'The Bachelor's Bekah Martinez is Using Her Son's Birth Story to Help Black Moms

Sabrina Rojas Weiss

Click here to read the full article.

We love a good birth story around here, so when a reality-star-turned-podcast host decides to share hers, we’re in. If you’re on the same page, stop right now and go listen the entire hour and 49 minutes of Bachelor alum Bekah Martinez’s latest Chatty Broads episode. She spares no detail about giving birth to second child Franklin. But what we really love is that first she makes the space for women who can’t have the privileged birth experience she did.

“Reflecting on my birth experience I was overwhelmed with gratitude but also heaviness knowing that there are so many aspects of privilege that played into this birth experience,” Martinez said of having baby Franklin James at home last week. “Not only just from the simple fact that I’m white, but also that I am wealthy and healthy enough to experience a home birth with a caring, competent, licensed midwife.”

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She then repeats some of the very scary statistics about the disparity of experiences between white and Black birthing parents. The latest numbers from the CDC state that the maternal mortality rate for Black non-Hispanic women is 2.5 times higher than that of white non-Hispanic women.

View this post on Instagram

Today I’m sharing Franklin’s birth story on the podcast. ♥️ While the experience was euphoric/joyful/beautiful/everything I wanted it to be, my heart is heavy. Heavy because birthing as a white woman is a privilege in and of itself— my baby and I are statistically so much safer— but I am SO privileged to be wealthy and healthy enough to birth in the comfort of my home, surrounded by tender and compassionate care. The infant mortality rate for babies of Black mothers is double the rate of babies born to white mothers. According to the CDC, Black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health. In 2017 in NYC, Black women were TWELVE times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes. Before you cite poverty/education as the reason (which is still a racism-related cause), a 2016 analysis found that black, college-educated mothers who gave birth in local hospitals were more likely to suffer severe complications of pregnancy or childbirth than white women who never graduated from high school. According to national surveys, half of white medical trainees believe such myths as black people have thicker skin or less sensitive nerve endings than white people. A Fundamentals of Nursing textbook (published in 2017) stated “Blacks often report higher pain intensity than other cultures”. Another study revealed that Black patients were 22% less likely than white patients to receive pain medication. Where does this end? When will it stop? Black women deserve compassionate care. Safe pregnancy and birth is a privilege. A home birth with a midwife who is the same color as me is a huge privilege. Black midwives once birthed our nation. Now they make up 1-2% of our nation’s midwives. We must give Black women the power to birth safely and peacefully. If you have the capacity to give financially, please consider supporting Black birth workers. A fund will be linked in my bio. @chattybroads will be matching up to $4k in donations, and I will also be personally matching $4k in donations. EVERY amount helps. Thank you ♥️ #BlackBirthMatters Photos by @laurenguilfordbirths

A post shared by bekah (@bekah) on Jun 30, 2020 at 8:41am PDT

“Black women deserve compassionate care,” Martinez said. For that reason, she posted a GoFundMe link on her Instagram page to raise money for organizations supporting Black birthing people and their babies. Chatty Broads is matching donations up to $4,000, and Martinez herself is matching up to another $4,000.

After that serious intro, Martinez launched into telling co-host Jess Ambrose the story of last Friday and Saturday. Unlike when she gave birth to daughter Ruth a little over a year ago in a birthing center, she and boyfriend Grayston Leonard welcomed Franklin in their own home (which she said is bigger than where they were living last year). That gave her the chance to walk around near her home during the day, have dinner with her family, and even take a nap in her own bed before contractions got really serious.

“I was like, ‘I want this to be a joyful experience,'” Martinez said of her plan. The only hitch there was that her contractions were really painful and exhausting. She found herself yelling at everyone for talking during her contractions, and then laughing at herself in-between.

Having pushed for three whole hours for Ruth’s birth, Martinez also decided not to have her midwife check how far dilated she was, for fear she would start to push too early. That plan did work out for her. When she was in the tub and feeling ready, Franklin dropped down the birth canal and she pushed his head out all in one contraction.

“I was laughing when I was feeling him move down the birth canal,” she said. “When his head was out, I flipped around and sat on the step. I was smiling … I was just so elated.”

It took only around three or four pushes to get him out all the way. You can actually see the moment it happened in a photo she shared on the Chatty Broads Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

Broads, in today’s episode we get to hear all about the birth of Bekah’s second child, Franklin James. It is a beautiful story – and we can’t wait for you all to hear it. Make sure and swipe to see the INCREDIBLE photo Bekah was talking about on the podcast! But we also would like to share something Bekah posted earlier today regarding this episode – here is a #repost from @bekah : Today I’m sharing Franklin’s birth story on the podcast. ♥️ While the experience was euphoric/joyful/beautiful/everything I wanted it to be, my heart is heavy. Heavy because birthing as a white woman is a privilege in and of itself— my baby and I are statistically so much safer— but I am SO privileged to be wealthy and healthy enough to birth in the comfort of my home, surrounded by tender and compassionate care. The infant mortality rate for babies of Black mothers is double the rate of babies born to white mothers. According to the CDC, Black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health. In 2017 in NYC, Black women were TWELVE times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes. Before you cite poverty/education as the reason (which is still a racism-related cause), a 2016 analysis found that black, college-educated mothers who gave birth in local hospitals were more likely to suffer severe complications of pregnancy or childbirth than white women who never graduated from high school. According to national surveys, half of white medical trainees believe such myths as black people have thicker skin or less sensitive nerve endings than white people. A Fundamentals of Nursing textbook (published in 2017) stated “Blacks often report higher pain intensity than other cultures”. Another study revealed that Black patients were 22% less likely than white patients to receive pain medication. Where does this end? When will it stop? Black women deserve compassionate care. Safe pregnancy and birth is a privilege. A home birth with a midwife who is the same color as me is a huge privilege. (Continued in comments)

A post shared by CHATTY BROADS w/ Bekah & Jess (@chattybroads) on Jun 30, 2020 at 10:16am PDT

Once he was out, she was able to sit in the tub peacefully with Franklin for about 15 minutes.

“He didn’t even cry for the first few minutes,” she said. “It was straight up like he didn’t even know he had been born.”

Though the birth itself was easier for her the second time, Martinez did note that her afterbirth contractions were more painful than they had been the first time. She really just wanted that all to be over with.

Martinez’s birth experiences sound pretty ideal. That’s certainly not how it goes down for everyone, though, so read what the experts say about who should and shouldn’t consider a home birth.

Then you can enjoy all of these tales from other celebrity mamas who chose a home birth for themselves.

Launch Gallery: Jamie Otis, Ashley Graham & More Celebs Who Chose Home Birth

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