Elaine Welteroth Hosts Inaugural BirthFund Brunch With Kelly Rowland, Khloé Kardashian, Kris Jenner and More

The movement for maternal health gathered Kelly Rowland, Tina Knowles, Kris Jenner and more for the first annual BirthFund Brunch on Thursday in Los Angeles, to support the organization founded by journalist and author Elaine Welteroth.

When Welteroth, mother to a toddler and currently expecting her second child, learned that maternal mortality in the U.S. is higher than in other high-income countries (at about 22 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) — and deaths among Black women are highest — she felt the need to act, she said. It’s a complex issue, she added, which is why she’s focusing on one element: supporting midwives and expecting mothers of color throughout their birth journey.

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“When I went through the experience — the life-changing, lifesaving experience — of being cared for by these Black women, by these Black midwives — and I came through that experience, not just alive but thriving — I understood for the first time how transformative motherhood could be, what transformative birth can do,” Welteroth said at a fundraiser she hosted at the home of interior designer Brigette Romanek. “We need that for other women in a time, in an age where our rights are being stripped from us. They do not want us to be acquainted with our power. Midwifery acquaints us with our power.”

It’s an issue that can be solved; Norway has the lowest maternal death rate with zero, she went on.

“So, I want to be clear that we are lifting up midwifery as one solution that we can all get behind,” she continued. “We need systemic change to make that possible at scale for every woman who deserves it, for every family who deserves it. But guess what, we don’t have time to wait for the laws to change. We don’t have time to wait for philanthropists, doctors and the insurance companies and lawmakers to do the right thing to move the needle on this. And so that is why it is on us to save us.”

Nearly $250,000 was raised at the event, which also included Nancy Twine, Hannah Bronfman and Khloé Kardashian, among others. Title sponsor SoFi, the finance company, has been a supporter of BirthFund from the start and made a donation of $500,000. To date, more than $1.2 million in total has been raised by the organization, launched in April. The day was also held to honor Kimberly Durdin and Allegra Hill, the cofounders of Kindred Space L.A., which offers complete midwifery care.

“Now that I’m finally sitting back, I’m a little choked [up],” Rowland said. “Because it goes to show how one idea and an idea of passion, and when women and people come together — because I see there are men here too — we can actually shift and move these numbers and change these numbers in which women are actually going into these very sacred places to give life and some to lose theirs.”

Launch Gallery: Kelly Rowland, Elaine Welteroth and Tina Knowles Attend The BirthFund Brunch in Los Angeles

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