A Spotlight on the Disproportionate Impact on Black Women
Maternal health care is a fundamental right that every woman deserves, regardless of their background or ethnicity.
However, the United States is facing a dire crisis in its maternal health care system, and the impact on black women is particularly concerning. This blog sheds light on the distressing state of maternal health care in the US, with a focus on the alarming disparities that black women face. From inadequate access to medical services to racial biases within the healthcare system, the situation demands urgent attention and reform.
The Shocking Disparities
Black women in the US experience shockingly disproportionate rates of maternal mortality and morbidity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than their white counterparts. This grim reality persists regardless of socioeconomic status, education level, or income. This alarming statistic not only highlights the systemic issues within the maternal health care system but also underscores the deeply rooted racial disparities that persist in the country.
Root Causes of Disparities
Several factors contribute to the dire state of maternal health care for black women in the US:
Limited Access to Quality Care: Many black women lack access to quality prenatal care due to socioeconomic factors such as limited health insurance coverage, inadequate transportation, and a lack of nearby healthcare facilities. This results in delayed or suboptimal care during pregnancy, increasing the risk of complications.
Implicit Bias and Discrimination: Racial bias and discrimination within the healthcare system can lead to dismissive treatment, delayed diagnoses, and even inappropriate medical interventions. These biases can affect the quality of care received by black women, putting their lives at risk.
Chronic Stress: Structural racism and socioeconomic disparities expose black women to chronic stress, which can negatively impact pregnancy outcomes. Stress contributes to conditions like hypertension and preeclampsia, which can lead to severe complications during pregnancy.
Postpartum Care Neglect: The lack of proper postpartum care further exacerbates the crisis. Black women often receive inadequate follow-up care after childbirth, leaving them vulnerable to postpartum complications that may go undetected or untreated.
The Urgent Need for Reform
Addressing the crisis of maternal health care in the US, especially for black women, requires a multi-faceted approach. This is being called on by MamaGlow founder Latham Thomas who has been and remains one of the biggest advocates for black birthing reform. She and her team of doulas don’t just help individuals, they are on a mission to make change via:
Policy Overhaul: Policymakers must prioritize maternal health by implementing reforms that expand access to affordable and comprehensive prenatal care. This includes increasing Medicaid coverage, investing in rural healthcare facilities, and offering incentives for healthcare providers to work in underserved areas.
Cultural Competency Training: Healthcare professionals should undergo cultural competency training to recognize and combat implicit biases. This will promote equitable treatment and ensure that black women receive the care they deserve.
Community-Based Solutions: Establishing community-based programs that provide education, support, and resources to pregnant black women can help bridge the gap in access to quality care. These programs can address both medical and social determinants of health.
Data Collection and Analysis: Accurate data collection and analysis are essential to understanding the scope of the problem and developing effective solutions. Improved data can guide targeted interventions and track progress over time.
In the latest episode of the Beyond Trauma Podcast, I interviewed Bintou Diarra, a writer, advocate, doula, first-year medical student at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School, and the Editorial Lead of the leading maternal health organization Mama Glow.
Bintou and I discuss the state of maternal health care in the US, why doulas are so important but can’t be expected to do it all, the problem with the way we are educated on the female body from sex ed on and many other topics. I hope you will enjoy.
Divorce is an emotionally turbulent experience that can leave deep scars on individuals and families involved. The end of a marriage is more than just a legal process; it is a profound loss that can lead to significant trauma. In this blog, we will explore the emotional impact of divorce, the signs of divorce trauma, and coping strategies to navigate this challenging life transition.
Divorce marks the end of a significant chapter in one’s life, often leading to feelings of grief, anger, fear, and uncertainty. The emotional impact can be overwhelming, affecting mental health and overall well-being. Understanding the depth of these emotions is the first step toward healing.
Recognizing Signs of Divorce Trauma
Divorce trauma can manifest in various ways, including anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and changes in appetite. Individuals may also experience a loss of self-esteem, trust issues, and difficulty forming new relationships. Recognizing these signs can prompt seeking support and intervention.
Coping Strategies for Healing
Coping with divorce trauma requires time, self-compassion, and a supportive network. Engaging in therapy or counseling can offer a safe space to process emotions and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Embracing self-care practices, such as exercise, mindfulness, and journaling, can also aid in the healing process.
Nurturing Emotional Resilience
Divorce can shatter a person’s sense of stability and security. Nurturing emotional resilience is crucial for bouncing back from this traumatic experience. By acknowledging emotions, seeking professional help, and focusing on personal growth, individuals can gradually rebuild their lives.
Co-Parenting Challenges and Solutions
For couples with children, divorce brings the challenge of co-parenting. Communication, flexibility, and putting the children’s well-being first are essential components of successful co-parenting. Learning to co-parent effectively can reduce stress and provide a stable environment for children to thrive.
Creating a New Identity
Divorce can lead to a reevaluation of one’s identity. Embracing this opportunity for self-discovery and growth can lead to a stronger sense of self and new life perspectives. Engaging in new hobbies, exploring interests, and setting personal goals can facilitate this process.
Seeking Support from Community and Resources
Navigating divorce trauma can feel isolating, but there is a vast network of support available. Joining divorce support groups, attending workshops, and utilizing online resources can help individuals connect with others who have experienced similar challenges. Dr. Elizabeth Cohen, aka “the divorce doctor” who I had on the Beyond Trauma Podcast Episode 6 has wonderful resources for thriving after divorce.
This week I have guest Harmony Slater on the podcast, who talks in depth about how the trauma of divorce impacts our first chakra and sets us into fight or flight mode no matter how much we try to have a compassionate, easeful process. We also discuss the identity loss that occurs post-divorce, after entering motherhood, or when leaving a community and how to resolve some of the nervous system dysregulation that can occur.
The trauma of divorce is a difficult emotional journey that affects individuals and families profoundly. Acknowledging the emotional impact and recognizing the signs of divorce trauma are essential steps in the healing process. Seeking support from the community and resources can provide much-needed encouragement and understanding during this transformative time. Remember, healing is a gradual process, and with patience, self-compassion, and support, individuals can overcome divorce trauma and embrace a new chapter of life with strength and optimism.
Are you ready to make your mental health a priority? If you are hoping for better professional, relationship, or physical health outcomes, taking care of your mental health is the first step to getting there.
Most of us want better mental health and yet we don’t always have access to the tools, strategies, techniques, and practices to face the stressors and challenges of today’s fast-paced way of life! Step by step, however, we can develop the resilience and psychological flexibility to help you live life with greater hope, optimism, and positivity and truly thrive.
Simple, learnable concepts and practices can make all the difference in our experience of daily life and in helping us understand why we are always stressed, anxious, or depressed. By understanding our history and exposure to trauma we can start to see its impact on our daily lives and begin the journey of finally letting it go.
There is such a craving for more solutions for the chronic mental health issues we are all facing which is why I decided to join with 72 other world-renowned mental wellness experts, therapists, and healers to share with you the strategies, tools, and practices for you to have the mental resilience and psychological flexibility to truly thrive. This twelve-day, 100% virtual, on-demand event brings together the world’s leading mental health experts – psychologists, therapists, scientists, researchers, and healers to share the most current research and insights on healing from and preventing mental illness.
Right now, you can hear from me, Steven Hayes, Ph.D., MD, Maria Sirois Psy.D, MD, Deborah Rozman, Ph.D., Suzy Green, D. Psyc. Ph.D., Lucy Hone, Ph.D., Dan Tomasulo, Ph.D., Kathryn Goetzke, Dr. Patrick Porter, and many more leading experts.
All speakers will be sharing tons of practical information to help you feel empowered to take care of your mental health. And you can get access to this all, from August 28th to September 7th.
See the speaker lineup and register for the Happy Minds Summit, right here.
But not only will you get access to some amazing tools, practices, and strategies from the 73 interviews you will also have access to:
10 wellness sessions including daily yoga, meditation, tapping, and breathwork classes.
9 Happy Minds Stories – stories of those who have overcome mental Illness and are now thriving.
Plus you will have the opportunity to experience the healing power of giving by joining the Summit’s, Pure Water for Everyone fundraiser and helping raise funds to help clean and safe drinking water projects in developing countries.
Click the link to join in and listen to all the life-changing interviews and sessions. But hurry, this is only available for a limited time.
>> Register for the Happy Minds Summit, right here.
Get ready to take the first and most important step towards personal healing and building the mental fitness to fully show up in your life.
Topics covered in the summit include:
Anxiety and Depression, Healing from Trauma, Stress and Burnout, Nervous System Regulation, Mindfulness and Breathwork, Grief and Loss, Psychological Flexibility, Happiness and Human Flourishing
Stress Management, Insomnia and Sleep Issues, Somatic Practices
Resilience And Mental Fitness, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Men’s Mental Wellness, Forgiveness and Self-Compassion, Laughter and Positivity, Psychedelics, And much more…
The Happy Minds Summit is set to inspire and empower thousands of people around the globe to find the Happy Mind to truly thrive. It is set to be 2023’s most significant mental wellness event.
The experience of losing a loved one is undoubtedly one of the most challenging aspects of the human condition.
When that loss is traumatic, the pain can be even more overwhelming, leaving us feeling lost, broken, and unable to see a way forward. However, amidst the darkness, healing is possible. In this blog, we will explore the path to healing from traumatic loss, understanding that it’s a unique journey for each person, but one that leads to renewed strength and hope.
Acknowledging the Pain
Grief is a natural response to loss, and it’s essential to recognize the depth of pain that accompanies traumatic loss. Instead of suppressing or avoiding these emotions, allow yourself to feel them fully. Grief is not something to be hurried through; it’s a process that takes time. Give yourself permission to grieve, cry, and express your emotions in a healthy and supportive environment. Surround yourself with compassionate friends and family members who can offer a listening ear and a comforting presence.
Seeking Professional Support
Healing from traumatic loss can be an arduous and complex journey, and it’s okay to seek professional help during this time. Therapists, counselors, or support groups specialized in grief and trauma can provide invaluable assistance in understanding and processing your emotions. They can guide you through the healing process, providing coping strategies and techniques to help you navigate the challenges ahead.
Finding Meaning in Loss
Though it may seem impossible at first, finding meaning in the midst of loss can be a significant step towards healing. The loss of a loved one can trigger profound existential questions, and seeking answers to these questions can aid in your healing process. Engaging in activities that honor the memory of your loved one, such as creating a memorial or starting a charitable initiative in their name, can help give meaning to their passing and keep their spirit alive.
During the healing journey, it’s crucial to practice self-compassion. Be gentle with yourself and avoid self-blame. Traumatic loss often leaves survivors questioning their actions or decisions, but it’s essential to remember that you did the best you could under the circumstances. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer a dear friend going through a difficult time.
Embracing Support Systems
Recovery from traumatic loss becomes more manageable with the support of others. Embrace your support systems, whether it’s family, friends, or support groups. Opening up and sharing your feelings with people who have experienced similar pain can be cathartic. These connections can help you realize that you’re not alone in your grief and provide the strength to move forward together.
Finding Solace in Healing Activities
Engaging in healing activities can be therapeutic during the grieving process. Whether it’s spending time in nature, writing in a journal, practicing mindfulness, or engaging in creative outlets like art or music, these activities can provide moments of solace and healing. They offer opportunities to process emotions and find moments of peace amidst the storm of grief.
Embracing the Process
Healing from traumatic loss is not linear; it’s a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences. Some days may feel easier, while others might seem overwhelmingly difficult. It’s essential to embrace this process and allow yourself the space to feel whatever comes naturally. Remember that healing takes time and patience; there is no right or wrong way to go through it.
Whitney Lyn Allen, the latest guest on the Beyond Trauma Podcast, knows about traumatic loss. Her husband died from a sudden freak accident which left him in the in-between for a long painful period. Whitney’s experience inspired her to help others and she became a certified grief coach specifically focusing on widows. Hear Whitney Lyn Allen’s story and tips for surviving traumatic loss HERE.
In the face of adversity, it is natural to focus on the negative impacts of trauma. However, there is a phenomenon known as post-traumatic growth (PTG) that offers a glimmer of hope. PTG refers to the positive psychological changes that individuals can experience after going through a traumatic event. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of post-traumatic growth, its benefits, and provide practical strategies for fostering resilience and embracing personal transformation.
Understanding Post-Traumatic Growth
The human spirit has an incredible capacity for resilience and growth, even in the face of the most challenging circumstances. Post-traumatic growth is an emerging field of study that explores how individuals can experience positive changes in various areas of their lives following trauma. These changes can manifest in five key domains:
Personal Strength: Individuals often discover newfound inner strength and resilience as a result of their experiences. They learn to confront and overcome their fears, gaining a renewed sense of personal power.
Greater Appreciation of Life: Trauma can provide a profound wake-up call, prompting individuals to reevaluate their priorities, savor the present moment, and find joy in the simple things that were once taken for granted.
Improved Relationships: Some people develop deeper empathy and compassion towards others as a result of their own suffering. Trauma can lead to enhanced interpersonal connections and a greater willingness to offer support to others.
New Possibilities: Adversity can act as a catalyst for change, sparking creativity and the pursuit of new opportunities. Individuals may discover untapped potential, set new goals, and find a renewed sense of purpose.
Spiritual Growth: Trauma often prompts individuals to explore existential questions, leading to a deepening of their spiritual beliefs or the development of a new sense of meaning and purpose in life.
Strategies for Cultivating Post-Traumatic Growth
While post-traumatic growth is a deeply personal and individual process, there are strategies that can facilitate this transformative journey. Here are some practical steps to foster post-traumatic growth:
Seek Support: Reach out to supportive friends, family, or professionals who can provide a safe space for processing emotions and experiences. Support groups can also offer valuable insights and connections with others who have undergone similar challenges.
Practice Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities that promote physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Engage in regular exercise, maintain a balanced diet, practice mindfulness or meditation, and engage in activities that bring you joy.
Reframe Your Narrative: Challenge negative thought patterns and reframe your trauma as an opportunity for growth. Viewing the experience as a transformative journey can help shift your perspective and open up possibilities for personal development.
Embrace Resilience-building Activities: Engage in activities that foster resilience, such as journaling, practicing gratitude, engaging in hobbies, or seeking professional therapy. These activities can help build emotional strength and facilitate post-traumatic growth.
Set Meaningful Goals: Identify new goals that align with your values and aspirations. This can provide a sense of direction and purpose, allowing you to channel your energy towards positive personal growth.
While trauma is undoubtedly difficult and challenging, it is essential to recognize that growth and transformation are possible even in the aftermath of adversity. Post-traumatic growth allows individuals to tap into their inner resilience, discover newfound strengths, and uncover a renewed sense of purpose. By embracing support, practicing self-care, reframing your narrative, and setting meaningful goals, you can embark on a journey of post-traumatic growth, turning your pain into profound personal transformation.
Remember, everyone’s journey is unique, and healing takes time. Be patient with yourself, embrace self-compassion, and celebrate the small victories along the way. Post-traumatic growth is not about erasing the past but rather using it as a stepping stone towards a brighter, more resilient future.
If you or someone you know is struggling with trauma, do not hesitate to seek professional help. There are resources available to support you on your journey towards post-traumatic growth.
Together, let us unlock the incredible potential for positive transformation that lies within each of us. Reach out for coaching and check out the latest episode of the Beyond Trauma Podcast with Dr. Edith Shiro expert and author in PTG.