When Cynthia Simpson noticed that none of her friends were going through pregnancy around the same time she was, the casting agent decided that she needed to experience motherhood through genuine community, and not just by reading books.
That’s what led her to hypnobirthing classes almost four years ago.
“I really had a little bit of anxiety around being pregnant,” said Simpson. “I really wanted to get in tune with my body and have a very low stress pregnancy. I did have two miscarriages before I had Sophia.”
Simpson and the mothers-to-be in her class developed a tight friendship and bonded over being pregnant, exchanging text messages everyday about everything from how they were feeling to nipple pain.
This inspired Simpson to co-create GatherBK, a monthly meetup group and community resource for Black moms, prior to the pandemic.
“I thought GatherBK would be a perfect opportunity to find other women that were also going through pregnancy or been pregnant or had children, and just needed the community to talk to and get like the real tea about what it’s like being pregnant, and having a baby,” she said.
Simpson says the group was going strong in 2018 and 2019, but “once the pandemic hit, we put a pause on it.”
Even during the pandemic, the mommy advocate wanted to find different ways to connect with people and reach Black moms where they were.
“One thing I was going through was figuring out how to do Sophia’s hair. And being someone who wears natural hair, I was like, ‘how come I can’t do my daughter’s hair?’”
Once she figured out what works for her daughter, Simpson wanted to share that information and wrote about her experiences. All of these moments have worked together to strengthen Simpson’s core values about motherhood, primarily that there is no one right way to be a mom, how you give birth to a child—whether you have a c-section versus vaginal birth—has no impact on you being a good mother, and also retaining your identity as a mama.
“You don’t have to get lost in motherhood. You just need to have a balance. You need to figure out what works for you, what doesn’t work for you, and let go of those things,” she said. “I love giving people advice and supporting other women, especially Black women that are new mothers are just need some direction or help.”
In the video above Simpson discusses how crucial community and vulnerability are for all moms, three principles of motherhood she swears by, what she wants for Sophia, and more. Be sure to call your mom afterwards.