“Black women are more likely to have postnatal depression but are less likely to access care or to be referred for follow-up treatment.”
Sandra’s story (London)
When I had my first daughter, I thought it was going to be the happiest time of my life, but I just felt this huge pressure to be the perfect mum. I cried a lot, obsessed over keeping the house immaculate and became increasingly anxious.
Then with the birth of my second daughter, I had a very poor experience with the healthcare staff who were supposed to be looking after me. I just didn’t feel like I was treated with the care and respect that I deserved. I didn’t feel like they listened to my words. Staff dismissed my views, and my pain wasn’t taken seriously.
Black women feel judged
It was these personal experiences and the reading of a shocking report about the care given to pregnant women and new mothers from ethnic minority backgrounds that led to me setting up The Motherhood Group. I wanted to create a network for women of colour so they could easily connect with each other and talk freely about mental health and motherhood.
Another important reason for setting it up was that I wanted to help give women of colour a voice in maternal mental health. Because many black women do feel judged by the colour of their skin when accessing healthcare services and often feel they have had a second-class experience.
We are the solution
So far, this has led to The Motherhood Group starting to work with some professionals and our members’ inputting into research projects around maternal mental health. But this is still very much the beginning of the journey.
As well as continuing to support each other and raise awareness of the issues women of colour face, we need to make sure we are an integral part of the solution. The many women who have suffered in the past must be at the heart of addressing racial disparities in pre and postnatal healthcare as soon as possible.
If the content of this story causes you to think of anything that has happened to you or someone you know and you feel upset, worried or uncomfortable, please see our support page for a list of services that may be able to help.