The past year has been nothing short of a wild ride for British model and actress, Jodie Turner-Smith. Shortly after wrapping up filming for her role in the BET Awards’ Best Movie Queen & Slim, Turner-Smith learned she was pregnant with her first child with husband Joshua Jackson of Dawson’s Creek fame. Then COVID-19 hit the world and turned life as we all knew it upside down. In the midst of a global lockdown, another American Black man, George Floyd of Houston, TX, was murdered by police on camera by Minneapolis law enforcement. It didn’t take long for Turner-Smith to make the decision to give birth in her Los Angeles home alongside hubby.
“Early in the morning on my third day of labour, my husband and I shared a quiet moment,” Turner-Smith says in the September issue of British Vogue. “Josh ran me a bath, and as I lay contracting, I talked to my body and I talked to my daughter. In that moment, he snapped a picture of me. An honest moment of family and togetherness — a husband supporting a wife, our baby still inside me, the sacred process of creating a family.”
In those sacred moments and the ones after bringing her baby into the world for the first time, Turner-Smith has pondered how she will one day explain to her the exact chaos that ensued during the year 2020. “The historic events, the social unrest, and me — a new mother just trying to do her best. I think I will tell her that it was as if the world had paused for her to be born. And that, hopefully, it never quite returned to the way it was before.”
Reflecting on a 2019 essay penned by Turner-Smith citing concerns with “racial and ethnic disparities in pregnancy-related deaths,” it seems that the actress was already quite aware of the racially-charged systemic challenges that western healthcare would pose if she were to give birth in a Los Angeles hospital.