Motherhood as an act of revolution

What is revolutionary?

I've been thinking and thinking about my personal definition of revolutionary. I've found some meaning for it in my life. For a long time I felt kinda sorry for myself, burdened and helpless. A lot of these feelings stemmed from the idea that I was a single parent. I say idea that I was a single parent because even though I was raising my children without their father, I was not the only person helping parent my kids. I, of course, didn't realize this at the time.

My cultural identity stems from Indigenous and African roots where the importance of family is essential. Or so, I've learned. My mother and father, my brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts have all taken a part in molding my children's lives. In the same way that my parents, their brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, etc took part in molding mine. Even though the main responsibility always lies with me I know they got my back. I became aware of this at a time where I made a decision that went against the way I was brought up. I decided I didn't want to be responsible for having another child as a single parent, my family was outraged that I was considering options. Even the thought of considering an alternative made them sad, angry even. I was really angry too. It was my body. It was gonna be my responsibility to raise another kid alone, for the rest of MY life.

I cut everyone off for months, until two weeks before my son was born, actually. I didn't speak to my parents. I literally would go to work, come home, go to school, sleep, take my other two kids to the park and ignore everyone's calls, texts, emails, etc. I had one friend, and  my sisters who supported me all the way through even when I pushed them away. 

Reflecting on the past, I've always loved reading and learning. A while ago, I was catching up on history. History that isn't often taught in school. I started looking for historical information about mothers of color in the US. The word eugenics kept popping up, in some cases linked to Planned Parenthood's sterilization of women of color. Contraceptives being tested for white women but on brown and black women bodies. It made a case for the reason's my mother and her family feared contraceptives. They literally were a death givers to many women that looked and lived like me. 

I began finding documents on the disparity in removal and placement of children of color from their parents. Recently anti-immigrant laws that contribute to this disparity are evidence of that. During my hard pregnancy, my own experience with the huge effort that companies and religious organizations make to place children with white, rich parents looking to adopt made me have a huge realization. 

Guess it was more of a confirmation. 

I realized the power in my ability to bring children of color to this world in my own way, on my own terms. 

Lately stories have been published talking about the new "majority minority" trend in the United States that is being seen through the number of babies of color born. 

Here's a quote from the Chicago Tribune article, "Some experts on race and ethnicity say current immigrants are far less likely to "melt" into U.S. culture, while others say today's minorities may soon see their heritage blend as whites did. Generations ago there were not "whites" but European groups that were identified as Irish, German, Italian and Greek, among others."

I suddenly felt that one of my most revolutionary actions as a cis-gendered woman of color, with the ability to carry a child to term, was not only to give life as a woman of color, but once I'd made that choice, to be proud of my creation. To be respectful, and aware that I had brought I life to this world. Most importantly, to ensure that they are raised to understand the power of their words, the value of their lives and the beauty of their culture. 

So going back to the definition of revolutionary, I found several official definitions: of, relating to, or constituting a revolution; tending to or promoting revolution; constituting or bringing about a major or fundamental change. 

As a woman of color having children gave me the power to do these things directly. I have the power to shed things that hurt me when I was growing up. At the same time, I have been able to pass down and decolonize what made me strong. I can teach my children to love, respect and appreciate those around them while also infusing in them confidence in their knowledge and struggles. They can be nurtured to understand their spiritual potential and bring about change, to be the change they want in the world. To put words into action, because they won't have to unlearn and relearn if we begin deconstructing today.

This revolution I felt stemmed from a love so deep it doesn't just give life, it nourishes it. It doesn't just throw out seeds. 

It prepares the earth, waters it, adds compost, pulls weeds, lets seedlings thrive in the hard sun and ensures their fruit doesn't go to waste. 

A movement based on love cannot be stopped because it grows naturally. A movement based on revolutionary love, acknowledges that nature but also prepares for the unexpected violence that nature also brings. In adversity, revolutionary love flourishes, and overcomes difficulties. Even when mistakes are made it heals wounds and infuses new power through progressive transformation, because it learns from those mistakes. A revolution based on love will cause radical and fundamental change.

So today I felt like saying, I stand in solidarity with the women of the past who saw this vision and provided paths of choice and knowledge, understanding and genuine cariño that have led me to be where I am today. If there is one thing I can say I will leave this world, that will be the love I have for my children and what I've done stemming from it.


Jodi said…
This is a cool post, definitely puts a different perspective on motherhood. Such sweet pictures too.
Queen Bee said…
Wow! so inspiring!! xo
Kade said…
This showed up on my FB feed, I think we were fb friends way back..I'm glad it showed up as a man I'm blessed to have read this as revolutionary I'm better armed by reading it, and as a father I'm humbled to have read this.

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