Written by: Dr. Leslie Davis, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
To all the Black Single Moms who identify as being Strong Black Women, this is for you.
I see you
I see you facing this chaotic world each day after sleepless nights because your mind won’t allow you to rest. I see you managing the responsibility of being the sole provider. I see you grinding at work to get that promotion because you need the extra money to take care of the home while dodging bullets from your coworkers who envy you because they wonder, “how does she do it?” I see you come home after a stressful day, crying yourself to sleep when you think no one is watching. I see you wishing it was all over because sometimes life is too much to bear and you’re tired of doing life alone.
I hear you
Your actions speak louder than words. I hear you saying, “I don’t need a man, I can do it on my own.” I hear you take a deep breath to remind yourself you’re still alive. I hear that you are stressed out. I hear that you’re afraid and you want to give up, but you know your baby needs you. I hear you asking God, “why me?”
I know you
I know you believe you can handle any challenge, because the Strong Black Woman identity has been instilled in you since you were a little girl. You even saw your mother live this way. I know you value independence, and it’s hard to admit that you need and want support, especially from a man. I know you take care of everyone in your circle except yourself because you learned to sacrifice your own needs for the betterment of others. If you’re honest, you keep doing it because it makes you feel connected even when you’d rather isolate yourself.
Let me tell you something…your identity as a Strong Black Woman (SBW) is commendable and oftentimes praised, but there are times when this identity can become ruthlessly damaging. Because you identify as a SBW, it’s likely you don’t verbalize your needs, wants, and desires. You may not talk about the pain and trauma you experience because you don’t want to be a burden to others.
There is danger in silencing yourself as a Strong Black Woman.
As a Black woman, you are at greater risk than White women for psychological distress in the forms of anxiety and depression. The more you remain silent about your trauma and pain, the more severe your symptoms can become, leading to major depression and possibly suicidal ideation.
Mental health services provided to Strong Black Women have increased in recent years as it has become more socially and culturally acceptable to seek professional help. In fact, Therapy for Black Girls and The Loveland Foundation provide resources for Black women seeking mental health treatment. Unfortunately, because you identify as a SBW you may be reluctant to seek therapy since you’ve been handling your problems on your own, all of your life.
I understand the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the decision of Roe v Wade may deeply affect you. We both know you’re strong and resilient, but at the same time, you might be afraid to be transparent about how this decision affects your mental health, your life, and potentially your romantic relationship.
Dear Strong Black Woman, you have the right to break your silence and NOW is the time.
If you’ve fallen into the trap of silencing yourself as a Strong Black Woman, here are 5 actions to empower you to break your silence.
Always remember that your voice matters.
Share your story with someone you trust, perhaps another SBW who identifies with your experience.
Recognize how you feel when you remain silent and consider how you’d rather feel. Do you feel empowered or inhibited?
Give yourself permission to be transparent.
Schedule an appointment with a culturally competent licensed therapist who can provide a safe space for you to express yourself and keep your secrets. If you need assistance with locating and paying for mental health resources, click the links below.
Dr. Leslie Davis, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Dr. Leslie Davis is a licensed counselor, relationship coach, mental health consultant, and podcaster. Using an Emotion-Focused approach, she empowers women and youth with tools to develop healthy connections. Her work with clients focuses on attachment styles, self-esteem, and empowering women to cope with anxiety and depression. As the Founder and Executive Director of Hearts in Faith, NFP Dr. Davis also brings awareness and addresses the needs of single mothers, single fathers, and youth in her community. You can find her podcast, She Matters with Leslie Davis, on various platforms including Apple and Spotify.