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Motocross MX Dad Coach Sponsor Mechanic Driver Pit Crew Medic Riding Buddy Shirt, hoodie

They’re both self-employed, too, and when the new year came Rochelle was keen to get back to work, standing in for Holly Willoughby on This Morning and preparing to work on a documentary for the Channel 4 series Dispatches. The show exposed an alarming truth about the chances of women from non-white backgrounds dying in pregnancy or just after birth. ‘Black women are over four times more likely to die than white women. Mixed-race women, which is the category I fall into, are three times more likely. And if you’re from an Asian background, you’re twice as likely to die.’ That’s a daunting thing to discover when you are a mixed-race woman preparing to have a baby. ‘When you see the figures right in front of you, they take your breath away.’

The documentary is a serious gear change. ‘I’m a mother. I’m a human being. On a human level, this really upsets me.’ Rochelle speaks to doctors, midwives, medical experts and families who have been affected. ‘I met a lady – Jade – who had two awful experiences. Motocross MX Dad Coach Sponsor Mechanic Driver Pit Crew Medic Riding Buddy Shirt, hoodie

The first was traumatic, a haemorrhage. The second was so much worse. She very nearly lost her life.’ Jade had twins by caesarean and afterwards was given liquid morphine, as is routine. ‘She was in and out of consciousness, saying, “My stomach! My pain!” Her husband expressed their concerns [to the hospital staff], but they were dismissed. Eventually Jade got sent for a scan, hours and hours later, and was rushed straight to theatre because it revealed an internal bleed and litres of blood inside her. They’d clipped a blood vessel during the caesarean and it was trickling like a tap,’ she says. ‘Jade’s not angry about the accident, but is angry that her pain wasn’t believed, which could have led to a fatality.’

Is Rochelle convinced that racism is part of the problem and that some doctors don’t listen properly to black women? ‘Oh, 100 per cent. That’s exactly the feeling,’ she says. ‘The women I’m talking to don’t want to believe that. No one wants to assume someone’s going to treat them differently because of their skin colour. [But] the underlying thing is that [non-white] women aren’t feeling their pain is taken seriously. They’re not feeling heard or listened to. That needs to change.’

There was some controversy around this documentary when the writer Candice Brathwaite complained she had lost out to a ‘lighter-skinned black woman’ as host. She turned out to have been in contention for a completely different programme, but the social-media row did highlight some people’s feelings about how life is easier for black people who are lighter-skinned. ‘Colourism wasn’t at play in this instance. However, unfortunately it does exist, which is unjust and shouldn’t happen. It’s important that it’s acknowledged and recognised so things can change.’




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