The Importance of Storytelling and Preserving and looking at Cultures in Pregnancy and birth

I was truly honoured to make an address and embark listeners on a transformative journey, guided by the spirit of storytelling and the imperative to preserve and celebrate the rich tapestry of cultures in the context of pregnancy and birth. The initiative, a collaboration between Holding Her Space and the Heritage Lottery Fund, marks a crucial step towards addressing the profound maternity disparities that Black and Asian women have endured for far too long.

In the realm of pregnancy and childbirth, storytelling serves as a powerful tool—a vessel that carries the wisdom, experiences, and legacies of generations past. It is through these narratives that we not only connect with our roots but also pave the way for a more inclusive and culturally aware approach to healthcare. The statistics paint a stark reality—Black women are five to four times more likely to face mortality during childbirth, while women from Asian ethnic backgrounds grapple with a two-fold risk. These are not just numbers; they represent the lived experiences, the struggles, and the untold stories of countless women within our communities.

The disparities we face are multifaceted, extending beyond the medical realm to encompass a profound lack of cultural awareness, resources, and understanding within healthcare settings. It is a gap that we, collectively, aim to bridge through initiatives like the one we are launching today. We recognize that traditional practices and cultural nuances play a pivotal role in shaping the experiences of women during pregnancy and birth. As an honorary guest, I commend Holding Her Space and the Heritage Lottery Fund for taking a stand to address these disparities and pave the way for positive change.

Our collective responsibility is to ensure that no woman, regardless of her cultural background, faces adversity or inequality in one of the most sacred and transformative moments of her life. By preserving and celebrating our diverse cultural practices, we empower women to navigate their unique journeys with the respect and understanding they rightfully deserve. Through storytelling, we not only break down barriers but also build bridges of empathy, connection, and shared humanity.

As we embark on this impactful project, let us be guided by the spirit of inclusivity, compassion, and cultural sensitivity. May the stories we uncover and share become beacons of change, lighting the path towards a future where every woman can embrace motherhood with dignity, support, and the strength drawn from the beauty of her cultural heritage.

Thank you, and may this initiative sow the seeds of lasting transformation for generations to come.

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