Dear Courageous Mamas,
Today and every day we hold space for the unrelenting grief of the Black mother.
Black mothers have an increased risk of losing a baby during pregnancy and during infancy. They have a higher risk of maternal mortality during pregnancy and after the birth of their babies. They then go on to have to carry the grief of teaching their beautiful Black children about how to stay safe in a society that does not offer them the same protection and respect that it does white children and adults.
We hold space today for all of that grief and even more we don’t understand.
We hold space for all of the grief that comes from losing their grown children too soon and too unfairly to a system that does not support them.
We use #saytheirname hashtags only for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Jamar Clark, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and sadly so many more Black people whose lives have been take by systemic racism. And this is why at PALS you will never see us use this hashtag for anything other than to bring attention to the unrelenting grief of the Black mother and the Black community.
We see you. We are listening. Black mamas, your lives matter. Your babies matter. Your families matter.
We are honored to share the stories of the Black courageous mamas in our community. Stories like Nicole’s and Ali’s. Stories like Natasha’s. No mama should have to answer the question, “Do bad things happen in real life, and how do we stay safe when bad things happen?” and worry about how to protect her baby from violence due to the color of her skin.
We at Pregnancy After Loss Support are listening and learning. We are committed to partnering with Black loss organizations to best support Black mamas and their unique situations, caused by systemic racism.
Last week, as we kicked off fundraising for our second annual PALS Waddle Walk, the PALS board of directors matched donations to the Waddle Walk with a donation to Sisters in Loss’s Birth and Bereavement Doula Training, which works to improve birth outcomes for Black mothers through the support of Black birth workers. The match goal was met, and the board is donating two scholarships to train Black doulas.
When George Floyd called out for his mama, mamas around the world heard the call.
We at PALS heard that call as bereaved mothers, determined to make this a safer, kinder world–one with fewer bereaved mothers.
Lindsey Henke and Valerie Meek
PALS Founder/Executive Director and Operations Director