***written last year but unfortunately equally true today****

The world is on fire — literally and metaphorically.

But the flames that the world sees swallowing buildings can’t compare to the scorching firestorm in our hearts.

The uprisings across the US have given nonblack folks a free trial’s worth of insight into the ways that racism and white supremacy have weathered the health and sense of safety experienced by Black Americans. But it’s also left us to grapple with debilitating waves of grief and stress.

As a Black mother, I feel this pain ten-fold. I’m forced to mourn the impracticality of…


Being healthy shouldn’t feel financially out of reach

Credit: Westend61/Getty Images

I’ve always known it was important to be “healthy.” But for much of my life, I didn’t know how to get there.

Growing up in the South, “health” was most often framed around spiritual wellness. As far as my elders were concerned, as long as there was time to regularly pray and read the Bible, I’d achieved the only self-betterment that mattered.

Don’t get me wrong, my family found it sinful to move through the day without having a “good breakfast.” …


I’m tired of translating my experiences

Illustration: Josephin Ritschel

A few weeks ago, my phone rang with a call from an unfamiliar number. On the line was yet another new therapist reaching out to schedule yet another first appointment.

I was introduced to the benefits of counseling during college, where I was a psychology major. As a student, I was given 12 free therapy sessions per school year. I learned to love therapy. But I was unprepared for just how hard it would be to find a mental health professional of color in the real world.

Growing up Black taught me that strength and persistence were nonnegotiable, and I…


Black women are at a higher risk for mental health issues post-birth, and less likely to get the help they need

Photo by Dazzle Jam/Pexels

When Imani Bates, 31, realized she had lost control over her pelvic and gluteal muscles shortly after giving birth, she felt profoundly disconnected from her body.

“I woke up and I couldn’t move them,” she says.“They were in complete paralysis. I panicked.”

Adjusting to dramatic physical changes so soon after birth triggered feelings of ineptitude for Bates, and catalyzed the onset of postpartum depression. “I began crying and blaming myself for having a natural, vaginal birth,” she recalls.“I thought my body failed me. I felt completely inadequate. …


Motherhood

How I’m grappling with my odds of surviving childbirth

Illustration: Haejin Park

In many ways, I’m just like every other pregnant woman in the United States. I’m about halfway through my second pregnancy, and I’ve already navigated the questions of what the birth of my second child, a girl, will mean for me personally and professionally. Like many expectant couples, my husband and I are coming up with baby names (I try not to gag when he makes a repulsive suggestion) and we’re stocking up on diapers now so the expenses don’t hit us all at once. I am excitedly waiting to see my daughter’s face for the first time.

But as…


PERSPECTIVE | Four women open up about their losses

(iStock/Lily illustration)

Over the last few months, I have spent time speaking with both mental health professionals and the loved ones of police brutality victims. It’s been an experience like no other. Nothing can prepare you to listen to the stories of families who have been robbed of those they love and justice. As a society, we don’t care how they are affected by the cycling of brutality related videos and we do little to aid the families in their time of need.

No event happens in a vacuum, including brutality. As a result, each death leaves a trail of heartbreak and…

Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez

Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez is a diversity content specialist whose work can be seen in The Washington Post, InStyle, The Guardian, and many other places. Follow

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