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May 11, 2021 / This week from The Signal

All the latest news and information from around Alaska.

The morning after Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day, Iñupiaq advocate Jacquii Lambert noticed that half of the stories she’d shared on Instagram about that day had disappeared. “I thought it was just me, I thought it was some kind of glitch," Lambert said. "But then I went to go look at other people I know who have also shared onto their stories, the same thing was happening for them." (Photo and story by Lyndsey Brollini/KTOO)

But first… 

I spent Mother's Day this year with my mom and 96-year-old grandma, who live in Washington state. It was one of those sweet reunions that the COVID-19 vaccine has allowed. And while I was loving the quiche and fresh fruit and cut flowers, I couldn't stop thinking about this article — "It’s time to recognize the damage of childbirth, doctors and mothers say" — which I read that morning before brunch. Here's an excerpt:

"The United States has some of the highest maternal mortality rates among developed countries and those statistics have worsened in recent years, particularly for women of color. Those are the worst-case scenarios of bringing a child into the world — the nightmare stories that terrify soon-to-be parents. But making it through childbirth alive doesn’t mean a parent is medically out of the woods. The health care system is often unresponsive, too fragmented or ill-prepared to handle women’s postpartum conditions, from physical pain and discomfort to psychological anguish, that can have life-long consequences. Many women surrender, thinking this is just how it goes when you have a baby."

I had a traumatic childbirth experience, and now holidays like my son's birthday and Mother's Day are triggering for me. I didn't want to ruin anyone's Mother's Day, but I had to post about it because I know there are lots of mothers out there like me who want the world to know that glossing over childbirth and being unaware of the inequalities in our health care system adds insult to painful injuries that are often too intimate to talk about. 

Maybe your mom is no longer alive, or maybe she doesn't remember much from your birth or doesn't want to talk about it. But I would encourage you to open up a dialog with the women around you who have given birth. Ask them about their experiences. Listen if they want to talk about it. Believe them even if it's hard to believe. 

-- Jennifer Pemberton, KTOO Managing Editor

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The definition of farming has expanded over time, from soil-only planting and harvesting to include farmers that harvest from the sea. Along the coast, kelp farming is seeing growth as a sustainable industry with economic and environmental benefits. (Story by Adelyn Baxter/Alaska Public Media)

KTOO Public Media would like to acknowledge the L'eeneidí of the Áak’w Khwáan. Our broadcast studios are on their ancestral homeland. Our building sits on fill that was once tideland and part of what is called the Indian Village. The families of the Juneau Indian Village, like their ancestors, cherish and depend upon their immediate connection to the waterfront. KTOO is working to lift up Tlingit voices and the Tlingit language. Please excuse us for our mistakes, and gunalchéesh for your patience as we learn.

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