Having a child always seemed overwhelming even though I have worked in education throughout my career. I was terrified to bring a black child into this world, knowing how hard it would be for them. However, when your father dies and mother suffers a stroke, your priorities change. I was blessed to be raised in a home that taught me to be proud of my culture as well as the importance of giving back to my community. I wanted the opportunity to instill these values into someone who can continue their legacy.
However, the pregnancy and childbirth experience showed me this journey became an opportunity for people to give unsolicited advice. It also showed me the hypocrisy of what is important to people: how they can care for one person they may or may not know but completely disregard a population that looks like me.
I wish people didn’t care about whether I was breastfeeding. They should care more about why so many minority children are on free and reduced lunch programs or suffer from hunger in our country.
I wish they didn’t care so much about comparing developmental milestones. They should care more about why African Americans and Latinos are not receiving the same access to quality education.
I wish people didn’t care so much about my birth plan. They should care more about why black women are four times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than white women due to unconscious bias in the healthcare system.
I wish people didn’t care so much about the baby carrier I use. They should care more about why women are carrying their children across the border, fleeing violence in their home countries only to face animosity from their neighboring country.
I wish the unsolicited advice was not directed at me but to children and teenagers looking for guidance through mentorship and afterschool programs.
But I realized it’s easier to tell one person what to do than it is to help a community.
All this to say, while I appreciate and do not take for granted the invaluable experiences from resource parents, that same level of care should be for all children. People feel overwhelmed by our problems and don’t know how they can help. Imagine actually living the problems yet constantly fighting bias to get ahead. We need allies to not only listen but to make the time or find a way to fit within their schedules to fight injustice.
Instead of mommy shaming, shame your representatives who are not reflecting your values and allowing unprecedented attacks against women and minorities. So make that call or write that email to your local official, attend a demonstration, donate your money, volunteer, use that hashtag, or write that blog post. These are the ways you can make a change for not just me but all your black and brown sisters.
This post is part of a series in partnership with Vote Run Lead.