This story is part of Black Ballad’s takeover of HuffPost UK, a week-long series by Black women on parenting, family, and our post-Covid future.
When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter last August, I rehearsed how my birth would go a million times in my mind. I imagined myself in a pool of warm, tranquil water with my husband by my side and the unexplainable rush of blood coursing through my veins as I held my daughter for the first time.
I also mentally rehearsed the not so pleasant things I would have to deal with during pregnancy – a racist healthcare system.
How would I advocate for myself if I felt midwives and doctors weren’t taking my health concerns seriously during labour? Some may ask why I would rehearse such unpleasant moments that aren’t even a reality? It is because that is what Black people – and in this case, Black mothers – do.
Black mothers aren’t born with the privilege of thinking that society will work in our favour. We know that systems that should work for us, don’t. Systems that are meant to serve and protect us can in fact put our lives more in danger, so we push ourselves to imagine the worst and how we will deal with those situations that may arise.
We imagine these unpleasant scenarios so we aren’t caught out, so that we are prepared and armed to deal with these nightmares that far too often turn into realities. Yet, giving birth in a global pandemic was something even my mind couldn’t imagine.
I gave birth to my daughter by myself after needing an emergency c-section. Of course, doctors were there, but my husband wasn’t allowed by my side and I had never felt more alone or more powerless, in a face mask and looking up a white ceiling with lights so bright they felt like they were piercing my eyeballs.
Spending nearly 60 hours in...