Becoming a mother is like stumbling upon the world’s greatest secret. It is like you are being ushered into some sort of secret society where women are waiting for you with open arms…giving you tips and advice for things like how hellish your birth will be, how your vagina will never be the same, and how life as you once knew it will abrubtly come to an end. Yep, that is some secret society.
Becoming a mother as a Black woman was an entirely different ball game.
Some friends and family did not know whether to congratulate me or curse me for bringing a baby into our world. Even though I was an adult, in a committed relationship, and had a decent job, it was as if I had done the unthinkable: actually deciding to start a family. At first, this brash of negativity offended me but being sensible, I had to see things for what they were:
Black babies being born are not celebrated. Black mothers are not looked at as nurturing. Black families are not positively represented.
Have you ever noticed when something becomes apparent in your life, you begin to see it everywhere? All of sudden, I became bombarded with wobbly, pregnant women holding their backs to support their ever growing bellies. I would watch them and imagine myself being 6 months pregnant. Were my ankles going to swell? Would my nose get bigger? Was I going to break out in teenage acne all over again? The questions were too much to bear so like I do with everything else, I turned to Google and began to type in the questions that were constantly swarming my mind. In turn, Google gave me Mommy Blogs. With this being my first pregnancy, I had never seen or heard of these little gifts from Heaven. These step by step tutorials that told me everything I had to look forward to for the rest of my pregnancy and beyond. I was beyond excited. But almost immediately, one glaring fact stood out from my computer screen:
All of the moms were white.
I wrote it off as a fluke. Maybe I had not been digging long or hard enough to find a mom who looked like me detailing her experience as a mother. I mean, how could this be? In this day and age there MUST be a black mom out there who had answers to my questions about natural birth, holistic parenting, and what to expect when my daughter began walking and talking.
I am sure there is someone out there reading this and wondering, ‘why does it matter if the advice comes from someone who looks like you? It’s still all the same.’ I am here to tell you, it matters. It matters a great deal. It matters the same way that it matters that you see little brown girls carrying around and idolizing Caucasian barbie dolls but almost never see little white babies loving on their dread headed Cabbage Patched Doll. Until those things become normal, they may never make sense to someone who has not actually experienced what that void feels like.
As I progressed further in my pregnancy and eventually childbirth, I began to notice more discrepancies where Black mothers seemed to be missing in action or displayed negatively. I would go to doctor’s appointments and notice I was normally the only Black mother who had a partner accompany me. When we would go to Barnes and Noble for story time, I would normally be the only Black mother there with my child. Play dates at the park would only consist of white babies with their African American nannies. Some people could not grasp that I was just a mom.
“Well what do you do?”
Something so abnormal in our culture…something that when done by Black women seemed to be on the same level as the Apocalypse. It was a very interesting time that caused me to develop some pretty thick skin to strangers, friends and even family invading our space with assuming questions and comments. But hey, I survived.
Do not worry, this is not one of those depressing stories of how all things went downhill and I wallowed in a sea of tears. Instead, I jump started my own business and continued to parent my daughter full time. I will be honest, this was exhausting and tiring work. I no longer had time to fully commit to her. I was stressed and everyone in my family experienced me run my household like a tyrant as I tried to force more hours in my day than God would actually allow me to have. But it did make me feel better. No longer was I now just a mom. Now I was a mom who had a career and something to be proud of. I was living in a false sense of reality and there seemed to be no one who looked like me that I could turn to. I began to revisit those same parenting blogs and became further discouraged to still not find any Black mothers sharing their experience through Motherhood.
I will fast forward you through the grueling years of trial and error in parenthood, my relationship, and my business and take you straight to the point: Black mothers do it too. We are wives, mothers, homemakers, homeschoolers, and entrepreneurs.
Ultimately, I decided to launch my own blog, Black Moms Blog, where we offer parenting tips, recipes, blog about cultural and current events, as well as highlight Black businesses and mommies who are making a splash in the business world. Black Moms Blog was created out of need and thankfully my website has not been bombarded by too many trolls who do not seem to get that point. I have been hit occasionally with the subtext of racism but I normally will just shrug that off and keep it moving. To me, if you read my blog, my mission stands loud and clear: I just want to provide a place that changes the narrative of what Black motherhood is really all about.
Editor’s Note : Since I have started to blog, I stand corrected on the fact that there are no Black mommy bloggers. They exist. Even still, some are so whitewashed, you would not even know the creator was African American. And the others just do not seem to have the publicity that they deserve.