All Articles Tagged "black moms"
I am about 10 days shy of my due date. While the hot weather, lower back pain and sharp jabs from the inside make me want to meet my little blessing sooner rather than later, the anxiety of going through labor for a second time keeps those feelings at bay. But it’s not really about the pain. The natural birth of my first child wasn’t the worst thing ever, so my current anxiety doesn’t come from my initial labor. Despite this not being my first rodeo, to be honest, I somehow feel unprepared to go through it all over again.
I always wanted to have a natural birth and upon getting pregnant the first time, so I did a lot of research on the topic. In preparation for labor (at first I was just worried about the pain), I started surfing the web for efficient ways to successfully accomplish a natural birth. I watched multiple educational videos, as well as actual videos of women giving birth. I also attended prenatal yoga classes and talked to close friends about the pain of contractions, and asked multiple questions about each stage of labor, including how a human head can come through my vagina and not kill me.
Once the labor pains were accurately described – an ascension of pain very similar to a Charley horse at its peak, but in the area of your stomach and/or back – I figured that I had a good idea of the pain and how I could handle it.
Although pregnancy and labor is different for each woman, I believed that I had my mind right and was ready. We had a bag packed and car seat installed a good month in advance of the due date. All of our questions were answered and I felt at ease with moving forward with giving birth (with the help of midwives). Besides the frequent vomiting and the three false alarm trips to the hospital, my labor went as planned.
But for some reason, the second time around has already been drastically different.
The trepidation about giving birth started with the lack of attention that I was giving this pregnancy. My first born was 10 months when I found out that I was pregnant again. I’ve been running behind a toddler and looking for preschools while trying to ensure that I create alone time with my daughter who will soon hold the title of big sister.
There has also been the worry of figuring out who would be able to watch my daughter when I go into labor. Not to mention that we just moved to a new state and although we know people here, our resources are limited if I go into labor in the wee hours of the morning. Luckily, my mom JUST arrived to help out, so that is no longer a concern.
And maybe it’s the fear of the known and my consciousness of how intense labor can be. All in all, I don’t feel nearly as prepared as I was the first go-round. Of course, the hubby and I don’t have to attend another natural birthing class, but the breathing techniques taught in those necessary classes seem like a distant memory.
As far as the bag goes, we just threw a few items together and we’re hoping we don’t need anything else.
And although I’ve heard that the second childbirth normally goes by faster, I’m somewhat concerned that I might not make it to my delivery destination in time. Heaven forbid I make headlines like the woman who gave birth in a car on the side of the road or have the kid at home in a spontaneous bathroom delivery like Teyana Taylor (FYI: I would have loved a home birth but that’s not my plan nor my husband’s preference).
You see, I have a number of small worries here and there, but quite honestly, there’s no reasonable explanation as to why I feel so apprehensive about giving birth for the second time. My child will arrive when she wants to arrive and everything will come together, as it always does. My main response when asked the ever so popular question of “Are you ready?” is “I have no choice.” Therefore, I have to be — no matter how I’m feeling.
Before motherhood, the latest rap song would play repeatedly in my head and I jumped at the chance to try out the newest fashion trends. But as of late, an upbeat tempo with lyrics that explain primary colors is seared into my brain, and I’m just happy to have clean, ironed clothes to wear at a moment’s notice. To say that my responsibilities as a parent have left me pretty busy would be an understatement. Consequently, taking care of myself can sometimes feel like the least of my priorities.
A British survey reported that it takes about 18 months after birth for a new mother to “feel like a woman again.” The 3,000 female participants mentioned in the survey said that they struggled with a loss of independence, body issues after having a hard time with weight loss, and overall, just letting themselves go.
This may be true for many mothers. However, with a little effort, it’s easier than you think to feel like yourself again — and in a much shorter time frame than 18 months.
Write Down Your Goals
Just because you have a little one at home doesn’t mean that your lofty career aspirations have to disappear.
I get it. If you’re like me, you created a vision board two years ago, hung it up on your wall and never updated it. Well, it’s never too late to finally do so. You might have the best intentions of getting back into the groove and chasing your dreams, but actually seeing the words will help you implement the changes needed to make it happen.
According to a study done by Dominican University of California psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews, people who wrote down their goals accomplished more than those who did not.
Go a step further and actually make a to-do list each day. In order to not feel overwhelmed, I write down my list nightly so that I have it ready for the morning to encourage me. The key is to make your list realistic and only add items, maybe three to four, of which you know you can and will get done.
Make Time for Yourself
Dr. Christina Hibbert said that alone time is essential for emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health. “By ‘alone time’ what I really mean is time away from your role as a mother—Time to be you, to unwind, relax, rest, revive,” she said.
Although some of her alone time suggestions include taking a nap, reading, hiking or doing a project, I believe that even simply going into the bathroom and locking the door to have a moment to yourself can go a long way. Of course, based on a conversation that I recently had with a few friends who have children at the toddler stage and older, this still might be impossible due to so many distractions.
To obtain my daily dose of alone time, I try to get it in where I can fit it in. I often stay up an extra 20 to 30 minutes, after everyone is asleep, and watch Netflix. Yes, I’m tired, but it’s totally worth it. I even volunteer to run to the store for a small item while blasting non-kid-friendly music loudly in the car on the way.
Make Appearance a Priority
Author and speaker Sheila Wray Gregoire said that it’s important to fight the frump and make the effort necessary to keep yourself up. You shouldn’t feel the need to go all out for your husband, but rather, do it for yourself. “Deciding to look put together is also saying, ‘I take myself seriously. I respect myself,'” she said.
It took seven months for me to get back to my beauty routine after giving birth. It wasn’t a complex regimen, but I was struggling with things as simple as washing my face daily, with a scrub and moisturizer, and taking showers regularly.
Instead of settling with the excuse of “I have no time,” take the time to ensure that you look your best. Go back to the days when you wore your favorite pair of heels, black dress, and adorned yourself in vintage jewelry that complemented your chicest outfit. Do what it takes to feel like yourself again.
There’s no doubt that your child is your highest priority, but in order to take care of your most precious gem, you have to take care of yourself first.
After settling into motherhood, what routines and priorities fell by the wayside? What effort did you make to regain some semblance of self again?
By Ylonda Gault Caviness
I feel sorry for the others. You know those mothers: the highly informed, professionally accomplished — usually white — women who, judging by the mommy blog fodder, daytime TV, and new parenting guides lining store shelves, are apparently panicking all day, every day, over modern child rearing and everything that comes with it. They feel compelled to praise their kids, but fret the dosage. They worry about pesticides; this year’s best birthday-party theme; enrichment summer camps; preparing Johnnie for college admissions in 2025 (it’s never too early); and, of course, the biggie — keeping their kids happy.
Most adults know that happiness, unlike, say, integrity or self-reliance, is elusive and often fleeting. Still, so-called experts have convinced these mothers that their job is to plant joy into their children’s small bodies. Not surprisingly, this overabundance of advice has turned mothering into a hot mess of guilt, confusion and hard labor.
Thankfully, I am a black mom. Like many of my fellow sisters, I don’t have time for all that foolishness. Our charge is to raise — notice I did not say “parent” — our children in a way that prepares them for a world that, at best, may well overlook their awesomeness and, at worst, may seek to destroy it.
One thing that makes it easier for us is that, unlike many white women, most black women in America come from a long line of mothers who worked outside the home, and have long been accustomed to navigating work and family. My mama worked, as did her mama and her mama before that. According to the University of Maryland sociologist Bart Landry, the author of “Black Working Wives: Pioneers of the American Family Revolution,” black middle-class wives, long before the feminist movement of the 1960s and ’70s, rejected the cult of domesticity for a threefold commitment to family, career and community. These families “ushered in a more egalitarian era,” and a lifestyle their white counterparts adopted decades later.
When I was growing up during the ’70s in Buffalo, my siblings and I were met after school by Papa, my grandfather who lived with us and cared for us while our mother was at her factory job. If Papa was not around, there were any number of “aunties” and other mothers from the neighborhood available to feed us and taxi us to and fro. Most of these women were also employed, but they did shift work in hospitals or had jobs in retail with varied schedules. No matter. As a black mom on the block, everyone’s kid was your kid.
Mommy wars? “That doesn’t make a lick of sense,” Mama, who’s now 80, would say. Mama lived to sit at the kitchen table — our light blue princess phone nestled in the crook of her neck as she took long drags on her cigarette — gossiping about her girlfriends. But there was a mutual sense of love and respect among the moms of her generation. They were always tired, just like moms now. But never too tired to offer encouragement — words like, “Girl, all you can do is the best you can.”
Read the full article here.
Ylonda Gault Caviness is the author of the forthcoming book “Child, Please: How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myself.” An independent journalist, focused on family, parenting & relationship topics, she’s a former iVillage senior producer—parenting & pregnancy. Contributor, Essence magazine. Graduate of Northwestern University. New Jersey resident. And mother to three of the coolest human beings on the planet.
In the 90’s, we watched as some of our favorite actresses played hard-working, inspirational and sometimes feisty mothers. Today we take a look back at some of our favorite black movie moms of the 90’s. Now, not all these mothers were perfect—with some movie moms, we were inspired by their fortitude and with others we were turned off by their bad decision making. Either way, these complex characters were memorable—from Halle Berry as Khalia Richards in Losing Isaiah to Angela Basset as Reva in Boyz n the Hood.
Flashback Friday: 15 Memorable Black Movie Moms of the 90’s
A new study shows that the negative effects of discrimination and racism can last a lifetime, beginning when a child is still in the womb.
Black women in America are over twice as likely as white women to give birth to babies with low birth weight, and socioeconomic and healthcare disparities don’t fully explain the difference. Since low birth weight can predispose people to lung disease, cardiovascular problems, and diabetes later in life, researchers have been looking for a reason why it’s linked to race. Now a study reveals one answer: discrimination against women can actually affect the weight of their babies.
The study, published online in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine published findings by Valerie Earnshaw and her colleagues from Yale University. Their findings, after interviewing more than 1,000 black and Latina girls and women between the ages of 14 and 21, suggest that chronic, everyday instances of discrimination against pregnant, urban women of color may play a significant role in contributing to low birth weight babies. Medical News Today says low birth weight can result in fetal and prenatal morbidity, suppressed growth and slower cognitive development and chronic diseases later in the baby’s life.
The good news: across the board, the women reported relatively low levels of discrimination. However, even those low levels were associated with a significantly increased risk of low birth weight. That was true whether the women felt the discrimination was motivated by race or other factors.
The study also suggests one possible explanation for the harm discrimination might do to a developing fetus. Women who experienced more discrimination were also more likely to be depressed, and depression — both in this study and in previous research — has been found to be associated with low birth weight. Earnshaw says that by treating pregnant women’s depression, healthcare providers and social workers might be able to lessen the effects of discrimination.
Many studies, including a new one on ten-year-olds have found significant health disparities between white Americans and minorities, extending throughout life. Some have attributed these disparities to income, but other research [PDF] suggests that’s not the only factor. And discrimination has been shown to harm physical and mental health as well. According to Earnshaw and her coauthors, that harm may begin not just with children’s first experiences of prejudice, but with what their mothers go through before they’re even born.
This results of this study confirm what Ziba Kashef of ColorLines RaceWire.com wrote nearly a decade ago about the disproportionately high number of black babies who are born with a low birth weight:
While many ob/gyns and health experts point to causes like the timing of prenatal care or unequal health insurance access, others are asking broader questions about race, racism, and health.
Back then, Dr. Michael Lu, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and public health at UCLA, said researchers have found that even when they control for such varied factors as poverty, housing, employment, medical risk, abuse, social support and so on, 90 percent of the differences in birth weight between black and white moms remains unaccounted for.
One thing they found back then seems to be confirmed now and that’s the fact that protective effects of culture and close familial and community ties serve as a buffer to stress and racial discrimination.
Maybe the key to having more healthy babies in the Black community is to spend a substantial amount of time in an environment where racial discrimination is unlikely.
What do you think about this study? Have you ever felt you were a victim of discrimination there were depressed as a result?
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By now you might be tired of the You Tube Shyte say meme but seriously, if you have to watch just a few more videos, these are three you need to see. One of my Facebook friends posted them on her page last night and I spent the next 20 minutes watching and re-watching them, discussing them with my sister and recalling those exact phrases coming out of my own mother’s mouth. It was so hilarious that I had to share with some of you. I know somebody will be able to relate. Check out the three videos below and let us know which one reminds you the most of your mother.
Shyte Black Moms Say
Shyte Black Momma’s Say
Shyte Black Single Moms Say
Can you relate?
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