Improving Black Birth Outcomes
A Case for Holistic Maternal Care How Trill Moms is shifting the way society listens to and cares for Black mothers.
rill Moms is an initiative dedicated to disrupting disparities that disproportionately impact Black mothers, improving the quality of life for all mothers, and providing social support for parents to raise well-rounded, conscious children. We host a podcast (Trill Moms Podcast), curate events, create products, and advocate for state and federal policies that impact Black moms. As the creator of Trill Moms I created a framework called Holistic Maternal Care to describe the work we do and the fierce urgency to care for birthing parents, especially Black mothers in a way that acknowledges the historical exploitation of our bodies and how that manifests into the current inequities we face, especially in the medical field. Holistic Maternal Care is the social, emotional, cultural and political reckoning of reparative care that Black women have been denied since the inception of obstetrics and gynecology. All of the work we do inside of Trill Moms fits within the framework of Holistic Maternal Care, but our goal is to have hospitals, birthing centers, and medical practitioners partner with us to consider how they too can better support their patients, starting with Black women. A partnership with Trill Moms to implement Holistic Maternal Care provides the opportunity to: 1. Listen to Black women. At Trill Moms our first point of engagement is through a podcast. We needed a way to connect with mothers from By Brittany L. Wright
the comfort of their own home and we recognized that so many mothers, especially Black women were feeling unheard, ignored, and as if their voice didn’t matter. We encourage practitioners and professionals who want to connect more authentically to get in the practice of listening to Black women and trusting them as the authors of their own experiences. 2. Acknowledge the historical trauma of birthing parents, and how the medical field’s current practices can sometimes be an extension of the exploitation or maltreatment that a patient, their community members, or their ancestors have experienced. 3. Integrate cultural rituals back into the prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. Trill Moms is rolling out a doula training program to support institutions invested in shifting their practices to join forces with community members and trained doulas to share our cultural
capital and introduce innovative solutions for navigating birthing during a pandemic. 4. Center Black mothers in media campaigns and organizational representation. It’s imperative that Black women see themselves and feel safe within their birthing institutions. Digital media is the cornerstone of communication, especially during a pandemic. Whether it is a PSA, docuseries, or full branding campaign, it’s imperative that organizations reflect the communities they want to serve, and to acknowledge their worth. 5. Build systems of support for birthing parents beyond the 6-week postpartum check-up. The CDC reports that 33% of maternal deaths happen within the first year that a woman gives birth. For every one woman that dies, 20-30 more are severely injured. If systems of support were built to check in on new parents to ensure that their bodies are properly healing from childbirth and related complications, the rates of maternal mortality and morbidity could shift drastically. 6. Advocate for public policies that work to disrupt disparities. Community advocates often do this work for free. Partnering with them and paying them would be a great way to support the community and build trust. One of the bills Trill Moms supports and has advocated on behalf of is the
The Journal of the Twin Cities Medical Society