Mamas Need Love and Support Too

Erica and daughter, Paige standing outside on a porch to pose for a photo.
Erica and daughter, Paige

Mamas Need Love and Support Too

There is this misperception in the movement that in order to possess a mothering and nurturing spirit, one must actually have kids physically by one’s side. This could not be any further from the truth. And, I know this because I’ve dealt with it firsthand.

My only living child, Paige, is 11 years old. I’ve been in the movement longer than she’s been alive. I’ve seen a lot. My background is in labor organizing, which is predominantly led by middle-aged white men who have not one nurturing bone in their bodies. Most of them worked, and their wives stayed home and took care of the kids.

For the longest time, my community saw me as an organizer and activist, but not necessarily as a mother with that nourishing skill set. Folks didn’t know that I had birthed children.

Mamas are the movement. We need ongoing recognition.

Folks ignorantly perceived me as anything but a mother and had no idea that I was suffering. You see, I had two pregnancies and lost both of my children shortly after they were born.

My own community didn’t realize that I was always a mama. Even before the passing of my children, I was a mama. A lot of my programming and a lot of work that I do outside of just my day-to-day is completely centered on babies, children and young adults. It’s about positively shaping, nurturing and developing my community. My favorite African proverb will forever be relevant: “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Mamas are the movement. We need ongoing recognition. A lot of times people don’t understand the mental breakdown and the mental stress that a movement mama is dealing with. We have so many movement children. It’s not just one person who we’re with. We are dealing with different personalities. We are dealing with different struggles. It’s imperative that we uplift our mamas, their stories and their strengths.

You know what else I’d like to see from the community? More support. Over the years, I’ve experienced incredible support from my tribe of movement mamas, but I know there are thousands of mamas who don’t have a circle to help them.

To all of our mamas in the movement, I say this: Thank you. Just know that I see you. You will always have a sister or a fellow movement mama with you. So when you feel like the load is a little too heavy, call me. We have to be willing to share some of this wealth of knowledge that we carry as women. Whatever you need to get done, we will do it together. I will support you and I ask that you support me too.