Christina Elmore Opts for All-Black Birth Care Team
"Insecure" actor Christina Elmore, 34, wrote for Women's Health this week that for the January birth of her second son, her entire midwifery team consisted of Black women.
Elmore's first child, born four and a half years ago, was also delivered through home birth. However, she learned of her second pregnancy on the day of George Floyd's death, prompting her to seriously consider how her birth could be racialized.
"I was bringing another Black life in this country, and I wanted the experience to be different for him," Elmore wrote. "I wanted him to be caught by Black hands that would be able to give me the care I deserved."
Among Elmore's concerns was Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data that indicates Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women. Additionally, Elmore wanted caretakers who knew intimately the risks of fibroids, which uniquely affect Black women, and who could assuage her fears of C-section-related keloids, which Black women are more likely to develop.
'I was bringing another Black life in this country, and I wanted the experience to be different for him. I wanted him to be caught by Black hands that would be able to give me the care I deserved.'
She ultimately partnered with Allegra Hill and Kimberly Durdin, founding midwives of the Kindred Space birthing center in Los Angeles. Hill and Durdin also enlisted the help of other Black care providers, including an acupuncturist to assist with Elmore's late-pregnancy high blood pressure. By the time she gave birth earlier this year, Elmore said she was certain the team was fully "attuned to [her] needs."
"I was lucky that my first birth had that, too. But this time, I was looking across a room that resembled me," Elmore wrote. "These women looked like my mom and my aunties. I felt safe."
Elmore encouraged other Black mothers to use doulas and other birth accommodations if they so wish, but emphasized that there is "no 'right' way to give birth."