From our interviews with moms and stakeholders, we identified a set of key learnings that define the elements of a healthy pregnancy. These elements were missing from the pregnancy experiences of many of the women we talked to in Avondale. These learnings help us understand women’s experiences so we can put them at the center of the solutions we create.

 

Trusted Knowledge

Quality information that is delivered by someone we trust, making it relevant, tangible, and actionable in our lives. Women in Avondale rely on their social networks for knowledge, more so than information from authorities. This can result in misinformation and myths surrounding birth control, pregnancy, and preterm birth being perpetuated in the community.

 
People still get pregnant on the pill...with condoms there’s still a possibility...any way you go, you’re going to get pregnant.
 
 
They told me he was preterm, but I was confused because he weighed six pounds, and I thought preterm was five pounds.
 

Community Love

Meaningful support networks provide outlets for reflection, access to new ideas, and alternative narratives; transform information into trusted knowledge; and build personal power. Many women we spoke with  are experiencing emotional isolation due to fear, competition, and distrust, impeding the formation of meaningful support networks.

There are tall walls between institutions and people.
People use you if you’re too nice.
There’s so much violence—people shooting people for no reason.

Personal Power

A woman’s sense of power drives her opportunities, motivations, outlooks, ability to trust, and ability to think proactively. In Avondale, many women struggle with a limited sense of potential or feelings of powerlessness.  Cycles of unhealthy relationships, poverty, and embedded underlying racism in their daily lives are all factors that can contribute to these struggles.

Racism is the gnawing sense that you’re not good enough.
I didn’t know anything about sex...and the first time I did it, I wasn’t 100% for it.
He told me he couldn’t have kids because he hadn’t had any before. I thought it would be alright.

Futurecasting

The ability to imagine yourself in the future, and discover the proactive steps you need to take to get there. Stories open our eyes to possibility. A heterogeneous mixture of stories inspire us, enabling us to dream and futurecast. We found there are limited stories  perpetuated in Avondale, resulting in limited social mobility:  without wholly new opportunities being presented, no new opportunities are realized. Futurecasting allows us to assess risk in our lives, and what we need to do to take care of ourselves. Without building this ability, we are unequipped to make the best decisions for health and future.

 
My mom wants me to do better than her...to have two times what she’s got. It makes me feel like what I’m doing isn’t good enough.