Day 40

Sociolgy

I’m exhausted. I’m getting into the last few weeks of my pregnancy and I feel like I’m falling apart. But fortunately my husband has been letting me rest and enjoy these days, I don’t want to over exert myself and go into labor early (I’m all about letting baby cook for the full 40 weeks).

This week I’ve had a light work load but closing last night was not my cup of tea πŸ˜’. Anyways I want to talk about a few things: one my appointment yesterday and the importance of birth workers of color and the importance of working from home (and how it relates to intersectional feminism).

So pretty frequently Black Women aren’t treated very humanely when receiving medical attention. I know that’s a difficult concept to grasp, as medical staff are committed to providing the best care possible for each patient. Nonetheless they are still human and are still predisposed to making rash judgements and succumbing to stereotypes. This could happen at the expense of someone’s life, especially the lives of black women. We already have soaring rates of maternal and infant mortality, so why wouldn’t health care professionals make a conscious effort to be culturally competent and make fewer decisions based on stereotypes (such as our higher pain thresholds or that we don’t breastfeed).

I discussed my own appointment with my mom and she asked me “well why didn’t you speak up?”. That’s an awesome question, probably because I have a history of trauma and I was paralyzed with fear, I was almost having an out of body experience. Next I felt as though I was in a space where I was protected and I was realizing that, that wasn’t true. By no means is it a problem for me to have a white midwife but having a midwife that looks like you (or any health care provider that looks like you) completely changes your experience because they share similar experiences.

If provided the proper support victims of trauma can have a healing experience during birth. This is as simple as being treated with respect and bodily autonomy. This should be the baseline for all prenatal care and as I’ve described it clearly isn’t. You should also be able to birth in a place where you feel safe and your vision is supported. If you don’t even feel comfortable with the staff, how could you possibly feel safe? All women should receive this level of care with/without disclosing trauma or abuse, but as we’ve seen this is all too often not the case.

Again this is what makes doula care important, it’s important for all women. It creates a thoughtful and caring environment where women feel supported and educated about what’s happening to them and their bodies. So please support local birth workers especially those of color who are doing the hard work in these communities.

I’m going to follow up this post with a part two, I had no intention of making this one this long. But sometimes that happens when you feel passionate about something.

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Day 39! 35 week midwife appointment

Sociolgy

So today we were late for midwife appointment so we rescheduled for later in the day. To kill some time I took care of my baby shower shopping and I bought all my decorations for next week. I managed to stay under my budget too ($100). Party City had some unexpected deals that I definitely appreciated, hopefully the same thing happens when I go grocery shopping Sunday.

Afterwards we all went to my appointment, which should have just been a few labs and very uneventful. I saw a different midwife today, which is usually fine and I don’t mind going with the flow. She mentioned to me that she was new to the practice and the conversation was very forced and tense. She didn’t know very much about me or my patient history which immediately threw me off.

She was also very handsy and rough, instead of talking me through everything which the other midwives typically do. When she checked my blood pressure she held my arm between her arm and body instead of just asking me to hold or position my arm differently. She then checked the positioning of the baby with the bedside ultrasound machine. She was super rough while repositioning baby and checking to see if baby had descended yet, even when checking my fundal height and the heart rate she was rough and didn’t communicate.

She finally started to ask me questions, they were sparse and she made very little effort to connect… instead of asking me about any swelling she just lifted my pants leg to check for herself. Something I could have very easily told her. I could feel myself beginning to space out and disassociate myself from the experience.

After we were done I went to the front to check out and make my next appointment and I felt like a zombie. When I was leaving I finally started to feel something, I was angry. Angry at such an impersonal experience and lack of consideration for my body.

To anyone else it may seem like I’m overreacting and this is what you would expect at any doctors visit but it isn’t what I expect or what I should tolerate. Black Women are often viewed as cold and with higher pain thresholds, this does in fact bleed over into the level of care you receive. Survivors of trauma are often triggered by experiences they have in doctors offices especially when their bodily autonomy isn’t considered. These are things to consider as a health care provider, and because I know these things I should have spoken up and said I was uncomfortable. But it’s normal that I wouldn’t say anything because I was paralyzed, paralyzed with fear because someone that should look out for me was completely ignoring me as a person and manipulating me as if I was an object.

This is why I advocate for black Women (particularly black women that are victims of trauma), we deserve humanity and we deserve to be treated with respect. As a doula I plan to advocate for my patients, not just during birth but before and after. You deserve humanity ALL THE TIME! This is why culturally competent birth workers are important, sometimes you need someone to advocate on your behalf because you can’t always find the words to speak for yourself.

Day 38!

Sociolgy

So today was super productive. Although one of the task on our to do list was slightly counter productive because we shouldn’t have had to do it AGAIN! But that’s neither here nor there.

So we had to take care of some business at the courthouse first, and the boys were amazingly patient. Then we went to my favorite place, TARGET! We got new clothes for all the kids. It was a little bitter sweet because Micah is officially in big boy sizes 😩. We also started working on new baby’s wardrobe, although we don’t plan on getting a ton of stuff because they’ll be inheriting a lot as well.

We also finalized our menu for the baby shower so we can grocery shop this weekend. I’m still deciding on favors, and I need to order them in the next few days to ensure that they’ll be here on time. I’m just happy to be almost done with everything baby related. Ideally I can set up the boys “big boy” room to make space for new baby and new baby gear.

I’ve also had a ton of off days this week so I’ve been relaxing and nesting. It’s been way overdue and it’s definitely helped with my anxiety. Tomorrow is one of my last appointments because I’m 35 weeks, I’ll be doing some lab work and I won’t return again until I’m 37 weeks. By that point I’ll be considered full term.

I’m also working on a baby bag lay out for you guys as well as a birthing center bag layout. I’m gonna try to get it to you guys ASAP.

Day 37

Sociolgy

So I watched Kylie Jenner’s adorable video about her pregnancy and cried literal tears thinking about the nostalgia of pregnancy with my own babies.

Then I got angry thinking of the parts that weren’t so beautiful.

Like being mistreated while pregnant with my oldest son: being yelled at by lab techs for gagging while drinking the gestational diabetes drink 🀒

Or having my request ignored while in labor (I begged them to stop the pitocin)

Or being called miss and asked about my son’s father (instead of my husband) while seeing the OB at the military hospital in El Paso. I couldn’t pay someone to call me Mrs.Robinson or ma’am. Even the care in the mother baby unit was appalling at times. I was left with my IV in hours after it was supposed to be taken out (even after I requested the nurse take it out). And being given the flu vaccine without my consent or warning. The nurse read my chart noticed I hadn’t had it yet and proceeded to administer it shortly after 😐 . The midwife on call also continuously pressured me into starting birth control even after I stated that I wasn’t interested several times. And I left the hospital with 3 months worth of the mini pill. When I went back to my normal nurse Practitioner after that she continued to pressure me into birth control, which is why I ended up leaving that practice and seeking care elsewhere. I couldn’t stand the thought of these women (white Women) deciding that I had enough children or that I couldn’t be responsible enough to monitor or track my own fertility.

With baby number three, I’ve tried my best to do everything my way and in a way that I felt most comfortable. So I immediately sought care at a birthing center, the distance is inconvenient but it’s well worth it. I haven’t shared much of my pregnancy and for similar reasons as with Jojo. People assume that we got pregnant too soon, too close together, or we have too many. None of which is their business. But the little things I have shared are already tainted, family members commenting on our family size or coworkers commenting on how we have so many children and our finances. No matter what I do to protect my wellbeing and that of my baby people still find something to say, or a way to poke their nose into someone else’s business.

Since I’ve become noticeably pregnant I’ve had two different women comment on my pregnancy in a way that was blatantly disrespectful as well as racist (just enough that I would catch it but a bystander may miss it). Both instances occurred at work (each at a different job). The first incident occurred while I was getting a patient checked in, she was an older white lady with her daughter who was probably the same age as me. She asked if this was my first baby because I looked too young to have a baby. I told her no, this was in fact number three.

She was horrified.

Her response was “well then, this is exactly what you deserve and I hope it hurts”. I was so surprised, stunned actually that I couldn’t respond. It took an entire day to figure out exactly what she meant and why she said it. She thought I was a young BLACK (possibly unwed) mother. Unwed is irrelevant, the fact that I had three children and I was proud of It was enough to be problematic in her eyes.

The second incident occurred over the weekend, I stepped in to intervene as a coworker was being berated by a customer (again a white woman), I asked if she wanted to speak to our shift leader and she declined (in so many words) and I began to close the drive thru window. As I was closing the window she says “all those hormones must be making her act that way”, I immediately saw red 😑. I asked her what she meant by that and she responded “well you’re obviously pregnant, that must be why you have such a nasty attitude”. Not only had she played the black girl with the attitude card but she implied that I must be irrational because I’m pregnant. I

These may seem like isolated events but to black women, we know that these are micro aggressions directed at us and our motherhood. Because we don’t deserve to enjoy motherhood and pregnancy. Even if done “correctly” we’re still guilty of something.

But Kylie is “mom goals” and the Teen Mom girls are inspiring. Imagine if they were black, they would be crucified, not just by white people but by the black community as well. We’ve been taught that we aren’t just responsible for ourselves but we are representing the entire black community, we don’t get to be individuals. We’re damned for being good mothers and we’re adhering to the stereotypes if we’re bad moms,

It would be easy to say you should just stop caring about what other people say, but we also know it’s not that easy. What we can do, is try our best to forget the stereotypes, ignore the negativity, and seek care from establishments in which we will be respected (even that can be difficult when your choices are limited). We can also celebrate the mothers in our communities, instead of shaming them at every turn.

Mom Monday

Sociolgy

So for Mom Monday, every Monday through the month of February will be about an iconic fictional black mom! Tonight’s choice was a tough one because there are so many awesome options!

Tonight’s Mom Is….. cue drumroll πŸ˜‚

Rochelle “I don’t need this, my man has two jobs” Rock! Chris’s mom on Everybody hates Chris!

I love her, she’s the archetype for every black mom in America. All their sayings, came from Rochelle! She is also the queen of making things happen for their family. Whether she has a job or not (Julius’s penny pinching habits and work ethic doesn’t hurt either).

She may be tough and no nonsense but she loves and adores her children, she would do anything for them. She makes sure all her children are well behaved and disciplined but also teaches them about self love. She regularly threatens to slap them into next week or another time zone, but this is her best effort at keeping them on the straight and narrow so they can go on to have the best life possible. Which was obviously effective because this is very closely based on Chris Rocks own mother, and he went on to have a successful career.

I also admire Rochelle’s style, like any black mama she stays in the shop! Every episode she comes through with yet another style and her decade appropriate outfits. I’m still trying to figure out how she jumps so fly on her strict budgeting, but one day I will learn her ways!

I also think Julius loves her crazy and erratic behavior, because she just knows that everyone wants him, and watches him like a hawk, even threatening to kill him.

Her character also isn’t based in respectability politics or being the right kind of black family. She’s a black mom in the city making ends meet and taking care of her kids. She will never be a Claire Huxtable and we love her for being her.

Days 33, 34, and 35: Playing catch up!

Sociolgy

So this weekend was rough! I worked 30 plus hours in like two days! I also dog sat this weekend, helping a friend while she was out of town. She’s rehoming him unfortunately, BUT this weekend he will go to another one of my good friends! So everything is ending well!

Sunday you know was Super Bowl Sunday! Congratulations Eagles for winning! I’m not a huge NFL fan, I take part in the festivities for my husbands sake, I’m just here for the half time show. Which is actually what I want to discuss!

I grew up a *NSYNC fan, after Justin went solo I followed like the smitten teen that I was. JT is one of my first childhood crushes. He has disappointed me in the last few years though, it all began with his response to Jessie Williams speech at the BET awards (acknowledging appropriation and extortion of black culture).

And most recently he’s pulled a Miley πŸ€¦πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ after years of making money off black culture and music, he has “returned to his roots”. Which is typical of white artist exploiting black music. We were collectively confused by what his roots were, and proved to be disappointed by his new sound and images of cabins and streams.

Now this super bowl performance was the ideal opportunity to introduce us to said new sound. Unfortunately it was a fail. It was literally JT’s greatest hit plus a 10 second Prince Tribute, and a slap in the face to every black artist he has stepped on to reach this level of success wrapped in a denim suit and redneck camo. The only way he could have redeemed himself is if he had brought out *NSYNC for an impromptu reunion. And yet he still failed.

Justin turned away from the music and culture that has brought him success and fame, then sang all his greatest hits each featuring a black artist (Beyonce, Jay-Z, TI, Pharrell, Timbaland) without acknowledging any of them, then he also performed the exact song that he was performing with Janet Jackson when he exposed her nipple on a National platform. Then allowed her to take the heat with no response.

Black America we’ve been had πŸ€¦πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ AGAIN.

Day 32

Sociolgy

Everyday that I write, I feel a little closer to my dreams and goals. My due date is right around the corner and my goal is to stay at home after my maternity leave ends and work on my birthing business! By the end of this weekend I will have launched my self hosted blog and social media sites. By day 100 of blogging I will have my birthing business website up. I’ve taken a lot of strides in the last month and although it’s been monotonous at time and I’m not always working on something that I love, I can feel it paying off.

My big boy Micah will be playing soccer this spring and I didn’t have to worry about getting him to practice or games because I’ll already be working from home, which makes me accessible to him and our other children. Which is part of my goal, a more fulfilling career (not a job) and more family time. I’m also looking for a new car 😬 as a mama of three I definitely need more room! I want my new to car to signify this new place I’m in, and where I’m headed.

I’ve also been trying to decide if I’m going to continue my dog sitting, and I will. I’ve developed some amazing relationships with my clients and even if they are the only clients I take right now, that’s fine. I’m still passionate about it, I still love these guys, and I can have a flexible schedule. One particular client just adopted a senior Boston terrier and I know she’ll need some extra help, I’ve already committed to doing that for her because that was such a noble and selfless act.

Today the MRT-TI lactation consultant program application opened up! And I’m so excited πŸ˜† I’m going to spend the next week or so working on it before I send it back. I need two letters of recommendations, and I haven’t quite decided who I should ask. Other than that my application seems as though it’ll be pretty strong. So pray for me and send up some good vibes 😬😬😬 once I get my response from them and the nursing school I’ll update you guys!

Day 31

Sociolgy

We’ve made it through the first month of our new year! So I want to go through a few of my personal achievements and some ways that I’ve been bettering myself and working towards my goals. Also, a quick bumpdate because 34 weeks now!

So this month I’ve had more blog hits than I’ve had in my entire blogging “career”! I’ve surpassed 200, and I’ve had tons of interaction as well (gaining followers/subscribers, likes, comments). I’ve also set up a mailing list for subscribers, it was a pain but super beneficial! I’ve also set up social media pages for my blog, which I will release when I go live with my self hosting. I’ve also gotten a lot of support for my doula training next month! Way more than expected for sure, and it’s definitely helping offset the cost of the training fee. So I appreciate everything that you guys have done to support me on all fronts.

I’ve been working on my business plan for my doula business and the direction in which I want to take my blog. In order to do that I’ve been reading other doula blogs (more seasoned doulas) and that has encouraged me to find a niche to hone in on and build my business around. Last night I actually had a chance to finish typing that up, it seems like a small feat but it’s so important for me to have something in writing to keep me committed. I’ve also checked out websites of different doulas in order to know what kind of services they’re offering and how they’re charging in comparison to the amount of experience they have. I’m using this to determine my own pay scale. In addition to this research I’ve read two of the books from my birth worker reading list, The Kind Mama and Dream Birthing! I’ve been watching/listening to various doula bloggers on YouTube, I’ve made it a habit to do this while preparing for my day or doing homework. I’m hoping to find a podcast I can listen to regularly (let me know if you have suggestions!).

BUMPDATE:

I’m 34 weeks now, yes I’m still pregnant and no I’m not having twins πŸ€¦πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ I’m not that big at all but some people think otherwise. I’ve only told the people I’m close to the sex. We’re in the last days of baby shower planning and I’m not ready at all! I’ll spend this weekend sorting everything out and packing my birthing center bag, which I’ll share with you guys. I feel ok for the most part just a few aches and pains. I’m also spending a lot of time getting ahead on homework so I won’t miss anything while I’m resting with baby. I’ve been doing a good job managing my PPA, with the occasional setback (which is to be expected). I had a rough day today, I’m not sure if it’s because I’m actually exhausted or if it’s because of this freaky full moon in Leo but… I took a four hour nap 😴 and… that’s it for now, I’ll be sure to do a weekly bumpdate every week until I deliver!

Day 30

Sociolgy

I have something in particular weighing pretty heavily on my mind today… I hate the fact that being uncomfortable has become a part of womanhood. I say that because it’s ingrained in us from birth. I can picture so many memories where I was made uncomfortable at the expense of a male figure.

I’ve found myself in increasingly uncomfortable situations throughout this pregnancy (and I’ve noted it as one of my triggers). When I remove myself from the situation or verbally say that I’m uncomfortable or my intuition is telling me that I’m not safe, I’m called self centered, irrational, or just plain ignored. I expressed some bad vibes that I got from someone, and the response was “he’s probably a creepy old man”. But because he was doing what was perceived as a “favor” I had to overlook that.

When you tell a woman that they shouldn’t behave in a way that may seem “rude” to preserve someone else’s feelings you have just removed her armor, and her way of asserting and protecting herself. We already have to be nice and polite to strangers to avoid being assaulted! Why should we be forced to be uncomfortable at home or in the work place at the expense of someone else? Why are we teaching young ladies that you owe someone something because they’ve been nice to you or done something for you? If someone was truly nice enough to do you a favor, then they should be nice enough not to expect anything in return May it be your comfort or your time.

I’ve seen so many women question what we as women in American could have to protest but the lack of bodily autonomy that we receive here should be enough, the fact that being uncomfortable in our own existence alone should be cause for concern. And the fact that we accept any form of abuse as a part of our day to day life should leave you outraged! We know all too well that any experience that isn’t your own is easy to overlook.

Now that I have come to this realization, I know what I need to do differently for my own daughters and nieces. We always listen to intuition and their safety and comfort always trumps someone else’s!

Day 29: Mom Monday

Sociolgy

I have a confession: I LOVE AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE!

My husband is such a sucker for sitcoms and I’ve picked up that love from him. While we were in El Paso we started watching Mike and Molly and I loved Molly’s sister! When I found out the same actress had her own show I started binge watching it immediately! I’ve gotten a little behind on the new season but we’re currently having “boo time” and getting caught up on Hulu.

The lead character is Katie Otto, who moves to Westport Connecticut with her family in order to make sure her youngest Anna Kat could have the best special education teacher around (mom win!). Anna Kat is also her secret favorite child of three children πŸ˜‰. She has an older teenage daughter and son, struggling to adjust to the woes of adolescence and the climate change of this rich WASP town.

Katie was originally a corporate marketing guru (also a Duke graduate) and decided to be a stay at home after their move and to focus on helping Anna Kat and giving her the attention she needs. Katie finds herself having the same issues as her children, trying to fit in with other suburban moms. She has her cute little crew she meets with for brunch every morning after dropping the kids off at school (my personal dream), and the sweetest husband 😍 (he’s the artsy type to compliment her type A mind). And she dresses just like me, essentially going back and forth between flannels and bohemian tops πŸ˜‚. AND they have a pet pig!!! This is literally my dream life.

I just love how quirky and cute she is and she embraces her quirkiness, and her love for her babies is so endearing. She would do anything for her babies especially her Anna Kat no matter what sacrifices she has to make, including stepping down from her job and volunteering with the catty women in the PTA.