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BY JO SCHONEWOLF

May 10, 2019


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Black mothers are more likely than white mothers to die during pregnancy or delivery or in the year following.
“[B]asic healthcare fails hundreds of women a year who die during or after pregnancy, especially women of color,” writes NPR. Though we are all genetically the same, “the evidence is strong that it is the chronic effect of the stress of racism... that takes its toll on pregnancy, childbirth and care for a newborn after birth.” 
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. -- Exodus 20:12
This weekend, families across the United States will gather to celebrate their mothers, either of birth or of raising. It can be a complicated day for many. There are those who wish to be mothers and cannot, those who have complicated and painful relationships with their mothers and mother-figures, those who have lost their mothers recently, and those mothers and grandmothers who have lost a child or grandchild in recent months. But there is one group you'd think would be celebrating wholeheartedly this mother's day: mothers-to-be and new mothers. 

Studies show, though, that mothers in the United States are dying from preventable complications, most relating to the cardiovascular system. More than that, NPR reports, all mothers except white mothers have an increased likelihood of dying during birth or in the year after because of the exact reason you expect  

Racism is one of America's most enduring sins and it weighs heavily on those affected by it. That's actually one meaning of the Hebrew word used here for “honor”: to be heavy or weighty. We are to give weight to our mothers, to consider them as parts of our lives that carry importance. But there are good kinds of weight and evil kinds of weight and it is incumbent upon us to relieve evil weight when we see it. 
Check out the work that March for Moms is doing to help right the injustices faced by mothers of all backgrounds.
God of mothers, God of all caregivers, God of all life, we give you thanks for all that you have given us. Strengthen us in this time to protect those mothers who are most vulnerable. Give us abundant love for all those who have mothered us in our lives and for those who have never felt mothered. Amen. 
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