I look forward to this week annually because it is a week to salute Black Breast/Chestfeeding parents. I always eagerly anticipate the unveiling of the theme in the weeks leading up to August 25th. The 2021 theme, The Big Pause: Collective Rest for Collective Power, honors Black Breastfeeding and the power of rest as a revolution for our communities (refer to photo). The theme is fitting for the steps required to restore our minds, bodies and communities as we continue to provide nourishment to our little ones.
Last year we were in a different space and the call to action was to revive, restore and reclaim our breastfeeding experiences. I wrote about it extensively here. An entire year has passed, yet systems and outcomes for Black parents and infants remain the same. Black Breastfeeding Week is still needed because racial disparities in breastfeeding rates have yet to be eradicated. We are also still in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic which adds additional complexity to an already complicated dynamic. Two factors — the current reality and our collective need for rest — can exist simultaneously because the work can be exhausting. We are tired!
“Disrupt and push back against a system that views you as a machine. You are not a machine. You are a divine human being. WE WILL REST!”The Nap Ministry
This summer the need for rest played out on the national stage. Naomi Osaka’s personal choice to withdraw from the French Open caused a major uproar along with Simone Biles’ personal choice to withdraw from the 2021 Olympic all-around gymnastics competition. How dare Black women put their health first! Shame on them for making a choice that is not rooted in using their talent to perform for our entertainment! These amazing women were met with public opposition, yet they remained steadfast in their commitment to rest.
Summer 2021 has challenged the way that the world views mental health, rest and overall wellness. Once again, Black women were at the helm of the movement. We always show up and exude with “Black Girl Magic” in all that we do; at times to our detriment. We carry the weight of the world on our shoulders and the load is heavy. A Black woman saved the 2020 election by restoring democracy (Stacey Abrams – you should know her). Another Black woman, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett (you should know her too), led the development of the covid vaccine. We save the world and people throw a tantrum when we finally decide to save ourselves first. The audacity!
“I had to examine, in my dreams as well as in my immune-function tests, the devastating effects of overextension. Overextending myself is not stretching myself. I had to accept how difficult it is to monitor the difference. Necessary for me as cutting down on sugar. Crucial. Physically. Psychically. Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”Audre Lorde
Rest is revolutionary and a means of resistance — resisting a world that values capitalism over wellness; resisting a culture that prioritizes productivity over health; resisting the notion that taking a break is synonymous with weakness; resisting the mindset that stress and burnout makes one stronger; resisting a society that takes pride in disregarding the lives of Black people. As a collective we reject ideals that do not serve us, we pause and we rest. Happy Black Breastfeeding Week!
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love & Breastmilk™
The Maziwa Tribe blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Content from Maziwa Tribe’s blog is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. The information provided on this blog is intended for general consumer understanding. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please contact your family doctor or other medical professional to obtain medical advice.