After more than two years of searching, I finally have an appointment scheduled with a therapist. The search itself has been an exhausting process on top of everything else I’m balancing. Yet here we are, and I’m thankful to groups like Melanin Mass Moms for providing a virtual village of references and resources that helped make this possible.
In my search over the past few years, there were a few parameters that were paramount. The aforementioned exhaustion meant there was one thing I knew to be true: I didn’t want to have to explain myself — nor did I have the energy to do so. My search was for empathy without explanation — like the knowing nod as two strangers pass on the streets of Anytown, U.S.A. The last thing I wanted was to have to explain my who, what, where, when, and, most importantly, my why.
My journey into motherhood has had me eagerly seeking a space that wasn’t just sympathetic to my needs but empathetic. A place where I didn’t have to explain myself, justify, advocate, or even stand in my own strength; instead, I could stand in the strength of many. Melanin Mass Moms has created that space — to share Black birthing experiences, from pregnancy to postpartum and beyond. Above all else, they’ve created a community of access, resources, representation, and education.
Melanin Mass Moms focuses on the qualitative experience as opposed to the quantitative, because they understand that many lives can become numbers and statistics that often go ignored. MMM focuses on the reality and humanity of the 3,000+ members and their stories. Members then have the ability to realize they aren’t alone, their experiences are valid, and they are not part of a vacuum. Instead, there is a larger network to embrace them with both resources and support.
“It’s important to understand the weight of the space we are holding,” says Tiffany Lozanne, president of the board for Melanin Mass Moms. “The beauty of the group is that all Black moms are not monolithic.”
So here we are, taking up space, sharing our stories and experiences in a way that is understood without explanation. This intentionality is seen not only with the members MMM serves throughout the entire state of Massachusetts but in those who make up the board as well. The community they’ve created is truly representative of all members and all Black moms at various stages of motherhood.
“We plan to use our platform to advocate and spread awareness about Black maternal health to further amplify not only our own voice but the many voices of our community,” says Kayla Beatty, vice president of the board.
One of MMM’s goals in 2022 has been to increase their visibility, and they’ve seen success with partnerships like the postpartum care package through Tufts Health Plan. MMM plans to move through 2022 encouraging everyone to change their paradigm and thinking with regard to the Black birthing experience and beyond. For those of us longing for a space such as this, we thank Melanin Mass Moms. It is a space to be heard, a space to be seen, and a space that will surely continue to grow.