From wet nursing to raising the children of their oppressors, Black women have shouldered the burden of care for centuries. However, research and experience show that we can show up more effectively and make a more significant impact when we care for ourselves.
Black women have always worked and worked hard. Studies have shown that we have held a higher percentage of jobs throughout history, particularly in the domestic service industry. Society expects Black women to be the backbone of their communities, always selflessly caring for others.
That constant giving can wear a person down and, eventually, lead them to lose themselves in a sea of the faces they care for. The undertow of that sea pulls us to push for justice and equality for everyone but ourselves. Even the movements Black women support overlook our need for care.
Reclaiming a sense of self beyond weekly facemasks and bubble baths is essential. Self-care looks different for everyone, yet it’s a necessary tool to find balance in life. Setting boundaries, managing time, and learning that it’s okay to say “no” can add to that balance.
We can’t pour from empty cups. By challenging stereotypes, receiving support from our communities, and fostering personal growth, Black women can find empowerment, redefine their identities, and pave the way for collective healing and progress.