“When I got pregnant, I wanted the very best for my baby,” Dr. Cottom recalled. “That’s why I chose the hospital uptown where the white women went to have their babies, with white doctors...thinking I would get better care—and I got anything but.”

“I was about four months pregnant when I started bleeding,” she continued. “My husband rushed me to the doctor’s office where I sat in the waiting room for about 30 minutes. The doctors [and] the nurses really ignored the crying, bleeding pregnant woman in the waiting room. I was in extreme pain. I never felt more invisible.”


Dr. Cottom had bled into the chair by the time a doctor finally saw her, but still, she faced further neglect when he “dismissed [her] concerns,” telling her that “spotting was normal, especially for someone as fat as [she] was.” Yes... she was quoting him directly. Ugh.

She was sent home, but the bleeding persisted so she returned to the hospital and was dismissed again. It wasn’t until Dr. Cottom had to “beg and plead” with the doctor to look further into it that she was finally given an ultrasound. What they found, as Dr. Cottom recounts, “was shocking.”


“The Invisible Black Women Epidemic” episode of Red Table Talk debuts May 13 on Facebook Watch at 3 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. PT.