Moms in Color
BLACK WOMEN - don’t be afraid to use your voice. Your thoughts, opinions, and ideas are just as important as anybody else’s. When you speak, speak with boldness and purpose. Have courage, be confident, and always be true to yourself! Live your life fearlessly! Your voice has GREAT power; don’t be afraid to utilize it when needed. You’re NOT an angry Black woman; you’re a woman who has something important to say. Your voice matters and so do YOU.
- Stephanie Lahart
I have no idea how to even start this entry about this incredible launch event. So I’m just gonna start typing & see what happens. As most of you guys know, I’ve been on this search of more Black moms since I was pregnant with Jackson. In that social media search, I came across some remarkable women that I will forever be grateful for. In following them, I saw the announcement for MomsInColor (@momsincolor), a launch event in CA specifically for Moms of color to come together in a safe space & bond. Pretty much EXACTLY what I had been looking for the year before. Within a day of the announcement, I bought my VIP ticket, was looking at plane tickets & convinced my IG bestie to attend with me. I was making this happen because I needed this.
After a month of waiting, it was the day of the event & we were waiting in line to enter the space. Hours of commuting in Seattle, 3 hour flight with Jackson, meeting my stranger / IG bestie in real life, 2 venue changes & hours of LA traffic later, I could already feel the magic around me. Also, because I’m a creep, I was fangirling from all the InstaFamous Moms that we’re in line with me. You all know exactly what I’m talking about too: those Moms whose accounts you look up first thing in the morning or with every post you say “YESSS!” - we were breathing the same air (fangirling).
1. THE BLACK MATERNAL HEALTH CARE CRISIS
If you’re unaware of that phrase & the weight that it carries, I strongly recommend you do some Googling. Seen articles about Serena Williams nearly dying after giving birth? Read one of them then come back. As a brown person, not even adding being a woman, our chances of getting 100% full treatment in a hospital are fractioned off just walking through the doors. Sad but true. Now be a woman & basically cross your fingers for proper care. I believe I was extremely fortunate in my hospital birth experience but I’ve heard & been witness to others that have not had so great of an experience. AND THAT IS SO WRONG. This session was to discuss the crisis & what steps we, women & mothers of color, can do to help ourselves. 1. Acknowledge the issue (as shitty as it is). 2. Be strong in your decisions. & 3. Surround yourself with the appropriate support. This talk was led by Noni Limar (@nonilimar), Racha Tahani (@crimson_fig), & Debbie Allen (@tribemidwifery). Honestly, it was Racha’s comments that pretty much solidified my decision to move forward in the next chapter of my life 🤫
2. THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF CARE
I know everyone is always talking about how “you need A, B & C for your self care routine” or the phrase “You can’t pour from any empty cup”, right? Well this session was more of WHY it’s needed, not what you need or how to do it. Those are personal objectives while the subject itself is of importance. We discussed how we are infamous for constantly giving, providing, helping, etc. This is where the “empty cup” comparison comes into play. You literally cannot give to others if you are drained. As much as you may love giving to others, you cannot forget who you were before you said “I do” or became a Mom. You are still a person who needs to be taken care of & YOU have to remember that. I think my new favorite quote is to “give yourself permission to be joyful.” Thank you Kristel David (@wifecomplex), Agatha Achindu (@agathaachindu) & Rhonda Richards-Smith (@rhondasmithlcsw) for discussing this because we all need to be reminded of this always.
Here, we had the choice to attend one of three individual workshops that were happening at the same time (which was a bummer because I really wanted to attend all of them!): 1. By Any Dreams Necessary (business / entrepreneurship), 2. Navigating through a Miscarriage & 3. Motherhood & Identity. Walking in, Nicole was going to By Any Dreams & I would be going to the Miscarriage one, but after the first 2 discussions, we both changed to Motherhood & Identity. Honestly, I was afraid the miscarriage discussion would turn into everyone sharing their stories of loss & that wasn't what I needed. What I needed was to surround myself with more of what I’M trying spread - you are more than a Mother. Not to mention, the ONE woman I wanted to spend time with was one of the speakers (shout-out to Ashley 🤪). Between her, Codie & Amber, our little group felt comfortable to share & answer the question ‘what was our current biggest struggle as a Mom or woman?’ As the women shared the stories, the more comfortable I became in sharing my struggle, even though it was very different than the others. In my Motherhood journey, I never really lost sight of who I was - I had a secure sense of self pre-baby & it was only thrown into hyper gear once J was born. My issue is navigating this voice & power I want to share with everyone. How do I do this without loosing myself? How did these women navigate it because they are my mentors & I want to follow in their footsteps, if not create a similar path.
I shared how I started my search for Black Moms when I first got pregnant because my social media feeds were completely white washed. One of the first women I found was Ashley, mentioned above. She has such a secure sense of self as a black woman, black mom, being in an interracial marriage, raising mixed kids, an author, an advocate & not loosing herself. She doesn’t have an issue voicing her opinion & sticking to it. I wanted to be like her. & now, after a year of following this incredible woman, I was sitting face to face with her & expressing to her the difference she had made in my life. Like, yeah her ‘feed is pretty’ & she’s an IG mom but she had become so much more to me than that. She was woman who was paving the way for her daughters, other likeminded women & there was no stopping her. I then continued saying in following her, I found these other stunning IG Mommas who were just sitting a couple seats down from me & I called them out by name (because I’m a creep)! Finally, I expressed how in search of these incredible mentors, I stumbled across Nicole’s profile, my stranger IG bestie & I had to say thank you!
As I was talking, it was occurring to me why MomsInColor was such a big deal to me. This was a safe space to talk about OUR issues as black women. No need to censor anything. Comfortably say what we’re all thinking but sometimes isn’t accepted to say around all crowds. This was that space. In the workshop, we didn’t discuss ways to solve each other’s problems & I didn’t expect that. It was more reassuring to hear others different struggles - basically that we are NOT alone in it. Yes, they may differ in subject & severity but I am here to support you in what you need. & it was honestly one of the most refreshing things I’ve ever felt, short of giving birth.
After the workshops & closing remarks, I mingled, took some pictures & grabbed my VIP bag that I was more than ready to see what it was. Since one of the sponsors was Ergobaby, I HOPED a carrier would be in there & sure enough, there was a brand new Ergo 360 which will be perfect with this Babe I’m currently growing! Talk about grateful!! The other items were just as awesome! A Hello Mama Box, real size lotion & hair samples, affirmation cards, satin bonnet, etc. Basicslly if self-care in a starter box, that’s what was in this bag (which then came with a LEGIT wellness self care monthly subscription box - Hello Mama Box @hellomamabox).
This launch event will only be the beginning of other events I plan to attend & it 100% reignited this fire within me. I did receive some backlash for purposely attending an all black conference but clearly, it didn’t make a difference to me. MomsInColor attracted me for that sole fact. Growing up, I wasn’t exposed to A LOT of black people. I ran cross country from middle school to college (white dominated sport): tested into a magnet program in high school (all black high school but classes were in a separate building) & attended one of the whitest colleges in the state. Times are changing so things have diversified 🙌🏽 but I also need to help myself. Years later now, as a Mom raising a mixed kid, I want to expose him to everything that is us. In doing that, I need to expose myself as well. If that means putting myself in very different situations than I’m used to, so be it! Some of my other white Mom friends may not know about that black maternal health crisis or the “the talk” Matt & I will be having with Jackson down the line. These aren’t things to brag about but they need to be known & discussed, especially with the group it affects.
I am a proud black woman & Momma. That’s it. My support system is my dream team & Matt is 150% supporting all me decisions because he sees that light. I recommend to all women to find your purpose, your drive & attack it. Weed out that crucial support system, not just the ones who tell you what you want. Find those mentors that remind you everyday of your purpose. Finding these women & finally meeting them launched me to a new level & I cannot wait for what my future holds.