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  • Ayanna Robinson, Ph.D., MPH


What does it mean when Black mothers in communities for breastfeeding support become empowered?

Their confidence in breastfeeding was improved, yes, but to feel empowered is slightly different.

A nuanced difference that moves them from "I think I can" to "I have the authority to do so"

Empowerment of self and others was illustrated through colorful descriptions that revealed activism and resistance.

Empowered to defend their decisions to breastfeed

Empowered through images of other Black mothers to breastfeed in public

Empowered through the stories of other mothers to continue breastfeeding

Empowered to help other Black mothers along their journey

“Empowered to just choose”, said one mother.

We should all feel empowered to make decisions that relate to our health, our bodies, and our children.

Who holds the key to our autonomy, our agency over our own bodies?

We do.


*Author Notes

"Empowered" is another poem developed by BGBC founder, Ayanna Robinson, MPH, as she explored alternative ways of representing her findings from her research study on African American mothers and online support for breastfeeding. Although she did not use the word “empower” when speaking with mothers, the term came up organically in multiple discussions, as mothers described the impact of participating in online breastfeeding support groups. The poem was developed to explore what it means to feel empowered and to empower others through the context in which the participants used the term and created it’s meaning within their stories.

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