Thursday, December 20, 2012

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What brought you to breastfeeding or birth interest, advocacy and activism?

It's fascinating hearing folks' stories on how they came to breastfeeding and birth advocacy, justice and activism. Or how they became interested in it. The majority of people I come across are women who seem to share the sentiment that after having their child(ren) fell in love with motherhood so much they wanted to extend a special type of care. Others just love babies. And some say they came on board once learning about maternal-infant mortality.

One of the more amazing stories I've heard is from someone who was called by her ancestors. She told me that through spiritual communication they guided her on a path to advocate for babies, and she later found out these ancestors were lay midwives. She said she wasn't interested in this type of work before, but has since developed a passion for it and is now finishing a degree in maternal-child health. I know for myself the universe summoned me. I literally heard the word 'breastfeeding' whispered in my soul one day. From that point I found myself thinking about it day and night, and it became almost an obsession. I thought it was the strangest thing in the world since I had no kids, have never breastfed and didn't see this changing. I remember I kept wondering 'Why am I thinking about breastfeeding?', since besides sporadically asking and even persuading some women I've known to nurse their babies when I found out they were pregnant or once they'd given birth, that was the extent of my advocacy. It would never have dawned on me in a zillion (or more) years I would be crusading to this extent. Or that I'd be obsessed with the politics and even construct my own theory around Black women's traditions.

Since I've begun this 'lactation journey', not only have I been able to see clearly why I'm here, but I can see an evolution that's taking place. I just became a doula, and am looking forward to exploring the depth of birth and breastfeeding, and the links of oppression and liberation that are embedded in these customs. Whether this will be my path for the next 5, 10, 20 or 30 years only time will tell. But for now I've fallen in love with what I do. But that's my story. What brought you to this realm? Or, what brought you to the point that you're on a blog dedicated to increasing breastfeeding rates among Black women? I'd love to know.