Dealing with inequality is something many have dealt with at some point in their lives, especially those who have been historically excluded. This — of course — includes women, especially women of color.
For Lizeth Cuara, a Latina mom from Los Angeles, California, the disparity manifested itself in the country’s maternal healthcare system. In fact, she went through a situation of uncertainty right after becoming a mother.
“During the birth of my daughter, I was administered an epidural. I remember feeling as if my brain was on fire. I thought I was dying,” Cuara told BELatina News in an exclusive interview. “I was so sure that I was dead, and I didn’t even care to ask for help. After some time, I realized I wasn’t dead and asked for help, and, of course, I had questions. My questions were brushed off, and I received no explanation or even apology for my near-death experience.”
The Latina added that, after giving birth to her baby girl, she was sent home with no instructions, no postpartum following, and without any guidance to ask for help, which resulted in a decline in her health to a point where she could no longer carry her daughter — or even walk.
“I was admitted to the hospital only to be told that it most likely was due to stress and advised to stop carrying my baby,” said Cuara. “At that moment, I remembered a story my mother had shared with me. When she gave birth to me, it was also a very traumatic experience for her, and due to her financial responsibilities and lack of health care, she had to return to her warehouse job.”
After noticing that her experience was the same as many other new moms, Cuara came up with an idea to help women and birthing people — especially those considered “minorities.” (Our community is quickly becoming the new majority.) This later materialized into what is now known as Misty Phases.
More about Misty Phases’ use for postpartum care
“Misty Phases was created with the vision of advocating for better maternal care for mothers, especially for women of color,” said the founder. “Women of color are dying of PREVENTABLE pregnancy and birth-related complications, especially black mothers. Actually, Black mothers are three to four times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death. Hispanic and Black mothers are more likely to deliver by cesarean despite being healthy.”
What started with a total of $10,000 eBay sales, and her mom’s voice saying “nunca tengas miedo, mija,” has now become not only just a brand for postpartum care products but also a campaign under the name of “Healing to Heal,” which seeks to help homeless mothers.
“Through my years of owning my business, we visited homeless shelters and camps. One thing that always stood out was that there were many pregnant women and new mommies. When we would ask what else we could do to help, they would all ask for underwear that actually fit,” said Cuara.
“From there, we knew Misty Phases would be the one to supply these mamas with underwear. When I created the line of Misty Phase, I constantly took in mind how each product would help not only a mother in a normal home heal but how it would also help a homeless mother through her postpartum recovery.”
Cuara’s message goes to both moms and non-moms, friends, family, and even neighbors to always check on those new mothers that might need a helping hand.
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