Friday, May 7, 2021

Maternal Mental Health Week: Check on your mama friends

Let me get very transparent with you guys:

Last night was one of the WORST nights with Emmie since we brought her home. Typically, Emmie is an amazing sleeper,waking up maybe 2 or 3 times a night to have her pacifier put back in, and then she goes right back to sleep. 

Not last night. It seems like she was up every 45 minutes to an hour. I was up with her from 1am to almost 2 and then again from 2:45am to almost 4:15am. I tried everything I knew to get this kid back to sleep: rocked her, swayed with her, changed her diaper, walked her around, pat her back, took off the swaddle, put the swaddle back on, check to see if she was teething, check to see if she was cold or hot, nothing worked. 

This coming off the heels of the previous night where she woke up at 4 am & wouldn’t go back down again until 6.

This coming off of a week of bad sleep for Emmie.

Needless to say I am tired. What’s worse is I have this weird weighty guilt hanging over me because I couldn’t figure out what my baby needed in the moment. I feel useless & defeated on top of being tired. 

Yet when I was recently talking to someone close, they asked me a question but while I was answering it, completely yelled “Emerie!” over me. This gave me pause. This is how so many moms get treated: we barely get acknowledged bc everyone checks on the baby, but who checks on the mama. 

I don’t have to tell you that I love this kid. I don’t have to tell you that I am grateful for a happy, healthy baby. & you don’t have to tell me that some people have it worse or to be glad I have a partner who does A LOT or that what I’m talking about is nothing to complain about. 

May is #mentalhealthawarenessmonth and this week is #maternalmentalhealthweek Did you know 1 in 5 moms will develop a mental health condition during pregnancy or within the 1st year postpartum? I encourage you to check in on you mama friends & family. 

Monday, April 5, 2021

My C-Section Experience & National Cesarean Month

April is National Cesarean Month, which, to be completely honest, was news to me. Seems like we have a month for everything, but this one I won't complain about because it is a very important issue that is now near and dear to my heart.

Let me start by saying that I had the best pregnancy. No health concerns, didn't gain a lot of weight, slept well, ate well, and barring some wicked heartburn, it was a beautiful time.

But birth was rough. 

I'm going to cut to the chase: After hours waiting to dilate, one failed epidural during 2.5 hours of pushing, my body went through the ringer. Finally, our medical team suggested a c-section, and it felt like time stop.

I spent the majority of 40 weeks of pregnancy doing as many the things I needed to prep my body for birth. The one thing I dreaded most of all was having a C-Section. I witnessed many women, including a handful of friends have them, but it was relatively rare, especially in my family. In fact, of my immediate family, none of us had c-sections. Not one.

But when it was presented to me on November 22nd of 2020, it was what I needed. The pain I was in, the exhaustion, the worry that my baby needed help all eclipsed my fear of having a c-section. They wheeled me back to the operating room and our little girl came into the world, healthy and unharmed.

This should have been where I felt relief, but honestly, it wasn't.

Let me be transparent: I felt like a failure. I felt like I quit when I shouldn’t have. I felt like I should have done more or done better. I never wanted a c section. They were actually one of my personal worst fears. 

I was quickly reminded of the the truth: cesareans are necessary, and, in my case; LIFE SAVING. 

We all have plans on how things are “supposed” to go and how we want them to pan out. But live a while, you might be grateful for that one thing you deem as a fear. 

I know I am.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Do you want attention or do you want to make an impact?

It’s always weird seeing the things I say shared. Not because I’m not a person who says a lot (I am) but because I don’t expect these things to have as much impact. In a world so full of noise, it’s still so random that people hear what you have to say. So when folks not only hear but resonate with it, I take it as a deep honor, not because it’s me but because in some way I could channel what they wanted to say but might not have found the words, the time, the space, or own strength to say.

This was a quote I said at the end of 2019 when I was warmly welcomed on to the Drink With James podcast. This was before 2020 and all of its challenges. This was before Ahmaud and Breonna and George. This was when saying BLACK LIVES MATTER was still considered a political statement and not the moral and human statement that it is. This was when too many of my fellow influencers would rather talk about their outfit or skincare than the actual things that were happening. Don’t get me wrong, I love a cute look or a good skin routine. But not at the expense of ignoring what’s going on. 

I went on this show and spoke to James Nord, to an audience I knew was largely well off white women and spoke on the need to recognize privilege, race, even the politics of hair, when it wasn’t cute, when woke was considered a joke, and when it was easy to ignore the plights of communities you don’t belong to. 

And it resonated with people. And for that, I am grateful. Here’s what someone shared, my words from that moment.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Here’s to the REAL WOMEN..

I have been thinking about this quote a lot: “Here’s to Strong Women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” 

It’s been one of my favorites. I’ve always liked it. 

That is until this year, when Emmie was born. Having a daughter really changed my perspective. Especially having a Black daughter. Now someone will say “How does race even play into this beautiful quote?” Here’s how:

There is this pervasive belief in our society of the “strong Black Woman”. 

Given all that we, Black Women, have endured and how we still thrive, I would indeed contend to that strength. 

But that stereotype also inhibits us from bigger things: that is being REAL. Real women are more than just strong. We are REAL about how we feel, real about how we live, real about how we love. 

The belief that Black Women are somehow always strong can be as harmful as it is empowering. 

It plays into how we are seen in society as aggressors, how we are seen in medicine as doctors not believing us about our pain, even how we are seen by Black men as too independent, too ambitious, too educated, too outspoken (all qualities that would otherwise be seen as positive in other bodies).

It gives no room, no leeway, no space for any other emotion or feeling or moment that isn’t deemed strong. And that is not ok.

No, I am not strong everyday. And that’s ok. Some days, I’m vulnerable. Some days, I’m tired. Some days, I’m scared. And all of that is ok, because it’s all real. 

I want my daughter to know that she can feel the full gambit of human emotion and not doubt her strength. I want her to know that she can authentic with her feelings and it not effecting her strength. I want her to live as her truest self, not as a stereotype, and let that only show her strength. 

I still love this quote, but I’m considering this edit: “Here’s to REAL Women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Why 2020 was the death of resolutions

Hey, hi, greetings and salutations. Let’s get right to the point, 2020 was ROUGH. 

Right now, a lot of us are laying low right now with all of the resolutions talk. In previous years, a very trendy thing to do right now is making resolutions. Typically around this time of year, we sit and vacillate on all of the things that we want to do and hope to achieve and deem this list our resolutions list.

But after last year, many of us don’t have anything to resolve, especially after so many of our plans were completely obliterated by the year’s events.

Admittedly, I have never been one for resolutions.

I never really made very many, and those I made were quickly forgotten long before even the beginning weeks of the year. 

A few years ago, I proposed we scrap resolutions altogether and go for something different; the Intention.

An intention is defined as "an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result, a purpose". 

There is action involved in intention. 

There is determination. 

There are results. 

These things cannot really be said for the resolution. 

The intention focuses on the small steps to get to the end result, a mark that is missed by the inspiration fewer resolutions we all fail annually. 

Here's what I mean:

Resolutions don't last. 

They just don't. Resolutions within themselves have no power to change us. That can only come when we exude the force of will to do the things we resolve. We can buy all of the Lululemon, download all of the Insanity videos, and get the premium deluxe membership to the gym, but if we don't will ourselves to go workout, especially when we don't feel like it, then the resolution dies and dies an expensive death.

The intention is different. When you set an intention, you also set your mind on a trajectory. You look at the thing you intend to achieve. You focus on the result. You may create a vision board for your office. You may write affirmations and hang them in your bathroom mirror. But tangible steps are taken toward the result. You don't resolve to lose 30 pounds and get disappointed if you only get to 23 pounds dropped. You intend to lose weight and celebrate every pound lost. 

Resolutions usually center around ourselves. 

Usually, when you ask someone what their resolutions are, they might say working out, losing weight, saving more money, cleaning our houses more. We don't ever really say "spending more time with grandma" or "taking our nieces on the weekends".

Intentions can (and should) be communal. It's hard to imagine in our doggedly individualistic society, but we actually were not meant to live in a vacuum. We were created to live in community with each other. We all have people in our lives that we care for. So, intentions should not strictly focus on ourselves, but others. How do we intend to be better to each other? How can we do better for each other? Setting intentions to care for one another reminds us that we don't exist on our own for our own, but we are part of a larger tapestry of people who need each other and care for one another.

Resolutions typically do not have a point.

What I mean is that when we ask someone what his/her resolutions are, they will answer with a flat answer like "to lose weight" or "to save money". But no one ever says "to lose weight so I can feel healthier" or "to save money to donate to charity more".

Intentions do just that. When you set an intention, that intention is followed up by a "so that...". You intend to save money so that you can go on that much-needed vacay, so that you can buy that house, so that you can help your sister get through school, or so that you can start that business. And once you see that intention written out or you say that intention and hear your own voice professing it, it comes alive to you. Every time you go to order out, you will remember that you want to save for a house and will decide it would be better to make dinner instead. Every time you want to make an impulse buy, you will remember that family vacation you're saving for, and will keep the cards in your wallet.


After a few years of doing this, I have proof in my own life that intention setting works, but only if you work it. Two years ago, I set the intentions to consistently tithe, journal, be more intentional about my self-care and read, and I can happily say that I met all of those intentions victoriously.

This year, my intentions include the same above (why stop a good thing?) but I would like to include the following:

Get even more serious about my health, specifically:

  • Move my body for at least 30 minutes every day
  • Eat better
  • Remember to take my vitamin every day 
  • Journaling at least once a week

In addition to those health focused goals, I would also like to:

Save more money, avoiding making unnecessary purchases and stacking for my family's future.

Read my Bible every day. It's going to be hard, but I used to do this regularly. 

Give more. I have been very blessed, in time, ability, and my lifestyle. I have so much I can give to others in need, whether its spending time with those who need a listening ear, giving away things to those in need, or contributing to causes. I have been given much, so I can give much.

Intentions are powerful tools that can get us to our goals more pleasantly than the pressure of stiff (and often unattainable) resolutions. May I suggest sitting down with that already made list of resolutions you may have and going through each and finding the intention instead.