Aftershock is an eye-opening new documentary that is pushing to educate the world about a major healthcare issue in America’s Black community: maternal mortality.
According to the CDC, Black women’s chances of dying from pregnancy-related causes are three times higher than white women. The reasons are broad ranging from limited resources available to the systemic bias and racism in the healthcare field that Black women experience. These statistics prove that the Black maternal mortality crisis is an urgent matter and the upcoming documentary will serve as a step in the right direction in terms of shedding light on the matter.
The inspiration for the Aftershock documentary came about after seeing an increase in Black maternity mortality, particularly that of two late mothers Shamony Gibson and Amber Rose Isaac, who both succumbed to preventable childbirth-related complications. Aftershock follows the partners and families of both Gibson and Isaac, along with activists, and birth workers who are fighting against this systemic racial issue. The film’s creators Tonya Lewis Lee and Paula Eiselt, both experienced their very own unfortunate dealings with healthcare neglect, and are now on a mission to help other mothers-to-be.
Lee shared her personal reasons for creating this film. She told ELLE, “My inspiration for making Aftershock came from the numerous stories I heard firsthand from women across the United States about too many Black women needlessly dying from childbirth complications that could have been prevented.” She added, “My hope is that viewers will come away from the film empowered to discover and explore the best birthing options available to them, and inspired to do what they can to ensure all women have dignified safe births in the United States.”
However, Eiselt had a very personal experience that motivated her to spread the word. “My inspiration came from my own pregnancy and birth trauma, and then learning what I experienced on an individual level affects Black women at much higher rates and with greater stakes,” she revealed to ELLE. “Black women are three times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. The U.S. is the single most dangerous place in the industrialized world to give birth. This story urgently needed to be told. I hope audiences will feel empowered by their human and legal right to choose where they birth and who has the privilege of assisting them.”
“This story is not doom and gloom; there are very tangible solutions to this crisis that can ensure human-centered care and better birth outcomes. Our collective dream is that Aftershock can be used as a tool to bring together communities, healthcare providers, hospitals, medical schools, insurance companies, and policy-makers to help shift the U.S. birthing culture,” she added.
The Social Impact Award-winning documentary, which is presented under Disney’s Onyx Collective and ABC News, premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival in January. The film will soon be available for streaming on Hulu on July 19.
In the meantime, watch the exclusive trailer above, exclusively through ELLE.com above.