Black History Month: Medical Trauma

Black history month is a month where we celebrate and acknowledge history’s most prominent figures in the black community. We talk about the hardships, and how those figures helped to shape the world as we know it today. We talk about how we, as in the black community, were enslaved, and shed some light on the racism that occurred back then, and the racism that is still occurring today.

We even talk about the mental health of our community. Many African Americans do not seek help for their mental or even their physical allignments. Many of us were raised to push through the pain. In fact that ‘toughness’ has only served to make matters worse for us. The medical community seems to be less likely to take our concerns seriously, which makes African Americans less likely to speak up.

According to the Center for American Progress(2018), “stress induced by this discrimination plays a significant role in maternal and infant mortality, and a fractured and unequal health care system and gaps in health workforce training further aggravate these racial disparities”. When I was pregnant with Troy, I would voice my complaints about the lack of extra care from my workforce. I wasn’t able to get breaks, and wouldn’t even get a chance to have water before leaving for the day. I was told that I was okay, and brushed off. I found even after the loss of my son, that I had to take ‘drastic measures’ during my pregnancy with Silas.

I had to get a doctor’s note requiring that I be given breaks every four hours. I had to learn that ‘no’ was in fact a complete sentence. I also realized that I had to be very direct at the doctor’s office. I had concerns that occurred, that didn’t affect Silas, but concerns that still needed to be addressed, and I was getting brushed off. It took me being days away from my induction to be more direct.

Some of this boils down to personality, but I believe a lot of it stems from childhood. I never felt like I was taken seriously when I went to the doctor. And even today, I still catch myself just pushing through the pain. I know so many other African Americans are doing the same thing. So many of us have been burned by the medical community or raised to just keep pushing, and we are suffering from it.