- Posted by: RoiAnn Phillips
Voyage Chicago features Rachel Abramson as one of Chicago’s most inspiring stories. In the article, she reflects on her 30+ years with HealthConnect One, the tremendous growth of the organization, and why this is the right time for her to pass the baton.
“I can see it as clearly as the day it happened. I was standing in the largest room on the postpartum floor, with five African-American women who had just birthed their babies. I was trying my hardest to convince one of the women to try breastfeeding. I could see her face harden and her eyes shift away from me, and I could feel the sweat dripping down my sides. It felt as if there was an invisible wall between us.
“It didn’t matter how hard I tried, or how I shared my own experience, or how much I tried to connect with her. I was a white, middle-class nurse with a husband and a job and a mortgage, and she could not see herself in my eyes. I was not the right messenger to convince her that she could breastfeed her baby, that she could be successful, that she would feel happy and proud for trying. I was not the right messenger to share with her the health benefits of breastfeeding.
“We were different, and that difference mattered. This experience altered the course of my life. This woman taught me the limits of my role as a health professional in such an intimate area of health decision making. She also taught me a respect for the power of race, ethnicity, and difference in every interaction. Slowly, my own limitations as a white health care provider began opening my eyes to the power of real peer-to-peer support.”
published on Voyage Chicago – January 9, 2018