Written by: Brandi Sellerz -Jackson. Connect with her on Instagram.

It takes a village. When invited to attend and offer opening remarks at the Chamber of Mother Power Breakfast, I felt a communal and holy village within our nation’s Library of Congress. I felt like a village of doers and makers of a better country. As we, the speakers, shared our hearts on the growing problem within maternal healthcare, we all also offered solutions and a clear path forward.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Lauren Smith Brody – Chamber of Mothers, Deshi Singh – Chamber of Mothers, Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Rep Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Erin Erenberg – Chamber of Mothers, Brandi Sellerz-Jackson – Ergobaby

Rep. Rashida Tlaib shared why Black women matter and how her mother found her voice through encouragement from Black women. I felt her so profoundly as she shared the story of her hearing the call to speak up for the first time. Rep. Jimmy Gomez shared how the Dad’s Caucus is making a difference and making space for maternal health. He graciously gave every mother present in the room their flowers, illustrating how there is an evident double standard when it comes to motherhood and the expectations that go with it vs. the standards of fatherhood. It was refreshing to hear. Rep. Lauren Underwood shared why the Momnibus is essential and Black Maternal Health Week is a rallying cry for protecting Black women when birthing.

After opening remarks, we workshopped a solution forward—and more so, in practical ways, how we can all make a difference within our unique communities and expertise. Attendees came from an array of backgrounds. For this reason alone, I left feeling energized about the work ahead. 

The Momnibus Act is vital. Black women being three to four times more likely to die during childbirth is a national emergency. During my time speaking, I shared that Black women deserve not only to escape death by the skin of their teeth. This idea of managing to simply not die or to avoid trauma at least should NOT be the standard for progress. Instead, I believe that Black women deserve a peaceful and blissful birth. We deserve to give birth on our terms and in safety. And I will add that when we say our maternal health matters, I mean our entire well-being within our motherhood journey. I shared how maternal health should not stop after we finish birthing our babies into the world. It should continue through our motherhood journey. 

Here’s to joy. Here’s to progress. Here’s to a path forward.

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