Only a few weeks ago, a couple from Virginia was turned away from a hospital and forced to give birth in a bathtub at home. Although this story is both shocking, it is not unique, and hundreds of pregnant women are at risk of being under the care of negligent doctor every day, b. The maternal mortality rate for black women is three to four times more than any other demographic, making what should be the most beautiful moment in a mother's life one of the most traumatic experiences that she will ever endure.
This is why former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actress Tatyana Ali, and her husband Vaughn Rasberry, chose an alternative route when welcoming the newest addition to their family into this world. While Erykah Badu put us on to the benefits of having a doula in the delivery room during childbirth, Tatyana wants us to know that a midwife is everything that your birthing plan has been missing.
While Tatyana gave birth to her first son traditionally in September of 2016, the 40-year-old mother-of-two recently penned an emotional open letter to ESSENCEthat explained exactly why she will never give birth in a hospital again. She wrote:
"I believe that my choice to birth naturally in a hospital was misguided and led to the impatience and interventions that ultimately put my baby's health in jeopardy. When we decided to grow our family, I began to search for a better way."
The birth of your first child is an amazing experience that you hope to remember for the rest of your life, but for Tatyana, her memories of the occasion were quite the opposite.
"The birth of my first son, three years ago, went completely off-script. For reasons that I have come to know are pretty much textbook, my low-risk pregnancy resulted in extremely questionable actions on the part of those attending and an emergency c-section. My labor was harried, filled with people I didn't know screaming at me."
Soon, Tatyana said that the delivery room started to look less like a healthy environment that she was ready to bring her first son into and more like a war zone. After seeing his wife rushed to the OR and completely blacking out, the actress says that her husband felt just as helpless and traumatized as she was.
Although there were people everywhere, Tatyana and her husband felt that there was no one in the room that was actually there for them, and their postpartum experience didn't make things any better:
"My husband, advocating for our baby and me the entire time, was as traumatized as I was. Postpartum, I was told by someone in the hospital that I had a pelvis shaped like a man's. I now know that comment was cruel and ridiculous. The worst part of our trial was that our son spent several days in the NICU as a result of his harrowing birth."
Tatyana and her husband recently welcomed Alejandro Vaughn Rasberry into the world and still say that they trust a midwife over a crowded hospital any day.
"My midwife is a Black woman. She's spent hours with me and my family, as though I am her only patient. She asks how I feel and what our hopes are; she conducts herself in a way that is culturally and spiritually attuned to me and she trusts in our ability to make informed decisions. She asks permission to touch my belly at every appointment and has encouraged me to honor my intuition."
Tatyana went on to say that having a choice in her child's safety during childbirth has empowered her to become the best mother that she can be, and hopes to encourage other women to take the wheel when it comes to their own maternal health:
"Simply put, I feel empowered. I chose sugar cane as the backdrop for my maternity shoot because it signifies reclamation. It is the crop that my ancestors—from India to Trinidad on my father's side, and from Ghana and Benin to Panamà on my mother's side—cultivated before coming here to the United States. They built the wealth of the modern world and their blood, resilience and dignity are my children's inheritance. I will keep it safe."
To read Tatyana's full essay on ESSENCE, click here!
Featured image by Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
Taylor "Pretty" Honore is a spiritually centered and equally provocative rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a love for people and storytelling. You can probably find me planting herbs in your local community garden, blasting "Back That Thang Up" from my mini speaker. Let's get to know each other: @prettyhonore.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Watching Angela “Blac Chyna” White’s transformation in real-time has truly been a sight to see. It wasn’t that long ago that she announced that she was reversing her cosmetic surgeries in an effort to go back to who she was before the world came to know her as Blac Chyna. In previous interviews, she stated that she was dissolving her facial and lip fillers, removing her breast implants, and getting a butt reduction, as well as removing the dimple piercings that enhanced her fame and controversial tattoos.
In a recent Tamron Hall interview, the mother of two said that she has “fully recovered” from the procedures. She is also celebrating one year of sobriety and opened up about being worried about how her new journey would be received by others.
“I’ve been in the entertainment industry for so long, right, and of course, like, you know, coming out, I’m like young, I’m gonna do wild things as we all have,” she said.
“...I feel like by me being vocal and showing everybody you can change your life and things can get better, like through myself, that right there is an accomplishment, and that’s a part of freedom, too.”
But as she started on her journey, many people have shown her grace, which is something she’s grateful for. “And then the fact that people have been showing me grace, it’s like amazing,” she said. “And I feel like when I did it, I just did it. It was more so like spiritual thing and I feel like people see that, and I’ve always been like my authentic self, so what you see is kinda what you get with me, and that’s just kinda what it is.”
Chyna, who recently received an honorary doctorate from Sacramento Theology Seminary and Bible College, has also repaired her relationship with her mom, Tokyo Toni. The social media celebrity surprised her daughter on the Tamron Hall Show. Prior to the sentimental surprise, Chyna dished on the reconciliation and having a better understanding of her mom.
“I must say, some of the things I have to take accountability for because, like my actions. As a mother, you don’t want to see your daughter doing certain things ‘cause it’s like it doesn’t matter what my past was or what we’re going through, I didn’t raise you that way,” she admitted. “So, it’s like, okay, maybe I was a little bit wrong. Maybe I was acting out a little bit. But I feel like as we grow older, I kinda see more, and I understand more.”
Chyna will be starring in season two of Fox's reality competition show Special Forces: World's Toughest Test.
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Feature image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images