#DearCinnaMoms Sept '22
What do you think of when you hear, CinnaMoms?
Do you think of a program that is dedicated to helping African American families, and created not by bureaucrats, but by dedicate professionals from the same communities they serve?
Their mission, “to create a cultural space that promotes empowerment and self-transformation for Black/African American women…” CinnaMoms comes together to help rebuild a village of support. My mission is to share with you, what you may have missed.
Welcome to CinnaMoms
In our first gathering of September, CinnnaMoms came together, and celebrated, played games, and some won prizes; we discussed: infant development in the 4th trimester, breastfeeding, baby blues (postpartum depression), alcohol, sex, birth-control and the importance and benefits of self-care.
Why do humans grow so slowly?
Did you know that an elephant’s gestational period varies from 18-22 months? A horse’s will also vary though on average spans about 11 months. Interesting maybe, but how is this relevant? Well, by comparison, the human gestation period is significantly shorter than that of other mammals, but unlike other mammals, big brained humans continue their development outside of the womb; that is the 4th Trimester and the topic of discussion this first meeting in September.
As facilitated by Aqueelah, IBCLC extraordinaire from our sister WIC program and great friend to CinnaMoms, Aqueelah expanded on the 12 weeks after delivery, breastfeeding in the early days, and the importance of tracking diaper counts.
The developmental period immediately following delivery, is a time of incredible growth for our babies, and one of great stressors for parents. With an increased need to feed, we see growing insecurities and fears of not producing enough. Then there is the lack of proper support for the new parents. Our loved ones mean well, but as a fellow CinnaMom mentioned to the group in attendance, (having a baby) “it’s like with candy, mom usually becomes the candy wrapper when the baby is born, and then it’s all about the baby… what about mom?”
What about Mom?
This is an important question which many moms often forget to ask themselves, but who’s caring for mom, when mom is caring for everyone else. According to Aqueelah, due to the body’s normal, biological and physiological response to childbirth, baby blues happens to 80% of moms. With postpartum depression being so prevalent, why are we ignoring “self-care?”
*image courtesy of cpvillage.com
The CinnaMoms in attendance, took to the chat-box in this zoom meeting and shared their experiences, their struggles and their needs for selfcare.
Are you looking for tips for self-care?
Check out this link for more information: http://www.phfewic.org/CM-SelfCare-Eng
Supporting Dads to Support Moms
In a continued effort to rebuild the “village of support,” CinnaMoms welcomed back, LeHenry Solomon, LMFT. LeHenry is a licensed marriage and family therapist who regularly meets with fathers through a social support group known as Black Daddy Dialogue.
This group of fathers meet regularly to support women, partners and each other, and was gracious enough to return to CinnaMoms this September 15th as our CinnaMoms facilitator of the day.
Speaking on the origins of our communication styles, and the consequences of our intended and unintended messages, LeHenry reminded us, that 70-80% of our communication is non-verbal, and without judgement posed a question to the group, “do we repeat what we heard… what we had as children?”
· I’m the parent, you’re the child
· Because I said so
· Do as you’re told
· I’m not your little friend
· Children are to be seen, not heard
Messages such as these, offer clear separations, “I am here, you are there, we are not equals, I am not your friend.”
The real question is not only, what is the message, you wish to send, but what is the message our children are perceiving? If we consider the communication process (the process a message will travel from a sender to a receiver), a parent (the sender) constructs (or encrypts) a message, then sends the message through some communication channel (in this case face-to-face communication) to their child (the receiver).
The receiver is they who interprets (decrypts) the message and In this situation, because the receiver is a child, is immature due to an underdeveloped frontal lobe, will not always understand the message as the parent meant it. Thus the reason of utmost importance, that we reflect on our intended and unintended messages.
Our Emotions and Our Actions
There was another interesting point that came about when discussing, children and emotional responses. We were talking about how children may internalize their behaviors with their emotions, and what they associate with anger. Kids often reactively respond physically: “Why did you push him? He made me mad.” Many things in this world are beyond our control, and as LeHenry said “we can’t control our emotions but we can control our actions.”
Those of us that attended, left with a greater understanding of the cycles of trauma, discipline, and both connections and the influence we have on our children.
Interested in learning more about CinnaMoms and our community partners?
Please visit: https://www.cinnamoms.org/resources for more information.
We continue to meet twice a month, every first and third Thursday and cannot wait, to have you join our village of support, see you there!