Long before pregnancy and the birth of my child, at a time when I was just on the verge of entering the world of birth work, a friend and I went to an event hosted by a sista midwife in DC. I remember sitting in at event, watching movies about home birth and becoming so excited about learning more, a local midwife stood up during the Q&A and spoke to her experience.
Her experience, working with mamas, had been that mothers who weren’t breastfeed themselves will go on to not breastfeeding their children. My mother did not breastfeed me. Being poor and young in a medically managed (caesarean) birth, she was dissuaded from breastfeeding me. You see my mother began having cystic lumps removed from her breast at age 13.
At 23, and now a new mother, she was told by her provider(s) that if she breastfeed it could increase her chances of getting breast cancer. Needless to say, her providers were wrong, and thus I was terrified that what this midwife was saying could in fact be truth. Was I not to breastfeed my child? What other options are there to feeding one’s baby? I had no idea.
I knew within my heart that this midwife’s statement was false and after expressing that sentiment at that event, I was determined to actively seek out other Black women who felt the same. Since then, I have been awed but the damaging messaging Black women are hearing and receiving when it comes to their decisions around breastfeeding. Mamas are leaving hospitals with premixed formulas for “just in case,” pacifiers, and what not. How discouraging is this for a new mama?! (Please, don’t get me started on this!)
In my last post, I mentioned how in a recent training I attended on lactation I kept hearing over and over again, how Black women don’t breastfeed. There was no talk about how to support women in breastfeeding nor any discussion on how this blanket statement was in fact not true.
I was left feeling like something had to give.
That something happened during a late night phone call with Soul Veg Mama…
And so, the Brown Mamas Breastfeed Project was born.
If we can’t be everywhere in public, the least we can do is to make our presence known online. Our hope is to accumulate LOTS of photos by Thursday, May 5th that will we publish on our blogs by Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 8th). We want these photos to be used to promote brown mamas sharing and receiving the beautiful gift of breastfeeding
Here’s how it will work: