As a community-focused company, Kabrita USA strives to be inclusive and to continuously celebrate diversity. In honor of Black History Month, Kabrita USA is featuring a BIPOC Parenting Series, for the entire month of February. The BIPOC Parenting Series centres BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) parents’ experiences. Our goal is to enhance greater representation of BIPOC parents in the media, as well as to amplify BIPOC voices and stories.
Today, we are sharing Cecily’s story about her parenting journey and how she found support through an eclectic group of Black women, all united by motherhood.
Ten years ago, my son was born. The next day my husband went back to work. We were young, living paycheck to paycheck and couldn’t afford for him to “take time off”. My mom visited us for a week and quickly returned to Florida. With her gone and my husband at work, I found myself alone in the sweltering valley heat of LA with a newborn that wouldn’t latch, and I was an emotional hormonal worrisome mess. I had no clue what I was doing, and all of my well-meaning friends couldn’t help because they were childless and preoccupied climbing the corporate ladder. Sure, they stopped by, but they left just as swiftly and made comments like, “I don’t know how you do it”!
At the time I felt like the only woman in LA who just had a baby. Of course, that wasn’t true, but in my immediate world, I literally was the ONLY woman I knew who had a baby. Sitting in silence with my golden-brown baby boy, I often wondered what it would be like when he got older. Would he ever get stopped by the police? My thoughts were loud and lonely. I often thought about how I should raise him. Should I break his free spirit early and prepare him for the harsh realities of racism or should I protect his will at all cost and wait till later to remind him that the world will always see his color before they know his character. Those kinds of thoughts were loud, lonely and frankly exhausting.
For the next couple of months, the days were excruciatingly long. I pumped every three hours because he never latched. I couldn’t connect with my single friends anymore. My husband was well meaning, but little to no real help. The mommy struggle was real. Lonely and Real. One day, at a local event, I saw a group of beautiful Black Mothers chatting and laughing with ease as their kiddies played with-in arms reach. I thought to myself, what in the “perfect unicorn world” is this?
Out of desperation and astonishment I mustered up enough courage to go up to them and basically alluded to the fact that I wanted into whatever friendship circle they had. To my surprise, they were friendly, open and all members of a “Black Mommy Group”. They invited me to their next playdate, and it was like I had died and gone to mommy heaven. For the first time, I could talk freely about poop and breastfeeding or babysitters and pre-schools. I could vent about feeling exhausted and not feel like I had to censor myself when the conversations shifted to more touchy subjects like race.
Over time, I continued to attend play dates and eventually joined MOCHA MOMS INC. The organization supports African American women in their motherhood journey. My village has moms who are single, married, divorced, widowed, gay, working, stay at home, and everything in between. There are moms who make peanut butter from scratch with gluten, sugar, processed free bread and then there are moms who haven’t turned on their stove since last Thanksgiving. There are moms who have disposable income and others who.... well... who don’t. You get the picture. It’s an eclectic motley crew of Black women who are all united by one thing, MOTHERHOOD.
I love the fact that I can converse with so many different moms of color. I can share my real fear of raising a black boy in America without feeling judged. I’ve learned so much from each of them and my definition of motherhood has been challenged in the best possible way. The best part of being a part of a mommy group is that our kids are growing up together as friends. Like so many people in LA our extended family is in another state. I’ve known these women for almost a decade, and they’ve become my “framily”. My son has friends that he’s known since before he could talk and that makes me smile.
Being a mom of color in America is not for the weak at heart. But thankfully I've found a tribe of fearless dynamic women who refuse to succumb to the fears of this world. They are constantly rising to the occasion and reminding me to do the same. I can't imagine being on this motherhood journey without them being by my side. You often hear the phrase, “It takes a Village to raise a child” but I firmly believe that the “village” is meant to uplift us moms just as much as our children.
Kabrita USA BIPOC Parenting Series shares genuine stories written by parents from the BIPOC community. Each story offers a different perspective from their personal parenting experience. To read more stories, please visit our Nourish Blog.