There are few things I’ve experienced that are more difficult than motherhood. There is so much that goes into birthing and raising what we hope will be a responsible, whole, and productive human being. On top of my natural motherly concerns, I’m also forced to face the realities that come along with raising a black daughter.
Growing up my mother always told me that I’d automatically have two strikes against me. She said that there were people in this world who wouldn’t like me simply because of the color of my skin and that I’d also face challenges as a woman. While I wasn’t able to understand all of what she meant then, I’m truly thankful that she prepared me for the experiences I had yet to encounter.
Fast-forward many years later, and I now have my own daughter – at times I find myself giving her that creepy mother-in-awe stare. For four years she has melted my heart as I’ve watched her grow and develop so much personality. You know that proud mamma feeling you get when you witness your child’s confidence bloom because they’ve discovered a new skill? There’s nothing like those moments, and it’s in these times that the reality begins to haunt me.
I realize that as a black girl, she may face many struggles. There are people in this world that will hate her simply because of the color of her skin. Because of her sex, she may encounter people who will deem her unqualified or less than her male counterparts. She’ll not only have to worry about looking over her shoulder for predators on late nights when she enters her car. Her struggles won’t stop at equal pay, reproductive rights or sexism in the workplace. Sadly, she’ll understand the fear that so many others like her feel when red and blue lights appear in her rearview mirror.
As a mother, it’s my responsibility to guide and prepare her for when these times arise. We speak daily affirmations that I pray will come to mind if she ever questions her own beauty because of society’s standards. I remind her daily that she is intelligent, creative, and can overcome any challenge that comes her way. I understand that a time will come that my arms will not reach far enough to shelter her from some of the ugly ways of this world. Until then, I will continue to assure her, love on her, and encourage her to become the best version of herself.
– Signed, a Mother of a Black Daughter