Yesterday, I was sitting down, minding my own business while minding everyone else’s by scrolling my Facebook feed and stumbled across this post from my friend Roni.
My jaw dropped. I sat frozen, only repeating, “Omg. OMG. OMG!” I wasn’t alone. Two group chats both were full of celebration for the news of the impending arrival of two new Carter babies! You would think that one of us had just announced the news about our own pregnancy.
2016 was the year of Lemonade. She released a promo about this historic television event and millions sat with bated breath (I did), with all the shock, anger, pride of #blackgirlmagic and joy as she ventured through the visual album and brilliant poetry by Warsan Shire. She gave us the next few months to grow out our edges and to love on ourselves and each other, inspiring things like the Lemonade Syllabus so that we could continue the conversation. She then dropped a world tour and spends the summer traveling the world with her family.
And then, she disappeared, as she always does after a big tour. And most people are probably like, “Yeah, she’s tired. She deserves a break”, and I’m like, “Bitch, this is BEYONCÉ. Even on her breaks she’s thinking of the next way to blow your mind.”
And she did. She made two babies.
So this photo floats around the internet after she released it on Instagram yesterday. And of course, the haters come out. There are comments, memes, making fun of the layout. I argue, who are any of us to make fun of the image of a pregnant woman because we don’t understand her vision?
At first I thought I was in my feelings because I believe that pregnant women are sacred. Having spent the better part of the last four years growing one life or another inside of my body, I recognize it as being an incredibly vulnerable time. I couldn’t help but realize that every decision I made, from a turkey sandwich for lunch or bumping past countless entitled white men on the sidewalk that saw my big pregnant ass walking and refused to make way, affected my baby.
Our bodies go through amazing changes and no two pregnancies are the same, not even two pregnancies for the same person. Pregnancies with multiple fetuses are even more miraculous and demanding on a mother’s body and spirit. I looked at this photo. I looked at the curve of her belly, the shape of her cheeks, the new expanse of her nose. I looked in her eyes and saw joy and hope and wonder. I noted she wore a burgundy bra and blue satin panties, but assumed there was some reason they didn’t match. Nothing Beyoncé does is by accident. But that idea even, a woman who is so meticulous and in control of everything that happens around her, shared this image in what might be the most vulnerable time of her life… an experience that she intimately knows that every other person in the world watching can only guess at, and she shared that with us. Remove all of her money, fame, fancy hair weaves and make up, she is just a woman, creating life times two.
I just don’t see the humor in poking fun at floral arrangements you don’t understand, a transparent drape or mix-matched underdrawls. Women take maternity photos all the time, memorializing the beauty of what their bodies have been able to do. I was told yesterday when I spoke up about this, that she wasn’t being dishonored and that she doesn’t need protecting, so the joke went over my head. But fortunately, I know I’m not alone in these feelings.
She’s a Black woman growing two Black babies in her uterus. She absolutely needs protecting. And laughing at shit you don’t understand is NOT the sisterhood.
THIS is the sisterhood. Black queens and Orishas circling you in your most powerful and vulnerable time:
in the dream I am crowing
pray around my bed.
i can smell jasmine,
i wake up as someone
places a wreath upon my head.
Congratulations to Beyoncé, Jay and Blue as they venture on this new journey. Check out the rest of beautiful spread she did here.