Dominiece Clifton is the collection’s first bump, based in Baltimore. She’s having a baby girl and will be birthing at Special Beginnings Birth Center, supported by her husband. This will be her second daughter.
She enjoys cooking and baking in her free time. She relaxes by reading, a good Nettflix binge, listening to music or having personal “me” time. When she is able to, she enjoys traveling and exploring other countries. Her version of fun is going out to eat, spending time with family and friends and exploring new destinations around the city.
She was introduced to The Melanin Bump by her doula. Although she’s had a maternity shoot for her first pregnancy, funding was a major deciding factor in not obtaining another maternity shoot for her second. In the process of purchasing a home, saving to ensure stability while on maternity leave (half of which is paid, half will be unpaid) and trying to budget to handle life’s expenses, she could not currently afford to have a professional maternity shoot.
Dominiece is an example of the type of mom the Melanin Bump is trying to support. Although she may not consider herself disadvantaged, because she does have the privilege of having a partner who contributes financially, they’re just at a point in their lives where they are trying to balance so many financial obligations. Unfortunately, as much as she wanted a maternity shoot, the shoot had to take a back seat to other priorities.
Here’s a few responses from Dominiece’s interview.
Why should contributors support The Melanin Bump and its participants?
Contributors should support The Melanin Bump and its participants because mothers of colors deserve to have this type of treatment. We are often times left out of the narrative, or miss-represented, when it comes to our pregnancies, our labor and delivery experiences, and motherhood. The Melanin Bump is trying to spotlight the unique experiences of mothers of color to show that we are just as deserving as other mothers and that our stories deserve to be shared and heard as well. Contributors would hopefully want to be apart of this sort of project to help change this narrative.
How do you feel The Melanin Bump can help expectants of color?
By sharing our stories, and helping us to show that our voices and stories are just as important as the stories of other moms. The photoshoot would definitely be a way to help moms in need.
Do you feel the Melanin Bump is a necessary project? If not/so, how is it necessary?
I think that there are organizations out there that I have learned about between my two pregnancies that are trying to spotlight women of color and their pregnancies and birth processes. With the high mortality rates of Brown mothers and babies, more people are speaking up and telling our stories and there are more organizations trying to advocate for and educate moms of color. I think the Melanin Bump is unique because it is trying to not only share these stories but empower mothers of color with a maternity shoot and a day of pampering. I think women of color work really hard and we deserve this sort of treatment.
What is something you’re looking forward to experiencing with your baby?
I hope we have a successful breastfeeding story and are able to bond through that experience.
What are concerns or fears you may have surrounding your birth? and your journey as a Mom?
With my first daughter I attempted to labor and birth at a birth center, but my labor did not progress past 8 cm. I had to be transferred to a hospital to receive medication to help push my body along. Since this was my first birth experience, I have fears about my body doing something similar with my second birth. I hope that I am able to get through the entire birth process naturally, without any interventions, and that my baby and I both get through the process healthy. As a mom of color, with all the stats going around regarding labor and delivery and mortality, naturally its easy to be worried about your birth experience and what will arise from the process.
Do you feel expectants of color are supported during their pregnancy, labor, and birth? If not, how could the be better supported?
Not always. Oftentimes support is based on socioeconomic level and privilege. Women of color that have the knowledge and education to advocate for themselves are naturally more supported during the process than those moms of color who don’t have that same knowledge or the financial means to advocate for better services. I think education is a huge way to support all moms of color. The more you know, the more likely you are to recognize signs and issues if something doesn’t feel right with your body or baby and the more likely you are to speak up when issues arise.