Black and Pregnant: 9 Ways to Celebrate Your Experience
Pregnancy can be a beautiful experience. You’re setting sail on an adventure toward a brand new life with a brand new little one, and with that comes excitement and anticipation. Unfortunately, Black pregnant moms can face particular challenges—including societal stigmas and higher risk of certain complications—that can take the wind out of your sails.
But doing your due diligence, taking care of your physical and mental health, advocating for your experience and asking the right questions can help you feel empowered and joyful on this journey. You may have to dig a little deeper, but it’s possible to find happiness and peace during pregnancy. Ready to navigate these choppy waters with strength and confidence? Here are nine ways to celebrate being Black and pregnant.
Research shows that reflective journaling can boost endorphins and reduce overall stress. Consider starting a gratitude journal, or simply jot down daily musings in a notebook; this can help keep your spirits high and encourage more mindfulness in your day-to-day life. What’s more, in the years to come, you’ll love looking back at a diary that documents this special time. Check out Effie’s Paper and Copper and Brass—two Black-owned stationery companies.
Tonya A. from Nashville, Tennessee, says that having a Black midwife and doula team in her corner made all the difference. “I felt supported and heard throughout the whole pregnancy, which actually made room for joy.” What’s more, a Black ob-gyn or midwife may have a better grasp of the specific and very real challenges you face—physically, mentally, emotionally and socially—during this vulnerable life stage.
Go all out and glam it up. Get yourself a hair and makeup appointment, buy an outfit that makes you feel beautiful and hire a photographer to take some photos of you during your pregnancy. Seeing pictures of yourself looking happy and gorgeous and strong—while growing a human being—will serve as a reminder of all the incredible things you can do.
Get friends and family members (or your online community) engaged in your pregnancy by hosting a lighthearted contest. Have people place bets on baby’s birthday, guess the sex of baby and predict the name you’ll choose (it might even spark inspiration!). Those who are invested in learning the answers will share in your happiness as these exciting surprises are revealed. It’s a great way for others to rally around you in support.
Make a pregnancy playlist of your favorite songs that inspire you to dance, or remind you to celebrate your power and the beautiful new life that’s on the way. A few possible tunes to include: “Good morning, Gorgeous” by Mary J. Blidge, “I am Light” by India Irie, and “Golden” by Jill Scott. This playlist (or a separate one) can also serve you in the delivery room.
Reading always provides a good escape—plus, it’s a great way to relax your body while stimulating your mind. Make a reading list for each month of your pregnancy with books that share the strength of Black women, make you laugh or remind you that joy is your birthright. A few potential titles to include on the list: Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration by Tracey Micheel Lewis-Giggetts; Chicken Soup for the Soul: I’m Speaking Now. Black Women Share Their Truth in 101 Stories of Love, Courage and Hope) by Amy Newmark and Breena Clarke and Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes by Phoebe Robinson.
The wisdom of other Black moms you know can go a long way when feelings of isolation kick in. Ask your family members, friends and co-workers to share video clips with their personal stories and words of encouragement to help you get through tougher times. They can upload their individual snippets to a site like Tribute.com. In the end, you’ll have a montage of all those familiar smiling faces, kind words and reassuring anecdotes—and you can turn to it again and again for inspiration.
Social media can be a great distraction and a source of comfort if you find the right accounts. (Find the wrong ones, and it can be a dark rabbit hole.) Be mindful about how you use social media. Facebook has support groups you can engage with, like Black and Married with Kids. And Instagram has plenty of accounts featuring moms and moms-to-be who share the good, the bad and everything in between. Seek out Black “momfluencers” who inspire and inform, and find your online support community.
Pregnancy is hard. Being Black and pregnant can be even harder. The feelings that come with the territory are often heavy, so actively pursue those lighthearted moments. Plan activities with your friends and loved ones—no pressure and no expectations necessary. Just play and laugh and enjoy yourself, whether you schedule a bowling outing, go on an excursion, plan an afternoon at the pool or simply set aside a day to binge-watch romantic comedies. Find the fun, and share it with the people in your life.