Fighting for Expectant Womyn
Popular misconceptions surrounding mortality rates during childbirth have hidden the continued mistreatment faced by many vulnerable women in Canada and the U.S. Despite modern medicine's ability to significantly decrease fatalities, early detection and prevention of complications is key. Studies are increasingly revealing that women, particularly those from underrepresented populations, experience biases that prevent adequate treatment. This ultimately can lead, at best, to traumatic and difficult labours and, at worst, to death of the mother and/or child. Women, tired of having their worries ignored or silenced, are starting to come forward with their stories of labour trauma.
Historical, mythical, and fictional narratives have relegated mothers to the roles of monster, or quiet idol. These narrow identity barriers are exacerbated when other labels - women of colour, indigenous, trans, queer, low income, for example - are added. These multiple oppressions ultimately lead to biased, unethical, and incomplete medical treatment as women's understandings of their own bodies are dismissed. Medical feminism has sought to correct these shortcomings in the medical field, within both research and women's lived experiences.
Similarly, the Mother Mortality Project (working title) seeks to reshape and ultimately collapse these prejudices by providing space for women to tell their stories of childbirth and pregnancy. This project seeks to highlight the black mortality crisis and medical mistreatment of all women in the U.S. and Canada. We affirm black lives matter because what happens to black bodies is representative of negative actions that seep into the larger populace to hurt all underrepresented women. We define underrepresented women as women of colour, indigenous women, trans women, LGBTQ+, obese women, young mothers, mothers with a history of 'geriatric' pregnancies, and working-class or low-income women. We're inviting women from all walks of life, identities, and experiences to share their experiences to show the need for change in the medical community.
This project sprang forth from the overwhelming response to Dr. Kenya Mitchell’s viral Medium article, "I Almost Died from Preeclampsia. I Wasn’t Tested Because I Am Black." Our team believes that all women who have experienced obstetric discrimination deserve the chance to have their stories heard. Our goal is to document these stories to hold the medical community accountable and to encourage deep systemic change in global medicine to ensure vulnerable women and their children have better medical outcomes.