Silent no more: Local author gives voice to pain of Black mothers  

Jasmine with daughter Mya (Photo by Nikol Imani Dowls)

“Being a Superwoman every day, 24/7 is not realistic. Being strong is being able to ask for help. If you don’t, you might not be here [much longer]” said Jasmine Boudah M.Ed (pronounced bow-duh) a teacher by trade, parent advocate at Phyllis Wheatley Community Center, doula, and now a published author.

Boudah’s first book, Mothering Through Pain and Suffering in Silence, was self-published January of 2017. The book is a collection of stories from 35 women, (including Boudah), that addresses the idea of Black women trying to live up to a “Superwoman” complex.

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We are not taking care of Black women and what is happening is, [we] are falling apart behind closed doors.”

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(Courtesy of Jasmine Boudah)

She said, “We as Black women [tend to] spend a lot of time taking care of other people, but we neglect to take care of ourselves. So, the book is a collection of stories, about how we [as a community], need to get back to taking care of the Black woman, so that our communities can be healthy and whole.”

In November 2015, Boudah was laid-off from her job at Teach America where she was the director of Summer Residency Programming. She told the MSR, “When I was laid off, I had sort of an epiphany that I was doing things the hard way.

“During that time, I also had a breakdown, and I realized that I was moving too fast and I was not taking care of myself.”

She continued, “So, I sat down that day and ended up writing my own story and convinced myself that I was going to take off the mask and discuss the intimate details of my postpartum depression and anxiety.

“That night I sent out drafts of my story to seven other women and I asked them [how they felt] reading my story. They said they had never had anyone really ask them how they were doing.”

As a result, the women asked if they could be part of her book, and the book was birthed into more of a communal effort of shared stories. Boudah held on-site and Facebook interviews to get stories from the women. Some stories were also submitted anonymously.

For Boudah, the topic was postpartum depression. “I was always told that postpartum was for White women,” she recalled. “I was always told it was not for Black women. So, it was not clear that Black women experience it, too. I also had some shame around it.

Jasmine signing books (Photo by Nikol Imani Dowls)

“This is a collection of the pain that Black women experience trying to be Superwoman. It is just a call to action [for us] to get involved. We are not taking care of Black women and what is happening is, [we] are falling apart behind closed doors.”

She added, “[Also], what is happening is, [our] children are experiencing a lot of trauma, because of what the mothers are going through and how hard it is for her. I hope people take that as a call to action, to pay more attention to what we are going through.”

Mothering Through Pain and Suffering in Silence is currently in a bookstore in Boston, Massachusetts, and Boudah also sells her book online at https://motheringthroughpain.weebly.com.

All proceeds from the book go to Black Lotus Mothers, her support group for mothers that was birthed through her position at Phyllis Wheatley.

For more information, go to the book Facebook pageYou can also email Boudah at ubuntuminneapolis@gmail.com.

 

Brandi D. Phillips welcomes readers’ responses to bphillips@spokesman-recorder.com.