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Jul 5, 2017

When Tiara Caldwell gave birth to her twins, she was distraught when hospital staff kept the newborns from her for more than 11 hours. Nurses assumed that she didn't want to nurse. She felt she was discriminated against because she is African American, and she was a young mom. "They assumed that because of my age and race, I wouldn't want to nurse," she said.

Caldwell, now 28, had her fight daughter at 19, and twins three years later, used her anger and heartbreak over the negatives in her birth experience to become a doula and lactation consultant. Today, no longer in a relationship with her kids' father, and on top of her staff job at a hospital, she is launching her own doula, birth education and lactation consultation business, Crowned and Cradled (LOVE THAT NAME!). The business aims to serve millennial moms, especially low-income and minority women. Her business plan includes a mentorship program to support other, new doulas and lactation consultants. 

This service is sorely needed. More U.S. women are dying of pregnancy-related complications than any other developed country. Each year in the U.S., 700 to 900 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes, and about 65,000 come close to dying — the worst record in the developed world, according to the CDC. The United States is the only developed country where has the rate of women who die related to childbirth been rising. Black women are three times as likely to die in childbirth as white women. 

Breastfeeding rates among African American newborns trails babies overall. In 2008, the percentage of women who initiated breastfeeding was 75 percent for white mothers, and 59 percent for black mothers. 

Caldwell's passion to help young, minority moms is also fueled by her own big entrepreneurial goals, which she is growing while she works a fulltime staff job. She plans to use the 

"I can't let a company tell me what my dreams are," Caldwell said. 

Have a listen. You'll love her as much as I do.