npr shalonirving patientpoems medical apartheid

Black Mothers Keep Dying After Giving Birth. Shalon Irving's Story Explains Why

My first job out of high school was as an administrative assistant for Black Infant Health of California in Littlerock, CA. I didn’t know this would be a trajectory that I’d continue to work with or even think about. And I think about it often. What I learned there, at the age of 19, is that Black women have the highest infant and mother mortality rate of any ethnic group across class. This is structural inequity based on race and gender. Shalon Irving’s story haunts me because she could be me. As I think about my own fertility, unfortunately I am often thinking about whether or not I would survive pregnancy or birth. This doesn’t have to be the case.