Can you tell our readers who is Dr. Leesha?
Dr. Leesha is all the things like so many other amazing women of color – Jesus lover, wife, mother, daughter, sister, auntie, friend, physician, advocate, author, visionary, creative, mompreneur, and so much more. I am a fierce, passionate, and beautiful black woman who desires to leave my indelible imprint upon my community, locally, nationally, and globally, by chasing my dreams and pouring into moms.
What type of effect do you think social media has on the mental health in the African American community and more so for Women of color?
Social media is shifting the conversation around mental health and mental illness for black and brown people. So many celebrities, brands, and organizations are using Instagram and Facebook as platforms to educate people about mental health and destigmatize mental illness like Taraji P. Henson and her Boris L. Henson Foundation, Shanti Das, and Silence the Shame, Melanin, and Mental Health, and Therapy for Black Girls. No longer are black people suffering in silence. We no longer sit on the sidelines, buried beneath shame, pain, and trauma. We boldly acknowledge that is okay to not be okay. We are willing to get vulnerable so we can heal. We normalize seeking out therapy. We celebrate wholeness and wellness that includes our emotional well-being as well as our physical health. Frankly, it’s refreshing and long overdue. I think the COVID-19 pandemic did a lot to usher in the shift because so many of us realized that our mood swings, irritability, and angst were more than just a phase or a rough few days.
How would you explain the difference between living your best self vs. just living in the fulfillment of life?
For me, living in the fulfillment of life is measured by the “trappings” of success – material gains like the big house, fancy cars, luxury handbags, and fine jewelry. But living your best life is a life celebrating wholeness and wellness – pursuing your passion, investing in your growth, emotionally and physically healthy, spiritual integrity, and creating rich experiences over acquiring more things. That’s the life I choose to live.
Why is your book “Ditch the Mommy Guilt: A Blueprint for the Modern Mommy” so important to you?
Man, mommy guilt, which I define as the nagging sense of inadequacy and constant fear of failing, is so real. It can make us parent out of fear. It can isolate us from other moms and cause us to feel alone and question our worth. It can also lead to anxiety and depression when it goes unchecked. I didn’t realize how debilitating that guilt could be until I had my first baby. I felt guilty because I wanted to go back to work, I missed my life before kids, I struggled to breastfeed and had to supplement with formula, I missed my pre-baby body, and I often put work before family obligations. I erroneously concluded I was a bad mama, and initially, I had no one with whom I felt comfortable sharing these fears because I thought they would co-sign on my horrible beliefs about myself. But slowly I began to open up to a few close friends and realized they were struggling with mommy guilt, too. It was then that I knew that I had to write this incredibly important book. Guilt should not be an expected component of motherhood. Societal expectations around motherhood and perfectionism are both unrealistic and unattainable. We must normalize the entire journey, the beautiful and the difficult, and none of this makes any mama inadequate or bad.
What do you like most about being an Author?
Words. I love the beauty of words, the way they intersect like poetry to create something that resonates within the hearts and minds of my readers. To hear someone say, “wow, that spoke to me” is a gift. Writing is also cathartic for me. It heals and restores my soul and pulls at the recesses of my mind to birth something extraordinary.
How do your books stand out from any other books today?
Moms write about motherhood, and I’m a mom. Yet I am not only a mom of three but a literal expert on child development and parenting because I am a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist. Few authors have both the practical experience of raising children combined with extensive medical training and expertise. I call that a win-win!
What are you most grateful for?
I am most grateful for meaningful relationships – with my Lord and Savior, my husband of almost 19 years, my three children, my parents, my sister, and my sister-friends. I have so many incredible people in my life who love me, accept me as I am, pray for me, fight for and with me, encourage and uplift me, and push me. Such relationships are truly a blessing and nurture my soul.
What creative abilities and strengths are most admirable to you?
Discipline to go after my dreams, creativity to produce soul-stirring content, authenticity as I share my story and my gifts to serve others, and hope in the good that still exists and that love will prevail.
How can our readers connect with you?
Follow me on social media – on IG @drleesha, my drleesha FB page, and moms can join my Facebook Group Motherhood Unapologetically. Check out my website at www.drleesha.com which includes my blog, my books, my soon-to-launch incredible self-care cards called A Whole Mood, and my coaching and consulting services