The Insight of Black Motherhood & Their Children

The Insight of Black Motherhood & Their Children
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BOBBY QUILLARD
Nefertiti Austin is a woman of many talents and many stories. Her experience as a writer and a mother is portrayed in her brilliant memoir about her remarkable journey to parenthood, tackling sexism and racism along the way. Her determination and high-spirit have motivated others like her to reclaim Black motherhood from institutionalized whiteness and follow the desire to become a foster parent. Her work has and will continue to be timeless, and her children will forever be the reason for the love and influence within her own life.

Black motherhood narratives are habitually shunned in the shadows in a world where motherhood is overwhelmingly perceived as white. Black women have spent generations birthing and raising their sons and daughters, preparing them for the world’s harsh realities. Yet when reflecting on those diverse experiences, we define them as more limited than we realize.

Mothers are commonly concerned with baby names, building their village, and ensuring their child’s youth’s fulfillment. However, raising a Black child comes with considerably more challenges, especially as a single Black foster mom in America. Like many others, Austin often drowned in overcomplicated stereotypes that ostracized her experience. Within her recent work, her journey as an adoptive mother allows her peers to understand that motherhood is a unique path that has many impediments.

Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America (2019) is the direct result of the self-determination and will that compelled Austin to share her personal experience about her desire to raise a Black child, the adoption process, and the many discouragements that arose along the way. In becoming one of the very few novels containing essential information and guidance for potential adoptive parents, her courage to write a brilliant book inspired by her hardships was heartwarming and enlightening for readers.
Austin also helped usher others in the adopting and fostering process as a former Certified PS-MAPP Trainer, sympathizing with those who were still trying to understand parenthood. Overall, she proves to be one who wanted to give Black adoptive mothers a voice while educating her white counterparts about the profuse deprivation that is also experienced firsthand.

Though her peers doubted she could raise a Black son and probed about why she wanted to raise a “crack baby,” statements of this kind were demonstrated to be testimonies that such stereotypes did not prevail. Her bold choice to raise a Black son was birthed from pushing back against the criticism of unwanted Black children in the foster care system. Within this responsibility, she prioritized and educated her children about how racism hinders the progressions of Black people in America and the expectations that they must overcome. This only creates transparency and prepares her children for the world beyond their home, describing it as “essential to the Black child’s success.”

Throughout the many shared celebrations and critiques of Austin’s choice to become a mother, her adoptive children have inspired her to push herself. She makes those tough decisions that determine her children’s success and competence and persists in having the necessary conversations that her children will appreciate as they age. In normalizing the discussion of adoption to educate them and surrounding her children with Black men and women that are role models, she dismantles the idea that “Black boys get loved, and Black girls get raised,” as she explained it. She has only proved everyone in her path wrong of their false assumptions and opinions by constantly pouring into them and being the best mother she knows how to be.

Nefertiti Austin’s memoir and background reveal themselves to be a necessary story to help others realize that they are not alone in the journey of motherhood. Her work is one of her most significant accomplishments alongside many others, but this unique story also encourages Black foster mothers to take the leap of faith of their own and believe in themselves as she once did.

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