(NEW YORK) September 12, 2022 —mater mea, a platform that celebrates, supports, and empowers Black mothers, along with Un-ruly—a leader of cultural conversations for nearly a decade—has launched Overdue, an online pregnancy and postpartum learning portal for Black moms-to-be, in partnership with Gerber. Created in response to the disproportionate rate of Black women dying during pregnancy or childbirth, the platform seeks to educate and empower Black expectant mothers facing pervasive bias and inaction in the U.S. healthcare system.
Overdue is home to educational videos featuring doula and Registered Nurse Ebony Harvey. Harvey explains what Black birthing people should be aware of during their prenatal, birth, postpartum and recovery periods to improve their birthing experiences. Users will learn how to develop a birthing plan that’s authentic to their needs, how to find and build a supportive medical team and community, and most importantly how to advocate for themselves and their babies no matter where they give birth.
“It’s easy to feel powerless in front of a crisis like this,” said Antonia Opiah, co-founder of Un-ruly.com, “but studies have shown that doula-assisted mothers are more likely to have positive birthing outcomes. So in developing Overdue we asked ourselves, what would be the next best thing to giving every mom a doula? We landed on virtually giving them the information a doula would provide, in a way that feels personal.”
Since Black families can’t afford to wait for institutional changes to address this life-threatening bias, mater mea joined forces with Un-ruly and Gerber, the leader in early childhood nutrition, to educate Black families navigating maternal health disparities. By providing a one-stop destination for vetted resources and information, Overdue supports mothers and babies worldwide.
Over the years, more people have become aware of this crisis thanks to high-profile Black mothers sharing their stories of neglect and bias during and after giving birth. But even with this knowledge, the Black maternal mortality rate continues to rise. According to Reuters, about one-third of the pregnant women and new mothers who died in 2020 were Black, even though Black Americans make up just over 13% of the U.S. population.
While most of the conversation around the Black maternal mortality crisis merely addresses its existence, Overdue provides concrete and actionable takeaways for Black expecting parents wondering how they can have better health outcomes while navigating medical bias.
“Having access to this information can save lives and reduce the number of traumatic births,” says mater mea founder Tomi Akitunde. “A common refrain you hear from Black moms who have had traumatic birth experiences is ‘I didn’t know…’ or ‘I wish I had known I could ask for that.’ By giving new parents vetted and trustworthy information from a Black birthing professional, Overdue offers that guidance to the community right when they need it most. Black families deserve happy and empowered birthing stories and it’s our hope that this partnership and the Overdue portal will equip and empower more people with the tools they need to give birth safely and return home with their babies.”
About mater mea
Launched in 2012, mater mea is a platform that celebrates, supports, and empowers Black moms through content and community. To learn more and to help support Black women and families, visit https://matermea.com.
Un-ruly was created to celebrate and inspire the versatility and beauty of Black hair and women. We take an in-and-out approach to beauty, looking at it on both a surface and profound level. We know that hair and beauty create experiences shared by women all over the globe, and so we ultimately aim to be a supportive community, stirring productive dialogue within the female and Black communities at large.
Gerber Products Company was founded in 1928 in Fremont, Mich. Gerber joined the Nestlé family on September 1, 2007. Gerber is a leader in early childhood nutrition. At Gerber, research informs everything we do – from the products we make, the nutrition education we deliver and the services we offer. Gerber provides resources from the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) for health care professionals at Medical.Gerber.com/FITS and for parents at Gerber.com.