Today while scrolling on social media, I came across multiple articles about Serena Williams and her trauma during child birth. Williams who appears in the most recent article of vogue, discusses her medical emergency after her C-section to her first born daughter Alexis Olympia. According to the Vogue article, once Williams contractions began, baby Alexis heart rate began to plummet. Due to their concern for the baby, an emergency cesarean section was performed. The next day during recovery, Williams began to fall ill and flagged down a nearby nurse for assistance. She stated to the nurse that she needed an IV with heparin, blood thinners, and a CT scan to check for blood clots. The nurse immediately brushed off Williams request, as she believed the previous medication provided to Williams may have affected her decision making. A doctor appeared only to provide Williams with an ultrasound, in which it had no evidence of blood clots. Williams aware of her medical history proceeded to repeat her need for a CT scan in which the doctors later found small blood clots in her lungs. William’s intuitive decision for herself, saved her life. She advocated for herself and her needs. Williams is a well known celebrity tennis player, and African American woman. Her experience and platform brought light to a medical crisis that we as African American women are exposed to during childbirth. African American Women are three to four times likely to die of pregnancy or delivery complications, as opposed to white women. Our fetal loss number and miscarriages are high as well. My concern with this, is the amount of value our community places on the words of the physician. There are two community leaders that we as African Americans are taught not to question. That is the pastor of your family church, and you family physician. What they say goes! Unfortunately, we as a people are unaware of the collaborative effort it takes in diagnosis and in treatment of disease within our community. We lack self-love to the point of being unaware of our bodies, and leave the power of advocacy in others hands. No one has your best interest for you, except you. We have to learn to be confident enough to know what is or isn’t good for us. Doctors diagnose you off of what they see by comparing to similar cases and the symptoms you tell them. Every case is different and unique just like every birthing story.
In the same week, Oprah provides a compelling speech for women to take back their power. Just recently have women come open about their stories of sexual harassment and abuse with the #metoo movement. These two women are reminding us of the powers within. We as women need to be reminded to tap into our intuition and internal powers when it comes to making decisions in every area of our lives. Our bodies are our temples and it is our job to protect and care for our physical being. When you have established a love for self, you no longer fear telling someone “No”, or making a decision solely for the protection of your being. You are you own advocate! Stand within your power and process intuitively what it is you need or don’t need. It is a new day! Tap into your tuition like Serena, and stand in your power like Oprah! That is just a preview of some of your black girl magic.