I’m thrilled to share my conversation with Tinuke Awe, the co-founder of Five X More – an organisation campaigning for better Black maternal health outcomes in the UK. Tinuke is an absolute powerhouse and was named a ‘Force for Change’ by British Vogue, a ‘Woman changing the World’ by the Evening Standard, and a ‘Future Shaper’ by Marie Claire.
In this episode, Tinuke shares:
- What prompted her to start Five X More
- Her campaigning work with the government to help improve Black maternal health outcomes
- Her advice for Black women who are nervous about becoming pregnant in light of the statistics around Black maternal deaths
- The work she does with health professionals to re-educate on myths and stereotypes around Black women, pain and gynaecology
- And of course, the story of her first period!
Tinuke says that when in a healthcare setting, it’s so important to trust your gut and speak up – do what you need to do to get the help you need.
Thank you, Tinuke!
Get in touch with Tinuke:
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Le’Nise: Thank you so much for coming on the show Tinuke. I’m so excited to speak to you. Learn about the amazing work that you’re doing. But let’s first talk about the story of your very first period. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?
Tinuke: Okay. So I feel like it was a little bit uneventful because I can’t remember it. I barely remember it. I was on holiday, that I remember and this was like the same between years six and seven. So I remember I was going into secondary school. I remember that much and my mom just, you know, kind of went running around trying to get me pads and we weren’t kind of expecting it.
So, yeah, that was all I remember. I remember I think at first I remember looking down. I think, oh my God, like I’ve been wounded, like, oh, what happened? And then I was like, Mom. And then, yes, she got me. She got me some pads, told me about periods, and it’s going to happen every month. And she she asked me why I wanted to use like, did I want to use tampons or did I want to use pads? And I was like, Oh My God, tampons? I’m not sticking anything up me. Let’s go with pads. And that was about it.
Le’Nise: Okay. So you were 11,12?
Le’Nise: Okay. And had any of your friends at school got their periods yet?
Tinuke: No. I think I was one of the first ones. Yeah, I was one of the first.
Le’Nise: And what was that experience like? You know, being one of the first at school and. Were you in a mixed school?
Tinuke: Yes, I was. I was in a mixed school, mixed primary school, mixed secondary school as well. I guess it was it was not too bad. It was one of the girls who had got her period. I didn’t I don’t think I really spoke to anyone about it that much, to be fair.
Le’Nise: So you were one of the first of your friends to get your period. And then you, your mom talked to you about what was what was happening and then what was your experience like? Was it kind of heavy. Was it was do you experience any pain or was this just kind of really easy?
Tinuke: It was really easy. Yeah, it was. I didn’t really experience pain. Um, I guess I kind of used to be one of the first because I was the first one to, like, get, like, boobs as well. So, you know, you just crack on, you know? Yeah. I just remember it being really easy and that kind of because my mum had explained about her periods before. I remember one time I’d gone into the toilet, just, you know, children just sit and chat with their mums. And I remember quite vividly her rolling a pad, like, into some tissue and then putting it into a bin and I was like, mum what are you doing? And she was like, Oh, I got my period, you know, as a woman, you know, you get a period every month. And she she explained about, you know, the period. And and I was like, oh, does it hurt? And she was like, No, it doesn’t really have. But yeah, my mom was quite open with all that kind of stuff, which is good considering, you know, I come from an African, a Nigerian background. She was really open with that kind of stuff. So I guess when the period came, she was just like, okay, your period’s here now, let’s go get your pads. She was she was really you know, she didn’t make me feel embarrassed or anything that she just told me, you know, make sure you’re really clear. Make sure you clean yourself properly and dispose of your pads correctly, that kind of thing. But yeah, it was pretty normal.
Le’Nise: Yeah. So you said that your mum was quite open and then which is unusual because you come from a Nigerian background. Why? Why does that make it unusual?
Tinuke: We don’t really tend to talk about these kind of things. Like sex and periods it looks like it’s just kind of hush hush that happens. But my mom really only speaks about not what? Not in Nigeria.
But my mom’s just always been very she wears her heart on his sleeve and she’s very like open. And stuff like that doesn’t faze her. Like she she talks to me about stuff as she’s been talking to me since a young age. She’s very open and honest about her feelings, what she’s going through, maybe a bit too honest and everyone knows it, but yeah, like she’s always been, you know, that kind of thing. It’s not really a taboo kind of subject. She’s quite free about things like that. I think she’s always been. It’s just been a little bit different. So when I talk to, I remember like some kind of talk to my friends about some of the conversations we would have. They’ll be about, Wow, your mum talks to you about that. And I’m like, Doesn’t your mom? But hey, I guess that was normal to me. But it’s not normal that, you know, a lot of people my age who maybe grown up in Nigerian households when parents are very, very strict and don’t talk about these kind of things.
Le’Nise: Yeah. And you said you were the one of the first of your friends to get your period and get their period and get out. So when they got their periods, were they then coming to you for advice and with questions?
Tinuke: No. I guess because it was a weird transition between year 6 to year 7 and I kind of year 7 and kind of. Yeah. Like nobody spoke about. I guess it’s just maybe you’d use it as an excuse. Oh, some of my people that are might need to go to the doctor’s office to skive off class, but never really spoke about it.
Le’Nise: Okay, that’s interesting. And then so you mentioned your periods were quite easy in the beginning. Did they continue to be easy?
Tinuke: Yeah, yeah. I’d say my period’s pretty much only changes when I have my children.
Le’Nise: Okay. Yeah. How did they change?
Tinuke: After my son, they became a lot heavier, but after my daughter, they became very painful.
Tinuke: And I’ve heard that can happen. I don’t if it was because it was a second child, or cause it was a girl, extra hormones, I don’t know, but I’ve read quite a few things online. But I found a very big difference, especially after the second.
Le’Nise: So what did you do about it?
Tinuke: Good question. So after I had my second, it was during the pandemic. So trying to get any kind of help from any kind of health professional was an absolute no. No. I did speak to the women in my community about it actually, because it felt like it was debilitating pain. The first two or three days of my period, I would literally be on the floor. It was so, so painful. I had dread. I’d have to like, you know, take a concoction of painkillers beforehand to just, you know, minimise that pain.
So I was like, this isn’t normal. Let me speak. Let me speak up about it. Let me, you know, put it in my online community and see if anyone else has ever experienced that, especially also having a child, which some people said, you know, it’s it’s it’s it happens. It happened to them. But they were like, look, go to the doctor’s, go to the GP if it continues like that, because that doesn’t sound normal. But I never managed to get an appointment because it was Covid times and every time I would go, don’t come in, you know? It’s just a scary kind of lockdown time. Yeah. So yeah, I actually didn’t didn’t get any appointments and I guess over maybe like three or four or five months. It kind of eased off and I haven’t really been worried about it since.
Le’Nise: So really your whole experience of your periods, apart from those two moments after you gave birth, it’s been like relatively easy.
Tinuke: Yeah. Apart from recently now. This is probably TMI, but hey, we are talking about periods. So I guess that’s.
Tinuke: There’s no.
Le’Nise: There’s no TMI here.
Tinuke: I recently went to go and get a blood test done because my periods, my PMS especially have been. They’ve been awful for the past, I would say, six months. And I’ve been quite like very conscious about my cycle. I like I got the Flo app, which for me has been really helpful in helping me understand that this stuff, my whole cycle and the different stages and phases and all of this kind of stuff. I never, never had any interest in it before. Just my period just came in and it went and that was it. But when I noticed that, you know, there’s been sort of a change in my periods, we’ll start on here. Let me let me try and track it and see what’s going on.
And then I realised that this PMS stage is getting progressively worse, like the symptoms are just awful. And then I mentioned it to a friend and she was like, I might need to go and check out for your thyroid because this is crazy. So, I booked a blood test with the GP. Well actually I just told my GP what was going on in terms of my PMS and how I just don’t feel myself whilst that period is going on and she was like, sounds like you might be okay. Two people, one health official saying, let’s go get a blood test. So I’m still waiting on the results. That was literally I think I took the blood test like a couple of weeks ago. So waiting for the results.
Le’Nise: That’s so interesting. Where you notice there were changes in what you were experiencing in the time before your period, and then you decided to check what was happening, to track your symptoms, and then the kind of proactivity to be able to just go to the doctor and say, like, this is what’s going on. I think that’s quite important to share because, you know, I hear this all the time. You know, I hate the week before my period I turn into a different person. But a lot of women, they just live with it because they feel like, well, that’s just what society tells us. This is supposed to happen. So I think it’s really great that you’ve been so proactive and also great that your doctor was, listened to you because you know and I know we’re going to get into this shortly, but, you know, doctors tend to not listen to women, especially black women. So, yeah, you know, that’s like kudos to you for going in and doing that. And so you’re waiting for the results. And then I’m sure you’re going to explore more about what could essentially be going on.
Tinuke: Yeah, because there’s got to be something I’ve gone from like having normal pretty decent periods to. Like you said, turn into a different person. My emotions are like spiky and everything’s just, you know, crazy. And then the other symptoms like sweat, sweating profusely and all of these different things, I’m like, okay, if you don’t tell me something’s wrong, I’m going to be worried now. You know, it’s almost like there clearly is something wrong because there wasn’t before and now there is. I’m almost expecting something that for there to be something wrong because it’s just too different. Yeah. Yeah. Like I guess it is about being open because if I didn’t speak to my friend about that, maybe I wouldn’t have called the GP and say actually hey, you know. So yeah, being open with that I guess, you know, thanks mum. She’s made me quite a person who’s, you know, I don’t mind be vulnerable. I don’t mind being open like like just kind of, you know, I started like everything that I do and you’ll get into that later. But it’s all about having that level of vulnerability and put yourself out there. But it, it has so much strength.
Le’Nise: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. So that I mean, this is a great time to talk more about what you do. So you I mean, you have a lot of you have a lot of different roles. So I want to talk first about Five x more. You know, can you talk firstly about what it what it is, what the what the platform is and why you started it?
Tinuke: Sure. So Five x more is an organisation dedicated to changing and highlighting black maternal outcomes. In the UK, historically, black women were five times more likely to die, hence the name. It’s now 3.7 and we basically try to change the outcomes in four different ways.
We lobby the government first and foremost. We have our black maternal health APPG and we’ve had, you know, a petition. We give evidence sessions in parliament. We tried to make sure we put pressure on those in power to make those changes, you know, put a targets in and things like that. And then we train health professionals on some of the myths and the stereotypes that, you know, that exist, especially within the health sector and the history of black women and gynaecology especially, we give women free resources. I think that first and foremost, this is the most important thing because of my previous experiences.
It’s important to make sure that women feel empowered and confident going into the birthing experience, pregnancies and their birthing experiences. And then the last thing we do is research and reports. So earlier this year, we launched the Black Women’s Maternity Experience Report, which documented over 1300 Black women’s experiences of giving birth in the last five years. It’s never been done before on this scale in the UK, despite the statistics being as high as they are for Black women for decades now. So yeah, we were just very tired of people saying, you know, they can’t find women to take part in research or they don’t know much about Black women’s experiences. Well, for a number of reasons. We’re not complaining as so many things are. But we now have a report that documents a lot of some of the things that we already know anecdotally. And now it’s just there in a report also that, you know, health professionals can pick it up, anyone can pick it up and read it. And there’s a lot of learning in there.
Le’Nise: So can you talk a little bit more about this stat? Five times now it’s 3.7 times more. Black women are more likely to have a negative maternal health outcome. Do you know what the reason is behind that? Like, have you have you gotten to the bottom of that?
Tinuke: So it’s it’s is a difficult one. So we take all the statistics from MBRRACE and MBRRACE for, I think for a number of years now have been collecting the data on maternal deaths. So it’s maternal deaths, not outcomes. These maternal deaths.
Le’Nise: Okay, maternal deaths, okay.
Tinuke: And if you actually look at the statistics and you look at the reports over the years, you see that actually Black women are not dying from anything more than White women are dying from. So it’s not a case of they’re dying from pre-eclampsia or diabetes or they’re dying from the same things, exactly the same things, but just at a higher rate. So there’s a clear overrepresentation of Black women in those statistics because we only have a very small number of births. So for us, it was very much like, okay, well, if you look at that statistic, that’s wild in itself and it’s been going on for a long time. But what about those behind the statistics. We know about the deaths, but we don’t know about the morbidity, the illness, the other things that come, you know, that are not necessarily documented anyway, which is why the Black Women’s Maternity Experience Report is so important, because they are the voices behind the statistics. But in terms of why this is happening, this is exactly why we exist, because we want to know why. We know what the statistics tell us. But, you know, we actually want to know why this is the case. I would say there are a number of different reasons. You can’t pinpoint it on just just one. There are a number of different factors at play there.
Le’Nise: So let’s talk a little bit about some of the myths and the stereotypes that you you you try to combat or re-educate around.
Tinuke: So some of the myths about, you know, black women are strong. You know, that’s actually a stereotype. Black women are strong. And that comes from a very long history, like I said, of Black women in gynaecology. Say the godfather of gynaecology, the person who is coined, the godfather of modern obstetric. I can never say that. What modern obstetrics is Dr. J Marion Sims and obviously trigger warning for anyone who is listening. He performed some really inhumane procedures on Black slaves at the time under the guise that Black women, Black people do not feel pain, have thick enough thicker skin, different nerve endings, were subhuman. So he perfected the instrument, the Sims speculum, which he used for, you know, gynaecological examinations. He perfected that on black women and he did not use any kind of pain relief, he did really awful things to there. And then he took it, you know, into the hospitals with the White women under anaesthesia and then with this kind of stuff that what people don’t know is that a lot of what he wrote was actually written down in some of the the journals, the medical journals at the time.
And so it was a very common belief that, well, Black people don’t feel pain. Black people have, you know, are subhuman. And that has actually transpired a lot through the years. You might think, oh, gosh, slavery was such a long time ago. Get over it. But we’re still seeing seeing the effects of that today.
And I’ll give you an example. In in recent times, I think it was in 2007, a nursing textbook was published and they had a section, a chapter on how to assess people on their race based on their pain. You know how how they how they react to pain basically on their race. And it’s just that’s a really racist and stereotypical things about how different races express pain or not. And that wasn’t pulled off the shelves until it was called out in 2012. That was less than ten years ago, and that was still in circulation. And it said Black people don’t feel pain, that Black people are strong, these kind of myths and stereotypes.
There’s another study that was done on doctors. Oh, I think medical students, actually, not doctors on how they basically assess people based on their pain and how much medication, pain medication they would give and that they, again, held these beliefs that Black people don’t feel as much pain. They administered less pain relief. And yeah, like. I think that was in 2016.
So, yes, we are still feeling the effects of what happened all those years ago. Those myths, those stereotypes. They still exist that Black people do not feel like they are listened to when it comes to not just maternity all areas because it’s not you don’t just see the poor outcomes in maternity because in maternity, yes, you have the mortality rates are higher, miscarriage rates are higher. Stillbirth is higher in black women, it seems like, you know, at the bottom of the rung when it comes to all of the statistics. But you’ve got to look at things like diabetes, cancer, like all these other areas where Black people have the worse outcomes, COVID. And so, yes, there’s a lot there to unpack, but I think it’s important that we are having these discussions because a lot of health professionals don’t necessarily know. And you can’t change something that you don’t know about.
Le’Nise: Yeah, exactly.
Tinuke: It’s important that we, you know, raising that raising the alarm and making sure that people people are aware so that they can, you know, change that internalised kind of learnt behaviour.
Le’Nise: Yeah, even simple things like I saw there was a guy who was he, I think he started by tweeting about it. He was a medical student talking about, you know, the things that you look at in darker skin that you, you know, all of the kind of examples that were given in medical textbooks werr based on white skin. And, you know, you just it doesn’t present the same way in darker skin and just simple things like that, where people have views, this kind of, you know, this white skin, white body is as a kind of foundation, even something like BMI, which is based on at me.
Tinuke: Don’t get me started…
Le’Nise: Like it’s just all of these foundations that we’re like challenging now then it’s so, so important because it’s, you know, we have to change these negative then the really negative health outcomes across all of these different areas. I really, I think the work that you do is so powerful. And I, I remember seeing the campaign in like around like June 2020 and thinking, yeah, and like the selfies with the hand. I thought they were so powerful. So I’m just really personally thrilled to be speaking to you today and talk a little bit more about the advocacy that you do within the government.
Tinuke: Yeah. So we had a petition that went sort of, I have to tell you the backstory of that, actually, the petition to improve Black maternal health care outcomes for Black women that went viral, when was George Floyd murdered? I think it was around May or June 2020. So we had a petition, we launched it in March, but because COVID was going to be serious or I was heavily pregnant with my second, we decided not to kind of promote it because we just wanted to, you know, just at least let me have the baby first and then we’ll see what’s going on with COVID, because it was quite you know, it was looming and it seemed quite serious.
And so yeah, we had launched the petition, but we, but we stayed silent. We didn’t, you know, we just thought maybe it’s just not the right time. It’s cool. I remember my daughter was three weeks old if that and George and seeing you know the murder of George Floyd. And then before you know it, our petition actually went viral and it got picked up. We don’t know how. We still don’t know how, but it got picked up. And by the end of that week, we had 100,000 signatures on the petition. And by the time it had closed 187,000 signatures. And it was a very bittersweet moment because it was almost like, well, we’ve been here for a long time, you know, being banging the drum. And it’s almost like it wasn’t until George Floyd’s murder that the world woke up and realised that issues exist for Black people and that Black people exist full stop. So that was quite a difficult one to navigate, was quite like very bittersweet. But you know, on the flip side of that, gaining over 100,000 signatures meant that it was debated in Parliament for the first time ever in its history.
Again, something behind that. So Bell Ribeiro-Addy, who is the chair of our Black Maternal Health APPG, has been supporting us right from from from the get go. And it took her to raise her to talk about her experience of losing her child in one of the parliamentary sessions for, um, for the, for the debate to actually come round. So we’ve been, after the 100,000 signatures,we were entitled for it to be debated in Parliament, but it took so long That Bell has to be and say, I hope this will be debated soon. And before you knew it, we had a date. So even that was, you know, a golf, issues of golf, matters of golf were debated before I was aware, even though ours was before. Take that how you want it.
So yeah, we, we, we eventually had the debate in April of last year and since then we’ve had three different separate debates in parliament on Black mental health, all with the intention of, you know, again, looking at what the evidence is telling us and trying to get a target put in because this currently there is no target. And this for a number of reasons which I honestly I can’t say I understand, but we’ll keep pushing and yeah, so we have a Black Maternal Health APPG. So again, we approached a number of employees and Bell was the one who really took took it, she ran with it. And we provide the Secretariat for the Black Maternal Health APPG, which stands for All-Party Parliamentary Group. And it’s a group of MPs from the House of Commons and House of Lords who meet regularly to discuss these issues and raise them wherever possible.
So that’s what we do with the Government and we’re really well, you know, when we say we lobby, we had a recent lobby actually where we got MPs to sign up to the Black Maternal Health Pledge. Following on from the three different reports that were released in the last couple of months, embossed in maternity space. And so, yeah, we are, you know, again, just trying to hold those accountable who can actually change things.
Le’Nise: Let’s say we have doctors listening to the show and they’re really kind of moved by what you’ve shared, as I should be, and really kind of alarmed by the statistics that you’ve shared. What would your recommendations be for them as to how they can change and change things in their practices or the way that they relate to their Black patients?
Tinuke: Um, I would definitely say, like, I know at the moment things are really, really stretched. I know that midwives are leaving in their droves. Health professionals are leaving in their droves. I know that the NHS is quite flatlined at the moment.
But yeah, two things. Take women as individuals and really try to deliver that personalised care. I think it’s important to note that Black women are not a monolith and we’re not we don’t think the same, have the same thoughts, feelings, views. We are not just one big group of people. So that individualised, individualised, personalised care is really important. Listening to the women and not just what’s being said, not just how things are being said, but what’s being said is really important.
But also to remember that your words have the power to really build somebody up or bring them down. So like, even if you have a two, three minute window with someone, how you speak to them can really change the trajectory of how they feel. I remember, so I’ve had two children, one negative experience, hence why I felt compelled to start Fivexmore. And one positive experience. When I said I was pregnant around the time of the pandemic, when I gave birth my my second in lockdown. But it was the most beautiful experience despite being really, really scared about COVID and things like that, going to hospital. It was the most beautiful experience because the midwife, she really empowered me to listen to my body. And it was just such a great feeling in comparison to the first time where I was telling the midwife, Look, I need to push him and she was telling me, don’t push are going to reverse everything.
Also I’ve just realised I didn’t actually say about, you know, kind of what led me to start Fivexmore. But again I had pre-eclampsia that was not picked up until very late in my pregnancy, which led me to be induced. And I had a very, very negative experience which essentially led my son to be delivered by assisted delivery, not the end of the world, but I just feel like it could have been avoided, won’t go into the ins and outs because trigger warnings and whatnot. But I just left the experience just feeling like I wasn’t listened to and I wasn’t important. This is the second time where the midwife was, you know? Very attentive, very patient with me. And really, you know when I was like I feel like I need to push for and go with it. Go with it, you know? And that felt very empowering to me. So, yeah, just knowing that your words have really do really have the the potential to, you know, really build somebody up and be mindful of that.
Le’Nise: And then on the flip side. What would you say to Black women who are you know, they’re they’re thinking about getting pregnant or they are pregnant, but they are they’re scared. You know, these statistics are scary. What would you say to them? How would you recommend that they advocate for themselves?
Tinuke: So it’s really funny. I was talking about this with my co-founder. Like, I feel like being a being a black woman both in person and knowing all the statistics are out there and it can be very, very scary. You know, the recent news that have come out, you know, has come out about a few people who have passed away and things like that. And it can just feel very, very scary.
And I say, you know, you’ve got two camps of women. You’ve got women who are like myself were like, no, I need to find out everything. I need to know. I have to like the five I’ll first resource, the Fivexmore Steps were done when I was pregnant with my second because I know what happened to me during my first and I was like, I’m just, I just need to know absolutely everything.
And then you’ve got other women who are like, you know, I can’t engage with that. I’m, you know, I’m worried, I’m scared. And I don’t want to actually engage with anything negative. I’m going to protect my space. I want to protect my, you know, my aura. And and I don’t really want to engage. And both of those responses are obviously equally as valid and as important.
But I think it’s just number one, we always give this disclaimer whenever we give talks. Just remember to remember that actually maternal mortality, so deaths is very rare in the UK and actually the UK is still one of the safest places to give birth in the world. There is unfortunately a disparity in who is dying and that’s what we campaigned for. But overall maternal mortality is very, very low in the UK, so that’s number one. But also that there are resources and there are things out there to help you. You know, sort of advocate for yourself or on behalf of somebody if you need to. So we do have a lot of resources and a lot of things on our website that can help you do that. What are the questions to ask your midwife? When should you go? When should you go to the hospital? How to advocate for yourself.
We have we offer free hypnobirthing with the Positive Birth Company as well. So 100 black women every month get access to that free, free of charge money, I think around £140. There are things out there. There are resources out there. So just not to be scared. Not to be scared.
Le’Nise: So all of those resources that you shared will be linked in the show notes. So thank you so much for sharing those. I think the work that you’re doing here is amazing. And I’m so grateful for for it. And I know that it’s helped so many Black women and Black birthing people. What do you what’s your vision in the future? Is it do you want to get to the point where the organisation is redundant?
Tinuke: Oh, absolutely. The work is heavy. I think a lot of people don’t realise that we’re actually is with two moms. It’s just the two of us that run Fivexmore. Everyone thinks that we’re a group of health professionals over a group of women. Actually, it’s just myself and Clo. So, yes, we would like everything to go down. We don’t we don’t actually want to exist to the point where where we don’t exist would mean that, you know, things are equitable, you know, at least get that target put in and make sure that that is reduced all the way down. Because like I said, the overrepresentation of Black women in the statistics is obviously absolutely crazy. And yeah, we want things to become equitable. And we essentially want to get that target put into things to go down, because this is something I say quite regularly. I guess if you consider given away my age. About 31 years ago when my mom gave birth to me here in this country as a Black woman, she was more likely to die as a Black woman, but they just didn’t know how much because at the time they did, it collects data on ethnicity.
Fast forward to when I had my son, five times more. I now have a daughter and I don’t want her to be campaigning about the same thing, you know, 25, 30 years time, so whatever she decides to give us, if she chooses to give birth. I don’t want her to be campaigning about the same thing. I think the buck stops here. And now that, you know, it’s in the forefront and we’re keeping it on the top of the agenda, we can keep things moving. So yeah, the vision is to really we don’t want to exist, if not if not to give women resources. And of course, yes, for that. And but yeah, we, we, it’s a lot of work and I just feel like we want to get to a place where we don’t even have to do this anymore.
Le’Nise: Yeah. Yeah, I, yeah, I think that, I mean, I’m grateful for the work that you do and I’ve actually referred a few clients to in your direction, like look at your resources, their website, look at your resources. But yeah, the hope is that you don’t have to do this work in the future. So what? What next? You know, you you’re doing advocacy. You’re doing all of this work with the government. What do you have coming up in the next year?
Tinuke: In the next year, we’ll be launching a learning hub, which will be an online hub filled with culturally sensitive information on what to expect. You know, can you put your perm your hair? Like that’s the big thing, like people don’t really talk about and, you know, can affect you. Like skincare and nutrition that’s culturally relevant. I don’t know about you I don’t eat kale every day so I’m eating plantain, so what’s what’s good what’s in moderation what can we do, how can we stay healthy and, you know, prepare for, for pregnancy and beyond, things that pertain to us. So yeah, we are working on that with which we will launching at some point early next year. And yeah, you know, what we normally do are Awareness Week, Awareness Month and continuing on with the partnerships to bring up more resources and more things for Black women and birthing people.
Le’Nise: Fantastic, also when is the awareness month?
Tinuke: It will be in April.
Le’Nise: April. Okay. Okay. Great. So you shared a lot. You’ve shared your period story, you’ve touched on your birth stories, and you’ve shared the amazing advocacy work that you do. What’s the one thought that you’d like to leave us with today?
Tinuke: Um. Oh, good question. I guess. How do I tie everything in together? Trust your gut.
That’s our first step on our, um. One of the steps, actually, in our first resource, Trust your gut, nobody knows your body better than you. And I guess it ties in with the, you know, me going and seeking a blood test because I knew that actually something’s not quite right here. I, I need to seek additional help. And if not. Kick and scream and cry. Do whatever I need to do to make sure I get that help. Because I know in my body something’s not right. But trust your gut. Trust your gut. Because nobody actually is in your body, can feel your pain. Go into what you’re feeling. Trust your gut and speak up.
Le’Nise: Brilliant. Trust your gut. I love that so much. Thank you so much for coming on the show today. Thank you so much for the work that you do. And yeah, fingers crossed that you don’t need to do it any more in the future. It’s just a head start.