Codie Elaine Oliver and Tommy Oliver’s Black Love Inc. are joining forces with the March of Dimes and National Birth Equity Collaborative (NBEC, BirthEquity.org_) to promote awareness of health issues affecting Black communities and specifically to provide resources for African American families during and after pregnancy. The October 10 episode, which airs at 9pm ET/PT on OWN, features a heartbreaking and inspiring special episode devoted to Felicia & Karega Bailey and the birth of their daughter, highlighting the powerful relationship between grief and love.
March of Dimes, NBEC, and Black Love have come together to compile and share a list of resources for families who are grieving a loss related to pregnancy, childbirth or parenting. October is also National Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Awareness Month. For the complete list of resources, click here: http://bit.ly/
Karega & Felicia’s story underscores the need for neonatal and family resources, particularly related to Black families in America. In the U.S., Black infants have 2.3 times the infant mortality rate as white infants and Black mothers are at least three times more likely than White women to die of pregnancy-related causes.
“The desire to create this list of resources was born out of the recognition that this is happening in our community far too much. Felicia and Karega enjoyed an otherwise healthy pregnancy and birth – the loss of their daughter Kamaiu was completely unexpected. The death of a black baby or mother is highlighted as a known crisis (and it is) but there aren’t many people publicly talking about what happens next. So knowing there is a crisis that affects us both in practice and in the fear it presents in expecting Black parents, we wanted to address how to approach the grief, especially for Black families,” said Codie Elaine Oliver.
“Few things are more joyous than the anticipation of a baby. Yet, while most people plan a nursery, for too many families the opposite is true,” said Stacey D. Stewart, president and CEO of March of Dimes, which leads the fight for all moms and babies. “Black mothers and their babies are exponentially more likely to die from conditions related to or aggravated by pregnancy and childbirth than their White counterparts. That’s why it’s so important that Black Love shed light on this crisis and the heartbreaking loss the Bailey’s faced. It’s through powerful testimonials like theirs that we can work to improve these disparities in birth outcomes and ensure Black mothers and babies get the best possible start.”
“At the National Birth Equity Collaborative (NBEC), it is our vision that every Black mother and child might thrive during pregnancy, labor, and in those first few vitally important months following the birth of a child when so much is at stake. No family should have to endure such heartache and unimaginable loss like that which the Baileys experienced. Unfortunately, for Black birthing people and their families, there are tremendous disparities related to birth outcomes primarily due to the racism that is deeply embedded in our healthcare systems in the United States and in countries around the world. At NBEC, we aim to optimize our community’s birth outcomes by creating solutions through research, training, and community engagements in the hope that no family might be forced to endure what Felicia and Karega have. Our hearts are broken for them and for all of the families that have suffered such an unexpected loss. We will continue to do all we can to advocate on behalf of Black mothers and their babies until we no longer have to tell these stories,” said Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, NBEC Founder & President.
About Black Love, Inc.
Black Love Inc is the media company anchored by the popular docuseries Black Love, now in its fourth season on OWN, and it includes BlackLove.com and a robust slate of content across all social media platforms, and live events. The three-time NAACP nominated series brings to the forefront real, honest, emotional and transparent love stories and that same vulnerability is applied to all content from the brand. You can engage with Black Love on Instagram, Facebook, YouTub
e, and Twitter.
About March of Dimes
March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family. Visit marchofdimes.org or nace
rsano.org for more information. Visit shareyourstory.org for comfort and support. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
NBEC creates solutions that optimize Black maternal and infant health through training, policy advocacy, research, and community-centered collaboration. We seek to reduce Black infant and maternal mortality through research, advocacy and family centered collaboration. We prioritize the impacts of the social determinants of health as an essential part of addressing this unfair and avoidable disparity in health status and outcomes. NBEC is based in reproductive justice and racial equity, recognizing the right to health through safety and defends the needs of women of color and other marginalized women. While focusing on the structural roots of maternal mortality and morbidity, NBEC works to empower the community and equip health care providers with tools that will catalyze action and change outcomes.