There truly aren’t words deep and/or accurate enough to describe the evolution that your body, mind, soul and spirit rapidly goes through the moment you discover that you are carrying life. When you are mature enough to fully embrace the magnitude of what is taking place, you never want to eat, drink, think, see, speak, sleep or breathe the same–knowing that a soul, created by God, rests in your womb. I was nothing short of thankful, grateful and amazed by every single detail that was taking place during this time. I am aware that there are some women and men who have not nor will ever experience this, and I was humbled that God chose me. Despite my recklessness, ignorance, carelessness and downright stupidity in the past, God gave me the opportunity to have the greatest title on earth besides child of God and wife, and that’s Mommy!
I decided not to force pregnancy to fit into my life or an idea of what I thought it should be, but I allowed it to envelope and transform me with every grumble, discomfort, flutter, craving, heartbeat, movement, kick, shortness of breathe, awareness, enhancement of senses, sensitivity to the atmosphere, contraction, fear, frustration, courage, tear, laughter, love and moment.
Parenting, period, is exciting yet unnerving because you don’t know what to expect. But being a blended family is even more unique. I had the privilege of becoming a mother spiritually and physically before becoming one biologically. I inherited two beautifully amazing little girls when they were four and five years old. My husband was married previously and was completely, absolutely, head over heels for his princesses, and I wanted to share in that love with them. I quickly learned just why it was so easy to love them–they were big-hearted, filled with joy, energetic and full of love, just like their father. Because he was such an amazing dad, the blending process for us was seamless, which also made me even more excited and confident about having children of my own. The girls completely filled my heart from the first time I’d ever heard their voices over the phone and once I had the privilege of being a full-time mother to them, it was effortless for me to love them as if I’d carried them myself. The girls taught me patience, love and perseverance on a level I had yet to experience. Thankfully, God’s timing is always impeccable because I had lived and experienced many of my hearts desires, and was overflowing with love, joy and wisdom that I longed to share. The experiences I had not yet had, I desired to share with a family of my own. Motherhood offered me a stage larger than I would’ve ever imagined, to do just that.
Naturally, when we found out we were pregnant two years later, our son was the perfect addition to our masterpiece. He tied us all together. He solely carries the same blood as each and every one of us–our love combined and made perfect in human form. Our daughters were able to witness the entire experience and learn just as we did, every step of the way. They were so invested and excited to meet their new sibling, and they’ve been the best help a mother could ask for. Their attention to detail–their ability to notice things that I may miss, has been nothing short of a gift from God himself. My husband had not gone through this process in almost seven years, and this was our first time going through it together, so it was everything that I could have imagined and more.
Today I have a connection to any parent who has been through such an experience. After the C-section, my core felt different. It had been major surgery. Some of your organs are shifted temporarily, and in rare cases, removed temporarily during delivery. I am not sure everyone understands that. I needed time to heal, to recover.
There are already a countless amount of emotions and experiences a mother goes through after having a baby, but to go through a cesarean is unique because despite your fight, strength and will, there is a process that you must adhere to in order to be healthy for yourself, your baby and your loved ones. I had no desire and no clue I would end up having a c-section. I had a textbook, completely healthy pregnancy. Every doctors appointment was a breeze, I passed every test, my son was growing right on target and I felt amazing. I gained 35 lbs. throughout my entire pregnancy and I carried my son for 41 weeks. He was 8 lbs., 11 ounces and 21 1/2 inches long at birth. The day I was scheduled for my very last doctors appointment and possible induction, I started having contractions. I never had any prior to this day so I was clear that this was going to be the day. I went into my doctor’s office earlier than my scheduled appointment and after checking my cervix, my doctor instructed me to check into the hospital. My husband and I had already pre-registered, toured the hospital and had a birthing plan in place. Our bags were already packed, the car seat had been installed for weeks prior and we were good to go. We had lighting, fragrances, and a playlist all set to go and we didn’t end up using one single bit of any of it. I laugh because I tell people all the time now, it’s awesome to be prepared, but be prepared for the unexpected, if that’s even possible.
I was in labor for about an hour before my husband and I noticed an inconsistency on the fetal monitor. The nurses came in and assured us that everything was fine and that it was probably caused by my son kicking the monitor out-of-place. They adjusted it and left us to laboring. I was in so much pain that all I could think about was the pain and trying to get through it. They offered me an epidural twice at that point and I turned it down, my goal was to have a natural childbirth. We noticed another inconsistency and called for the nurse to examine it. They inserted a monitor vaginally to get a better and more consistent look at what was going on. About 30 minutes later, they came in to check again and said they were awaiting the doctor’s arrival for assessment, but that they were concerned about my son’s heart rate dropping with every contraction and considering a c-section. We asked questions, accepted the possibilities, prayed and waited. The doctor ruled that there was no immediate danger but to avoid any, that I would need to get prepped for surgery right then. I received an epidural and so many other pain meds that I am still in disbelief, and even more convinced that God is real, and then my husband and I headed into surgery.
Everything after that was out of this world. I am in awe of the advancements of where we are in the health industry and thankful for the team that I was blessed to have. I have zero complaints about the entire process. Though it was tough, I am in perfect health today and so is my son and that’s all that matters. My friends and family poured in like a flood. Originally, I asked that no one come to the hospital and that my husband and I have our time and privacy to be aware and embrace every moment of the process, but my friends weren’t having it. They conspired behind my back and came to see me one after another, and I am glad they did. My son was welcomed into the world with so much pure love and joy from near and far–I couldn’t have asked for a better tribe.
During my recovery, I gave myself self-love and self-care, and I embraced being curvier. I accepted what my body wanted to be. As the mother of two girls, it’s important to me that they see themselves too—in books, films, and on runways. It’s important to me that they see themselves as CEOs, as bosses, and that they know they can write the script for their own lives—that they can speak their minds and they have no ceiling. They don’t have to be a certain type or fit into a specific category. They don’t have to be politically correct, as long as they’re authentic, respectful, compassionate, and empathetic. They can explore any religion, fall in love with any race, and love who they want to love. I want the same things for my son. I want him to know that he can be strong and brave but that he can also be sensitive and kind. I want my son to have a high emotional IQ where he is free to be caring, truthful, and honest. It’s everything a woman wants in a man, and yet we don’t teach it to our boys. I hope to teach my son not to fall victim to what the internet says he should be or how he should love. I want to create better representations for him so he is allowed to reach his full potential as a man, and to teach him that the real magic he possesses in the world is the power to affirm his own existence.
I appreciated Beyonce’s honesty because after having gone through it myself, I felt the genuity in what she knew was important to make others aware of. Hearing it from someone who is often idolized and expected to be perfect, makes it more believable for most people. This competitive society we live in causes us to have unhealthy expectations of one another. I don’t agree with any woman being examined, criticized, or having to go through one surgery after another just to measure up to some unrealistic idea of what a healthy woman, wife or mom should look like. Unless her health is dependent upon it, I just don’t believe it’s that serious. First off, if you’re in a career, relationship or environment that does not accept you for who you are and the natural changes that you will experience in this life, I believe those situations should be reevaluated. I cannot imagine being judged and ridiculed for outwardly appearing to be a way outside of someone else’s comfort zone! It’s ridiculous and inhumane. Forget how great of a person, mom, wife, or friend she may be, and what she’s had to endure or sacrifice–working, nurturing, providing, protecting, teaching–if you don’t fit back into your pre-pregnancy jeans within a couple of weeks to be someone else’s #bodygoals on social media, your worth as a human being is questioned. I am thankful that I was able to get up and walk around the day after my c-section, and return to several activities in a considerable amount of time. I am thankful I lost my pregnancy weight and was five pounds smaller than my pre-pregnancy weight within six months after having my son. I am thankful that I didn’t have to go to the gym one single day to achieve it. But I am even more thankful that I was surrounded by prayers, love and immeasurable joy, that I had a strong support system who called, checked in on me and my family, visited us, cooked food for us, brought gifts and offered advice and a helping hand. I am thankful that I was able to heal properly, that my son had everything he needed and some and an environment to safely learn and grow. I completely disagree with the unnecessary pressure that both society and we put on ourselves to be this fake idea of what success is, in any aspect of life. WHO CARES what size jeans you wore before or after you gave birth? You gave birth, that is a miraculous, strenuous, life-altering journey within itself. Focus in on and embrace that time in your life. If genetics allow you to snap back, great! If not, still great! Take your time and do what’s best for YOU. The way you look does not determine your value or worth as a person! Enjoy every single millisecond of motherhood and your children, because as we quickly learn, the time goes by fast and before you know it, your baby won’t be a baby any more. Embrace the many challenges that come along with the journey. Live YOUR best life, be healthy, surround yourself with love, joy and peace, and protect it at all costs. If you are dealing with serious self-esteem issues, seek help. It doesn’t make you weak for admitting you have a problem, it makes you strong. Get the healing and love you deserve to not only be able to truly love yourself, but to be able to truly love those around you. Don’t allow your appearance at this very moment to define who you are or who you are going to be.
I wholeheartedly agree with Beyonce’s belief on raising her daughters to value the things that are important versus the minuscule and trivial facades. We are all beautiful in some way, so that is not the focus. Being a spiritual, aware, intellectual, hard-working, honest, and loving individual is what makes you valuable. Everything else will come and go as you learn and grow. It is also imperative that I teach my daughters how to discover who they are and what they were placed on this earth to do. How to continuously navigate through this life without losing the essence of their being. How to encourage themselves and others along their journey, to have confidence, courage and strength and how to cultivate their gifts. Shaping my daughters to be whole is so important to me because that is the anchor in this life. Not allowing anyone to come along and try to rob them of their light, being able to recognize when someone else’s brokenness is not theirs, and how to stay focused on and achieve their goals, are my heart’s desires as a mother. Competition is nonexistent in someone who is whole, because you don’t have anything to prove to anyone except for yourself and God, and you’re able to be a beacon instead of a black hole. Having two daughters who have two totally different strengths and uniquenesses about them, it is also very important that I exemplify wholeness and love for them, so that they know what it looks, feels and sounds like. It’s my job to give them the tools that I have while teaching them how to find their own. To grab ahold of them and to teach them that despite what this world will throw at them, how to never let them go.
My husband was a soldier and such a strong support system for me. I am proud to have been a witness to his strength and evolution as a man, a best friend, and a father. I was in survival mode and did not grasp it all until months later.
Husbands really don’t get enough credit. We often just expect them to be present, strong and impenetrable. It wasn’t until months later, when my mind was somewhat back to normal, that I had the time to sit back and reflect on just how much I had endured in such a short amount of time, but also how my husband was by my side every step of the way. At times I felt alone and that he was focused on something else more than me, but that’s emotions, and one thing we can’t do is judge a person’s entire character off one moment in time. Love is supposed to make allowance for each other’s faults and it allows room for our own. What we think, see or believe, isn’t always truth, so we have to surround ourselves and each other with lots of love, grace, patience and forgiveness and remember that we are in this journey, learning, living and loving, together. My husband has made so many strides to make sure that our family is one–unified and strong, and at times, we feel that we are the strongest, as women, but the world we live in doesn’t make allowance for men to blame their hormones or emotions for their actions, without being labeled as soft, weak or less than. I now know that I couldn’t have done any of this without my husband and I am so thankful for how he has helped challenge and change me. I love what Beyonce’ said about raising her son to have a high emotional intelligence, I strongly believe that this is something we as mothers, and especially as fathers, need to focus on more–raising whole, healthy, strong, diversified, young men. We as women want a man who is in tune with our feelings as well as his own, and it starts at home. We have to be the changes we want to see, starting with our own children. All of our goals should be to raise young men and women who will not make others mourn the future of our society, but see the hope and good in it. We can’t be afraid to teach our children how to diversify their strengths, meaning we have to diversify our own.
I’m in a place of gratitude right now. I am accepting of who I am. I will continue to explore every inch of my soul and every part of my artistry. I want to learn more, teach more, and live in full. I’ve worked long and hard to be able to get to a place where I can choose to surround myself with what fulfills and inspires me.
I may have appreciated this last statement the most because it is filled with so much simple yet powerful wisdom. Once I became an adult, living on my own, making my own decisions as well as dealing with my own consequences, I was on a constant search to find my footing in life, what worked for me, what didn’t, and what path I was supposed to be on. Some of us will spend our entire lives trying to figure these things out, when they’re going to continue to change anyway. I realized the value of my time and energy–Two factors of our existence that must be protected by any means. I realized the power of the present. I compromised my peace, sometimes sanity and wasted too much time in the past. I suffered from these decisions more times that I can count and one thing that I can personally say is that motherhood allowed me to see, hear and feel clearer than I ever had before. The innate protectiveness, sacrifice and strength that comes over you once becoming a parent, forces you to boldly stand up to any and every situation that we face and make decisions for the betterment of our loved ones and ourselves. The cutesy and passiveness goes out the window and there’s a confidence that causes us to lead fearlessly. That means, whether it costs us a long-time friend, career, or family member, we’re willing to do whatever it takes to protect those whom God entrusted in our care, and the legacies we are instructed to and fighting to create. You stop caring about what society says or even your so-called traditions. You become soldiers, that gracefully, elegantly and sometimes viciously strive towards greatness for yourself and your family. Saying no, became simpler, and not involving myself, my family, my time or my peace in anything that may compromise it, became non-negotiable, by any means. I guess once you enter this realm and realize the fight that you’re up against, especially when trying to do it with just the slightest bit of dignity, you literally don’t have the time or energy to give to anything or anyone that isn’t fueling or adding to the betterment of your journey. And there’s no need to make any apologies for that!
Be blessed! 💗