- Ayanna Robinson, Ph.D., MPH
"Wait, did that just happen?" Time and time again I spoke within this community and time and time again I was ignored. It was like I was invisible.
"Hello? Did you not read my response to that question before giving the next mother all of those likes?"
Invisibility was more than a diagnosis. It was was the manifestation of marginalized existences buried under thick layers of post-racial propaganda. We dig our way through the piles because we need to catch our breath and breathe life into our own truths. We ache for acknowledgment. It doesn't feel good to be invisible.
"We don't need a Black Breastfeeding Week", they say, extending their necks into the sand. "It's divisive." But I told the pediatrician I was breastfeeding. I was having challenges. "Is my baby latching correctly? Is he getting enough milk?" I was looking for support. He offered me formula. "When you get tired enough you will use it", he said. Humph.
You may wonder what it feels like to write in invisible ink. To be in a community of mothers where your words and experiences are overlooked. Even an e-Village can perpetuate systems of inequality.
But my voice was finally heard. My transition into visibility wasn't gained through the validation of communities who finally woke up to their own prejudices, however.
No. In this process of becoming, it was through the support of women who shared my experiences of motherhood, of Black girl joys and pains. It was through them that my experiences became valid. There is comfort in knowing that there are thousands of women who support you.
We are visible. We breastfeed and "We have just the same amount of information as the next group, if not more."
*Black Girls' Breastfeeding Club founder, Ayanna Robinson, had the honor of speaking to African American mothers about social media and breastfeeding support, as part of her doctoral research. Exploring alternative representations of her analysis, she applied poetical thinking as a way to practice reflexivity and engage broader audiences in discussions. "(in)Visible Woman" was inspired by her conversations with mothers.
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