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Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  280 ratings  ·  90 reviews

The story every parent in America needs to read

The path to creating a family is almost never easy or straightforward. As a single African American woman, Nefertiti Austin knew her journey would be more challenging than most. Eager to finally join the motherhood ranks, Nefertiti felt discouraged by the roadblocks that seemed nearly insurmountable as she fought to adopt

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published September 20th 2019 by Sourcebooks
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Telaina The "white lens" is how we white people see things as we are walking around in the world. Many white people cannot imagine that people of color have…moreThe "white lens" is how we white people see things as we are walking around in the world. Many white people cannot imagine that people of color have other experiences because we white people do not have those experiences. So we accuse the people who have those experiences of exaggerating, or even lying, because our white way of seeing the world doesn't jive with what what someone else is telling us. It's why we need books like these, so we understand that people in the world have different experiences, and many of those experiences are based on the color of their skin, their gender, their sexual orientation, etc. Just as an example, a Black woman is three to four times more likely to die in childbirth than a white female. A large part of those deaths are because Black women are undervalued and not believed when they present with complications. (Primarily) White doctors are seeing Black females through a very dangerous white lens in this example.(less)
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Giveaway win!

I devoured this book like it was a bag of mini Reese's Cups.

Nefertiti Austin took the age old advice that "If you can't find the book you want to read, write it yourself"

Nefertiti Austin was a single Black woman who had just adopted a sweet little black boy. Despite searching high and low she couldn't find a book written for or about black motherhood. And as far as books about adoption, it seemed as though only white people did that.

Nefertiti was further shocked to hear people
LaToya King
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a DIGITAL ADVANCE READER’S COPY of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I recently read a tweet that identified white privilege as everyone learning to empathize and cater to whiteness. Unfortunately, we live in a society that does just that; we teach people to empathize and cater to whiteness in fairytales (think Goldilocks), in religion (white Jesus), and even in parenting. As a mother of two, I have seen the lack of inclusivity in books on expecting, parenting,
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book that will be a useful resource for Black women considering adoption........ Wasn’t it Toni Morrison who said, “if you can’t find the book you want to read, it’s your responsibility to write it.” Well that is exactly what Nefertiti Austin has done. Wanting to be a mother, Nefertiti found scant resources and texts available centered around Black women adopting Black children.

So this book details her journey to motherhood through adoption and discovery that white women are normalized and
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: because I can't resist
This memoir of adoption and motherhood by Neferiti Austin also provides a much needed voice of black women adopting black children. She covers the process, dealing with birth families, dealing with new forms of mansplaining, and funny moments like teaching her son to pee standing up.

I think the idea that unifies her experience with other experiences I've heard from adoptive parents is the importance of the community that emerges, which isn't always the people you had in your life before
Stacie C
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-authors
I remember what it was like being pregnant with my son, flipping through the pages of What To Expect When You’re Expecting and preparing my house for a newborn. I was overwhelmed and excited. Motherhood hadn’t been a dream of mine, but with my husband I wanted an addition to my family. I didn’t gravitate towards books about motherhood having helped raise my two nephews and being around younger children throughout my life. It’s now after being a mother for eleven years, after knowing what it’s ...more
Mandi Grasmeyer
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Laughed, cried, and learned so much from this book. So very grateful people like Nefertiti choose to share their stories! See full review at:
I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it.

When Nefertiti Austin, a single African-American woman, decided she wanted to adopt a black baby boy out of the foster care system, she was unprepared for the fact that there is no place for black women in the “mommy wars.” Austin set off on her path without the ability to seek guidance
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
Although I was interested in the topic, I couldn't finish this book, because I was so disgusted by the author's smugness. Other women are just baby-making machines to her. She pats herself on the back numerous times for her "altruistic" adoption of a black child -- though she wasn't altruistic enough to accept a child with any kind of issues. The final straw for me was her decision to not let her son have any contact with his biological family, which includes many older siblings who clearly ...more
Oct 18, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely hated this book. The author has such a huge chip on her shoulder. Instead of focusing on the universal experience of motherhood and the adoption process, the entire book was a racist rant. No thanks.
I read quite a few parenting books when I was pregnant with my first child back in 2013, but quickly found that most of them followed a strict pattern, centering the middle class white American woman. I ended up resorting to searching for more relatable (to me) motherhood blogs, and also writing my own stories, because I couldn’t see myself in a lot of the content I was reading, and/or it made me feel as if I were failing motherhood in some way. I can’t even imagine how much harder it must have ...more
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Advanced Reading Copies of Motherhood So White by Nefertiti Austin were provided to my library book club by the Book Club Cookbook through their Galley Match. Along with receiving copies of the book for all our regular book club members we also had a Skype visit with the author!

Austin's experience as a single black woman adopting an African American boy inspired her to write her memoir. She discovered a dearth of books that spoke to her personal situation, as if motherhood and adoption were
Fills in a glaring gap in motherhood lit. Most parenting books are focused on cishet white women, far less are focused on adoption, and almost none are focused on Black women adopting Black babies, especially if they're male. Austin navigates a world in which her family seem baffled by her choice to adopt, male coworkers mansplain masculinity to her and seem doubtful she can raise a son in a way they approve of, she has to deal with her son's birth family, and she helps forge a community for her ...more
This is a fantastic memoir about black motherhood, about being a black adoptive mother, and about all the ways that the way our society equates motherhood with whiteness, and how deeply that harms parents, kids, and families. It's a good blend of personal narrative--Austin is candid and open about her whole experience with adoption--and broader social commentary, both about the way black single and adoptive mothers are perceived and treated, and about the lack of books, resources, and media ...more
This book was recommended to me after I read All the Sweeter: Families Share Their Stories of Adopting from Foster Care by Jean Minton. Both books detail the experience of adopting through the U.S. Foster system, with a focus on California. However, Ms. Austin's book is a much more personal accounting of not only her journey into motherhood, but her own life story as a Black woman and the experiences that impacted her decision to adopt a Black boy from the foster system.

As a white woman, I found
Susie Dumond
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Nefertiti Austin set out to adopt, she searched for resources for single Black moms of adopted children. She wasn't surprised by the dearth of materials. But she was surprised when she couldn't even find race-neutral resources. Based on the total lack of narratives like hers, she sat down to write the memoir/resource the world was missing. Motherhood So White is such an important book, and it will be crucial to many mothers and children that don't see their experience reflected in media. ...more
Oct 02, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The description alone is rather racist (and also kinda sexist). Also couples have a better chance of adopting. And too many black women get an abortion (or 2).
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So informative. Great information if your looking to foster or adopt . Loved the realness. Like to know an update on authors life now. Nice book.

Thanks to author,publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free,it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first saw the title I immediately requested an advanced copy because I realized out of all the books I read that deal with motherhood in any way; the experience of being a mother, of not being a mother, of choosing to be childfree, of choosing adoption..etc, non of the ones I read or the ones I am able to find and access as easily are written by Black or Brown women. I hope this books gets as hyped as the rest of the motherhood books because it deserves it.

This book is about Nefertiti
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Austin sprinkles her touching personal story with interesting and relevant information about race, culture and parenting in America.
Victoria B.
I am very conflicted about this book. On the one hand, I appreciate her attempt to bridge the gap on the lack of mom books for Black families, especially those going through adoption. I think many of her thoughts are spot on (especially how too many people assume that adoptable Black children are "crack babies."), and I saw many similarities between the author's experiences and that which my siblings who adopted experienced - the difficulties within the legal process, the unexpected exhaustion ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Sourcebooks for the ARC at BEA 2019, and to Nefertiti Austin for signing my copy!

I really really loved this book. It was a powerful memoir from Austin about her childhood and journey into becoming a single adoptive parent, and seeing the inherent sexism, racism, and classism within the adoption system and community. Austin discusses at length how we have been conditioned to view motherhood as a white concept, something that is the domain of white women to dominate and that black women
Lara Lillibridge
"Motherhood is so white and in need of a revolution."

This memoir is situated in history, examining the effects of racism in Black families as well as telling one woman's story of becoming an adoptive single mama. It's an intelligent book—Austin is a US History college professor, and her book is incredibly nuanced—her story spans through generations in order to help us understand where we are today. But it's also heart-warming and funny. Austin educates through what feels like a very good, smart
Oct 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
College history instructor Nefertiti Austin could not find a parenting book that spoke to her experience as the Black single mother of an adopted Black son. She writes, “[M]y quest for narratives about Black mothers would be like looking for a needle in a haystack, but the white woman’s story would be told over and over.” Her book is not, however, primarily a manifesto or academic take examining this form of white centrality, though it certainly does do that. It is at heart a memoir, peppered ...more Biography & Memoir
Author and activist Nefertiti Austin (ETERNITY, ABANDON) recounts her struggles in childhood and her victories as a determined black woman who chose to adopt two children, presenting revelations about the subtleties of institutional racism as it affects black mothers and their kids.

Austin was raised for a time by her parents, both of whom battled with poverty and addiction. When those demons got the better of them, she and her brother were taken in by their grandparents in an arrangement that
Today's post is on Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America by Nefertiti Austin. It is 304 pages long and is published by Sourcebooks. The cover is white with a black mother and her child on the bottom left corner. The intended reader is someone who is interested in adoption, race, equality, and feminism in America. There is some mild foul language, no sex, and no violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- In America, Mother = White
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book could not have come at a better time. I have a friend going through the foster care/adoption process and I realized there was so little I knew about how it worked. Rather than constantly badgering her to explain it to me, I'm glad there is a book that can help do it for her - while also telling a compelling memoir of motherhood that is rarely available on shelves. Nefertiti is a singe, black woman who decided to adopt a black boy through foster care, something that is taboo in the ...more
Crystal Arzu (Bookish in Midlife)
Motherhood So White, written by Nefertiti Austin, is a memoir about the journey of adopting her son August. The story starts with the all too common scenario of the broken African American household. Both of Nefertiti’s parents were in and out of her life and were never able to give her the unconditional love and stability that she and her brother needed. The siblings soon moved in with their grandparents and were given all the necessities that they needed. Although they were happy with their ...more
Kat (Why Read)
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do not judge single black mother, Nefertiti Austin, by first appearances. She is a successful businesswoman able to upgrade cars every other year. She rose up from a childhood filled with changing homes of toxic parents and their drug abuse. Nefertiti has never been married and doesn't rely on a man for income. She has children but has never given birth. When she decided she wanted to be a mother she pursued a nontraditional route and her journey is an inspiration.

This book gave me the baby
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Olga Barnes
Oh, how I loved this book! I don't even know where to start! I try to educate myself about the different ways that people experience life. I am an immigrant whose first language is not English. I am a single mother of two boys (not by choice). I am a public school employee which allows me just enough to support my family, There was a time in my life when I was a recipient of WIC and my child was on Title 19 insurance. I have never not have my own transportation or a place to live. So, that's the ...more
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