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Honoring Black Maternal Health Week

In September 2017, one of the world’s most celebrated athletes, Serena Williams, gave birth to a beautiful little girl. Less than 24 hours later, she began to experience serious trouble breathing. She alerted her attending nurse and physician immediately, describing her symptoms in detail, including her history of pulmonary embolisms. Despite her insistence, the medical team did not believe her and proceeded with a series of unrelated tests that delayed the treatment of life-threatening blood clots in her lungs. Fortunately, Williams persisted and survived.

There were several things working in Williams’ favor during this ordeal. Ironically, at the most harrowing moments of her health crisis, her fame and wealth would not save her. What ended up being her most important life-saving tools, however, were her personal agency, an innate understanding of her own body, and her fierce advocacy for herself.

At New Moms we believe in the beauty and power of motherhood. But we also acknowledge the risks, challenges, and uncertainties of bringing life into the world.

Statistically, young Black and Brown moms, the exact demographic we serve in our programs, are three times more likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth complications. This is an unacceptable injustice.

In our programs, we continue to work towards improving access to quality maternal care and addressing systemic racism in our community to help ensure that all mothers have the care they need to thrive. Our coaches, doulas, and program staff trust and support young moms making critical decisions about their own health and lives. We believe moms when they share their pain and struggles and help amplify their voices to ensure they are heard in the spaces where it matters most. We have learned, through 40 years of practical experience, that when young moms refine their parenting skills, are empowered to use their voice in their own care, are in tune with their bodies, can access quality health services, and are partnered with strong health advocates, they too persist and thrive. 

In honor of young moms, particularly those most impacted by maternal health disparities, we honor Black Maternal Health Week. Initially created by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA), Black Maternal Health Week was established to raise awareness of the diminished maternal health outcomes of Black and Brown women in America. On April 10th, 2023, President Biden formally proclaimed April 11th through April 17th National Black Maternal Health Week.

We are excited to celebrate the autonomy, intuition, joy, and advocacy of young moms not only in Chicago but nationwide. For more information on Black Maternal Health Week, please visit

– Blog written by Chief Operating Officer, Pamela Bozeman