Precious Loss gives a face and voice to the families who experience infant loss

Written by: Jacy Montoya Price
Date Posted: April 19, 2019

Infant and maternal health advocates gathered on Tuesday, April 16 for a screening and panel discussion of Precious Loss, a Rocky Mountain PBS documentary that investigates why, despite their wealth, their bachelor’s degrees or their age, Black families are three times more likely to lose their babies before the child has a first birthday than their White counterparts. Hosted by Raise Colorado and American Academy of Pediatrics-Colorado Chapter with support from Think Babies, the event was intended to raise awareness of the causes of infant mortality disparities impacting Black families and to explore potential solutions. Panelists, including moderator Deidre Johnson, CEO and Executive Director of Center for African American Health, Joy Reynolds-Senyah, Outreach Coordinator for Families Forward Resource Center’s Healthy Babies Strong Families Program, Demetra Seriki, Registered Certified Professional Midwife of A Mother’s Choice Midwifery, and Briana Simmons, Reproductive Justice Program Manager of Soul 2 Soul Sisters, shared their insights, advice, and calls to action to help ensure Black families not only survive but thrive through pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the first year of life. Additional event partners included MotherWise and Mile High United Way.

A central theme of both Precious Loss and the panel discussion is the chronic stress created by racism and the impact it has on the health and well-being of expecting families, pregnant people, and infants. As highlighted in a recent Child Trends article, chronic stress produces hormones that damage the body over time and are linked to lower life expectancy and poor pregnancy outcomes, such as pre-term birth and low birthweight. Panelist Demetra Seriki called upon attendees not to dance around the fact that racism kills and to use our privilege to continue the conversation about the disproportionate loss of Black babies in Colorado. During the discussion, panelists shared that the screening and discussion was being held during Black Maternal Health Week, emphasizing the interconnections between infant and maternal health and the importance of listening to and trusting Black women, especially when searching for solutions to the disparities that impact them. Panelists also reminded attendees that infant loss is a family affair that requires creation of support systems for the entire family.

Even if you missed the event, you don’t have to miss the documentary and powerful panel discussion. Precious Loss can be viewed on the Rocky Mountain PBS website and the panel discussion can be viewed on Facebook. We hope you will take the advice of our panelists to continue the conversation and engage in efforts to reduce infant mortality and the disparities impacting Black families in Colorado. Consider joining Raise Colorado’s distribution list and/or Infant Mortality Prevention Workgroup by contacting Jacy Montoya Price at 303-620-4547 or jacy@coloradokids.org.

Jacy Montoya Price

About Jacy Montoya Price

Jacy serves as the Community Groups Coordinator for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. In this role, she plans and implements our annual Speak Up for Kids day at the capitol and manages our social media sites. Jacy previously served as the executive director and co-founder of Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), a sisterhood of Latinas dedicated to building a movement of Latinas, their families, and allies through leadership development, organizing, and advocacy to create opportunity and achieve reproductive justice. Trained as an urban planner, Jacy has also worked in local government, creating policies and programs to foster more sustainable communities that are accessible for all residents. A Colorado native, Jacy lives in northwest Denver with her husband, two children and their two cats.