It is virtually impossible for anyone who was raised in a white colonialist country – like the United States – to come into adulthood without racism in their heart and mind. This is where implicit bias comes from. So if you have heard people say things like, “All white people are racist,” that’s what they are referring to. It’s not using the N-word or going to a KKK rally. It’s not listening to Black women when they report pain in the hospital and missing a potentially deadly complication as a result. That is one way implicit bias presents. So what can white birth professionals do about it? How can they identify and face the implicit bias in their own heart, and systemic racism within the health care system, so racial disparities can improve?
VBAC calculators have been embraced with open arms by some providers, whereas others reject them altogether. Who’s right? Trying to predict who will have a VBAC is tricky. We know some individual factors, such as having a prior vaginal delivery, are associated with higher or lower VBAC rates. By combining various factors, VBAC calculators generate a percentage that represents the best guess for an individual’s odds of having a vaginal birth after cesarean. But VBAC calculators, also called VBAC success calculators, are not always accurate and can create emotional baggage.
Recently, I had a great extended conversation on racism in birth work at a VBAC Facts training for professionals in Covington, LA. And I wanted to share it with you. One doula shared that we simply needed to treat all clients the same regardless of race. What she was saying is that we should be colorblind. Now, I felt the good intentions in her heart. I knew what she was trying to say. Because there was a time that I believed the same thing. I was so glad she spoke up because it kicked off a tough conversation that needed to be had.