International Women’s Day 2022 – #BreakTheBias

The Mother Load – Moms navigating the first few months postpartum.

This year, the theme of International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough, action is needed to level the playing field. At The Starting Place and the Heartline Maternity Center, we’re focused on elevating the voices and value of all women. 

Imagine a gender equal world.

A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

A world where difference is valued and celebrated.

Together we can forge women’s equality.

Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.

At the Starting Place Birth and Wellness Center, we’re breaking the bias and engaging the discussion by creating space for maternal mental health while fostering an inclusive environment where new mothers are valued and celebrated.

American society is all about individualism. American culture typically views each adult person as a self-sufficient and autonomous individual. This view is key to our value system. Everyone is their own person, not a representative of a group or community.

In contrast Haitian society is very much a collectivist society rather than an individual society. This is partially due to the fact that family is crucial in the Haitian household. If one person has a job and earns a living, that person is responsible for the care of multiple family members. It can take several incomes pooled together to sustain life.

Whether you find yourself in an individualistic or collectivist society, it has always been and it will always be, women bear the weight of responsibility to birth and feed babies. All the equality and modern convenience in the world won’t change the division of labor on this particular assignment.

What has changed for Americans, is our awareness of what women need during and after pregnancy and childbirth. It turns out that sometimes our individualism harms us.

Our American individualism combined with the restrictions of the COVID19 pandemic have led to an increase in postpartum struggles for most women. PMAD (Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders) have become more commonplace as women have stopped meeting with other women.

We learned in Haiti that community is directly related to healthy and emotionally stable new mothers and thriving babies. Over and over again we watched as women rallied around one another in tough times before, during an after their deliveries. We saw the way a group of women discussing breastfeeding challenges were able to help one another solve problems and feel less alone. We witnessed the joy of community and friendships each week as women gathered together for a few hours.

With this in mind, we began The Starting Place Birth Center’s first community group. “The Mother Load” is a gathering of women navigating the first months after delivery. It is meant to be a place to gather for encouragement, being heard, and finding peer support.

Women become mothers and immediately are left to care for newborns in near isolation without supportive networks. Add in sleep deprivation and a massive hormonal shift, it is the perfect recipe for depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

The Mother Load group has become a highlight of the week for many of the participants. Women tell us they look forward to the Saturday meetings and time to be with other people going through the same challenges. Each week we have some guided discussions  (for example – breastfeeding struggles or society’s expectations of mothers or strain in relationships due to demand of a new baby) but typically the peer to peer support aspect takes the conversation easily into discussion and the facilitator does not need to keep the conversation going. 

In Haiti, at the Heartline Maternity Center, mothers will attend postpartum classes for up to six months. Community, fellowship, and continuing education are a natural part of what happens each week. Similar to many other learnings we were able to bring from Haiti, the Mother Load Group is a reflection of the maternity center model which has proven so beneficial to mothers in Haiti for over a decade.

Together, the Heartline Maternity Center and The Starting Place are working to #breakthebias. By creating inclusive spaces for women to share their experiences and be valued and celebrated, we’re investing in women, and ultimately, when you invest in women, you invest in families. 

Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.

We can break the bias in our communities.

We can break the bias in our workplaces.

We can break the bias in our schools, colleges, and universities.


We’d love to hear from you! How are you breaking the bias on this International Women’s Day and beyond? Share below! Let’s celebrate together! 

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