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Phoenix Rising in Resilience (AZ)

We are an online collaborative dedicated to raising awareness about ACEs, trauma-informed practice, and resilience-building in the greater Phoenix area. Given the unique history of this city and region, Phoenix Rising will explore personal and historical sources of trauma.

How Racism May Cause Black Mothers To Suffer The Death Of Their Infants []


This is SO crazy to me in 2018! They really have no definitive answers as to why more Black babies die in the United States as compared to White babies. The part that is particularly mind-blowing to me is that the issue is NOT consistent with babies born in the United States from African immigrant mothers. I am quickly reminded of the Black woman's history in this country due to the Slave Trade atrocities. It is well known and documented that it was not uncommon for enslaved Black women to be raped. We also know that the women often gave birth to the slave masters children. Further, many, many, many enslaved African-American women stood by helplessly watching as their children were bought, sold, removed, killed and mutilated. 

Through the science of epigenetics, we now know that trauma can be carried through the DNA. Can Historical Trauma be the foundation for this terrible reality?

"In February 2009, Samantha Pierce became pregnant with twins. It was a time when things were going really well in her life.

She and her husband had recently gotten married. They had good jobs.

"I was a kick-ass community organizer," says Pierce, who is African-American and lives in Cleveland. She worked for a nonprofit that fought against predatory lending. The organization was growing, and Pierce had been promoted to management.

It felt like a good time to get pregnant. "I went to get my birth control taken out and showed up two weeks later, like 'Hey, We're pregnant!' " she says, laughing.

Pierce thought she was a poster child for a good pregnancy. She already had one son from a previous marriage, and that pregnancy was healthy and normal. She had a college degree, which is known to improve women's chances of having a healthy pregnancy. She was getting regular checkups and taking her prenatal vitamins.

Everything went smoothly until one day in her second trimester she discovered she was leaking fluid. After a week in the hospital, still leaking, her water broke and she gave birth to her sons. "They lived for about five minutes, each of them," she says. "But they couldn't breathe. They didn't have lungs. We got to hold them, talk to them. I could see them breathing. I could also see them stop breathing, you know."

Pierce was devastated. For months, she couldn't bear to look at herself in the mirror, especially her stomach. She felt as if her womb was a cemetery — "a walking tomb," she says. "It was just walking evidence of loss, of failure, of not being able to hold kids in. I couldn't even do the one thing I was put on this planet for, which was bear children.""

[For more on this article by Rhitu Chatterjee and Rebecca Davis, go to]


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Thank you for sharing this article.  The connection between Epigenetics and Historical Trauma is interesting.  We know that Epigenetics impacts trauma, I would love to hear more about how Epigenetics impacts resilience. 

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