So, my bae called me out yesterday ya’ll. Talking ‘bout lately I only cook him breakfast once a month. First of all, boy fuck you. Lol Second of all, as I had to remind him, he’s never hungry until lunch time and the breakfast ship has sailed.
When I got done being offended at the audacity of his half joke, half complaint, I had to be real with myself. I didn’t discuss this with him but, I honestly enjoy cooking just for me sometimes (sorry bae). These are my last days to be selfish before I have a baby on my tit and a husband on my bumper all the time! It is my God given right to enjoy these final moments before I am eternally a ‘we’. But even as I type this, I feel conflicted and convicted, leading me to pose this question: Why do black women specifically feel guilty about prioritizing themselves?
I’ll lead with the fact that I’m aware we don’t always have the luxury. We are pulled in so many different directions, we find ourselves last on our own lists, with or without children. We’re juggling career, family, community, friendships and then have ourselves to deal with. The thought is exhausting. The cool thing about pregnancy though, is that it is prime time to be selfish! Think about it. People are literally rolling out the red carpet for you. Everybody wants to feed you. Strangers hold your doors, clear your paths and fawn over your belly. Your family is extra attentive. And you! You’re taking the best care of yourself. You’re eating better, taking vitamins every day, going to the doctor on the regular, resting, taking care of your skin, drinking hella water, feeling what you feel with less apologies, saying no… the list goes on and on. The level of self-care is beautiful, but even now I can’t help but to think this concern is still largely due to and for someone else; your baby. My concern has been how not to lose myself once my child is born. I understand and am accepting of the fact that my life will never be the same, however I’ve watched too many mothers neglect their dreams and themselves for the sake of their kids. Maybe I’m naïve or speaking too soon, but I don’t want that for my life.
This line of thinking is two-fold for me. For the first time since I was fifteen in my parent’s house, I am completely dependent on someone else financially. Having made the decision collectively for me to focus on my pregnancy, I haven’t worked in months. The guilt that I feel is insane. The black, superwoman complex been having me vexed. I’ve had to consistently be reminded that I am embarking on the most important job I’ll ever have. I’ve seen women brag about working up until their due date. Why is this a badge of honor? I recognize that I am blessed to have this opportunity. All of my needs are met, my fiancé takes great care of me, yet it is ingrained in me to provide for myself. I don’t know many black women at all who are comfortable not working, regardless of their relationship status or support system. It makes me wonder if many of us feel unworthy of this. White women seem much more comfortable with the title of stay at home mom, allowing the man to be the sole bread winner. Black women on the other hand are quick to marry the grind, attaching their importance to how busy and unavailable they are and how much money they make. I’ve been there! I had a full calendar and no real love. As an ambitious, creative, Capricorn who’s starting a family, I’m committed to finding the balance. This is where my mind is with less than eight weeks until my due date. High key planning mode. My questions and insecurities during this time have revealed a mentality of lack in me that must be addressed. Ideas I've embraced as normal that no longer serve me. What I deserve and what I desire extend to my seed, so while I’m wanting the best for him, I must want what’s best for me. Soon we’ll have to figure out what it looks like for me to go back to work and if that’s the best decision for our family. I’ll have to navigate self-care with a newborn. In addition to this, I’m still adjusting to being a fiancé (it’s different than being a girlfriend, idc), and before I know it will have to begin planning a wedding. I’m not jaded, just reflective on the future. These are beautiful problems to have! For now, I’m going to enjoy cooking breakfast just for myself when and while I’m able (sorry bae), and relishing the extra loving being pregnant attracts.