Two of The Most Powerful Black Women: One Scary Similar Story
We hear about so many beautiful, successful birth stories that highlight the life-changing moments of childbirth. But, is it always so perfect? What about the other side of childbirth? A topic we don’t talk about enough is the potential dangers that women, especially Black women, face when giving birth to their little bundles of joy.
It’s a troubling thought to ponder the reality that there are heavy risks leading up to and during childbirth. It is something that could be terrifying and honestly lead to serious complications for women of African descent in particular. Fortunately, we’ve heard much more of these stories recently with society’s most well-known celebrities.
Serena Williams and Beyoncé, arguably the most powerful black women in the world, come from two totally different spectrums of the entertainment industry: one is the iconic professional tennis player and the other is one of music’s powerhouse entertainers. Who would have known the two would have such similar stories, as African-American mothers who both survived potentially fatal pregnancy complications?
Beyoncé opened up to Vogue earlier this month in their September issue. After being on bed rest for over a month due to "toxemia" (a condition better known as pre-eclampsia), her health and twins had gotten into danger. This ultimately lead to the singer having an emergency C-section.
Beyoncé’s story is reminiscent of another case. Back in January, the tennis legend Serena Williams spoke about her horrifying medical scare while giving birth to her daughter Olympia. Williams’s C-section was prompted as her heart rate suddenly dropped to dangerously low levels while she was having contractions. Being known for having previous blood clots, this gave her a big risk for more clots to form during this time. Evidently, the next day she developed blood clots along her lungs and nearly died in the process of having her doctors run various tests.
Two of the wealthiest Black women. Two of the healthiest individuals. If these two high-power women, with access to the best medical care, could have major complications while in childbirth, who is to say this can’t happen to an average person?
Here’s the real story: This could happen to all of us women. According to the World Health Organization, about 830 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications around the world every day. To show the startling racialized aspect of this statistic, the CDC states Black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health.
So thank you, Serena Williams and Beyoncé. Speaking on these dangers leads to us being informed with knowledge that is sure to save someone one day.