Social Media Fast Day 1

Sociolgy

The average person uses 1 hour and 40 minutes on social media a day. And 5 years in a lifetime. I’m sure I’m an excessive user of social media, so I definitely exceed these numbers and not to mention the time spent on PokΓ©mon Go!

What could you accomplish in your day without the distractions of social media? I’m going to spend the next week finding out. I’ve been completely drained by social media and the accessibility I give people to contact me throughout the day, and I’ve set no boundaries! Social media plays a huge part in this feeling of being “technologically touched out”.

I can also feel a shift in the universe around me and there are a few things that deserve my undivided attention in order to blossom and grow. Major shifts are happening and I need to disconnect in order to truly benefit.

So for the next seven days, I have deleted my Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and instagram apps. All my business post have been prescheduled and all my business inquiries have been forwarded to my email. Checking and sending emails have been designated to certain times/places and only from my lap top. Any marketing that I do during this time will be strictly by paper, meaning business cards and flyers! This will require me to hit the pavement.

Right now I’m feeling a little anxious and suffering from a little FOMO (fear of missing out) but I know this time will be beneficial!

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Graduation: The biggest mistake I ever made.

Sociolgy

So a lot of you guys know I’m graduating this weekend… and it’s a long time coming. I’ve worked very hard for this, and I will more than like cry after I receive my diploma.

My friends and family have been so encouraging and they have pushed me to this point. They knew what I was capable of and never doubted me. But there are people that did, some people told me that I would never make it. Micah’s (my oldest son) sperm donor told me I was making the biggest mistake of my life by having him, and three months later when I decided not to go back to the army because I was going to school he told me I was making the biggest mistake of my life again.

That stuck with me through this whole journey. He thought this child would ruin my life, then he asked me give him custody so that I would go back to active duty army. NO, just flat out no. How did it make sense to give my child to someone that made it clear they didn’t want him? So I decided to stay at home with my support system and go back to school.

I kept the same mindset that I had throughout basic training, everyday that I went to school was a step closer to my goals. I didn’t always want to go or do homework, but I kept going because failing was not an option. Micah didn’t ruin my life, he gave me life! Micah is the reason I have accomplished all of this.

My friends and family encouraged me and boosted me up but “this is the biggest mistake of your life” that’s what got me through. I had to prove that none of this was a mistake. Micah’s name means prophet, and his birth was like divine intervention. He interrupted my life and gave me a new life, every step I have taken has been me stepping out on faith. I couldn’t fail (no matter what I was told) because God ordered my steps.

The last few weeks I’ve heard people say that they’ve seen my hard work and I inspire them. That’s the craziest thing to me because it was never my intention and you never really know who’s watching you. If you’ve been watching and you’re in similar situation or you’re doubting yourself, follow your instincts and boss up. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, what’s meant for you cannot be stopped by man.

Graduation Fundraiser!

Sociolgy

Hey guys so I’ll be crowdsourcing in order to buy a new computer after graduation! My MacBook has been well loved over the last ten years and now it’s time for an upgrade to go through this next stage of life! It’s key to running my business and continuing my education. So if you were curious on what to get, a contribution would be awesome 😍

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Jordyn’s Birth Story

attachment parenting, Women's Health

I realized earlier today that I hadn’t shared Jordyn’s birth yet. It always takes me a long to get around to it just because I need to come down from all the excitement of having a new baby.

The Stats:

Jordyn Olivia Reign

Weight: 7.1 lbs

Length: 20 inches

Time: 5:55am

Date: 03/06/2018

So with Jordyn I had contractions for about two weeks and I was super uncomfortable during that period. So I spend most of those days resting when I wasn’t working. I also did my doula training during that time. I was really excited about it and it was something that I didn’t want to miss, so I tried to stay as chill as possible so I could make it to the training. The following week (week 37) I picked up shifts at work and I wound up working a double that Saturday. That’s when the contractions started to pick up but they were still too far apart for me to go into the birth center. So the next day we had dinner with my dad and I just relaxed… the contractions were a consistent seven minutes apart and had increased in intensity but never got closer together. On Monday the contractions were the same, so we spent the day cleaning just to be on the safe side. We didn’t want to bring baby home to our house in disarray. We went to my moms to wash laundry and walk the dog around the neighborhood, and I also made a request for my mom to make crab salad. I knew that day was going to be the day because I was particularly moody. I had gotten upset because a girl the grocery store commented on my size πŸ˜’ anyways I walked at least a mile around the neighborhood and spent the rest of our stay on the birth ball. I almost felt like the contractions were slowing down at that point.

So we went home and I ate some spicy ramen noodles and participated in extra curricular activities in an effort to get the contractions going again πŸ˜‚ I took a hot shower and shaved my legs because I KNEW Jordyn was coming soon. I laid down and tried to watch tv but I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. So I took a Tylenol and went to sleep. I would wake up periodically to go to the bathroom and looking back I think the contractions were waking me up and I was so tired that I didn’t notice. Around 4am I woke up because I realized I was in pain longer than I was getting actual sleep, then I got the urge to get on my hands and knees to relieve the pressure I was feeling. My husband sat straight up and looked at me and said “it’s time to go isn’t it?”. I got out of bed and got dressed between contractions which were coming about every 3-4 minutes at this point. My husband got the boys dressed and called my mom and the midwife. He raced us to my mothers and dropped the boys off with her and we got on the road. By the time we were out of my moms neighborhood the contractions had already sped up to two minutes apart and the birth center was at least 55 minutes away. I turned on the seat warmer and leaned the seat back in an effort to slow them down.

While I was still in a manageable amount of pain I sent out messages letting everyone know it was time. I played Rihanna on the way there as an ode to my own little Pisces and it put me in the perfect mind state for labor. Shortly after changing the music I started to get hot and nauseous, I assume I was transitioning because my contractions were on top of each other at this point. I cracked the window and told my husband I felt as though my bag of waters were bulging, so he called the midwives again to let them know that they should be prepared for us. Before completing the phone call my water broke! I had about five more contractions and I felt the urge to push, my husband tried to discourage me from doing so as we were only five minutes away from the birth center but I couldn’t help it. He called the midwives for a third time to explain what was going on and they assured him that they would be ready for us. I immediately took my pants off and hoisted myself over the seat and pushed…. and I felt her head, I was preparing to push again when I remember one of my doula sisters advising against pushing. So instead I started breathing Jordyn out and with each breath she came. I heard her whimper and whine a bit, and I told my husband that she was here.

Now I had never seen my husband cry before that night, he was overwhelmed with both joy and worry. He was literally my calm in the storm because he kept driving through all of that and got us to the birth center. He pulled up and ran straight to the door, where he discovered they were NOT ready for us. Luckily I had already done the hard part. He had the bring me a wheel chair and help me out the car, he put on my shoes and covered me up, then they wheeled me inside.

Although her arrival was chaotic my experience was amazing up until that point. We arrived at the birthing center to find that the midwife I had issues with before was on call. She wasn’t prepared for our arrival despite the fact that we called several times, she had zero regards for my dignity when taking me inside. Had my husband not been there they probably would have wheeled me inside bare footed and bare assed. After getting us into the birthing suite she wouldn’t let me sit on the bed because she was unsure if they would be keeping me and she didn’t want to be bothered with changing the sheets again. And then she tried to pull my placenta out instead of allowing me to birth it myself. Although I was visibly uncomfortable she ignored my concerns.

God had a plan by having me give birth before arriving because I can only imagine what things would have been like had she been with me during the labor and delivery process. I got to do things my way, and I had a level of confidence that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. A great deal of that confidence can be attributed to my girl squad, old and new members. They truly made me feel like I was capable of anything and there was no doubt that I could deliver that baby myself.

Jordy is clearly a special little girl 😍😍😍

#tobeapartner

Sociolgy

So as a barista I’ve struggled quite a bit with the Starbucks incident in Philadelphia… because it’s hard to be disappointed by something/someone you care about. I’ve been with the company for four years now and I genuinely love the company and culture, and I’ve tried to justify the incident by saying that it’s an isolated event and it couldn’t possibly happen at my store because WE aren’t like that. But sadly we’re just one overzealous partner away from an incident.

I’ve been on the shift where snide comments were made about customers that were different. I’ve felt uncomfortable when my coworkers said customers were ghetto. And I’ve silently suffered through a day where I was already emotional wreck from the latest shooting, then to standby while our shift on duty had the police escort a homeless black person from our store.

All these transgressions big and small build up, you keep sweeping them under the rug and over look them until the mound is too big for you to ignore. I remember when starbucks had a campaign to spark conversations about race, every white person in my store decided not to participate, therefore nobody took part. So as ahead of the curve starbucks pretends to be, we are still very much behind.

And this incident reminded black baristas everywhere that the company we love doesn’t always love us. They only tolerate us because we’re the right kind of black.

One night I had a classmate from high school come in, he was dressed like a small town A$AP Rocky. Gold rings on every finger, a gold chain around his neck, and a grill in his mouth. Before I could even speak to him, I could hear my coworkers laughing over the headset. Calling him ghetto and a drug dealer, saying he even drove a drug dealer car (an impala). My face got hot with embarrassment, because I knew what they were implying. But I didn’t say anything, I was just silently hurt, and when he spoke to me I felt even more embarrassed about not checking them. Then the killer, my husband picked me up later in his Impala.

So all it really takes is one person to reveal the micro aggressions and even blatant racism present in your workplace. This incident revealed what I already knew about a company that I love. That’s why I’ve struggled with this, that’s why I’ve made excuses, and tried to explain how we’re different.

But we’re not unfortunately. So I fully support your boycott, I want you to come sit in my lobby and if you are asked to leave, I will gladly take my apron off and leave with you. Because I don’t want to work for a company that doesn’t want to grow and change.

Day 57

Sociolgy

It’s Sunday and I’m exhausted, like every other weekend πŸ€¦πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ I spent Friday and Saturday in a doula workshop that I really enjoyed and benefited from, although I struggled in some areas.

So we all introduced ourselves on Friday morning, a lot of the ladies already knew each other and everyone expressed what brought them there and initially I felt like my answer and intro seemed a little dry and didn’t really do any true justice to why I was there. Definitely not a reflection of my personality πŸ˜‚ but nonetheless I’m still passionate about my goal which is providing adequate prenatal care to women of color as well as those affected by trauma and making bodily autonomy and respect the baseline of maternal healthcare.

So after that we did what I consider the lecture portion, ironically this is always my favorite part because I love note taking and soaking up knowledge. There were a lot of things that I knew but so much more that I took away from it. Afterwards we talked about our personal birth stories and opened with one another, and for someone like me (I have an analytical mind but I’m also highly sensitive) I was overwhelmed by this wave of emotion and feminine energy! I found myself really doubting my abilities to emotionally support another women and what I could bring to this field. So when I got home I was emotionally exhausted and I had to decompress and really sort through all my feeling before I could go back for part two. I realized that we ALL brought various talents and abilities to the table and there was something about me that allowed me to be in that space at all.

On Saturday I went back for part two where I found myself far more transparent than I had been the day before and everyone was super receptive. I also learned that I wasn’t the only person that had those feelings or doubts. We also got more into the clinical side of things (more notes and lectures 😊) and we did some hands on stuff. We really focused on our roles as doulas and I could start to see how I fit into the bigger picture. What I was lacking in emotional skills I definitely made up for in knowledge. Opening up and being transparent seemed like it was even more exhausting than being overwhelmed with the emotions of others because when I got home later I crashed for hours 😩😩😩 luckily my husband picked up dinner and let me nap.

But I took so much away from the training, and I hope that I was able to leave some things behind for someone else. And I want to continue to build on these relationships and get to know the women I spent the weekend with because they were all truly amazing. That workshop wasn’t the end of our road together we still have so much to do before we are certified doulas and we are working together to meet these milestones and get to this certification.

Look forward to our next step in this process, we will soon have another fundraiser opportunity so if you wanted to give before you will have another chance for sure!

Day 53: getting caught up!

Sociolgy

So I know it’s been nearly a week since I last blogged. We had an extremely busy week with Valentine’s Day, the Black Panther premier, my baby shower, and a trip to the hospital. There has literally been something going on everyday, and it’s been tough maintaining. So for this post I just want to touch bases with you guys, let you know what’s been going on and what’s coming up.

So for Valentine’s Day we spent the day as a family and did some shopping then had lunch at Joes Crab Shack. I was disappointed when I found out they no longer have the Orleans steam pot 😩 which is part of my little pregnancy tradition. Once I start getting close to the end, I’ll have crawfish with extra old bay! I like to think it encourages labor, but who really knows πŸ€·πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ.

The next day we went on a double date with our besties and saw Black Panther! Which was amazing and I have a response piece written about it! With everything going on and our political climate we were kind of on edge going to see it on opening night. After we purchased our tickets a guy actually came in wearing a fanny pack, a backpack, and a bandanna, we were pretty clearly disturbed by this and none of the staff said anything unfortunately. So it was a little hard to really enjoy the movie while being on edge like that. And it’s awful that you have to worry about those kinds of things when you’re just trying to enjoy yourself with your family.

The next day (Friday) I woke up at almost 7am to some pretty nasty contractions (36 weeks at this point), I took some Tylenol and tried to sleep through it but I found myself awake every thirty minutes or so. After a while I just got up and told my husband we needed to go to the birthing center. So I took a shower and tried to eat but I was just too uncomfortable. When we left for the birthing center my contractions were five minutes apart and about a minute long. After being checked by the midwife on call she said I was about two centimeters dilated but not effaced at all and baby wasn’t quite in my pelvis yet. So clearly I wasn’t ready to deliver, she started me on fluids and called another midwife at WakeMed who suggested I come over for monitoring. Once there they started me on two more bags of fluids and encouraged me to eat so my husband went out and got lunch/dinner. My contractions started to slow down shortly after and I was checked again. The midwife told me I was 4cm dilated but I could stay that way for weeks because baby wasn’t engaged. So she gave me a shot to slow down the contractions (because I couldn’t imagine feeling this way for weeks) and I finished up the last of my fluids. We discussed nutrition and hydration, areas where I had been clearly lacking because I wasn’t taking care of myself like I should have been especially with the busy week that I had.

So long story short I’ve been resting since then, which also accounts for the lack of post. I’ve been working on eating regularly (three meals and two snacks) and hydrating thoroughly.

Saturday I tried to rest as much as possible, and I didn’t do any driving or running around. I had some family and friends arrive from out of town, and my best friend helped me do the remaining things on my to do list.

Sunday was the day of my shower and it started off with a mental breakdown πŸ€¦πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ which is in my nature. And it ended up being amazing, I love being surrounded by love and my loved ones and it makes me feel amazing to shower the new baby in all this love and support.

I went back to work on Monday and it was tough but I made it through. I’m committed to working until the end because I’m a believer in staying active May that be at work everyday or exercising. I also lost my mucus plug on Monday, I know that TMI (sorry πŸ€·πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ) so that means that labor is on the horizon. It’s probably not as soon as I would prefer, but in its own time. We also saw Black Panther for the second time that night! We really wanted to take the kids and my cousin hadn’t seen it yet. I enjoyed it even more the second time especially knowing the boys enjoyed it. My oldest is obsessed now and my youngest enjoyed the music (I’m sure he danced the whole time).

The last two days have been relatively uneventful, I’ve just been resting and getting ahead on school work. I’ve also done some batch work for the next 5-6 days, meaning it’s impossible to get behind on posting daily. So consider this an update on everything going on with me 😊 and look forward to lots of quality work the next few days!

Oh I’m also starting my doula training tomorrow! I’m so excited for this new journey in my life and the next step in jump starting my birthing business. I’ll keep you guys posted on how things go and what I take away from the training. I’ve also picked up some other topics and demographics that I want to focus on in my business, which I’ll be sure to discuss with you guys.

Days 44 & 45: The Mammy Role

Sociolgy

Stereotypes are something we frequently discuss in my sociology courses (especially when discussing gender and race). In the black community there are two particular roles that we see pretty frequently, they may seem a bit outdated but they are still present today even if they’re veiled. One being “the Jezabelle” or a promiscuous woman who frequently uses sex to get her way. This is a stereotypes formed as a result of being the masters concubine, and sexually assaulted as a result of the lack of bodily autonomy granted to black folks.

The second stereotype is “The Mammy” typically depicted as an overweight and unattractive matriarch. It’s her job to care for the masters family, this means physically and emotionally. Not only does she cook and clean but she bears the emotional baggage of the family. These stereotypes are dangerous because other races actually begin the perceive us as either hyper sexual animalistic individuals or maternal care takers willing to bare the weight of their emotional baggage.

As a result of these countless conversations I’ve noticed that these stereotypes although very dated are still ever present. One of my favorite writers and producers Shonda Rhimes has committed this very crime. Whether it’s a conscious decision I’m unsure πŸ€·πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ because one of my favorite things about her is that she does “blind casting” meaning she cast her characters without having a particular race in mind and hires the actor that does the best job. This is a great way to avoid the cycle of stereotyping in the media. But I’ve noticed several stereotypes on her shows, such blatant stereotyping that it’s hard to overlook.

For example the Jezabelle: Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating. I know, you want to burn me at the stake for this level of blasphemy and I want you to know that I love them too! But she consistently exploits their sexuality as if they have zero control over it! Feeding into the hyper sexuality of black women (and the exploitation of that at the hands of white men).

And the most problematic of them all: Miranda Bailey as the Mammy. This one truly breaks my heart to say, and I didn’t notice until after I had watch the show in its entirety several times! Bailey frequently comes to the rescue of the interns, cleaning up their messes (some legal matters), and coddling them and their emotions (even with the thin veiled attempt at tough love). Mom black people will see zero issue in this because they frequently turn to black women for the sister girl advice and sympathy while they emotionally dump all over them and believe that it’s been reciprocated. Shonda even played Bailey with the “Im and independent woman, I don’t need a man” bit. I really love Bailey and I can relate to her! But the reasons why are severely problematic! I let people emotionally dump on me, especially white women. I don’t always get the credit I deserve and I chalk it up as needing to work harder. I take care of everyone!!!! How can you truly be the best when you are busy catering to everyone and loving/supporting everyone, and not given consistent character development 😐. We have done Bailey an injustice.

And I know y’all hate me now, that’s ok πŸ€·πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ I’m mad at myself too because I love all these women (fictional and real). But we have to acknowledge the disservice that we do one another when feeding into these stereotypes and recreating them. We are forcing ourselves into a box of limited roles on the big screen and in real life. We definitely need to stop feeding into these roles when we know that’s what people think of us. We are justifying this physical and emotional abuse, and it’s not ok. There’s so much more to who we are and what we are capable of. We deserve character development.

Mom Monday (on a Tuesday)

Sociolgy

I’m exhausted guys… I’m 36 weeks pregnant and I’m still going strong πŸ’ͺ🏾 still going to both jobs and school. Oftentimes when I’m drained I look to other moms for inspiration. I channeled a particular mama today. Serena Williams.

Not only is she super woman on any regular day but she became one of the most iconic mamas to be EVER, who has managed to be half as glamorous and win the Australian Open while pregnant?! Even with all the glamour she was transparent about her journey and the hardships, and she has become an advocate for one of my biggest platforms: healthcare disparities in the black community. Even celebrities of her caliber aren’t exempt from accelerated maternal mortality rates and less than stellar care.

She has become the face of everything we talk about and fight so hard to change. She made it real by telling her story. She had a flawless emergency cesarean section but afterwards she began to feel short of breath. Aware of her medical history of blood clots she alerted a nurse who assumed that she was just confused. She asked for the doctor and a CT scan, they performed a Doppler scan where they saw nothing and she again insisted that she needed a CT where they discovered small clots in her lungs. She also had to undergo a second surgery after opening her incision due to a coughing fit (caused by the clots in her lungs), the heparin she was given via IV to stop the clotting caused a hematoma to form at the site!

We could have easily lost the greatest tennis legend of our time due to negligence. Because our concerns as black women are not taken seriously, especially in terms of health care. Someone like Serena would obviously be in tune with their body but healthcare professionals dismissed her concerns. Luckily she’s the kind of women that would fight for her voice to be heard.

I want to have that level of confidence because I oftentimes find myself second guessing my own intuition. This is something I will never encourage my daughters to do, because a woman’s intuition will/can literally save your life.

So on a day like today when I’m pooped, I summon the work ethic of mamas like Serena to make it through the day.

Day 42: Improving Birth

Sociolgy

Today was the last day of our MVF-Doula fundraiser, and I’m so thankful for all the people that contributed in anyway to make this training possible for me. Whether it was sharing the link, purchasing a shirt, or making a donation. I consider that support a direct investment in my future and my business.

I’ve tried to be pretty transparent and on occasion a little explicit about my experiences and why I feel as strongly as I do, especially when it comes to birth experiences. I don’t want you guys to ever feel as though I’m attempting to invalidate your experiences as women if you didn’t have a natural or vaginal birth. I want you to have the experience that is most beneficial and liberating for you. For some women having an unmedicated vaginal birth can be further traumatizing. So the ultimate goal is for you have to have an informed birth with people that support you.

I stumbled upon an organization while I was Pinterest, called Improving Birth. It truly embodies all the work I feel I was called to do and I’m so glad I found them and I’ve followed them on literally every social media network. But just reading the various experiences, it truly reiterated my calling and I feel so much closer to what I’m truly called to do. I can see the path now instead of aimlessly working hard. This feeling makes it easier to eliminate distractions, distractions aren’t always fun and games though. For me distractions are jobs and classes I don’t need, unnecessary ways of filling my time because I’m a workaholic. I truly want to be invested in this therefore I’m going to focus on the things that are important and enhancing the experience (by further educating myself and immersing myself in information).

So I encourage you to cut ties from things, hobbies, and jobs that aren’t bettering you. Pruning is necessary for true growth.