Understanding the Internal Impact on African American Motherhood

The Unseen Struggles and Triumphs: Understanding the Internal Impact on African American Motherhood

The internal world of an African American mother is a complex landscape shaped by a unique confluence of joy, challenges, resilience, and the weight of societal expectations. As nurturers, caregivers, and pillars within their communities, these mothers navigate a distinctive path that profoundly affects their internal well-being. This, in turn, influences their parenting styles, the emotional health of their children, and the legacies they build for future generations.

Internal Experiences and Their Impact

Research indicates that African American mothers face specific stressors, including racial discrimination, economic disparities, and societal pressures that uniquely impact their mental health (Jones et al., 2019). The internalization of these stressors can lead to heightened levels of anxiety and depression, which are significantly higher among African American women compared to their counterparts (Watson, et al., 2020). This internal struggle often goes unseen, as these mothers strive to provide stability and support for their families.

The concept of “weathering” suggests that the cumulative stress experienced by African American women can lead to premature aging and health issues, which further complicates their internal experience and capacity to engage fully in motherhood (Geronimus et al., 2006). Despite these challenges, African American mothers often employ resilience and coping strategies that reflect their strength and determination to overcome adversity.

The Role of Community and Social Support

The African American community has long recognized the importance of collective support and solidarity. Studies have shown that social support can buffer the effects of stress and improve mental health outcomes for African American mothers (Taylor et al., 2015). Engaging in community activities, spiritual practices, and open dialogues about mental health can provide a sense of belonging and relief from the isolation that often accompanies internal struggles.

Implications for Parenting and Child Development

The internal state of a mother significantly influences her parenting practices and, by extension, the emotional and psychological development of her children. Children are remarkably perceptive and can sense their mothers’ emotional states, which can affect their own sense of security and well-being (Morris et al., 2017). Therefore, addressing the internal challenges faced by African American mothers is not only crucial for their health but also for the healthy development of their children.

Cultivating Internal Wellness: Strategies for Healing

  1. Self-Care and Mindfulness: Encouraging African American mothers to prioritize self-care and engage in mindfulness practices can help mitigate the effects of stress and promote internal healing.
  2. Therapeutic Support: Access to culturally competent mental health services can provide a safe space for these mothers to process their experiences and develop coping strategies.
  3. Community Engagement: Strengthening community ties and creating support networks can reduce feelings of isolation and provide practical and emotional support.
  4. Educational Programs: Implementing educational programs that focus on mental health awareness and stress management can empower African American mothers with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate their internal landscapes more effectively.


The internal experiences of African American mothers are intricately linked to their roles as caregivers, their children’s well-being, and the broader societal landscape. By acknowledging these experiences and providing support through community, therapeutic interventions, and self-care practices, we can begin to address the challenges and celebrate the strengths unique to African American motherhood. This holistic approach not only fosters healing and resilience but also paves the way for future generations to thrive in a society that recognizes and values their contributions and struggles.


  • Jones, S.C.T., et al. (2019). Racial discrimination and health among African American women: A literature review from 2003 to 2013. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 6(3), 1-19.
  • Watson, N.N., et al. (2020). Depression and anxiety among African American women: The costs of strength and negative attitudes toward psychological help-seeking. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 26(4), 570-580.
  • Geronimus, A.T., et al. (2006). “Weathering” and age patterns of allostatic load scores among blacks and whites in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 96(5), 826-833.
  • Taylor, R.D., et al. (2015). Risk and resilience: The role of social support for African American adolescents. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 57(2), 215-221.
  • Morris, A.S., et al. (2017). *The role of the family context in the

With Love, Lakischa Smith

Meet Lakischa Smith, a proud mother and a dedicated public health advocate. With a Bachelor’s from Dillard University and a Master’s in Public Health from Florida International University, she’s committed to sharing honest narratives about black motherhood. Lakischa believes in fostering sisterhood to combat the pervasive forces of white supremacy, and empowering African American women to be agents of change for future generations. She asserts that recognizing and addressing our community’s struggles is crucial, for healing is the key to moving forward. Armed with the power of education and a deep belief in collective action, Lakischa is determined to ensure that the issues impacting African American parenthood aren’t just seen—they’re addressed and resolved.

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