Black Boy (And Mama) Joy: Highlights From A New Mom's Motherhood Journey
Words: Chloe Louvouezo
"Motherhood has changed everything in beautiful ways," writes this new mom.
On mater mea's Instagram page, we regularly have moms from around the world take over our account to give us a sneak peek into their lives or to drop some knowledge about a topic that matters most to them.
Chloe Louvouezo is a communication officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and mom to a 21-month-old son named Myel. She took over our account to share some highlights of her and her son's almost two years together.
* Captions slightly edited from original post.
I’m Congolese-American and mother of a handsome son Myel, who is also half Ethiopian. Motherhood has changed EVERYthing in beautiful ways and really pushed me to be thoughtful in how I shape his experience in the world, starting with the cultural and global exposure I want for him.
I hope to share some of my stories today, but I’m really excited to hear yours, too! What are some of the things you do for your babies in terms of expanding their cultural perspectives?
My favorite photos of Myel and I are of us on vacation because that’s when I’m most relaxed, which equals best self. This was taken in Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe, when he was 8 months.
So many mothers have approached me about their hesitancies to travel with young ones. Here are five reasons I think traveling with your +1 is a WIN!
1. It trains them to be adaptable and fearless, great traits as they evolve.
2. It develops their empathy as they see people and communities that look, live and express themselves differently.
3. It’s SO amazing to see them discover new sights, sounds, and tastes for the first time.
4. They fly free before two, cha-ching!
5. It helps them grow their independence as they get excited for new experiences. Where have you traveled with your children, and what was your experience?
Breastfeeding—let’s talk about it!
I breastfed exclusively for six months and then continued until he was one. My “anniversary” of his last session on the boob was Mother’s Day of last year. I loved the bond and the intimacy (and how much it helped me lose my baby weight!), but after a year I was worn OUT.
The day after Mother’s Day I went on a five-day work trip without him. When I returned he had completely moved on to the bottle without me, and never looked back. I know, weaning babies off the boob isn’t always this easy. Now he’s 21 months going on FOUR 😩 and I’ll forever miss our breastfeeding connection. BUT, now there are other engaging ways I love to connect now, like tickle attacks, drumming, reading, and making ridiculous faces in the mirror.
So tribe, tell me: What are some of the things you do keep the mother-child bond tight in lieu of breastfeeding? Or, what’s been the best thing about your breastfeeding experience?
I just had a great convo with a girlfriend about how balance and self-preservation show up in motherhood. I am ALL about it. While it’s so natural to invest every drop we have into our chil’ren, I’m a huge advocate of saving some juice for ourselves. Resetting our energy is key to positivity, creativity and self-love, AND a beautiful example for our babies to do the same so that they may handle the stresses of the world productively as they grow. This is my mantra for healthy motherhood. 🙏🏽
My favorite photo of Myel and I of ALL time! Though he has outgrown this look, with a full set of teeth and all, I will forever reference this photo as the epitome of JOY.
A huge part of my anxiousness around motherhood was anticipating the challenges he would face as a Black boy and man. But joy, nurturing, and endless encouragement to be the best for the world is how we’ll overcome the forces against him. It’s something I grapple with, because I don’t have the answers and there is no rule book for raising children of color in oppressive societies.
As my last post of the day, I ask you: What are some words of support we can give all parents to help our kids cope, fight and conquer the world around them? I’m ALL ears. 👂🏽