‘You lucky you got a mama’ takes aim at racism and maternal ledderhose disease mayo clinic mortality rates

When Brittany Ferrell was a high-risk labor and delivery nurse at a hospital here in ledderhose disease mayo clinic St. Louis, a pregnant woman came in with hyperemesis and elevated blood ledderhose disease mayo clinic sugar levels. She was sent home without further assessment, only to return a week later in diabetic ketoacidosis. “Her body was super acidic,” Ferrell says, “and they had to make a decision: to save her or to save her baby. … So they did the emergency C-section. They saved the woman’s life, but the baby survived for maybe 20 minutes.” As the woman, whom Ferrell says looked numb, sat there and rocked her child, her family upset and unsure of how things had gotten ledderhose disease mayo clinic to this point, Ferrell thought about why no one had intervened earlier.

Ferrell has since left the medical field in pursuit of ledderhose disease mayo clinic making her documentary, working title You Lucky You Got a Mama . She’s hoping to show how the medical care system fails ledderhose disease mayo clinic black pregnant women and trans and nonbinary patients, who are three to four more times likely to die ledderhose disease mayo clinic after giving birth. Doctors don’t listen to black patients, she says, and she hopes to expose audiences to this issues, as well as humanize the black pregnant experience so that ledderhose disease mayo clinic black women and nonbinary and trans people can be shown ledderhose disease mayo clinic with full dignity.

For the documentary, Ferrell is hoping to focus on two subjects, at least one from St. Louis. That’s because the city has its own maternal mortality crisis, she says. “Our data is poorly documented in St. Louis, and I think it’s really important for us to ensure that we know ledderhose disease mayo clinic that we have a problem right here,” she says. “We’re the home of SSM, BJC, and Washington University, and we should be intervening.”

There’s this common narrative that the reason why black pregnant ledderhose disease mayo clinic people are dying as a result of childbirth is because ledderhose disease mayo clinic of something that we’re doing ourselves—we’re contributing to our own demise. And that is simply not true. And so with You Lucky You Got a Mama, I really want to explore the day-to-day experiences of black pregnancy in America and to humanize ledderhose disease mayo clinic black pregnant people.

By doing this, not only will we get to see the day-to-day experiences, whether it’s people just chilling at home with their families, or getting ready for work, or going to the doctor or be well appointments, but we’ll also be able to see how these different societal ledderhose disease mayo clinic factors and conditions contribute to a thing called weathering, which plays a huge role in the types of stress ledderhose disease mayo clinic and the impact not just on the health of black ledderhose disease mayo clinic people, but of black, pregnant people and black women, which oftentimes, compounded with a number of other things, increases maternal mortality rate. Being able to have children, to start a family, it is your birthright. But what does it feel like to have to hold ledderhose disease mayo clinic that with the reality of knowing that you’re three to four times more likely to die as ledderhose disease mayo clinic a consequence of that?

I also wanted to use this film as an opportunity ledderhose disease mayo clinic to explore America’s medical system and the racism that it’s laced with that contributes to maternal mortality. That means interviewing experts, medical providers, and historians so that we can explore the history of ledderhose disease mayo clinic the advancement of obstetric practices in this country, and getting real about how all of the advancements that ledderhose disease mayo clinic have been made in OB practice have been because of ledderhose disease mayo clinic experimentation on black women’s bodies. That type of racism, that type of experimentation, it doesn’t just happen. The racism that fuels it, and the thoughts that black women are somehow inferior, it doesn’t just go away. It’s still very much a part of our medical system. It informs and influences a lot of the thinking around ledderhose disease mayo clinic how black people are viewed when they go seek care.

What I’m hoping to do is to really shift the culture ledderhose disease mayo clinic in how we talk about birth, pregnancy, and reproductive health when it comes to nonbinary and trans ledderhose disease mayo clinic people. Because all too often, we center reproductive health, pregnancy, and childbirth around cis women, when nonbinary and trans people get pregnant and have babies, too, and they’re at risk for the same disparity that black women ledderhose disease mayo clinic are at risk for when it comes to being three ledderhose disease mayo clinic to four times more likely to die after having a ledderhose disease mayo clinic baby in this country.

And they’re at risk for a number of other things that ledderhose disease mayo clinic cis women are at risk for, including different cancers. When we talk about reproductive health, a lot of times, we lock nonbinary and trans people out of that conversation, and we do a disservice to the health and well-being of our community when we do that. And so using this project as a tool to share ledderhose disease mayo clinic stories, to break down and deconstruct narratives, and to shift culture, those are three really big goals for me.

When black women go to seek care, providers don’t listen to them. In fact, they believe that they can tell black women what is ledderhose disease mayo clinic wrong with them, despite a black woman reporting something different. A great example would be Serena Williams, one of the best athletes on this planet. After she had her daughter, she told her nurse that she was having shortness of ledderhose disease mayo clinic breath. Her care team told her that she wasn’t. But they found pulmonary embolisms. They did not listen to her, and she could have died. She’s wealthy, she’s famous, she’s one of our greatest athletes. So this goes to show that when black women go ledderhose disease mayo clinic to a provider, it doesn’t matter what kind of insurance you have, it doesn’t matter how much money you make, it doesn’t matter what you do for a living. We are not listened to. We are not seen as experts of our own bodies. And it’s killing us.

Sometimes I would have patients who had heart disease, breast cancer, or fetal demise [stillbirth]. But I would also have folks like a single mom ledderhose disease mayo clinic who came into labor and delivery and she brought all ledderhose disease mayo clinic of her children with her, like two to three younger children. They’re hungry, they want something to eat, and we had a little kitchenette area on the floor ledderhose disease mayo clinic near the nurse’s station. And in that kitchenette, we had graham crackers, Saltine crackers, juices, milk, and popsicles. I would give some of those snacks to the kids ledderhose disease mayo clinic to hold them over and hope that someone from my ledderhose disease mayo clinic patient’s family could come get the kids so that she ledderhose disease mayo clinic can have peace while she labors. My staff members would tell me that those snacks are ledderhose disease mayo clinic only for the patient. I would explain to them, she has all of her children here, and they’re hungry. In one instance, I told one of my co-workers after looking at a patient’s file that she comes from the north side of ledderhose disease mayo clinic St. Louis, which is one of the largest food deserts in the ledderhose disease mayo clinic city. She has all of her children here, and they’re hungry. I’m not going to not give them graham crackers. She asked me, “What is a food desert?” And I thought, “Wow, we have people who are working at this hospital that ledderhose disease mayo clinic serves a lot of black and brown people who come ledderhose disease mayo clinic from the St. Louis Metropolitan and Eastside area. A lot of the staff came from places like Jefferson ledderhose disease mayo clinic County and Troy, Missouri. The only time they ever interact with black people is ledderhose disease mayo clinic probably when they come to work.”

It’s kind of like police officers. We often say police officers need to know the communities ledderhose disease mayo clinic that they serve, and they should reflect the communities that they serve. Same thing here. I feel like medical providers should know the people that ledderhose disease mayo clinic they’re serving, they should know about their experiences and where they’re coming from and what they’re at risk for.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I was at She the People in Houston—it’s a forum with eight different presidential candidates. One of the topics that came up quite a bit ledderhose disease mayo clinic at this forum was black maternal mortality. Elizabeth Warren was there, and they asked her, “What are you going to do to address black maternal ledderhose disease mayo clinic mortality?” She had a plan that sounded reminiscent of No Child ledderhose disease mayo clinic Left Behind, proposing the idea of providing financial incentives for hospitals that ledderhose disease mayo clinic are decreasing their maternal mortality and infant mortality rates. Then financially penalizing hospitals who are not changing or who ledderhose disease mayo clinic are worsening in their maternal mortality rate.

While I appreciate her proposing a plan in the language ledderhose disease mayo clinic that these institutions speak—which is money—I also think that it doesn’t really get at the fundamental issue. The problem, why it’s happening, we have to be very explicit in naming it for ledderhose disease mayo clinic what it is: racism. And at what point do we begin to make an ledderhose disease mayo clinic investment in black women and black pregnant people beyond using ledderhose disease mayo clinic this very corporate model, like incentivizing or penalizing, but really wanting to change the culture?

When I think about how complex this problem is, we need an equally complex solution. … The medical field, the majority of the nursing field, is made up of white middle-class women, and that in itself is a problem. We’re the ones who provide the majority of the care ledderhose disease mayo clinic for these patients, and we need our field to reflect the populations of ledderhose disease mayo clinic people that we’re serving. Being someone who matriculated through a four-year university to earn my BSN, I know that to get into these programs, oftentimes they’re not convenient for people like me. So we have to begin to revolutionize the way that ledderhose disease mayo clinic people access the knowledge and expertise we need to change ledderhose disease mayo clinic the field of medicine.

Then there are the policies. One thing that frustrated me as a nurse was that ledderhose disease mayo clinic I was able to make an impact on the individual ledderhose disease mayo clinic level, but it only went so far. … I realized that there’s only so much that I can do, because the policies that are in place, they don’t take into consideration a person’s race. They don’t take into consideration where people are coming from and ledderhose disease mayo clinic how trauma has impacted their lives and how their care ledderhose disease mayo clinic should be unique. We have to change the way these rooms look when ledderhose disease mayo clinic it comes to policy. There needs to be some type of mandated way to ledderhose disease mayo clinic assess risk for different variables, stress levels, trauma levels, where you come from, is it a food desert, income level, just so that we can get a full picture of ledderhose disease mayo clinic who it is that we’re treating, and how unique this treatment needs to be.

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