Women's Heart Health Awareness Month and Its Impact on PTBi Team Members

Daphina Melbourne, PTBi's Community Engagement Specialist, shares her experience losing a friend to peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) in honor of Women's Heart Health Awareness Month. 

February is Women's Heart Health Awareness Month and I want to share a story with you all about its connection to birth equity and justice. I was 25 at work as a police dispatcher when my phone rings. It's my niece; she screams into the phone, "Auntie Daphina, Auntie Daphina, my mommy's dead!" I replied, "Slow down, sweetheart, what happened?" That day is a day I will never forget. In one instance, we went from celebrating her son Tyler's upcoming birth to planning her funeral. 

I later found out that my friend had what is known as peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM), or postpartum cardiomyopathy. It is an uncommon form of heart failure that happens during the last month of pregnancy or up to five months after giving birth. Cardiomyopathy literally means heart muscle disease." 

Daphina MelbournePictured: Daphina Melbourne

Dedra died just 7 weeks after my nephew was born. We lost her smile, her warmth, and most important her babies lost her. Another thing that I will never forget is her insistence that something was wrong, her multiple trips to the ER, and the multiple ways her provider dismissed her pain. If only they had listened, she might be here today. 

In honor of Heart Health Month, if you feel so inclined, please wear the color red. If you are moved to we would also ask that you share why women's heart health is so important to you and why you are wearing red.

Thank you in advance for your support!