[Thank you to Asha for this beautiful guest blog post!]
I'm so grateful for Black Babywearing Week. The theme for this year is Family Reunion, and I think that's a perfect way to describe our online village of babywearing. It was a fellow Black mom that saw me looking exhausted, struggling with my stretchy wrap & trying to breastfeed that took the time to troubleshoot with me and share knowledge about woven wraps so that I could be hands free while bonding with my baby. It was my friend, my Soror and sister, that told me about wrap communities online, opening the door to new friends, connections, and fabulous fabric.
(Photo ID: Image of a Black brown skinned woman with a closed lip smile and shoulder length black haired bob from the torso up, turned sideways to the camera so that the side view of a charcoal black & optic white swirl motif wrap over her black shirt in a double hammock carry can be seen. The back of a brown baby's sparsely black curly head, coral colored bib, and the edge of a galaxy themed pants cuff with gray sock can be viewed, as the baby is staring towards the background that has a baby swing and trio of windows.)
Unfortunately, some of those communities were less than thrilled to have people that looked like me in it. Cultural significance of certain carries or fabrics were met with skepticism & admonishments under the guise of "just making sure we were being safe." I was welcomed to in-person meetings with frozen smiles & furtive glances at their purses. Dealing with overt racism and microagressions meant having a community of people that looked like me where I could retreat, recharge, and renew was vital.
That support is important not just for me, but other Black babywearers. When you're made to feel like an "other" in so many spaces, when your cultural ties to babywearing are dismissed and diminished, knowing you have your family there for you does something wonderful for your soul. Black Babywearing Week is a gift, really, our sharing of our Melanated Magic and reminding the babywearing community at large that we are not an "other." We are not a "minority." This our culture, our heritage, our family connection to each other and our ancestors. This is our week to shine, our family reunion- and we're not passing out invitations to this cookout.