North Carolina

How the Fayetteville doula is fighting to improve black maternal and child health

Angela Tatum Malloy is one of USA TODAY’s Women of the Year, a recognition of women who have made a significant impact in their communities and across the country. The program launched in 2022 as a follow-up to Women of the Century, which commemorated the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. Meet this year’s winners at womenoftheyear.usatoday.com.

Angela Tatum Malloy works to improve maternal and child health outcomes for Black families in the Sandhills area of ‚Äč‚Äčeastern North Carolina through breastfeeding education and care doulas.

Black women are between three and four times more likely to die during pregnancy or after childbirth than white women in the United States, according to a study by the American Journal of Public Health.

“In a broken system, black women live three times worse,” she said. “It’s something that needs to be addressed.”

Tatum Malloy, 55, founded Momma’s Village, a non-profit clinic that provides Africa-focused birthing and breastfeeding support, postpartum care, parenting education and mental health resources for black families in the Fayetteville, North Carolina area.

His clinic is one of two in North Carolina to conduct a five-year, $10 million, statewide study that measures the impact of doula support and a system that alerts medical staff to warning signs such as missed appointments and high blood pressure on health outcomes for black mothers. .

Angela Tatum Malloy Black doulas play an effective role in saving the lives of black women from preventable diseases. We are able to be that bridge between the mother and the provider so that there is better communication.

Infant birth weight, emergency room visits, hospitalizations and self-reported incidents of racism will be measured to determine the effectiveness of interventions. Tatum Malloy oversees 40 clinics in the study.

An internationally certified lactation consultant and Africa-focused community doula, Tatum Malloy offers training to other black women entering the birthing assistance field.

“Black doulas play an effective role in saving the lives of black women from preventable diseases,” she said. “We are able to be that bridge between the mother and the provider so that there is better communication.”

Tatum Malloy has also built support and social acceptance for breastfeeding in the Black community by helping Fayetteville and Cumberland County meet World Health Organization guidelines for breastfeeding-friendly community designation. breastfeeding. The designation sends the message that the community respects a family’s wishes and appreciates the health benefits of breastfeeding for the child, mother, family and community, according to the Carolina Global website. Breastfeeding Institute.

Angela Tatum Malloy is USA TODAY’s Woman of the Year for North Carolina

Angela Tatum Malloy, founder of Momma’s Village, works to improve black maternal health as a community health worker, breastfeeding specialist and doula.

The Fayetteville Observer

Breastfeeding can reduce the likelihood of life-threatening diseases like cancer and diabetes, which are among the leading causes of maternal death among black women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Giving visibility to black breastfeeding mothers helps to undo the racist stigma towards the practice, which stems from breastfeeding, when enslaved black women were forced to breastfeed the children of slave owners, and later, marketing campaigns for brands like Pet Milk that view dark breast milk as inferior to infant formula, Tatum Malloy said.

Although her research and advocacy focus on black maternal and child health, she said eliminating racism would improve outcomes for all women. For her work, Tatum Malloy was named USA TODAY Woman of the Year in North Carolina.

“When we tackle systemic racism, everyone gets better,” Tatum Malloy said.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

There are so many strong black women who have come before me, women like Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, my grandmother, my mother, my mother-in-law. My mother was one of the first three black women to enter the Miss Fayetteville Terry Sanford pageant.

I always lead the way; I’m not finished. I am paving the way for my five children, eight grandchildren and many young people in the community who are looking for a life that allows them to dream and succeed without systemic racism being an obstacle.

Perseverance and determination. This two-word mantra allows me to accomplish anything I set out to do, like getting police surveillance or solving problems with our homeless people, or even getting all my kids home at once for our days of party. I love having perseverance and determination tattooed on my forearms. It is a reminder to myself and a reminder to others that I will not leave until I do what I set out to do.

Angela Tatum Malloy, founder of Momma’s Village, black maternal health professional. Fayetteville Observer Andrew Craft

It’s being comfortable being uncomfortable, whether you’re making changes in systems or just in a relationship, friendship or marriage. It is allowing yourself to sit in this discomfort and having the courage to push through, despite this urge to flee.

As we know with children, they go through growth spurts. Growth spurts are painful, but we know they can’t reach the next level of maturity if they don’t go through with it. We need to have that level of courage to experience discomfort so that we can grow and change in our personal lives and as a country.

I believe we have what we are talking about. If you talk about strength, power and solutions, that’s what you’ll get. Every situation I face, that’s how I approach it.

Angela Tatum Malloy, overcoming adversity, I believe we have what we are talking about. If you talk about strength, power and solutions, that’s what you’ll get.

Three women have been the most instrumental in allowing me to be who I am. My mother-in-law, my mother and my grandmother.

I have never known a woman who sacrificed her life wholeheartedly for her children and grandchildren like my mother-in-law from the age of 19 until today. She may be exhausted, but if she sees we have a need, she fills it.

My mother lost two daughters and her mother and went on to pursue a 30 year career teaching other people’s children. The strength and passion she transmitted to the children encourages me. I can never put myself down because I look at the strength she showed.

My grandmother lost her mother at age 8 and became a matriarch in our family. It was amazing what she was able to do with an eighth grade education.

Their love allowed me to be the woman I have. This is why I have the strength to do the things I have decided to do.

Sit at your grandmother’s feet, ask all the questions and listen. Write down those recipes! If I could go back in time, I would get her banana nut bread recipe, watch her bake everything from scratch, can all the vegetables she grew, learn how to treat different ailments with things she would find in the yard.

And don’t stop playing the violin because you’ll regret it!

Posted 09:39 UTC 19 Mar 2023 Updated 09:39 UTC 19 Mar 2023

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