Reading over Syreeta’s #goodmama journey I couldn’t help, but notice the parallels between her story, my story and the many stories I’ve heard over the last few weeks. Words full of shame, mixed with moments of joy, the hardwork, the pain and the emergence of feelings so deep and thoroughly real that they could only be felt between a mother, her womb and a child. Syreeta’s story reminds me that being with child is the beginning of a beautiful human experience, not just for the bouncing, brown child, but for the dynamic being that God has entrusted with this very elite opportunity. Introducing Syreeta.
1. When did you first become a mom and how did it make you feel?
I’m not gonna lie. I was scared out of my mind. When I found out that I was pregnant, it hit me at the absolute worst time in my life. I’d just graduated from college, I was trying to establish myself and find out who I was as a young woman. I felt I was at my lowest point. I didn’t have a job, and was living at home with my mamma! I felt as if I failed myself and failed my family at the same time. There is nothing worse than feeling as if you are a burden to someone and failed their expectation of you completely.
The last thing on my mind was feeling as if my child coming into this world was a blessing. I felt as if my life was over and I was walking into a nightmare. I felt alone without any support. My mother was completely against the pregnancy and the relationship with the father. And, I was torn on the inside of myself. Because, I knew in my heart the father of my child would not be a father, nor would he be with us for the long haul. I was to say the least devastated and spiraling into a deep depression during the first few months of pregnancy. I was set on the most lonely and scariest journey of my life.
2. How do your feelings about motherhood differ now?
It has completely changed. Motherhood can be very rewarding and the toughest job on the planet at the same time.
Even through the years of being a single mother, my daughter taught me a lot about myself. She taught me how to go beyond myself .
It helped push me to raise a higher standard in my life for and I began to seek a higher standard for myself. Meaning, I not only began to develop a vision for myself, but also began to set boundaries and a support system for us.
3. What makes you a #goodmama?
I believe being a #goodmamaa is about establishing routine, discipline, boundaries and most of all love. You have to work through your own stuff first. You have to find your core values and voice and establish your own vision for your children and household. You have to take a look at the method’s your parents used, and evaluate what works and what didn’t work. It takes a village, as well. Seeking mentors and programs that pour into and speak to your children’s unique gifts helps them acquires their own self-worth and esteem.
4. Why do you think African-American moms get a bad rap?
I believe it can be a combination of how African American mothers are portrayed in the media and the current state of our communities. The onslaught of social media where African Americans are portrayed in a violent light, beating each other up or slandering each other with our words. I guess that plays a role in how we are stereotyped.
But, it takes us as a community seeing a need and filling it. We are living in a time where the family has been broken down and marriage doesn’t pack the same value for people as it used to. Some African-American women are not groomed to be independent and have adopted a “we can do it all by ourselves attitude” when we are inwardly crying out for help! This sentiment and rejection of family, is reflecting back at us in the behaviors of our children within our communities.
5. What piece of advice would you give another mom?
I would advise them if you need help ask for it. Don’t be too prideful to admit that there is something that you just cannot handle yourself. Begin to establish a village, and surround your child with positive and influential people. Your children are watching more than you think. It’s important to watch your actions, and realize they aren’t just listening to what you’re saying, but also are watching how you are living. As mothers, we must become what we want to see in them.