In this moving memoir, Shirley Smith, wife of NBA Champion and All-Star J. R. Smith, tells the story of giving birth to one of the youngest premature babies to survive - using her experience to heighten awareness of the crisis of Black maternal and infant health and pay tribute to Black women’s resilience.
Shirley Smith and her husband, NBA champion J. R. Smith, looked forward to the birth of their second child, Dakota, as they celebrated New Year’s Eve with family at home. After dinner, Shirley felt a sharp pain that worsened through the night. Only 21-weeks pregnant, she was in labor. Mama Bear is the story of her 141-day ordeal, from entering a hospital emergency room on New Year’s morning and giving birth to her premature newborn, to taking her daughter home for the first time the following May.