Takiema Bunche-Smith

Thirty-seven weeks and two days. That’s how far along educator Takiema Bunche-Smith was in her pregnancy when her midwife told her she couldn’t find her son’s heartbeat. Reeling from the stillbirth of her firstborn, Nazir, it took Bunche-Smith 13 months of what she calls “deep grief work” to be emotionally and physically ready for pregnancy again.

Bunche-Smith, 39, director of curriculum and instruction at the Brooklyn Kindergarten Society, spoke with mater mea about the loss, and here describes what it felt like when she delivered her second son, Na’im, after losing her firstborn. We at MyBrownBaby are proud to share Bunche-Smith’s words in our celebration of Black motherhood, in partnership with mater mea.

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mater mea: How did you feel when Na’im was born?

Takiema Bunche-Smith: The depths of my sorrow for losing Nazir were completely paralleled by the heights of my joy [for having Na’im]. It was the exact opposite, but it was also coupled with grief again. [I thought], “Remember what happened last time and what you lost? Look how amazing this is. You could have had it twice.”

But the joy when I was able to just focus on him being here was incredible. I still remember that feeling of trying to nurse. It was so hard, [but] I was like, “I don’t even care. We’re going to work it out. You’re here. Oh my God, you pooped, yay! You’re alive!” You don’t get to parent a child that’s died in the same way, but I was more confident in knowing that I parent Nazir through telling his story, and just being who I am as a mom and supporting other moms.

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This photo and quote was reprinted with permission from mater mea.

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