Black Mamas Glowing TM is a 4-week session focused on perinatal mental health with Black birthing families and their support persons (i.e., spouses, partners, parents, siblings, grandparents, friend, midwife doula, birth workers and anyone else who would be in the room during labor and delivery). Our aim is to reduce isolation and build community with Black pregnant women and birthing persons and introduce them to the African American Infant and Maternal Mortality (AAIMM) network throughout Los Angeles County. i.D.R.E.A.M. for Racial Health Equity’s community-led interventions were established and anchored as the former Pasadena Birthing Project (1994-2011), also known as the 34th Stop on the Underground Railroad for New Life. The Birthing Project USA Sister Friend model teamed community women with pregnant women through their babies first birthday with the goal to improve Black birth outcomes. Our greatest learning came from wrapping around peer support throughout the perinatal journey. We served as early adopters of hospital quality improvement advocacy for the Black patient experience. Our Sister Friend Regional Network provided non-medical support and community resources as cultural brokers, patient navigators, doulas and birth compassions. We became a village of sisters, aunties, grandmothers and extended family members, and integrated a safety net for the Black perinatal workforce. We reimagined a system of care outside of the hospital for, by and with Black women that encouraged sisters serving sisters and motherhood that now represents our 27-year storied mission.
We acquired a new deliverable in collaboration with Maternal Mental Health NOW (2018-2021) and led the marketing and outreach for a curriculum formerly known as Mind and Body Circles. We adapted the framework for a virtual audience, hosted focus groups with 13 members of the Black perinatal workforce and drew upon our history for Black pregnant women and birthing families to thrive through the pandemic. Our signature photo features the friendship of 4 Black pregnant women who delivered healthy babies in the summer of 2020. Participants registered independently or with a support person. We highly encouraged the presence of dads as the support person.
In 2022-2023, we scaled up the pregnancy peer support program with a generous sponsorship from the Providence Medical Foundation. We will serve four Providence Hospital regions including the San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys: the Westside/South Los Angeles/South Bay; Orange County; and the High Desert/San Bernardino County. Our collaboration includes physicians, medical groups, federally-qualified health clinics and with community advocates serving Black birthing families.
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The primary focus for this peer support group is maternal mental health within the Black birthing community. Session 1 is all about birth planning in and outside of the hospital. Session 2 is a brief overview of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and how they show up in Black birthing people. Session 3 offers recommendations to tapping into culturally relevant social support. Our resource network is curated specific to Greater Los Angeles and surrounding counties. Session 4 sums up each session before it to honor and remind mamas/birthing people how to advocate for themselves. We hope to ensure that each birthing person and their support person understand that autonomy and freedom of choice is at the core of having a sacred pregnancy and birth journey.
Our hope is that by offering this pregnancy peer support group we decrease isolation, build community between participants, and create sustainable solutions for reducing stress while pregnant. We aim to serve 15-20 Black birthing/postpartum families during each cohort. Our in-house evaluator has created two surveys (pre-session 1 and post-session 4) which we intend on using to curate the plethora of community resources specific to each participant's geographic location, produce new content, and present evaluation results at conferences.
If you or someone you know is Black and pregnant/postpartum please have them reach out to [email protected] to register for our next cohort beginning January 10th @ 6:00pm via Zoom.
Thank you sponsor Providence health system and community ambassadors HERstory,Inc , CinnaMoms , Black Infant Health California , Black Infants and Families Los Angeles , Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science Black Maternal Health Center of Excellence, Lydia O. Boyd, and California State University, Northridge HERE Center HOMME Lab for continuing to promote and share our #ForUsByUs pregnancy peer support group.
#BlackExcellence #blackmamasglowing #blackbirthmatters
For more information about Black Mamas Glowing and i.D.R.E.A.M. for Racial Health Equity, a project of Community Partners visit, https://idreamnow.org/black-mamas-glowing/
For community resources about Black Maternal Infant Health and AAIMM (African American Infant & Maternal Mortality) visit, https://www.blackinfantsandfamilies.org/
For all other inquiries, please email Ellen Branch, BA | she, her(s) | Group Facilitator at [email protected]