Unequal Burdens: Black Maternal Mortality and Bereavement



Full course description

Childbearing is riskier in the United States than in any other high-wealth country in the world. This is particularly true for Black Americans, who die of pregnancy-associated causes at three to four times the rate of White Americans. These untimely deaths related to child-–deaths that occur short of statistically expected life spans-–are referred to as “maternal mortality.” 

We say, “taken too soon,” as we murmur our condolences at the gravesite. This is indeed true, because most instances of Black maternal mortality are preventable. Also preventable, and widely unrecognized, are the years of devastating impacts on surviving children, spouses, partners, parents, and siblings. For them, a maternal death starts a long clock of emotional, physiological, social, and economic consequences that may emerge over months, years, and generations among the bereaved.

Special thanks to our community partner, Terri Erwin, PhD, Organizer, New Leadership Development at the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, for her contributions to creating this module.

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