Birthing A Skin Color: Looking Deeper At My Son

light skinned dark skinned colorism

Birthing A Skin Color

Perhaps because my first child was born with a light complexion, even more so than my own, concerns surrounding skin color were not paramount during my first year of parenthood. Underhanded comments, questions of when the darkening would stop, or horrific labeling never occurred. She was allowed to exist in her own identity. Her barely olive tone was embraced and altered to stunning pedestals; praise of worth came from all segments of our lives. We had made a beautiful baby. We should be proud. And I was.

Two years later, not only has my mixed beauty’s skin tone darkened considerably, but we welcomed our second child to the family; a boy. A brown boy whose color has been noted, assessed and pondered on too many occasions, innocently or with malice, sending my postpartum brain into a parental battleground.

Unlike his sister’s grueling delivery, my son’s scheduled c-section enabled me to absorb the first moments of his life. I remember, after months of pregnancy, taking a full breath at the exact moment his loins were pulled from my womb. I remember the suction his body created as he came out, my blood splattering in all directions and knowing in my heart that I would give him every last ounce if he needed it. And, with arms stretched and tied down, a tidal wave of emotion burst through my face as if a dam had crumpled under the weight of anticipation the nanosecond I first heard him cry. My beautiful son was born, and again, I was proud.

Never once did I consider his skin color. But it pains me to know that others do.

I believe the universe granted pardon on my high strung, over anytlitcal nature by allowing the ease into my motherhood without {much} worry of colorist sentiments. Being Latina, with brown skin, growing up in a white, beach town of Southern California was not so difficult. My happily ignorant mind cannot recall many, if any, racist occurrences. But I was different and consistently reminded. My hair was too textured. My curves didn’t fit the clothes at PacSun. And despite being 100% Cuban, my lack luster command of the language and proximity to other Latinos meant that I never truly fit in there either. The need for belonging transpired into an angry disposition and a low self esteem. Neither outcome I want for my children. It was not until I met my husband that I began to believe in my beauty.

I wholeheartedly believe my children are beautiful. From brown to browner, I believe their physical beauty is stunning and is one I prefer. But most of all, so much more than their skin color, their beauty lies in the people they are and are destined to become. They were made from love, born into a committed union and when I look deep into my son’s eyes, I see oh so many possibilities…

 

Comments

  1. says

    This is so incredibly moving. That last paragraph really spoke to me as a multiracial woman in an interracial relationship. My (future) kids with be black, white, and Chinese and I hope that every day they will know they are beautiful just the way they are.

  2. Val says

    I appreciate your honesty, but this is the world we live in and it becomes more obvious in it's destructiveness day by day. It is definitely our duties to love ourselves and project that self love onto our mixed race children to know that they are much more than their skin color

    • says

      I understand your sentiment, especially with all the hideous things happening to our brown babies these days. In my heart, in our home and our tiny bubble within society, I just HAVE to think above the ignorance or I'll have a nervous breakdown. I will say, however, my kids are very young…. 2 years old and 3 months old…. so the extent of which I can ignore the trash is great. As they grow, I know I'll have to come to terms with how awful our world can be. Ugh.