I took my nephew to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese over the weekend and met some other mothers while I was there — mothers of children who were friends of the birthday boy. I ended up getting into a very interesting conversation with two of them. We started talking about breastfeeding (I don’t even remember how the subject came up). One lady, a sistah, shared her breastfeeding story, and how she successfully nursed five of her six children, and the other lady, a white woman, told me about the breastfeeding culture she was exposed to. I started telling then that I was venturing into the lactation area and how WA is really the place where I want to plant myself while focusing on this. The second woman asked me why is it that I feel I need to be in Washington for my breastfeeding career. When I told her that there is a lack of Black women in breastfeeding advocacy and representation, she just looked at me and shook her head, and I almost got the feeling she and my sistah didn’t really get it, and I got the feeling that they may have wanted to ask, but didn’t.
I recently spoke to someone from the Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington, when I sent an email inquiring about ways to get involved and help out. One of the things she mentioned when she returned my email is that she didn’t know of any Black IBCLCs in the entire state, and said she hopes this was just an oversight, but I wouldn’t be very surprised if wasn’t. That is such a heartbreaking thing to hear, even though the majority of Washington State is white. But People Of Color are out there, and I just know with more Black women, Black men, and People Of Color as advocates — more racial diversity, it is inevitable that we can encourage more breast milk and breastfeeding, which will give us the advantage we need to help end health disparities.
A this point I feel I need to continue to place myself in this area, plus I love it here anyway! My plans may change in the future. Who knows? But for now this is where I feel I need to be.