In an effort to raise public awareness of the 1999 premature birth of her son, Jazz, and the support she received from March Of Dimes, Grammy-nominated recording artist Maysa is releasing a powerfully honest and intimate single, You Are Not Alone, in conjunction with Prematurity Awareness Month (November).
Maysa's song — and Prematurity Awareness Month — serve as a rally cry and tribute to the 15 million babies worldwide who are born prematurely each year and the people who care for them. Premature birth and its complications are the largest contributor to infant death in the U.S. and around the globe. Babies who survive early birth often face serious and lifelong health problems.
“I remember how difficult it was to give birth to a preemie, especially in a foreign country, and how alone one feels in that situation,” says Maysa. “The lyrics and melody came to me in minutes once the emotions from that experience came rushing over me. It helps to know there are others who care and are there for us through personal challenges. March of Dimes was that for me with my son, and I’ve spent my life trying to be that for others.”
From Michelle Obama recently sharing the pain and loneliness of her miscarriage and struggle to become a mom, to Beyoncé’s revelation of her pregnancy-related health scare and her twins’ subsequent NICU stay, there is a comfort in sharing and hearing these personal, powerful stories of motherhood. Maysa’s song is about speaking openly in order to release her own stigma and shame, and let the listener know there is help out there.
“Through the power of music and her authoritative vocals, Maysa has shined a spotlight on the global epidemic of babies being born too sick and too soon,” says March of Dimes President Stacey D. Stewart. “Powerful testimonials like hers provide support to countless families and highlight how critical it is for women to have access to preventive and supportive care before, during, and after pregnancy.”
Throughout Prematurity Awareness Month, which included World Prematurity Day on November 17, March of Dimes is advocating for #BlanketChange, celebrating families through events large and small, sharing inspiring stories, lighting the world purple – the organization’s signature color – and raising funds for life-saving research and community-based programs to give every baby the best possible start. In October, March of Dimes launched #BlanketChange, aiming to cultivate awareness around the urgent health crisis moms and babies face, including increased rates of maternal mortality and preterm birth.
“March of Dimes believes every baby deserves the best possible start, but we know that unfortunately not all babies get one,” says Stewart. “As a champion for families, we need thousands of voices to advocate for the passage of laws that promote the health of women, babies, and families. We need more families to share their stories so those in the NICU [newborn intensive care units] know they’re not alone. We need to reach more communities with the support and education they need. If we can come together as a community, we can create solutions that support healthy moms and strong babies, not just in November, but all year long.”
Maysa fully supports March of Dimes and Prematurity Awareness month, and says she remains compelled to create music and rich rhythms that empower and inspire people. “That is my calling in life and that is what God put me on this earth to do,” says Maysa, who remains one of the most coveted and instantly identifiable voices in R&B and Jazz over the past 25 years. She launched her musical career as a member of Stevie Wonder’s Wonderlove and has been running on the treadmill of success as the long-time front vocalist with the explosive UK Jazz/Funk sensation, Incognito, the legendary all-star cast of instrumentalists. The Soul Train Award winner has recorded 13 solo albums.
Throughout this month, March of Dimes is conducting Days of Gratitude at NICUs in hospitals across the country. The organization is also holding events from coast-to-coast which include NICU baby showers; Prematurity Summits/Symposia; Perinatal Conferences; Maternal Health Equity Summits; Grand Rounds and webinars on prematurity prevention; Kangaroo Mother Care educational sessions at hospitals (Kangaroo-A-Thons), and more.