Local woman using music to heal mothers' trauma at start of Black Maternal Health Week

Jasmine Minor Image
Thursday, April 11, 2024
Local woman using music to heal Black mothers' trauma
A 2023 CDC study looking into Black maternal health statistics showed 30% of Black women reported mistreatment during maternity care.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Thursday marks the start of Black Maternal Health Week, which shines a light on important issues facing a very at-risk group.

One local woman is using music meditation to help heal the trauma some Black moms can experience during and after pregnancy.

After spending years on tour, Iesha Sturdivant said she got to a point as a singer, and as a mom, when she wanted her voice to have more impact. So, she created programs to use music as therapy for Black moms to prioritize themselves.

"It's just all about, are we using the music to edify us, or are we using it to add to the chaos that's already in the world?" said Sturdivant, founder of Love Is The Rhythm.

That's the question the mom of two asked herself nine years ago, the moment she decided to put her singing into action by giving herself and other moms a chance to take a breath.

"So many women, Black moms, are just holding their breath, you know, and then they get in the space. They're just like, 'OK, should I let my guard down?'" Sturdivant said.

The founder of Love Is The Rhythm takes Black moms through 60-minute sessions full of breathing techniques, music meditation and analysis of impactful lyrics.

"Going through the lyrics, highlighting like what resonates with you and being able to speak to that," Sturdivant said.

She said it's her way of empowering a group that's often ignored.

A 2023 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showed 30% of Black women reported mistreatment, like violations of physical privacy, verbal abuse and discrimination during maternity care.

"We've been, you know, dismissed, overlooked and uninformed about a lot of things," Sturdivant said.

But, in her spaces, Black moms leave feeling joyful, and so does the next generation, like Sturdivant's daughter, Maddie, who gets to see herself empowered during music meditation every Sunday with mom.

"See myself differently and connect with my mom in a spiritual way," she said.