, found a duel for Queen 12 or 14, and just have a look back
in sequoias, time being a doula. She seen neglect from medical professionals and frightening scenes from clients who are in desperate need of help.
She went to the ER as anybody does. And she was in the ER for 40 minutes, but not in an emergency room. She was in a wheelchair bleeding out for 40 minutes. She had caught a doctor’s office like something’s not right, and they’re like, oh, that’s just Braxton Hicks. Just put your feet up, drink some water. But this is her third kid. She knows what rest and hits feels like she knows what labor feels like.
The client she’s referring to is Giuliani Rosario Vasquez, a mother of three. However, her experience with her third child nearly cost her her life but not from the actual birth. But from staying in the waiting room as multiple doctors passed her by
lady at the dust just like blew me off like, oh, well, I’ll call somebody and My water just broke in the ER. And still, even after that, I wish I was there for maybe like 1520 minutes until somebody came. And they should have just rushed me straight to labor and delivery but they didn’t.
At the time. Giuliani had so quiet as a doula and was equate came to the scene. She made sure her client got the proper care she needed.
I see so cool. Yeah, outside, coming into the ER and just ripping on people like I call it get buck. You know, I
really I try not to get there. But sometimes you have to be you have to be assertive.
This person called me they told me that they’re here. I need you guys to get the ball rolling call somebody to come get her we need to move. Now. This is This is urgent. But everybody in the ER they were just like I was just another person there were like, I don’t know, a bomb or a cut or something.
With real life scenes like this happening. Sequoia is pushing for major change. And there’s no better week to do it than black maternity Health Week, Sequoia held a press conference to raise awareness and to let other mothers know that they are not alone. Sequoia and her team moved to Planned Parenthood and held a press conference right outside here. The South Side communication center center also works as the black maternity Help Center is located on South Carolina Street and South side of town. Now, while there are different creeds and colors, all sorts such as white woman and black mothers, one group that wasn’t here is county legislators and lawmakers, something that Sequoia and her team definitely noted while making their speeches,
hurtful, and it’s pretty sad, because it just seems like they don’t care, you know about us as black women and women of color
as I don’t think that they see themselves trying to fix it anytime. So on
a common theme when interviewing these mothers, they all say that they were told by medical professionals to do certain things that they weren’t exactly comfortable with, um, they made me do a couple of things that I wasn’t a fan of.
But when you’re in that process, and you’re kind of feeling that pain, you’re just like, Yeah, I’ll do whatever kind of just to get that baby out.
So the doctors just gave you medicine to accelerate the process, break your water. So the process is just like a snowball effect. I know that I didn’t want to do that for my second birth. But I didn’t know with my first birth that I could say no to that
there are many layers to this issue. And it’s a cause of pain and education will be extremely important not just for giving birth, but for taking care of black woman. She wants people to know right now that they have each other’s backs. And this is a community that looks out for each other know that
you’re not alone. And I think that’s the biggest thing is like people are like I’m ready for whatever is gonna come from this experience, but I just don’t want to be alone in it. So that’s what I promised people
in Syracuse, the son of a woman of color, and a brother of a black woman. I’m Tyger Munn reporting for NCC News.
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