Timoria McQueen-Maternal Health Advocate
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I am a maternal health advocate and speaker specializing in mental and physical trauma due to childbirth and pregnancy. For several years I have been advocating to improve maternal health in the US. Although my story…
Hello! Thank you for watching.
I am a maternal health advocate and speaker specializing in mental and physical trauma due to childbirth and pregnancy. For several years I have been advocating to improve maternal health in the US. Although my story has been on a national radar and garnered attention with key decision makers in DC and within maternal health organizations, very little progress has been made to prevent maternal deaths here in America and address mental and physical trauma due to birth and pregnancy complications.
After the birth of my first daughter in 2010, I suffered a postpartum hemorrhage and almost died. I underwent a life-saving surgery and was later diagnosed with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). One year later, I had a miscarriage in a frozen yogurt shop in front of several people. I realized that there were very few resources for women who had similar birth and pregnancy complications. I decided to start the conversation publicly. Along with providing resources for other women, I share an intimate and candid look at what my life has been life since giving birth to my first child five years ago on my blog
Christy Turlington Burns, model and founder of Every Mother Counts, came across a tweet of mine several years ago and asked me to share my story on her website. She also suffered a postpartum hemorrhage during the birth of her first child. Since then, I have written for several websites, including the Huffington Post.
The maternal mortality rate in the United States is shocking. Out of 180 countries, the United States currently ranks 60th in maternal deaths. This means 59 other countries are better at keeping new mothers alive than we are. Each year, approximately 86,000 women in the U.S. suffer a birth or pregnancy complication, and out of those around 1200 die. (Globally-500,000 women die every year during or shortly after childbirth).As an African- American woman I was floored to learn that black women die at 3 to 4 times the rate of white women. The U.S. is the only developed country where maternal deaths and infant mortality rates are increasing. 98% of these deaths are preventable.
More women need to know that these types of birth complications are not rare, and if they suffer a birth or pregnancy trauma, there are resources available to help them heal. Medical professionals need to hear more stories like mine. Unfortunately, the patient's point of view is often lost in the conversations about improving maternal health. The support of my doctor, along with therapy and yoga, played a key role in helping me to trust my body again after suffering a postpartum hemorrhage and the miscarriage. We need to start validating each mother's birth experience, offer support and stop letting mothers suffer in silence.
I overcame PTSD, fear and not trusting my body. I gave birth to my second daughter in March of 2014. My birth experience the second time around was beautiful and helped me gain what I felt was lost five years ago.
My goal is to provide knowledge and resources to our citizens about maternal mortality, birth trauma and pregnancy complications. Our elected officials need to be better educated about maternal deaths, birth trauma and maternal mental health. Each year bills that could help provide solutions to solving the maternal mortality crisis in America come and go without garnering enough support to have a chance to be enacted. For instance, the Maternal Health Accountability Act (and many bills like it) has been introduced several times and failed to pass. This bill would allow for the creation of maternal mortality review committees in every state, holding doctors and hospitals accountable for reporting the causes of a maternal death. Without requiring hospitals and doctors to give the exact cause of a maternal death we will never know how to prevent them.We will also never know if the statistics are accurate. Perhaps once maternal mortality is on their radar, our politicians will vote to enact this type of legislation.
If you or someone you know is a birth trauma survivor and needs resources, please reach out to your doctors. You can also reach out to me anytime by sending an email to email@example.com
You are not alone.
Below are links to some of my articles.