The American Dream

Joy and Pain: One Film Director Thoughtfully Depicts the Spectrum of Childbirth in the Black Community

As we celebrate International Day for Maternal Health and Rights, the documentary The American Dream shares varied maternity experiences in Black women’s own voices.

(Photo Credit: Paolo Patruno)
April, a mother featured in The American Dream, looks out the window of her home during an interview with the filmmaker, Paolo Patruno.

The American Dream is part of the Birth is a Dream documentary project created in 2011 by Italian filmmaker Paolo Patruno to bring attention to untold maternity stories across the world. The film encourages viewers to consider a more positive future for Black maternal health even as it shares the startling and shocking reality of the disproportionately high rates of maternal death in the Black community.

On documenting maternity experiences of African women (99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries) and of Black women in the United States, Patruno says, “I found many more similarities than differences. Maternal health is not just medical; it is a cultural and social matter [on both sides of the Atlantic]. It is mainly a story of social issues, of race, and of women’s empowerment.”  Read the entire HUFFPOST article by Elizabeth Dawes Gay


One comment

  1. This statement is suspect:

    “Women of color are less likely to go into pregnancy in good health because of a lack of access to primary health care services. They are also less likely to have access to adequate maternal health care services. Black women are by far the largest demographic to suffer these outcomes, it has been this way for decades and yet they are seldom able to make their voices heard. ”

    I thought black outcomes were not caused by a lack of services? Didn’t the various studies control for socioeconomic status, income levels, and medical access?

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