Meet Brianna Harris of “Giving Birth in America: Louisiana”

By Hannah McCouch

Brianna Harris

By the time Brianna got to her boyfriend’s house in Denham Springs, L.A. it was past Midnight and the rain still had not stopped. The 23-year-old had lived through other disasters in her home state, but that night, four-months pregnant with her first child, she was extremely anxious.

She had other worries before the flood of course — losing her health coverage, overcoming the stigma of Medicaid (“I didn’t want to be treated differently”), hearing she might not have a job to come back to after having her baby — but waking up an hour later in an apartment that was quickly becoming engulfed by water, raised Brianna’s anxiety to new levels.

Many of her friends lost everything in the flood and moved away.

“This is how our Louisiana ecosystem is. But anywhere you go there could be a natural disaster, so I guess some people would rather deal with tornadoes than floods. Unfortunately, this place has a hold on my heart. I’ll be here a long while.”

Brianna was proactive about educating herself about her medical choices and had been supported throughout her pregnancy. Her mother, a medical professional, often accompanied her to pre-natal visits: “Whenever doctors spit out medical terms really fast, she’s there to speak the language with them and explain things better.” She was pleased when her doctor at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge encouraged Brianna to have a natural birth. “He was more open-minded about me not taking medicine and having a natural birth than I thought he would be.”

Because of her 14-hour days working at the hotel and her boyfriend’s night job at a warehouse, they look forward to their “slumber parties” on the weekend while living separately. “This baby is actually going to be the first grandchild on both sides so we have a lot of support, aunts and cousins who are ready to babysit. I’m excited. I’m counting down.”

Topics: Childbirth, Maternal Health, Pregnancy