relationships

The Complex Relationship Between Latina Immigrant Mothers And Their Daughters

Our immigrant Latin American mothers have endured so much, from the economic, political and/or violent strife that forced them to flee their homelands to the racial, xenophobic and cultural discrimination and abuse they face in the U.S. This painful reality often makes it difficult for us, their daughters, to speak up when they hurt us. We don’t want to add to their suffering — and we shouldn’t — but if we want to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma, we must accept and confront that many relationships between immigrant Latina mothers and their daughters are strenuous.

This isn’t exclusive to Latinas. In her essay “The Strained Relationship Between Black Mothers and Their Daughters,” MadameNoire writer Arah Iloabugichukwu explores the way many Black women have normalized maternal abuse as a manifestation of love through discipline. According to Iloabugichukwu, Black daughters know their mothers love them even if it doesn’t always feel as if they like or accept them. To prove this, she breaks down common maternal sayings in the Black community and analyzes their problematic nature, discussing how this mindset is keeping a cycle of maternal toxicity in a constant forward motion.

As a Black woman, I resonated with Iloabugichukwu’s argument, but, as a Latina and daughter of an immigrant, I noticed some additional factors that could lead to strained relationships between mothers and daughters in our community as well. After exchanging stories with many of my Latinx friends, I felt affirmed that while the plight is similar, we face a distinct kind of strain with our immigrant Latin American mothers.

In our community, there is a heavy emphasis on what others will say or think about our appearance. “Y qué va a decir la gente,” our mothers usually ask us. Often, when impoverished immigrants enter the United States, they are made to feel like they are nothing. In response, they set out to create value for themselves based on how the world views them. They work tirelessly to blend in by acting like the white Americans they see on TV, a sort of assimilation on steroids. This is not to say that this problem is strictly a result of immigration. There is a strong emphasis on appearances in Latin American countries as well, often in comparison to those of a higher economic class. It’s also possible that appearances are the one thing our mothers felt able to control, as opposed to the many situational experiences they could not. But regardless of the reason, our mothers’ constant worry of what others will think — instead of addressing or accepting circumstances — puts an immense pressure on daughters to perform and people please over living an authentic life.

Even more, while gender roles aren’t exclusive to the Latin American community, almost-everyday sayings, like “Eso no es cosa de niñas,” show how prevalent they are in our families. Some common “ladies don’t” rules include sitting with your legs uncrossed, wearing pants, playing in dirt or hanging out late. Along with them are several rigid “ladies must” requirements: keep the house clean, stay in the kitchen, serve the men and children before serving yourself, smile and always be pleasant. There is a certain way girls should behave, look and even think. And when the status quo is challenged, it is disconcerting for both parties.

Then, of course, there are the always-occuring moments where many of our mothers belittle our own crises, using stories of the deeply horrific struggles they have endured to discount our experiences. The extreme conditions our mothers faced are traumatic: they were forced to walk miles to access a basic education, when it was available; they faced corporal punishment for the simplest of mistakes and there were times when their young bodies starved. All of this will often lead to the mindset behind, “Yo a tu edad no tenía nada de lo que tú tienes.” It is not uncommon for our mothers to list the hardships they endured as a way to justify their continued cycles of toxicity. The classic, “look what I went through and I’m just fine” attitude lends to them having a difficult time seeing the validity of our struggles. Growing up, whenever I would try to point out something not feeling right, my mother’s response was always a sharp, bitter reaction, like, “Ya lo se, yo soy una madre terrible.” And so I was conditioned not to say anything because I didn’t want my mom to feel like she was a bad mother.

None of this is a critique on how immigrant mothers should handle trauma better — not by any means.

We cannot disregard the courage and strength our mothers needed to leave their home in search of a better life, and we must acknowledge the lack of mental health resources they faced both here and in their native land. They were never provided with effective ways to deal with their pain. As a result, our moms are burdened with their mothers’ traumas while holding onto their own lost childhood and relinquished dreams.

It is possible to both appreciate and honor our mothers’ sacrifices, to be empathetic to their heavy past, while also working to break the chains of shame we carry for wanting more or doing things differently.

This is a reminder that the shame that accompanies intergenerational trauma is real. It is an encouragement to seek support when it is needed.

Young Latinx girls don’t need to be worried about how others will view them as they grow into themselves. They don’t need to adhere to strict gender roles with sole aspirations of getting married and having children. And they don’t need to be made to feel like their emotional and spiritual struggles are irrelevant if their physical needs are being met.

Above all, they need to understand that their voices matter and have power. They need to be raised to see conflict and dialogue as a bridge to deeper understanding and more intimate relationships.

Nowadays, when I talk to my mom, I mention my therapy sessions as casually as I would a nail appointment. Recently, she called me to apologize for an inconsiderate comment she made. Our relationship is growing because we are learning how to have open, honest exchanges — we are learning how to hold space for one another.

I cannot promise that every mother will be as receptive as mine has been. I wish I could. But knowing that we’re not alone, grappling with the complexities of maternal toxicity, setting boundaries as we move forward and cultivating a strong sense of self that is not tied to the stigmas from childhood is a good place to start.

Read: Cardi B Is Defining Pregnancy And Motherhood On Her Own Terms

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Kehlani Welcomes Baby Girl After “Hard But Powerful” Unmedicated Home Birth

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Kehlani Welcomes Baby Girl After “Hard But Powerful” Unmedicated Home Birth

R&B star Kehlani is a mommy. The singer welcomed her first child, baby girl Adeya, over the weekend.

In an Instagram post on Monday, Lani disclosed that she had an unmedicated home birth, describing the experience as both strenuous and beautiful.

“This weekend our angel arrived healthy & perfect in every way in our bathroom at home,” the 23-year-old crooner captioned a photo of a baby blanket with colorful pine trees. “Unmedicated home birth was the absolute hardest yet most powerful thing I’ve ever done. Thankful beyond words. In love beyond comparison.”

Lani, who had her first baby with guitarist Javie Young-White, talked more about her decision to have a home birth on Twitter.

“All birth is extremely hard and transformative,” she said. “Home birth is a medical decision as is hospital birth, all birth is mind blowing & powerful. … it’s a next level journey whichever way.”

While emphasizing the splendor and power of childbirth, she didn’t deny the physical pain that accompanies it.

“But I hope everyone knows no one can tell me SHIT after that because LORD…next level, no words!”

Lani said she wouldn’t be posting on social media much in order to rest and spend time with her new family but sent her gratitude to her fans for their love, support and well wishes.

Days before the birth of her child, Lani released the music video for “Butterfly,” which appears on the singer’s While We Wait mixtape that dropped last month.

Watch the video for “Butterfly” below:

Read: It’s The Beginning Of The Year And Cardi B and Selena Gomez Have Already Topped Spotify’s Most-Streamed Female Artists

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Christina Milian’s Sister Appears on ‘Botched’ After Traumatic Surgery And Death Of Her Newborn Left Her Scarred

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Christina Milian’s Sister Appears on ‘Botched’ After Traumatic Surgery And Death Of Her Newborn Left Her Scarred

It’s been four years since fans of Cuban-American singer Christina Milian watched as her younger sister Danielle experience the heartbreaking experiencing no mother should have to bare. After weeks of anticipation on Millian’s TV show at the time, and nine months in real life, Danielle gave birth to a son who had been diagnosed with omphalocele, only to watch him die hours later. It was a harrowing moment for the Milian family and their fans and while 5 years have passed, Danielle is still very much scarred from the experience.

Her recent appearance on the show “Botched,” revealed just how much.

During her appearance on the show, Milian opened up about the emotional and physical scars she was left behind after the death of her child.

@danielle_milian / Instagram

Danielle Milian has dealt with some unfortunate medical problems in the past. In 2015, Milian gave birth to a baby boy named Richie born with Omphalocele, an often fatal condition where interior organs form on the outside of the body. Unfortunately, Richie died a few hours after being born. The traumatic experience still impacts her to this day. When Dr. Dubrow warned her that the tummy tuck would leave her with a scar, Milian responded: “I welcome new scars if they help me get rid of all the old ones with the negative connotations connected to them”.

According to plastic surgeon Dr. Terry Dubrow, Milian’s abdominal wall has been “dramatically separated” from pregnancy and gastric sleeve surgery.

“You’ve had some bad things happen to you so maybe its time for you to have some good things happen to you,” Dr. Dubrow said during the show’s segment after agreeing to help her by providing a full regular tummy tuck.

Twitter, as usual, had quite a few opinions on Danielle Milian’s decision to opt for corrective plastic surgery.

@danielle_milian / Instagram

The truth of the matter is, plastic surgery is still a controversial topic.

Some Twitter users were complimentary to the mission of the show, which is to improve people’s lives after they’ve been negatively impacted by poorly-done surgery

i wish all doctors came across so concerned. i find that I’m rushed and feel less important. i kniw we have probelms with the healthcare system. communucation is key but WOW. I LOVE THIS SHOW. Fixng people’s lives one episode at a time!!!! #veryimpressed— Debby G (@DebbyG99285194) March 12, 2019

Women, especially, know the feeling of being neglected by doctors who don’t take our concerns seriously.

Some Latinas found this incident to act as a sort of warning for those considering plastic surgery.

It’s easy to forget that the decision to get plastic surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly–it’s still major surgery that requires anesthesia and weeks of recovery time.

Others want the doctors to spill the tea on which plastic surgeons are the ones botching peoples’ surgeries (and we can’t blame them!)

It’s hard to be confidently make a decision regarding your health and appearance when there are so many cases of plastic surgery gone wrong.

We, for one, hope that Danielle Milian’s surgery went well and that her body brings her nothing but joy from now on.


Read: This Month Marks The Anniversary of Selena’s Death And 22 Times We Couldn’t Handle Selena’s Cuteness In Her Interviews

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