From our kimono store to our online shop, we’ve had the great fortune of working with some incredible women over the years, and if you’ve followed us on Instagram, chances are you’ve seen one of them draped in our kimono robes — the lovely and kind Bianca Cook. Bianca is an incredible model and woman, who uses her platform and voice to uplift and amplify the best in us. She has brought the feeling of our kimono robes to life in every photo, and at the end of 2019, Bianca brought her beautiful son Monarch into the world.
We always have deep respect for mothers (much of our small team is made up of young mothers!), but for those women becoming mothers and raising children during this difficult year, we have an even deeper appreciation. Coming into motherhood is a journey in and of itself. But to add to it the uncertainty and isolation of this past year requires true superhero strength. So today in the journal, we’re honoring and celebrating Bianca’s story of becoming a new mother right before one of the most challenging periods of all of our lives. When most new mothers would be venturing back out into the world with their little ones, Bianca had to hunker down with her husband and son. And what’s so beautiful about her story is how she used that time of isolation to reach out to communities and causes in whatever way she could. Mothers really are incredible. Here’s Bianca’s story:
At the beginning of the pandemic, how did life change for you?
Well it shouldn’t have taken a pandemic for me to realize this, but when everything quickly shut down, I realized how fortunate I was to have my family bubble and access to food, shelter, technology and health care.
What was your experience of being a new mother during a pandemic like?
There have been some difficult moments this year that were a bit overwhelming. When you’re a new mama and faced with the uncertainty of death in a double pandemic, of course all you want to do is protect your child. The global pandemic and social reckoning in America forced me to slow down and focus on the well being of our newborn baby and our mental health as a Black family. As a mama, I needed time to heal from my emergency cesarean and recharge my batteries.
What were some ways you found to support yourself during this transformative time?
The massive amount of community outreach. For me, the tipping point was when Ahmaud Arbery was murdered in broad daylight by white supremacists. My husband and I wanted to take to the streets when the protests began but we were hesitant because of our little one. We had a come-to-Jesus moment when we realized everyone marching also had family or a loved one they cared about too. Hearing everyday folks, not just community leaders, use their voice for change empowered me to really examine my own medical racism I had experienced in the delivery room. It also inspired me to organize a couple of fundraisers for Black youth moms at the Covenant House as a form of healing… and to my surprise a lot of people came through.
Photo by @brysonjamescooke
What was the most important part of your recovery process?
I’m incredibly grateful for the love and support of my husband, Bryson. I had a very difficult delivery and bled a lot during my unplanned cesarean. I was stuck on bedrest and was slow to recover. He was the primary caretaker for months while I was healing from my c-section. I have so many pictures of Monarch melting in his daddy’s arms. They still have this tight bond that’s beautiful to watch.
What advice would you give to a new mother in 2021?
To be honest, new mamas of 2021 have been a source of inspiration for me. During a time of so much loss, it made me feel a little bit more optimistic about the future when a friend announced they were having a baby. So if I could give one piece of unsolicited advice, I would pivot from using words like pandemic baby or gen-c. Don’t let anybody call you less than resilient.
What do you wish more people understood about pregnancy and motherhood?
I wish we could talk openly about pregnancy loss in our society. There’s so much stigma and shame attached to having a miscarriage or stillborn that we are silent in our grief. Loss happens so frequently that we are indoctrinated to wait a full 13 weeks before we announce our top secret pregnancy. It was only after our miscarriage that I found out a lot of people close to me went through the same experience.
What do you wish more people understood about being a mother during this pandemic?
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, work remotely or from-home, we are all working moms. And most of us are underpaid for our hard work.
What gives you hope for the future?
The sound of little kids playing outside. Nothing can compare to that kind of light.
Whether you are a first time mother or raising older kids during this time, remember that you are always doing your best. Like Bianca writes, “don’t let anyone call you less than resilient.” Whether you make your favorite cup of tea at the end of the day or slink around in a kimono wrap, the little moments end up being the big and important ones, and you’ve got this. From our family to yours, we’re wishing you all the love and support you deserve.
Shopping for your favorite mama this Mother’s Day? Check out our best selling Washable Silk Kimono Robes and our Charmeuse Collection — both are machine washable for the messiest of moments! And once you slip into your own kimono style, tag us on Instagram with @kimandono_ and #swaythisway so we can celebrate and honor you each and every day. Take care, lovely, and be well!