At the mouth of my grave while tending my garden : fear of death and hope for life in Black Women's conversations about reproductive and maternal health




Woods Bennett, Joy Melody

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Black women are dying at higher rates that their white counterparts during childbirth. They are also facing more severe symptoms when diagnosed with endometriosis, fibroids, or other gynecological health issues. The purpose of this study is to investigate the ways in which Black women are discussing amongst themselves their reproductive and maternal health—their decisions, diagnoses, and overall conversations. The following dissertation combines auto ethnographic and qualitative interviews to investigate communicative practices utilized by Black women in their personal conversations. By rooting this investigation in Critical Race Theory, Endarkened Feminist Epistemology, and temporality, I can illuminate how Black women navigate through racists medical systems to seek holistic and safe reproductive and maternal healthcare. This study also highlighted how Black women lean on each other, their faith, and hope to continue to yearn for motherhood despite the devastating numbers of mortality that they face. Also, this dissertation revealed that Black women consider multiple things a part of their reproductive health decision making police brutality, historic racist experimentation, their spirituality, time and temporality, and much more.


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