Black women and their babies continue to face disparities in maternal and infant mortality rates. According to the CDC, the national rate for pregnancy-related deaths for Black women is four to five times higher than their White counterparts. In Texas, the CDC found that infants born to Black mothers die at rates twice as high as White babies in recent years.
Cessilye Smith, founder of Abide Women’s Health Services in South Dallas, is working to help beat those odds. Smith started Abide to help improve birth outcomes in communities with the lowest quality of care by offering healthcare and complimentary services that are easily accessible, holistic, evidence based and free from judgment.
“To be honest, I wish Abide didn’t have to exist,” says Smith about her work. “If it weren’t for the rate of Black maternal death in this country, it wouldn’t. Abide is important because it provides a place of refuge. A place of safety for Black mothers. A place where they can feel free to be themselves, a place where they are heard and their lived experiences matter. A place that address biases that in the end kill Black women. Abide is necessary in every city.”
The organization’s services include pre- and post-natal care, free pregnancy testing, postpartum doula support, and material goods such as hygiene products, diapers, and formula. During the pandemic, Smith has pivoted the work to provide on demand deliveries to mothers who needed resources, including dropping off diapers at homes in the Dallas area. Dedicated to changing the dismal statistics for Black mothers, Smith and her team of midwives are motivated to make a difference.
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SOURCE: Texas Metro News, Froswa’ Booker-Drew