Why Black Mothers Need Each Other
I planned on hiding my pregnancy from my coworkers until I was well into my second trimester, but the demon known as morning sickness left me so visibly ill that I ended up disclosing the news much earlier than I intended.
One of the first people I shared the news with was my co-worker Tasha. It was opening day of our annual back-to-school staff retreat and I felt like a fish out of water. She snuck up on me as I hovered over the breakfast buffet paralyzed by fear. If I don’t eat, I’ll throw up. If I eat the wrong thing, I’ll throw up. She jokingly pointed out that I looked as though I was trying to make some serious life decisions before I blurted out that I was pregnant and horribly ill. After hugging and congratulating me, and giving me a quick pep talk, she said something I didn’t fully understand at the time but has stayed with me to this very day: “You’re doing something absolutely amazing. Carrying new life and raising children is a superpower.” Her encouraging words helped carry me through the remainder of the retreat — especially during particularly challenging moments like trying to keep the contents of my stomach down during four-hour-long professional development sessions. They also ushered me into the beautiful sorority known as Black motherhood.
It’s hard as hell being a Blackwoman in America and it’s frightening to raise children in a country that often sees them as second class citizens because of the color of their skin. However, there is also something exhilarating and deeply edifying about parenting a Black child, and one of the best parts is the women who are doing it alongside you. I had the privilege of speaking to a few women about what they value or enjoy most about establishing a community with other Black mothers. Here’s what they said:
Unpacking generational child-rearing practices
“When we talk about our aunties and in-laws telling us to do certain things because that’s how they raised their kids or that’s how they were raised.” – K.A.
The old school had their way of doing things. Some of their methods are tried and true while others are a bit questionable and potentially damaging to the mental and emotional health of children. As we become more informed and enlightened, it’s nice to be able to discuss these practices with women who have had similar experiences.
“We need each other as we learn to navigate this new role. We’re able to expose our children to what we want for them and model relationship-building.” -A.M
The solid sisterly bonds established between mothers during playdates, movie nights, and mommy & me classes serve as a model for how to build healthy relationships.
Discussing our fears
“Parenting Black boys is scary. It’s nice to be able to discuss my worries and concerns with other moms.” – J.C.
Raising Black children comes with a unique set of fears that parents of other races likely don’t even think about. Having someone who you can be vulnerable with regarding those very real fears is comforting.
The emotional support
“We need each other for emotional support on this rocky road known as motherhood.” – T.B.
Motherhood is full of peaks and valleys, but the beauty of surrounding yourself with other moms is that you don’t have to go at it alone. You have a sister circle to cheer you on during your wins and help you to pick up the pieces when you take those inevitable Ls.
What do you love most about connecting with other Black moms?