While I massaged grapeseed oil into the legs of my four-month-old baby to the soundtrack of classical music playing softly in the background, I looked around the room of my local church and thought to myself: 'Where are all the black mothers?'
I'd spent plenty of time imagining what parenting would be like after a year of trying and a miscarriage and as a former primary school teacher, had a library of activities I was going to try to aid his development.
Before he was born, my husband and I attended four weekly antenatal group sessions run by an organisation called the National Childbirth Trust (NCT). The group was small, with just eight couples and my husband and I found ourselves commenting on its diversity. There was a lesbian couple with one mixed-race mum and one white woman, another interracial couple like my husband and I, though the dad was black, the mother was white, and an Asian couple. Not bad for eight couples.
Yet, once our babies were born, the lesbian couple and Asian couple went AWOL. They chose not to come to the reunion and were inactive on our WhatsApp group. The only other remaining person of colour was the black father, but as the mothers had been the ones who had kept up contact, this left me being the only person of colour in the group.
At meet ups, discussions arose about our upbringing, likely due to our newfound motherhood and I often found it difficult to relate to their experiences. But it was this one comment that led me to discontinue our regular meetings; a mother looked at my half black, half white child and asked whether I thought his hair would remain straight like his father’s or turn ‘wild’ like mine? No more NCT for me.