“We are here to give Melanin Mothers back their power of being emotionally sound, informed of options pertaining to prenatal care, pregnancy, birthing, postpartum, and overall mothering of our Melanin Babies.”
It is through this mission by which Melanin Mothers Meet aims to lead its organization toward the direction of serving and advancing our community of mothers and children. Founded by Mrs. T. Yata Burton in August of 2016, Melanin Mothers Meet, also known as M3, is an organized group of melanated women who think critically and collectively toward the progression of our children. Knowing that our mothers are faced with constant challenges, obstacles, stereotypes and emotional setbacks, Melanin Mothers Meet strives to educate and bring awareness to the forefront through monthly meetings, educational workshops, sisterly fellowship and more.
AFIYA Magazine took the moment to sit down with several members of Melanin Mothers Meet to gain insight on their experiences in motherhood and what they hope to share with our sisters.
Rashida: Who or what has been your biggest influence during your motherhood journey?
Yata Burton (Mother of 1): It’s hard to pick just one. I’d say my mother and my doula, who delivered
her own baby. She had a breech baby–legs first–but it was a successful birthing process. A big part of the birthing process is your emotional ability to do it. You can say you’re going to do whatever, but you have to have the subconscious ability to stick to that.
Cetta Barnhart (Mother of 3): And the support. The right support, because for those who don’t have that same mental strength, the right support will get them through it. Every woman is going to deliver–the baby is coming out one way or another. After the fact is where you need the assistance and the help.
Chauntee Howard (Mother of 1): Energy. We as women have been equipped with an innate sense of discernment and intuition, which has proven to be one of the best tools so far in motherhood. I pride myself on, and feel as a mother I have the responsibility of, making sure the energy I put into and bring around my child is for her good.
Dykibra Gaskins, MS, RDN, LD (Mother of 1, and expecting): My mother and my friends who are mothers.
Amandla Haynes, MD (Mother of 1): Looking back to how my parents raised me was a big help. I knew once I had my daughter that that was somewhat how I wanted to raise her. My parents, especially my father, were very strict and there were a lot of things I was not allowed to do, and I understand it all now.
Rashida: How do you all plan to continue strengthening bonds you have with your children or what are some things you did as your children were growing up?
Yata: For me, I’ve been practicing being very real and open with her so that when she’s older she’ll know who her mother is from the core. I don’t want to hide anything from her nor expose her to everything, but as far as who I am. I just want her to know these things from an early age so that she’ll understand as she is growing up.
Amandla: I do whatever I can! (Laughter) I spend time with her, and I really try to let her know that I’m here and sometimes it gets tough because I only have her and she’s six. Now, she’s starting to feel like she doesn’t have anyone else to play with. I really try to give her as much as possible, and make sure her life remains as balanced as possible
Chauntee: As soon as my daughter was earthside she laid on my chest for what seemed like a glorious eternity which is when she latched on to me. Since then, continuing to breastfeed and baby-wearing has helped keep that initial bond intact. On top of the fact that we are inseparable. Wherever I go, she goes!
Your job is to nurture them, and one of the greatest gifts you can be to them is not only their mom but their guide.
Dykibra: With my daughter, I nursed her and we established a bond. It was very helpful since she was in the NICU a long time (7 months). We do things together like read, sing songs, and snuggle. We also have mom and daughter time along with family time.
Cetta: With my first born, my son, it was just me and him for 14 years. Everywhere, I went it was just me and him and we were also friends, in way. We grew up together, and we continuously enjoyed each other’s company. Much of what we learned in this world, and who he has become was attributed to the village who helped me raise him. He’s an amazing man, husband, and father now, and I couldn’t be more proud of him. With him it was an explosion of life that happened over and over again. With my daughters, they also have always been there with me and have watched me. I can’t wait to see what they become. Your job is to nurture them, and one of the greatest gifts you can be to them is not only their mom but their guide. Over time, the relationship becomes a ‘sister-mom-friend relationship’. You become your mother’s friend, and I think the progression of the mother-daughter relationship is ever evolving. You teach as much as you can and then you trust that what you’ve taught is enough because it’s never going to be all. They’re going to learn from so many others outside of you.
Rashida: How do you not lose yourself in motherhood?
Cetta: You just don’t because you never give up you. You and your visions will evolve into something more and you continue to still go after those dreams. I believe that you can get them accomplished.