Babies ……..

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3 day old “Ollie”

This one word can bring many things to mind. Car seats, spit up, no sleep, breastfeeding, crying, no sleep, no sleep. Can you maybe pick up on the clue baby number 5 has been added to the gang? He is here and I would have a name to announce but one has not been agreed on.

Now looking back at five children let me be real for a moment:

I think planning actually may have been nice

But they are here and apparently there are no do overs.

Remember that, no do overs.

6 pregnancies

5 kiddos

0 sanity.

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Send Sanity Please

And let me stop now before I scare potential parents off.

Speaking of potential parents…..

My potential parents pull up a seat, lets talk.

So you are thinking about starting your own family. Maybe it was seeing my well behaved five year old that sparked this… ( I kid, I kid) what ever has made you decide to make the crazy decision to go down this path congrats.

Yet lets be serious for moment. You may have been on this path for while and nothing has happened. You have tracked cervical mucus changes, you have taken your basil temperature every morning religiously, and still nothing.

Maybe you have unexplained infertility

Maybe male factor infertility is playing a part

Or

Maybe you are a couple trying to conceive without sex ( my shout out to my LGBTQ community !)

And not yet wanting to take the BIG step of IVF which is costly…. And time consuming.

That’s when the STORK OTC comes in.

WHATS THE STORK OTC?

lets use my 6 year olds words ( he didn’t know what the stork was for when describing )

” there is a plunger and the plunger makes babies”

He is kind of right. Sort of.

The STORK OTC is a conception device that one can use at home.

Yes an option that is lest costly that in clinic treatments and from the looks of it easy to use.

With cervical cap insemination used in this device you don’t have to go to a clinic and slip into a gown with no back ( lets face it no one enjoys those gowns.)

You can use it in the privacy of your home!!!

And a bonus :

There are only three steps! Again ease of use.

Three Buttons:

Button 1- Plunger Tab (seals cap)

Button 2- Plunger release (opens cap)

Button 3 – Cap release  (release cap)

So my six year old was going somewhere with the plunger reference.

Whether starting off your journey or you have been in it for a while anyone can use it!

So where can you get one?

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Nothing Like buying this with a 1 year old and 3 week old in your arms. Weird looks from cashier.

Well your local Target or CVS ( We love our Target)

We found ours for review purposes ( remember I JUST had a baby) at our local Target also known as my second home and home of the shopping cart that’s fits all of the kiddos. ( they also sell what we call in my home “mommy juice” that helps with the sanity)

 

Wondering about price and hoping it doesn’t break your bank … it won’ t at the price of $59.99.  In the family planning aisle. That’s the aisle with the pregnancy test, condoms, lactation stuff. The aisle in which my kids think the condoms look like “circle gum” Oh yeah those babies get older and say really embarrassing things out loud at the store… this leads to the mommy juice.

So on your mark… Get set … and go!

 

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The best wishes from my family to yours on you family planning journey. In the mean time please send mommy juice . PLEASE!

If you would like more information on the STORK OTC check out their website www.storkotc.com)

Now time for some disclosures:

This is a sponsored conversation from Mums the Word Network and The Stork OTC. All opinions are my own.

 

 

You should also join me at an awesome party ! Details below … Bring your own mom juice!

 

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The picture below was not the result of an overwhelming feeling of happiness of “yes I pushed this child out”

Nor of joy for the baby laying on my chest.

Those were my expectations at the least. That with baby number 5, I would somehow have the child exit my body and yes I will be happy with him here. The bare minimum of expectations.

The joy on my face is the result of one thing. ….. space

This five letter word had left me feeling like I ran a marathon and won. Let’s be honest I fucking kicked ass in my space.

My past births I catered to others and what they wanted to see in MY space during MY births.

Instead of being selfish I gave in.

I took back my space this time around.

My best birth experiences have been in a space of just women.

When I have my space to be uncensored

There is nothing more beautiful than a room full of women during a birth laughing, crying, and sometimes cursing each other out.

What made this birth even more special …. a room full of women of color holding space and welcoming a child into this world.

A room full of women of color with bonds ranging from just met you last week to I have known you for a few years.

Nothing more magical then laughter between contractions, the petty sister like comments.

I will even go out on a limb and say

Culturally centered maternal care combined with cultural centered birthing saves lives

not just physically but spiritually.

This past year has been spiritually hard.

This past year has left me nearly broken

My birth space was healing, forgiveness for things I cannot control was granted.

His birth was redeeming, homage paid to his grandmother my mother whose wokeness I didn’t not fully understand till this past year.

Confirmation of the calm after a storm ….

My birth space was reclaimed and it saved me.

Photo credits Amber Schwingle Zurst http://Www.rockerbyebirths.com

My Dear Daughter

So much has happened in the last year. Life and Death … fun and not so fun times, even stolen dining room tables. Over the next week I will be spending the time catching everyone up on the craziness . Lets first start with the very good … The official announcement of Willow!

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Willow Olivia Naomi  6 pounds 1 ounce and pure badassness

I GOT MY GIRL!!!

Lets also pretend that she is brand new and NOT four months old.

“Nate” as I call her is just pure bliss, she has been the calm in the storm. We all know babies can calm the stormiest of storms. I am just over the moon with her. The boys are too!

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They fight over her

I also have to throw in all the Mom and me outfits

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With this excitement has come some worries:

HOW DO I RAISE A GIRL!! 

Boys I am use too … and society has shaped boys to know

  • You can be bossy   Assertive
  • Aggressive, arrogant   I mean be a leader
  • You can be anything you want to be …. as long as you have children, take care of them, keep a clean home, and be perfect

Everything stroked out is what society will expect from willow or describe her as, if things do not change.

I cannot change society. I can raise her knowing she is enough.

 

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My mom made the quilt used as a back ground … by hand

My Dear Daughter,

 Remember always you come from a legacy of women. The very quilt you lay on was made by the hands of your great – grandmother. A strong woman. One who raised 12 children in the Deep South during Jim Crow days in a cabin on the farm. A praying woman a loving woman. One who’s mother before her picked cotton. My mother your grandmother was strong, kind, and beautiful – inside and out. She was also a praying women. 6 am every morning. A women who grew up during Jim Crow , participated in the civil rights movement and wore an Afro no one could match.

 

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Your Grandmother

You my daughter are part of a legacy, and don’t let anyone tell you other wise.

 

My now youngest my only daughter. My love you are a queen and nothing less. You are surrounded by so much love close and far. You caught by your fathers hands. My sweet girl stay sweet but also strong.

 

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Wrap by Attachedmommies

Babies Calm the Stormiest of Storms

Don’t Pay to Play

When Cadden was born.. I had this fantasy of doing mommy and me classes with him… that I would be that perfect mom. We would do mommy and me yoga, mommy and me music, mommy and me wine …. what ever came up we would do, and we did. Well we didn’t do mommy and me wine because there is no such thing yet ( great business opportunity).

We did it all.. I for one time was the “perfect” mom.

Lyam then  was born … and again we just added him into the mix. We did less classes but still it worked out.

Then I was pregnant with Eli.

The last class we did then was a yoga class… it wasn’t a mommy and me class it was donation based. The class went somewhat like this:

Teacher: “Lets all get into downward dog pose.”

Cadden: ( who gets in pose) “Mommy I just farted”

Lyam: ( looking around helplessly) “mommy where’s akila?” ( then bending over to look in my face, as if I would answer his question faster if he asked face level)

Me: ( breathe, breath this will be over soon right?)

………

Teacher: child pose, breath in and let go of distractions.

Cadden: ( does pose) “mommy I farted again”

Lyam: ( Climbs on top of me )

Me: ( for the love of god, how can one let go of their stress if it’s on top of you? My belly is not liking this)

……………

End of class

Teacher: “Now lets lay on our backs and relax”

Cadden: ( gets in my face to have a conversation)

Lyam: ( gets in my face to repeat every damn word cadden is saying)

Me: (get me the hell out of here.)

Lets say after that hour class … we never did another class again…

until the other day.

Now background context… I went in for a weight check for Eli… ( the only mommy and me activity) and saw the poster for baby music classes 9 bucks… ok cool. I asked the woman there if all my kids could come… she said yes. Now I was some how thinking this was a drop off music class that I would be able to drop off all the crumb grabbers and leave for an hour.

I was in heaven just thinking about it.

Class day comes. We arrive late.. get directed to the class room I open door and there are all these moms with their babies.

I panic.

Now the teacher must have realized I was panicking she welcomes me in and asks me to join my kids on the floor.

SHE ASKED ME TO JOIN MY KIDS.

I really didn’t want to join them.. I wanted to leave.. I wanted freedom.

Yet I listened and joined my kids on the floor.

She began to sing… and hand the boys bells and birds.

(what do birds have to do with music?)

Cadden takes the bells .. you can tell my mommy and me classes with him paid off.. he joins right in singing about birds and horses and what ever the heck other animals.

Lyam well he is hesitant. The teacher notices and asks him to help sing.. his answer “No” in fact he said no to everything she asked of him. (that’s my boy)

Eli.. well he looked .. then his bottom lip quivered and he cried. After a quick nursing session he looked at everyone in the class like what am I doing here.

Me: ” hello, hello hello, Eli, eli , o ….” ( wait why I am i singing this? Why are we adding O’s to everyone’s name? why is she pulling out a parachute? Why am I still here?)

Looking around at the moms in this class they all look fresh, just the one child who is not yet running, climbing out the roof of cars, fighting. like no worries in the world.

I on the other hand had to proactively ask the teacher to give the boys their own bells or world war three would unfold in front of our eyes.

I sat in that class thinking “I just gave this business money to play with my kids…. I seriously just paid to play with them”.

 

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 Lesson learned: next time give the kids pots and pans and sit with a glass of wine … at home.

 

Oh and if you do you know of a mommy and me wine class …. Let me know.

Let It Go

I never really got into the whole Frozen crazy for the following reasons:

1. Complaints from other parents whose kids got sucked in and the million times they had watch it.

2. The boys already speak ninja turtle ( they declared this) so don’t need to go adding another language in and confuse them.

3. Any movie that has you publicly declaring that you want to kill the characters cannot be possibly ok for my well being. Click below if you have no idea what I am talking about.

Kill Elsa

So never really paid attention to the anthem of this movie… Well until two awesome kiddos Vi, and Alanya introduced me to it…. In which we watched it twice … And sang with it twice, and danced with it twice ….. Though it really wasn’t that bad…

The “Let it Go” song though does have a pretty good meaning behind it when you can listen to it without a child in the forefront singing along.

Letting it go is what I have had to learn the past few weeks with adding a third boy in the mix. Things have been crazy and chaotic. Though apparently on the outside I must not be showing it, seeing the past two Sundays at church a few people have commented on how I am well put together and so calm lugging three boys along. Let’s make this clear now…

I AM NOT

In fact the moments that this has been said, the boys are usually on the church floor fighting in a corner somewhere, or on their worse days in the middle of the floor with a sea of members walking around them commenting on how cute they are.

Them being “cute” is how they have survived this far… And even then it’s not enough pay.

Even Eli who has only been here for 6 weeks, has coughed and choked upon hearing the compliments. Granted he was nursing and may have swallowed wrong… But who cares about the details?

I am far from having things together…

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See that there… That’s not having it together that’s called “when I thought my three year old was sleeping, calls me to come look at what he did and having no words upon seeing this hell of a mess other than the many swear words that went through my head along with thinking spankings really aren’t that bad…”

Breath…..breath…..

I did eventually let that go. In fact I have found going for two to three even more so with boys, I have to let things go.

From the burps, weird noises, wrestling in public places, farts and excitement over poop… Just letting it all go.

The biggest test this week… Eli going to a sitter.

Six weeks have past since this child has exited me.. and now working he will have to be with a sitter for a few hours during the week.

Now granted I am blessed to not have to let him go full time… But his first day yesterday with my crying you would have thought so.

Eli’s day:

Headed out the car to head to sitters- I cried

Car ride to sitters – I cried, and explained to him I love him… As he slept and had no idea what the fuss was about

Get to the sitter- I didn’t cry… But explained everything in his back pack as if for some reason she couldn’t figure out what extra outfits, diapers and paci’s were. She thank god was patient.

Drive to work: yup you guessed it I cried more.

Yet guess what:

He survived, I survived

So I may have been a bit dramatic.

You would think as him being the third I would be fine, yet I wasn’t. Days leading up to his first day I had conversations with friends about the disservice, I thought I was doing to him. That I had stayed home with Cadden and Lyam for three years and some how I felt like I wasn’t good enough as a mom leaving him with someone else.

Yet the great thing about friends… They are there to reassure you, even when you doubt yourself.

So from here on out … No more crying on the way to the sitter.

Letting it go….

Though I can’t let it all go in the end … Because I still need a reason for wine in the evening

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African American midwifery – Omited from studies.. Something Needs to Change.

To whom it concerns:

Black history month has come and passed and within the birth world that I am deeply involved in, I have come to learn that February will probably be the only month I hear about the rich history of African-American Midwives. Then usually Midwifery Organizations will usually close those gates of knowledge for the next 11 months and their social media sites will then again plaster the photos of women who are not of color having their perfect home birth. In the midst of those pictures and great stories may come up the fact that black women and their babies are not faring so well when it comes to birth. Yet that is soon forgotten when an article comes out titled “Home Births Rising Among White Women, Report Says”. Who would ever use that as a title I have no idea, yet I will admit they did a great job at grabbing the attention of readers. Yet it also reminded me of what I have stated before “the natural birth movement leaves women of color behind way behind”

I stand by this statement even more so when the article “Childbirth Abolitionists”  written by Jan Tritten who is the mother of Midwifery Today. The article shows how disconnected she is from the black community and yet how scary it is that this midwife thought this article was brilliant. Yes, she may have said sorry after being called out. Though the fact that she published the article leaves me to think that she really thought it would have been this thought-provoking piece, which was going to somehow change the birth worlds thinking. It left me feeling numb. Numb because I no longer have feelings to give and put out there when I see things like this written by people who claim to care. That part of my heart has frozen over and fallen off. You can only scream “my race does not need saving or a pity party” so many times at a computer screen. You can only argue on how forming a group for birth workers of color is not racist and sure as hell isn’t excluding anyone that we just want a safe space to talk. After a while you just aren’t surprised any more.

Yet this letter wasn’t supposed to go into those issues. What I wanted to do with this letter was address the fact that my midwifery required/recommended reading material is missing an important part of history. The mention of African-American midwives before Ina Mays time has somehow gone missing from my reading material. In fact looking at many midwife programs for CPM’S I am more likely to have to read a book about a Midwife from a foreign country than I am about reading a book about a African-American midwife.

In fact my reading list has turned into the Ina May Gaskin Party. I am not saying she is not important but I will say without the Black midwives who delivered 1000’s of babies of black women as well as poor white women, the same black midwives who passed down their skills and knowledge to their daughters and other black women of the community, who kept midwifery alive even when many women were flocking to hospitals to have their baby, there would have probably been no Ina May Gaskin.
Yet no mention of that in my books.

Nor are the names :
Margret Charles Smith- former enslaved women who delivered 3,500 babies without a death of a mother and few babies.
Mary Jane Lawson Trust – First Black licensed midwife in the state of West Virginia
Maude Callen, or the fact that many of these black midwives were run out of practicing by states outlawing midwives. Not because they cared about the mothers delivering these babies, yet due to a system full of racism and greed.

In none of my books does it speak of 1976 in Alabama in which 150 black midwives were threatened to be jailed if they continued to practice.
Wasn’t the farm formed in 1971? So I believe the “Mother of authentic midwifery” really isn’t the mother at all. Nor is this an attack on her, yet more so pointing out how I do not understand why more of her books appear on reading list yet never
Granny Midwives and Black Women Writers: Double-Dutched Readings
LISTEN TO ME GOOD: THE STORY OF AN ALABAMA MIDWIFE (WOMEN & HEALTH C&S PERSPECTIVE)
AFRICAN AMERICAN MIDWIFERY IN THE SOUTH
Black Pioneers: Images of the Black Experience on the North American Frontier
These stories left to be discovered at a later date if ever.

Nor is any of this mentioned when I see the many “fund the black midwives campaigns” that I have been tagged in about 20 times now.
What I do see is a campaign that tells me the mortality rate of black mothers and their babies. Then I see a link for women of color to apply for scholarships to help fund their midwifery journey. Yet when the books are ordered there will be barely any mention of the women they could relate to during these studies and that is unacceptable and needs to change.
You cannot tell a group of women that their presence is needed then turn around and omit their presence from their studies.

  A more culturally inclusive curriculum is needed in midwifery training in order to provide culturally competent care. Midwifery care is not a service of affluent white women, but should be offered as an option of all cultures and socioeconomic statuses.

I challenge schools to change their required reading list to included books about the mothers who kept midwifery alive, I also extent this challenge to MANA and NARM, even ACNM.
I also would like to see not just keeping black birth worker accomplishments to Black history month.
I also won’t limit this to just Black midwives, yet I also want this for the Native American, Asian, and Mexican/Central American whose work is not mentioned and lost in the shuffle.
Maybe my voice will be left unheard, yet I could not continue to go through with my studies while screaming to myself that this complete and utter bull.

Much thanks to Friend Venita LS for your feedback.