Updated: Aug 18, 2022
In honor of Black Maternal Health Week, Bonsie would like to celebrate the efforts of Rachel Nicks, the founder of Birth Queen.
Birth Queen educates, supports and empowers Black women, parents and birthing people, enriching the Black birth experience and saving lives.
In an interview with Rachel, she shared more information about the Black Maternal Health Crisis, her organization and how we can promote greater awareness and change.
Can you tell us about the Black Maternal Health Crisis?
“There is a Black maternal health crisis. Black women die at 3-5 times the rate in childbirth as their white counterparts and in NYC that number is up to 12x!"
"You may ask why this is happening. Racism is killing Black birthing people, conscious and unconscious bias. Active neglect and a bias that has caused Black women much harm for hundreds of years. In the 1860s, Dr. Marion Sims practiced the cesarean section on slaves without anesthesia. Many of these women were first raped; we know this because the census shows us that majority of the babies were of mixed race. Many of the slaves survived and he deduced that Black women don’t feel pain the same way white women do and this fallacy holds true today and is causing many of the deaths to Black birthing people.”
Why did you start Birth Queen?
“I started Birth Queen because this crisis is sickening and there is a solution. I feel called to utilize my education and privilege to educate, protect and empower my Black sisters.
I am a Black woman who during my third trimester in 2020 suffered from nightly panic attacks out of fear of bringing another Black son into this harsh and hateful world. Taking action helped calm my anxiety and Birth Queen was born out of my passion and knowledge.
When Black women are supported and cared for by Black female care providers the outcome is positive. Birth Queen raises money to fund training for midwives, doulas and lactation counselors, as well as to provide support and education to mothers so they not only survive their births but thrive.”
What is Birth Queen doing to create change for black mothers?
“Birth Queen is collaborating with activists, government officials, established programs and beyond to educate and implement solutions. Our top two goals are:
To open black female owned and operated birthing centers to serve Black birthing people
Implement group care models in public hospitals run by Black birth workers for Black birthing people
With the numerous partnerships and relationships we have, we are creating awareness about the crisis AND providing tangible solutions. We know there are many people doing amazing work so we want to amplify and support their work as well as give birth to new solutions.”
What can our readers do to help create change?
Talk about the crisis and the solutions that Birth Queen is implementing
Donate products for mom and baby, photoshoots for mom, and meals
"My goal is to provide mothers with a Gold Package for Love to meet all her needs prenatally and postpartum. I want mothers to feel like the BIRTH QUEENS they are.”
What advice do you have for new mothers to help them form a close bond with their babies?
“My go to saying is ‘Pop the boob and feed your baby.’ I am a big believer in skin-to-skin. It calms mommy and baby. We must remember our babies lived inside us for 40 weeks. Being close makes them feel safe. Even if you bottle feed, enjoy skin-to-skin. I am also a lover of co-sleeping.
My love of baby cuddles has passed down to my sons. They also love to cuddle and hold hands. It’s the cutest thing I have ever seen. I realized all the baby wearing, skin-to-skin, co-sleeping, and on demand feeding has affected their brotherly love and I love it!
I love Bonsie Baby and was so excited it launched in time for my second baby boy. It was so easy to have quick and comfy skin-to-skin and it also simplifies diaper changes. And did I say how cute and fashionable my lil’ man was?”
Thank you to Rachel and her team for promoting tangible solutions and spreading awareness about the Black Maternal Health Crisis.