Portia Smith’s most vivid memories of her daughter’s first year are of tears. Not the baby’s. Her own.
“I would just hold her and cry all day,” Smith said.
At 18, Smith was caring for two children, 4-year-old Kelaiah and newborn Nelly, with little help from the partner in her abusive relationship. The circumstances were difficult, but she knew the tears were more than that.
“I really didn’t have a connection for her,” said Smith, now a motivational speaker and mother of three living in Philadelphia. “I didn’t even want to breastfeed because I didn’t want that closeness with her.”