Several years ago a friend who had just become a new mom vented to me about not having a place to take a yoga class in our Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn neighborhood, which, at the time, was just starting to experience a surge in gentrification, but had not brought with it all the amenities. She talked about white mothers in nearby Park Slope having access to these kinds of wellness options. I wasn’t yet a mother, but I listened and I understood.
Here’s what I told her: White moms often have disposable income, spouses, mothers, childcare options and support from mainstream culture that give them the freedom to take a yoga class. Black mothers are more likely to hear some version of, You wanna take a Yoga class? You should have thought about that before you had kids!”
I began my wellness journey in the early 2000s during college while I was trying to be the good, responsible daughter with a full-time courseload and a full-time job. I failed miserably, and my health also suffered as a result. As I started to make changes, I looked for alternatives to the mainstream healthcare model that could give me endlesss shots, prescriptions, and hormonal birth control for my chronic sinusitis, fatigue, and irregular menstrual cycles.
The more changes I made to my diet, the more offended my mom and immediate family became. Even though I never tried to get them to eat like me or come to a Yoga class, it was as though I was holding up a mirror to their own lives, and they didn’t like what they saw. Instead of being inspired and wanting something different for themselves, they mocked and insulted me.
For a lot of us, it’s simply not in our conditioning to see wellness as a viable and necessary aspect of our health and well-being. Mothers in general are expected to sacrifice their own needs for that of those of their children, spouses, and extended family.
When we’re being honest, mothering while Black often leaves little room for us to prioritize our health.
Just before I became a mother in 2019 I had been diving deep into my mother wounds while working diligently to reverse the multitude of symptoms associated with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which for me included inflammation, insulin resistance, high androgens, hirsutism, hair thinning, GERD, unexplained weight gain, and missed and/or anovulatory menstrual cycles. During my recovery, I learned that physical activity wasn’t just for weight loss, it is integral to balancing hormones, a key driver in managing PCOS.
Contrary to popular belief, no amount of calorie restriction and exercise will help you lose weight as a woman if you have thyroid, pituitary, adrenal, testosterone, and estrogen imbalances. And in the case of PCOS, too much exercise can backfire, causing you to gain more weight instead of losing it.
Breastfeeding taught me that what the baby needs is what the mama needs. If I didn’t eat or stay well hydrated throughout the day, my milk supply dwindled. If I didn’t keep up with my workouts, nutrition, and self-care regimen, I didn’t have the energy to keep up with my infant, relationship, household management, and business. If I didn’t make requests for my partner to step up in the parenting, household management, or relationship, resentment would fester.
Structural and systemic racism and antiblackness permeates every fiber of our society. We can’t sit in our cars, go to the store, cook out in the park, let our kids play, do our jobs, help our kids start businesses, or even enjoy ourselves without someone else seeing us as a threat, to the cost of our lives and livelihood. We’re constantly having to maintain vigilance over our bodies and that of our children’s to keep us and them safe. So it’s no wonder that at the end of the day we have very little capacity to pour back into ourselves. It’s no wonder why we may be resentful of another Black mama’s joy.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
I want to live in a world where Black women and their children don’t just survive, but thrive.
I want to live in a world where Black women fill up their cup and only give from the overflow.
I want to live in a world where Black women take their pleasure seriously.
Let’s Change the Narrative of Black Women’s and Maternal Health
Black moms deserve health and happiness. Black moms deserve to feel nurtured, supported, and safe in their motherhood experience. Black mothers deserve to experience pleasure and joy.
If you want to feel better in your body and in your life I invite you to join my online wellness community, Black Fit Moms. This annual membership gives you access to over 1,400 on-demand fitness workouts in addition to meal plans and nutritional support. As your health coach, I’ll be there right along side you to give you the accountability and support and you need to keep up and keep going.
But here’s the thing: this is not about weight loss or achieiving a specific body type.
Black Fit Moms is about waking up every day and committing to your health. It’s about focusing on what you gain, not the losses. It’s about wanting to model healthy behaviors for your children. It’s about being able to keep up with them and the obligations of life.
And most importantly, it’s about community.
Black moms need each other.
If you’ve been looking to improve your eating habits and increase your physical activity, I invite you to join Black Fit Moms.
In addition to online workouts and nutrition guidance, you’ll be invited to live group coaching calls and wellness education in our private group. You’ll also get access to a fitness tracker to help you stay committed to your goals.
How to work with me
I work with moms one on one and in groups. I’m currently enrolling for my group health coaching program, which includes access to on demand workouts, meal planning guides, and more. It requires an annual investment with optional add-ons that you can cancel anytime.
Clients receive access to an accountability app plus group coaching calls, a private online community, and additional support via email.
To get started, click here to book a health assessment, where we’ll discuss your goals and find out if we’re a good fit for each other.