It’s Black Maternal Mental Health Week!
Black mothers are much more likely to suffer a pregnancy or infant loss, and also more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth. The emotional and mental weight of these losses is heavy and ever present for Black mothers in America (and many other countries). There are many factors that influence these statistics, but the over arching truth is that it has to change. And the first step to change is awareness.
At Smooth Stones Coaching, we are here to support all our sisters who have endured loss.
I am honored to have as my guest Erica McAfee. Erica is a mom of two babies in heaven and one miracle child. She is an advocate for Black maternal mental health and grief support. She is an educator, speaker, and podcaster at Sisters in Loss, where she shares stories of loss and hope. Erica also trains birth and bereavement doulas. She is a classically trained violinist and lover of Jesus Christ.
You can find out more about Erica and Sisters in loss here:
The book Erica mentioned is Medical Bondage by Deidre Cooper Owens
If you have any questions, let me know here:
If you would like to share your baby’s story on the podcast, submit here: https://smoothstonescoaching.com/podcast-submissions
For a free 30 minute session, click here to schedule:
Music provided by ZingDog / Pond5
Photo provided by Erica McAfee
This week is Black Maternal Mental Health Week, and I’m so honored. I was able to speak with Erica McAfee about the unique challenges facing the black community in regards to baby loss, maternal mortality, and maternal mental health. No matter what color your skin. We are all together in this beautiful community and one of our strengths is listening.
I am gonna put some resources in the show notes if you would like to learn more or if you’d like to support organizations and people who are helping the black community specifically. I hope each one of you listening knows how much I love you and I care for you. Everyone is welcome here. Let’s do it. So welcome, Erica.
I am so excited to talk to you and Oh, thank you. I had as I was researching and getting ready for this interview and looking at all the things you’ve done. You’ve got, you are a speaker, a birth, bereavement doula, you train, birth, bereavement, do doulas. Mm-hmm. You’re helping with black infant and maternal health issues, and you’re an advocate.
You also have your own podcast, right? Yes, absolutely. All of these things and even more, what would you like my listeners who maybe haven’t met you before to know about you? Oh, absolutely. So, um, like you mentioned, um, Uh, my name is Erica McAfee. I am a birth and bereavement doula and trainer. And, um, I do host a podcast, um, that’s been around almost three years.
It’ll be three years in August, 2020, um, that focuses on black maternal health. More specifically on pregnancy and infant loss and infertility stories. Um, so we share stories weekly for inspiration, um, around grief and loss and with that journey to motherhood and parenthood may look like for, um, for women of color, um, and black woman.
Um, I. A huge advocate on maternal health and more, more so really talking about just the racial disparities that go on in maternal health and the outcomes that, um, are more prevalent nowadays. Um, as social media’s grown and more people are sharing their stories or of stories of their loved one. And babies who have gone on due to unfair and unjust treatment in the medical system.
So I’m excited to talk to you today, um, uh, um, and just, um, share with your community and your listeners, um, a little bit about my story and you know, why I’m called to this work. That’s amazing. I mean, I love just everything you do and anybody who’s not following Erica on social media or just, you have to.
’cause I just love it. Um, I love all the work you’re doing. I don’t love the reason, you know, that we’re both here doing it, but Right, right. Um, something a little different that I like to do when we’re talking about our angel babies is give my guests an opportunity to. Tell a little bit about the life of your baby.
Maybe like any proud mom would do. Um, a lot of times it’s kind of all mixed up in the death of our babies, um, when their lives were a little shorter than we, we would’ve hoped. So could you tell us a little bit about. Yeah. What brought you here and maybe some lessons you’ve learned along the way from your angel baby.
Oh, absolutely. So, um, I have two angel babies that are in heaven. Um, one who lived about. 41 minutes. Um, outside of my womb. He was born, um, his name’s Brandon Junior. He was born at 39 weeks and five days. And I have another little girl who, um, gestationally made it to 18 weeks and four days. Her name is Brielle.
And, um, one thing that I. I loved about my experience and memories that I cherish forever, um, at the hospital that I delivered both of them at same hospital. I was able to get, you know, hand prints and footprints and then three D modes of their hands and their footprints at their gestational age. So I have, you know, the hands and the feet for my baby girl, Brielle, and then the hands and footprints of my baby boy, Brandon Junior.
Um, you know, as he was born, um, full term, um, six and four ounces. So, Those memories amongst a bunch of other things, but I can physically hold them, you know, I physically have pieces of them that I can hold and go and look at whenever I’m feeling down, or I get close to that, that day, you know, their anniversary and, and, um, day they passed away.
Um, it, it has bought. Comfort to me, and it’s really charged me to be able to provide that comfort and memories for a lot of the guests that come on my podcast, but also the clients that I do coach. And then now, and my birth and bereavement training is, um, doula training is to make sure that our doulas.
Provide these services to, um, their clients so that they can have memories no matter what the gestational age is of, you know, the baby who I’ve gone, gone to heaven before us. So I, those are, those are my two angels in heaven. And I do have a rainbow baby. His name is Maxwell. Um, that story, my whole birth story with Maxwell is, is a traumatic birth.
Story in general. I won’t share that unless you wanna get into it. But what I will say is that, you know, he’s my miracle. Um, he, um, did sustain some brain injuries, um, during his birthing process and he has cerebral palsy as a result. But he is the, the joy of my world, um, for sure. And some of the lessons that I’ve learned really on this journey is that sharing your story is so powerful and you just never know.
Who your story is gonna touch. Um, it really wasn’t until I started to share my story on social media and even amongst my family, that I realized that loss was so prevalent. Losing babies were, was almost a normalcy in my family. You know, my grandmother had lost my, my. Grandmother had lost, um, a full, you know, a full term son at birth.
Um, and I knew she always had eight children. You know, my father being the youngest, but I did not know that she actually birthed nine children, you know, but lost her first. So, You know, being able to share those stories and then hearing about my aunts and my cousins who’ve all had miscarriages of some form of loss in, in, um, throughout their pregnancy, um, just really opened my eyes to how we should normalize it.
But it also made me realize too, how a lot of people don’t grieve properly, those losses. So even me sharing with my grandmother about the loss of. My son and she knew I lost him, and then she sharing with me about her first loss. You could tell that she hadn’t. Grieved and really dealt with that loss in its entirety.
So, um, I, sharing your story is powerful and being able to normalize your losses helps make you feel like you’re not alone on the journey and that you’re not by yourself and that somebody actually understands the pain that you feel. Um, another big lesson that I’ve learned is that community is everything.
A group of women who are a part of this sorority that you did not wanna be a part of, but you are now has helped me in my grief and my healing, and that it has brought. A sense of normalcy to us because we know what that pain feels like. We know what happens when those dates come back around year after year, and we can help support and guide and really carry each other through to that, to whatever that next side of grief and healing looks.
Like, so those are some of the lessons that I’ve learned so far, but it’s really brought me to the work that I’m doing now where, you know, I’m coaching women, I’m training doulas, and um, definitely just being a huge advocate around maternal health when it comes to reproductive justice and birth injustice, and just really making sure pregnancy and infant loss and infertility is not lost in those conversations.
For sure and I’ve loved, again, this past month and everything that’s been going on, I, I’m so grateful. I’ve been aware of it because of people like you that have been speaking out for a long time, but just seeing that I. People maybe are finally listening to what’s going on in the black community and just the system with healthcare for mothers and babies.
I’m just feeling really hopeful that we can make progress and change. You know, I hope that this episode will be obsolete and just. In who knows how long. But yeah, it’s been just a really great opportunity to learn and hopefully make some change and Absolutely, absolutely. And that’s really what it’s all about is to, um, learn about.
Really, um, what the issues are that are out there o obviously in the broader sense, but really listen and, and figure out what is going on in your local community because ultimately that is where you can have the most impact, um, in your local community, um, and within your state. Um, so for those listeners who are out there, you know, you may have seen all of the different stories that are out there just about, um, Systemic racism across the board, not just in, you know, policing, but definitely around healthcare when it comes to black women and babies.
But now what’s more so coming to light is just. You see it more often because more people are posting about it no different than how people are showing videos of police brutality. Now you actually get to see pictures and photos of, you know, um, you know, negligence from some clinicians or ob GYNs or physicians or surgeons, and you people are actually sharing their stories.
Other side where a woman passed away to this negligence, you now you get to see, you know, the GoFundMe pages or the stories being shared by their families because you know, they don’t have the voice because they’re not here any anymore. So, I’m happy. Um, I’m happy to always share those stories. Like I said, I’ve been, we have been sharing those stories.
I’ve been sharing those stories from all the time in general, but I’m just happy that people are more, more anxious to understand exactly, you know, what can I do. Um, how can I be a part of this conversation? You know, what can I do to make, to impact change? Um, whether that’s, you know, um, being a, you know, being a part of a nonprofit or supporting a nonprofit that’s doing this work or just really.
Just trying to add to that conversation overall of what is happening in my local community, because I think people, people realize that, um, you don’t realize how much change that you can actually affect just in your local community. Um, which you can, you can do a lot just locally. Um, not necessarily on a national level.
That’s like the next steps, you know. Yes. Would you tell us a little bit, maybe an overview, what are the differences, like what are the challenges that the black community specifically are facing in this issue of pregnancy loss, infant loss, and the loss of too many mothers? Like what is the difference that maybe people, if they haven’t heard about it, what could you tell us?
Well, I can take you all the way back. So we’ll go all the way back and do a quick history lesson then. Um, so back, um, back in the 18 hundreds, um, when modern medicine was starting to be formed, obviously. During this timeframe, this is before, um, 1865 where slavery was abolished. So anything before then, you know, most, um, African Americans were enslaved and during that time when our modern, um, O B G Y N practices were being formed, Of the surgical procedures on enslaved black women and during this timeframe.
Um, I wanna say there’s a few different OBGYNs who were doing practices like this or doing surgeries, but one main one that is known for being the, the grandfather of, um, OB G Y N is Jay Marian Sims. Um, and most recently, I believe, as a part of this civil unrest, um, that’s been happening in our country, they, the statue of Jay Marion Sims, that was.
That was, um, actually erected in New York City and Central Park has been now taken down. That’s just a side note. Mm-hmm. Um, and then they’re also working on taking down a couple, um, photos of him that has been posted in Alabama’s, um, state capital, um, of him actually doing surgeries on enslaved black women.
During that time, he basically made the conclusion as he was, um, doing some surgical repair, um, on, um, On black women, mainly after they were given birth, they were having issues with excessive peeing. And, um, he created this method to um, actually surgically stitch them their uterus and their bladder so that they would have this excessive peeing.
After childbirth. Um, but he didn’t do it with any anesthesia, um, because he didn’t consider enslaved black women having pain. You know, he didn’t consider them human, so he was the GR grandfather of OB G Y N. So that is exactly how our obstetrics and gynecology world was starting to be formed with the thought that.
You know, enslaved black women or even black women in general do not feel pain. Um, and we can continue to perform surgeries with little to no anesthesia, even after, you know, 1865 and slavery was abolished. So fast forward to, you know, um, you know, the last maybe 20 years is when we really started seeing so, um, Systemic racism throughout the entire country has been rampant in different ways.
Right. Um, but mainly in healthcare. Around the late, um, the early 1920s, 1930s, up until about 1970, um, there was a syphilis study done on black men in Tuskegee, Alabama. Um, I’m sure many of you may have heard, if you’re not something else, you.
Project that they did where they gave, they, they gave these 300 or so black men syphilis and studied them, you know, gave them free healthcare for a year or two or for a lifetime, I’m not really sure. But that stigma of, you know, turning, you know, turning your bodies over to science or provide, you know, and, and getting free care is what left the stigma on a lot of.
Black families because a lot of these men ended up dying for SS, could just gotten an.
But this was an experiment that the government was doing on them. So this kind of flash forwards us to maybe the last 20 years of time where a lot of people are giving birth that are not in that generation. They’re the generation after that generation that I was just telling you about. Where, you know, in my grandparents’ generation, they didn’t wanna go to the doctors because they were afraid of what the doctors may do.
Happened to those Tuskegee men, you know? So, um, with this systemic racism been in, he. It has turned back over to black mothers and babies. And granted, you know, I’m, I’m kind of giving you all the abbreviated version. There’s so much more has happened in between here. Absolutely. But I’m just kind of giving you, um, the abbreviated high level version of exactly what has happened, um, over the last really, um, Years of, of healthcare.
A great book to read on just, um, how American Gynecology was Born is Medical Bondage. It is by Deidre, um, Owens Cooper. It is an excellent read to talk about everything I just mentioned about Jay Marion Sims and his colleagues. It was probably three other OBGYNs as well who all performed, um, surgical procedures on enslaved women.
It’s the reason why I. Our gynecological system is all named by men. Our fallopian tubes, the G spot, all those are named by men, right? Yeah. So, um, you can, you can go and research and read that book. That book goes into a deep history on exactly, um, why our system is the way it’s, and it talks a little bit more in detail about, um, systemic racism in healthcare as well, and how, how.
Where we are today, you know, over the last 20 years, um, seeing the death rates of black women. Um, and babies in particularly decline due to, and it’s not necessarily due to like socioeconomic status or education levels. It’s really dealt with just how a lot of these physicians, these clinicians, these practitioners were taught and trained to, to basically.
Not, um, provide pain management to folks of color and that a lot of black women and men are not being heard. They’re not being taken seriously. And when they say that they’re in pain, they, um, and they truly are in pain. They, they aren’t reacting as fast as they should. And that’s the reason why a lot of our black moms and babies are dying today.
Now, there are so many other mechanisms that have been been in, put in place over the last maybe 20 years to ensure this doesn’t happen. But at the end of the day, it kind of comes down to racial bias. And under and you know, people being taught, you know, ’cause those books have not changed in the last 30 plus years on, you know, what they’re being taught in their first and second year as medical students.
So a lot of them are being taught the same old way when they really need to be being taught just racial bias training. They really need to be taught, you know exactly, you know, to treat everybody the same, no matter if they are paying or not, you know, on Medicaid or not. And it’s what brings us to where we are today, where we have staggering rates.
You know, black women are four to five times more likely to pass away from pregnancy related complications. Babies are black. Babies are three to four times more likely to die within their first year life. From the maternal mental health perspective, you know, black women are two times more to experience postpartum depression or, or peri perinatal mood disorders, and it’s because of the trauma they’ve experienced.
Just even trying to go to the doctor and get a, you know, get their blood checked, blood pressure checked. Pee in a, you know, during a regular routine pregnancy visit, be seen by the doctor for what, all of 10 or 15 minutes and go you. I say all that to say is that we have a lot of work to do around the systemic racism in our healthcare system, how our doctors are being trained, how we are reporting some of these numbers, the statistics that you see out there, and then what we can do collectively as, um, from, you know, folks who are advocating around pregnancy and infant loss like yourself and infertility.
What we can do as a community to come together to ensure that no mother has to go through loss. You know, no mother is dying at the hands of not being heard in the hospital. And that we are, um, pushing on our state legislators and then also our federal legislators, our, you know, state rep, you know, representatives, house of representative, um, to.
To, to start to, to push bills through, you know, the house and through, um, the Senate to ensure that this is a federal mandated program because it’s a crisis that’s been going on. But a lot of the things that that needs to happen has to happen at a federal level in order for it to, to. For us to all ensure that no woman’s left behind, that every woman is gonna get that fair and equal treatment, and that their babies come home from the hospital and then they also come home.
You explained that so amazing. I mean, there’s so much there and I just wanna encourage anybody who’s, who’s not educated about or hasn’t heard about this before, that there are so many resources out there and. I think important to reiterate, just like you said, absolutely so many, there’s so many studies that have basically proven that it isn’t anything to do with how much melanin you have in your skin or where you live, or any of these things that are causing these like huge disparities.
Right. Anything that, that anyone would come up with. Well, maybe it’s this, maybe it’s this. Like, it’s all basically been proven that it’s not, it all, it all has basically been proven right. That it is definitely, um, racism. I mean, that’s what it boils down to. And as much as we, you know, I think that what this.
Pandemic and this unrest of police brutality has really uprooted for us in the US is that we have to come to face to face with racism in the country. And it’s the. The sin of the United States that they just have, we have not come to grip grips with, and now we are all at home. You know, not everybody’s going into work every day and, and are busy and occupied, and you actually have to come face to face with it and say, okay, what is my part in this?
You know, do I have any bias that’s out there? You know, have I had a bad experience with someone, um, of the other race? You know, or, you know, Do I show bias to people based off of their skin color? And just really, truly ask yourself that question. And if you do, you know, go and research ways that you can help remove those bias and have, and not be, and not have those, um, and have some un you know, that bias that’s.
This complete remove when it comes to racial disparities and just race in the country. And I think that that’s really what our country now is coming to grips with and really, and really struggling through. Right. Trying to figure out where you stand on the side of. And how can you be of support to organizations and communities and, and different things that are focused on moving this, this conversation forward.
So I’m happy that we’re having a conversation ’cause I think that a lot of, a lot of people would stray away from it because they’re scared of it. So I’m happy that you reached out to me. No, I love it. I love all, I’m, yeah. I’m just happy to. To talk more. ’cause like you said, sharing our stories, sharing our experiences.
And as lost moms, like we get it, we understand the pain and I think like we are strong and we don’t want this to continue happening. So on the the kind of mental health side of it, I think that most women would also understand kind of this idea that we should be strong. We don’t really need to reach out for help.
We should be able to handle everything on our own. I know, I hear that from my clients, um, a lot. Like, I, you shouldn’t be struggling. I shouldn’t, grief shouldn’t be so hard. Would you tell us a little bit like how that shows up in the black community and just what the obstacles are to reaching out for help, whatever that is, whether it’s therapy or a coach or even a support group.
Absolutely. I think that we all face that same huddle when it comes to being able to reach out and share, um, our stories or really trying to navigate what does this journey look like? I think what’s different for, um, the, um, black community. Is that we have been. Told not really to, um, and maybe it’s just a cultural thing, um, for the US too, just, we just don’t talk about these kind of things, right?
You kind of throw ’em, move them to the side, push it to the back of your mind, you know, push it, you know, um, and really don’t share as much because, you know, you wanna kind of keep things in your own circle, in your own bubble, in your own. That has so many negative consequences to just your own personal mental health and just your, your, how you supposed to actually grow and grow, grow through and actually, um, grieve properly so that you can get to a.
Able to put one foot in front of the other and continue to move through life in this new normal, right. I think that with a lot of women in the Sisters and loss community, um, they, they tend to be more open to being a part of a community. And then once they see the benefits of community, And how a lot of the women in the community, you know, really talk about how therapy and having a counselor, a coach, or someone has helped them.
Then they’re more prone to going and getting a coach or a counselor to help them cope. ’cause what you know, and I know and many of your listeners know, is that, This isn’t something that you just, it just leaves you, you know, like we physically carry our babies with us as much as they are not, you know, um, physically with us and, you know, in presence, they are definitely.
Physically with us and in mind, right? We carry our grief with us every single day. And it’s until you be you, you’re in community with other women, um, that are like-minded, that may, may be going through some of the same struggles that you may be going through. Um, a lot of African-American women are faced with uterine fibroids and P C O S, polycystic ovarian syndrome or endometriosis, which has caused their issues with.
Fertility and being able to carry a baby to turn. So being in community with other women who may have had similar stories or similar underlying conditions, um, has helped led people back to those traditional ways of helping them through their own journeys. Um, You know, through actual formalized therapy or group therapy coaching sessions or, um, just really seeking help from certain books, certain, um, podcasts.
And one thing that I really enjoy about the community is that it is extremely encouraging for everyone who joins and, you know, It, it makes me realize how much. God plays a role in each and every person who comes into our private community, that he kind of orchestrates everyone to be there at the time they need to be there.
And then whenever things are posted in the community that may be, may need some encouragement, the right people say the right things. And then they form, um, bonds outside of, you know, our personal community where they’re. You know, DMing each other back and forth and making phone calls. And I think that it, that comes from, um, knowing that it’s a safe place that you can share, knowing that you have people that are there that.
Understand the pain that you’re going through and then knowing, knowing that people are, are gonna, gonna, gonna help provide you some type of resource that may work for you because not, not every, you know, not everything works for everybody, but, um, I think that that is what helps us and sisters in-laws, and I like to say Sisters and loss is, um, obviously, you know, it’s very focused on black women and women of.
But they’re, they’re every, everyone’s in that community. So it’s not just women, it’s men, it’s um, you know, people from all ethnicities and backgrounds and nationalities and backgrounds. So, you know, if you wanna join, definitely come over. Um, but obviously we talk about a lot about, not necessarily about race.
’cause obviously we, you know, most folks are in there, are, are black or, or of color. We talk a lot about the issues that we have, the underlying conditions that may prevent us from getting pregnant. Staying pregnant and being bringing a healthy baby home from the hospital. Beautiful. And I love that you know, you’re inviting everyone.
I say the same thing here, like it’s for everyone. So I did have a question. You mentioned your faith and I know you’re a woman of faith. I’ve had recently some people saying, You know, sometimes faith can be a huge help. Sometimes it can be also a challenge when we have this idea like that, if we just had enough faith, if we just pray, then again, this grieving wouldn’t hurt so much or mm-hmm.
We would get what we were praying for. Um, could you just speak a little bit to, you know, maybe your own experience with. That kind of faith journey that I think all of us who have gone through something hard goes through how, you know, challenges you see and maybe also how faith has helped you.
Absolutely. Faith is the really what has sustained my journey to becoming a mother, um, a parent again and. As much as it’s hard to keep the faith, I always challenge people in saying you, there’s many times where we’ll turn our back on God or question God and really ask ’em those hard questions that we may or may not get the answers to right at the end of the.
You have to, you have to go back to where and lean into something you know that is going to give you the desires of your heart. And as much as you may not want to have faith in this moment, you may have had a failed I V F treatment or failed I U I A miscarriage or a stillbirth. It is. Imperative that.
You ask God all those hard questions, be mad at ’em, you know, um, do what you need to do. But at some point you wanna come back. You, you’re gonna come back because you’re, you’re gonna have to. Lean into something of a greater being, which I’m sure it’s gonna be your God, you know the universe. Whatever you believe into your spiritual power that you believe in, in order to get you to that next level.
One thing that I believe is that we can’t do the same things over and over, and sometimes leaning back into, you know, the scriptures and really going back through. All of the different stories of the women who, um, struggle to have kids who are bearing in the Bible sometimes will renew your faith in a different way so that you can be, be, be ready to go to that next step in your journey to parenthood.
Um, I, I, I do believe that. It is a wrestle with your faith, especially after loss where you may not trust God because of, you know, such pain is on you, the burden the grief has overtaken you. But I know that if you are a faith believer, if you truly believe in Christ, being the head of your life and being able to grant you the desires of your heart, that you’ll come back.
Yearning and truly asking him for those desires that you may have. So I, I truly believe faith is the cornerstone of our journeys to parenthood as much as we wrestle and we go through the wrestling, you know, Even on my own personal journey, you know, you know I lost a baby at 39 weeks, then we lost our second pregnancy at thir at 18 weeks.
My, both my angel babies I talked about earlier, and then I, then I had a traumatic birth, or I almost lost my life with my son. Um, to the point where, you know, my son has cerebral palsy and then I’m barren. I don’t have a uterus. They had to take my uterus, um, during my last pregnancy. So I, I can’t physically carry another child.
So my only way of becoming a mother again is to adopt or have a surrogate. So as you, as many of you may know, you know, that journey of surrogacy or adoption is an up and down journey. No different than it is trying to conceive, going through an I V F treatment. It is a journey, right? And you wrestle with your faith and you truly, you, you ask God.
You know, is this for me? You know, you know, is this, is this really truly for me on this journey? Um, am I going to have the opportunity to become a mother again? You know, because you are a mother. It’s just you. You want to parent a child that’s physically here, physically with you, that you can carry and watch, grow and mature and things.
So I, I say it’s okay to wrestle with your faith. It’s okay to ask God the hard questions because he can answer ’em. You may not get the answer that you’re looking for, or you may not get an answer at all. But don’t be afraid to ask him those questions, and don’t be afraid that. Since you’re wrestling with your faith that you’re not Christian, because I think that is, that is why God takes us on these journeys to, to strengthen our faith ultimately.
So, so that when we get to a place, when we get to the blessing that we, we truly know that it was all him and not us. And I’m preaching to myself right now because that is exactly how I feel in my, in my journey right now, is that I know that as much as I don’t like. The, you know, the stretching, the, you know, these appointments and, and moving two steps forward in the process and then getting knocked four steps back.
And now during covid 19, a lot of, you know, i v f treatments have been put on hold and we’re living in a season of uncertainty, but ultimately, and I’m wrestling and I’m, I’m personally wrestling with it, right? What does this look like for me? Like, Lord, whatcha doing? You know? However, I do know that. I’m gonna ultimately get back to a place to say, God, you know, I’m surrendering to you because ultimately I know that you are the one that’s gonna supply this need.
You are the one that’s gonna grant me the desires of my heart, and I have to surrender. And many times on this journey we want to say, God, I want X, Y, and Z. And he’s like, no, I’m in totem control. And you can’t be selective with what you surrender to. Sometimes you just gotta just let go. Like literally let go and let God have his way in every shape form of your life.
And if. I am, I know I’m probably preaching to you ’cause I’m preaching to myself and the situation I’m going through right now is that you have to surrender and just really, truly let God have his way, um, on this journey es especially to strengthen your faith. Yeah, that’s beautiful. I love you can’t be selective to what you surrender to.
That’s, that’s beautiful. I love how you put that and I totally understand. To anybody listening or, you know, when you’re in the middle of it, it’s hard, you know, we know it, but when you’re really in it, it’s hard, but it’s worth it. It’s definitely worth the wrestle. So I, I love that. Thank you so much for sharing that with us.
Oh, no problem. No, I, I’m, like I said, I’m preaching to myself because I, I mean, I think that’s just with anything in life, right? Just not even your journey to parenthood, but just anything that you’re going through, you know, as much as we want to say, Hey God, I want you to bless X, Y, and you know, I want you to bless this.
We can’t, we just really gotta surrender our. Full selves to God and say, God, anyway, you bless me. I’ll be satisfied. And it’s hard to get to that place. It really is. But that is a faith walk. I mean, that’s the reason why we’re on this journey. It’s, it’s the walk. The walk that we walk. Um, as Christians where we have to, you know, um, God’s gonna test us in some way, shape or form.
It’s like, do we trust them? Do we not trust them? Do we question them? Do we not question ’em? I mean, I think we all go through this journey. Especially when we’re trying to make major decisions in our lives. Like, you know, trying to, trying to conceive again or growing our families. Um, but yeah, we can’t be selective to what we surrender to.
We truly have to surrender our all to God, um, and. Yeah, we really do. And I, I’m trying, I’m just thinking like, yeah, I’m, we all gotta do it. I’m preaching to myself because I, I know Erica, you gotta slowly, you gotta just surrender. Let him, let him do what he does. Let him do what he does. My heart goes out to you.
I know that’s gotta be, I’m sure it’s a roller coaster, but yeah, that’s what I teach. You know, as a coach too. It’s just like there’s reality, there’s our circumstances and the more we fight against ’em, the more it hurts. But when we can learn to just really. Lean into the, our lives the way they are. I mean, that’s, that’s what being human is, is just letting us go through all of these lessons and mm-hmm.
The good times and the bad times. So, um, yes, absolutely. I’d love to just wrap up here asking you again for all of us angel moms, we. People who maybe are still building their family or who are working through their grief journey, um, whatever stage they’re at, what are maybe a few messages or like empowering thoughts that you like for your angel moms?
Anyone listening to take with them as they learn how to like advocate for themselves? And just share their story or whatever’s scary for them right now, whatever they need a little help with. What would you say to them? So to the angel moms right now who are, you know, trying to conceive or maybe battling some infertility and um, just need some encouragement, I would just tell you to.
Surrender and um, like we just talked about, surrender. Everything that you may be doing to God. You know, if you don’t believe in God, whatever that higher being that you believe in, and, um, truly do the research that you need to, um, get to that next level. So if you know that you have an underlying health condition, If you know you’re, you’ve gotten a diagnosis of unexplained infertility or you did not get a diagnosis on your loss, that you go and get a second opinion.
I think that far too often we don’t. Um, get a second opinion when it comes to what, um, our medical practitioners and, and doctors and clinicians tell us is to go get a second opinion. You know, especially if you have the, you know, um, capability of doing so. Definitely go get a second opinion on your prognosis.
And then, um, once you have that second opinion, you know, make a decision on what you’re gonna do with that information. Now you’re equipped with the information. What are you gonna do as far as your next decisions, um, to move forward with this journey? For my angel moms who are still grieving. Who are grieving for, um, you know, the families who are grieving right now with all the unrest that’s going on for my angel moms who are just stuck in their grief.
Um, my encouragement to you all is to, um, begin to journal your thoughts and. Start to be in community. Find a community that works for you. There are many communities on Facebook that you can join, so find a community that works for you, that you, you know, join a few, see what you like around, see what you like in that journey, in that, in that Facebook group.
And you know, if you’re, feel inclined to share your story in that group. And then seeing how, um, the ladies in the group respond to you sharing your story and, you know, begin to ask questions and engage with that group. You know, especially if that group does any lives or has another type of, uh, of way of coming together as a community.
That you be involved in that community in that way, um, and continue to journal and then possibly turn your journal into, um, sharing your journal with, um, um, a licensed medical professional, whether it’s a therapist or counselor, um, so that they can help you through this grieving journey as it is different for everyone.
You know, not everyone has, um, The capability of, you know, moving through grief alone, you know you need help and community and someone who has those tools, like a licensed mental professional health professional that can help guide you to that next stage on your grief journey. I would love for you all to know that you’re not alone on this journey.
That your loss was not in vain, that you are mother, and that we are here for you. We are here to help you through to that next stage and that next part of your journey. Um, you just have to come and join us, be in a community with, with us, and be willing to be open to sharing a little bit more about you.
Beautiful, great ideas. I really, really appreciate you coming on. Erica. I’m gonna put all your Oh, you’re welcome. Put everything everywhere people can find you and all the good things you do. I wish we could talk for like another hour, but Oh, absolutely. Yes. Anytime you want me to come on, I’m willing to share.
Okay. Well, and yeah, and I just also like to end saying, I know that these statistics and. Again, each individual person has a story, and we hear this in the lost community all the time. Just that, you know, feeling like we’re not listened to feeling like we’re not getting answers and there’s not help. But I think this is a great opportunity right now as we all come together to support the black community, to be anti-racist, to kind of dismantle some of these systems that there is hope because.
I don’t know if you’ve read like different countries, there’s different countries like that are really becoming proactive in educating. Mm-hmm. And just, I really think it’s possible that we can do so much better and I hope that, you know, each one of us can do our part in our, like you said in our little.
Community, but also as lost moms, just to move this forward so that this episode, we just won’t have to talk about it anymore because we’re gonna be able to make progress in preventing some of these losses. I mean, we can’t, I don’t know if we can prevent all of ’em. I hope we can someday, but, but we can just be there for each other and help each other and yeah, I just love talking to you.
And is there anything else you, you wanna say or. Um, no, I’m excited that you have me. This has been, um, a pleasure and um, you all definitely she’ll drop my links, but definitely.
So good. Thank you, Erica, for everything you shared with us. And if you guys love this episode, would you share it with a friend and don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss an episode.