"Aftershock" directors on how the anti-midwife campaign wrought the Black maternal mortality crisis
Hulu's new documentary "Aftershock" is devoted to examining the obscene
disparity in maternal mortality rates that Black women face, but its climax
centers on a smooth, problem-free delivery at a birthing center.
Part of what makes it so extraordinary is the gentle attentiveness that directors Paula
Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee capture in the hours leading up to the birth: the mother-to-be
eats strawberries, receives a massage from a midwife to relieve her pain, and breathes deeply.
When the moment arrives there is no screaming, just an exhaled sigh and joyful relief.
To Eiselt and Lee, showing how calm birth can be when Black women are respected and
empowered to control their experience is an essential part of revealing why America's medical system fails so many of them.