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On Monday’s episode of Recipe For Change (April 8), host and activist Tatyana Ali teamed up with renowned chef Nyesha Arrington and a panel of esteemed guests including Lizzy Mathis, Melanie Fiona, Kyla Pratt and Kim Durdin for a dynamic discussion on the transformative journey of Black maternal care and health.


As they convened, the group delved into the systemic hurdles confronting Black women within the maternal healthcare landscape. They passionately emphasized the invaluable support of a dedicated community during the early stages of pregnancy and postpartum care. Furthermore, they candidly shared anecdotes about the most “annoying” parenting advice they encountered following the birth of their children.

For Mathis, balancing sleep with work and the day-to-day needs of her children, post-birth was a struggle. Family and friends would often advise her to catch up on rest when her children were asleep, but it wasn’t easy for the content creator and TV personality. 

“I could not sleep when the baby slept because there was so much to do because when they’re babies, your hands are so full and there’s so much to take care of when the baby actually sleeps,” Mathis told the group as the ladies discussed the most irksome parenting advice they had ever received. “So after becoming a mom, I was like, why would you tell me that?”

Durdin, a midwife and former doula, confessed that she often advises her clients to catch up on sleep when their children are tucked away, but the birth worker stressed the importance of mothers having a dedicated team in place when parenting gets tough. 

“It’s about leaning into asking for help,” she said. 

Ali, a proud mother to two boys, found herself lacking crucial support during her breastfeeding journey with her adorable kiddos. Despite her determination, she faced frustration as family members attempted to sway her from her chosen path.

In a parallel struggle, fellow Hollywood veteran Pratt encountered discouragement regarding motherhood at the peak of her career. The renowned actress, best known for her roles in One on One and Doctor Dolittle, vividly recalled a conversation with a Tinsel Town executive who ominously warned her of the potential career jeopardy that awaited should she decide to have children. 

“Luckily, I’m the type of person that I don’t like people telling me what to do,” Pratt, 37, chuckled.

As the conversation progressed, Ali and the esteemed panel delved into the vital significance of having a trusted ally or self-assurance during both pregnancy and the postpartum period on Monday’s Recipe For Change episode.

Canadian singer-songwriter Melanie Fiona shared her personal experience of heavily relying on support from her doula and birth team during her pregnancy with her firstborn, Cameron, given the distance from her family. Despite delivering Cameron via C-section, Fiona remained resolute in her determination to achieve a vaginal birth, tirelessly seeking out the right medical team to facilitate her goal.

Similarly, Pratt found herself becoming her own staunch advocate in the labor room when she unexpectedly went into early labor during her second pregnancy. The actress disclosed that health officials dismissed her concerns despite her certainty that she was experiencing contractions.

“I told the nurse there I was having contractions; she looked at the machine and said, ‘No, you weren’t,’ and I said, ‘Yes, I am. I’ve done this before; go get my doctor.’”

She continued, “Luckily, standing up for myself in that moment, my daughter is here now. She went to get my doctor; my doctor said, ‘You’re 6-centimeters dilated, and we have to do an emergency C-section. But because I was so small, it wasn’t showing up on the machine.”

Additionally, Pratt told Ali, Fiona and the girls, “In that moment, I didn’t really recognize when people weren’t listening to me because I was young, because I am Black, because I am a woman.”

Watch the full episode of Recipe For Change above.


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