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Black Maternal Mental Health Week

July 19th-25th is Black Maternal Mental Health Week. This week, organizations such as Shades of Blue Project and Black Mamas Matter Alliance advocate for resources to support Black moms and their mental health. Black moms are more likely to have pregnancy-related anxiety and mood disorders. Almost 40% of Black mothers develop postpartum depression, while the national average for moms in general is 15-20%. Many factors play into this, such as systemic racism, lack of access to quality healthcare, and financial barriers. 

There are many things you can do to make sure your mental health is at its best during this important time in your life:

  1. The first thing is to know what postpartum depression and anxiety are. Some common symptoms include excessive crying, very bad mood swings, loss of appetite, feelings of dread, and not being able to concentrate. If you notice that these symptoms are not going away, contact your healthcare provider to talk about ways to feel better.
  2. It is important to advocate for yourself. The healthcare system has a history of not taking Black women’s pain seriously. so it is important to take charge of your care. Your provider should listen to you, and you should be able to trust each other. If you don’t feel your provider listens to you, it’s okay to find a new one. You can find a list of many Detroit-area healthcare providers here.
    1. There are many ways to advocate for yourself at an appointment. Some of these include:
      1. Doing research before your visit and coming ready with questions 
      2. Keeping a journal of your symptoms to share with your provider
      3. Listening to your body when you feel discomfort during a procedure and making it clear to your provider
      4. Saying no to treatment you’re not comfortable with
      5. Filing a complaint if you’re being disrespected
  3. When you see your healthcare provider, ask them about what resources are available to you. There are many options to improve postpartum mental health, such as therapy, medications, support groups, and more. Every person is different, so it is important to understand the options and find the best fit for you. 
  4. Lastly, having a network of other Black moms can help reduce the stress of new motherhood. Keeping a tight circle will give you someone to share your thoughts and feelings with, showing that you are not alone on this journey. This is also a great way to share advice and resources with one another. If you participated in WIN Network: Detroit’s Group Prenatal Care Program, you can join our Facebook community here. You can also join the Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Club, hosted by the Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association. Their meetings are offered both virtually and in person in Detroit.

This Black Maternal Mental Health Week, continue learning and advocating for the support of mental and maternal health services for Black women. The fight continues after this week as the world strives towards health equity for all people. 


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Having a Baby? Get Prenatal Care