Originally published: 28 May 2020
Author: Candice Brathwaite
Published by: Quercus
Length: 5 hrs, 40 mins
Listening Dates: 28 November-7 December 2020
When Candice fell pregnant and stepped into the motherhood playing field, she found her experience bore little resemblance to the glossy magazine experience in Great Britain today. Leafing through the piles of prenatal paraphernalia, she found herself wondering: “Where are all the black mothers?”.
Candice started blogging about motherhood in 2016 after making the simple but powerful observation that the way motherhood is portrayed in the British media is wholly unrepresentative of our society at large. The author writes with humour, but with straight-talk about facing hurdles such as white privilege, racial micro-aggression and unconscious bias at every point.
Way back towards the end of 2019 (when things were still normal), I was lucky enough to attend the Quercus Word of Mouth Bestsellers evening where Candice Brathwaite spoke about her book I Am Not Your Baby Mother and also about her experience as a black mother in the UK, both through her pregnancy and aftercare and what it means for black children growing up in the UK. I loved hearing her speak briefly and picked up a sample of her book which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Brathwaite narrates the audio book and I loved her matter of fact way of speaking. She talks about the abortion she had before going back to her childhood. Although her mum was on the scene, Candice was raised mostly by grandfather as her mum and grandmother were both out at work. She had a good childhood in some ways but in other ways it was difficult – she has 2 siblings with 7 years between each. She ended up taking on a parenting role as her mum was busy trying to support them but was also suffering from depression.
When Brathwaite gets pregnant a second time, it is with a man she knows will support her and love her but she is still anxious, wondering how they will ever support a child. She talks about the prejudice black women suffer in pregnancy – the doctor who assumed she was single because her partner wasn’t with her. She also noticed there are no representations of black women in pregnancy books or websites. After her own pregnancy ended in a caesarean, a month later she ended up in septic shock after having her complaints ignored by medical professionals.
I really enjoyed Brathwaite narrating this and I was shocked by some of the facts she details:
- Black British mothers are five times more likely to die in childbirth.
- According to the Office for National Statistics, black babies have a 121% increased risk of being stillborn
- 50% increased risk of dying within 28 days of birth compared with white babies.
A thought provoking and important memoir – this was brilliant and a great choice for an audio book.
About the author:
Candice Brathwaite is the hugely popular influencer and founder of Make Motherhood Diverse – an online initiative that aims to encourage a more accurately representative and diverse depiction of motherhood in the media. She has worked with brands such as Pampers, Ella’s Kitchen and Specsavers, and has appeared on countless panels to discuss modern motherhood. Her writing has appeared in Stylist, the Metro and the Huffington Post. I Am Not Your Baby Mother is her first book.