My first Go at Pregnancy: Part One

I have so much to say regarding pregnancy so my next few posts will have to be segmented. I get SO excited to talk about pregnancy and the birth of my cubs. Why? Because there are so many women who are not knowledgeable about pregnancy (me the first time around), women who are fed nothing but negative information about pregnancy and parenting (me again…the first time around), and most importantly there are women who pray to experience motherhood but are not fortunate to do so on their own. I realize what a blessing it is to grow and nurture life, and I want to be honest about how my way of thinking would cause my pregnant life and mothering life to either be a positive or negative experience.

I’ll start with my first pregnancy. I was two weeks away from turning 21 years old and one week away from completing all of my finals for the first semester of my senior year in college when my husband (fiance’ at the time) and I found out we were pregnant. I was on birth control at one point, but stopped taking it because it was my attempt at being celibate. I thought that if I stopped using birth control, I would stop having sex. You’re probably wondering why I was practicing celibacy when I was engaged right? Well! That fool had been lying to me about something for more than a year. I felt sex had placed a veil over my eyes and made me blind to his lies. In addition, I was making poor decisions when it came to our relationship. I believe in honesty, but blogging is still new to me AND I have trust issues so I won’t share what he lied about.  Anyways, I felt like if I wasn’t on birth control, I would have self-control because I didn’t want to get pregnant. I eventually gave in to my lust for him and started having unprotected sex, and Taniya was conceived. We knew exactly what we were doing. We didn’t say, “hey, let’s go half on a baby,” but we didn’t stop ourselves. I’ll talk about that another day!

So I took 5 tests (they came in one pack from the super Wal-Mart by my school) because we were in disbelief. Here I am, approaching my last semester of college pregnant! My mother was actually disappointed in me and that didn’t feel good at all. We all know how bad it hurts to hear your parent(s) say they’re disappointed in you. With that in mind, I was slightly ashamed that I was pregnant and nervous that I wouldn’t graduate. Something that I should have been excited about, I found myself embarrassed about. The Christian girl who was supposed to wait until marriage was pregnant. That was the beginning of my stressful pregnancy. I would hide my stomach because I felt like everyone was staring. Because of my fear of judgement from others, I hated presentations! I had amazing friends in college that supported me and helped me(still have them til this day) , but I was basically 300 miles away from home and I still felt alone.

There was just a lot I didn’t know about pregnancy and I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. I lost the hair on my eyebrows, the slight acne that I would experience on my chin had expanded to all over my face, arms chest and back, I no longer had a booty, and I gained 40 pounds! This was terrible for a girl who already lacked self-esteem. The body I already hated had gotten worse. As you can see, there was a lot of negativity and stress surrounding this pregnancy so far.

My husband was a college dropout so he was a working man. He would drive up to Pennsylvania monthly to spend time with me, take me back home for our prenatal appointment, back to my school and then right back home so that he could be back to work Monday morning. I would literally spend my time in the car doing homework assignments and taking online quizzes. Unfortunately, my husband got fired from his job when I was six months pregnant… more stress. Thankfully, our mothers were so giving and helped us out tremendously. At this point, I was just trying to make it to finish the semester with at least a 3.0 GPA, but clearly I couldn’t just focus on school. Oh let me add one more thing because it definitely played a huge role in my insecurities regarding my ability to write and be successful in life. I majored in print journalism with a minor in deafness and hearing studies while in college. While I was there I volunteered for a magazine and quickly became an editor of one of the sections. Well being pregnant and all that comes with it, having 18 credits to complete, being an editor, and trying to keep my sanity was very difficult. I remember when I didn’t do so well one month and my boss said something like this: “I know you’re pregnant, but you’re not doing a great job. I expect to see better work than this. You wouldn’t make it in the journalism world with this type of work. It’s really tough out there.” She said something about seeing my potential, but that didn’t mean anything to me. All I could hear her saying was that I was a failure. That after I graduate and have my baby, I wouldn’t be successful in the area of work I went to school for. It crushed me.

I’ll stop here for now…

Postpartum Depression or Bad Week?

When I created this blog, I told myself that I would write on a weekly basis. I also told myself that if I have the writing bug, I wouldn’t suppress the feeling. I would write as much as my heart desired. Well… It has definitely been longer than a week since I last posted some material. Why, you ask? Because motherhood beat me allllll the way down for the past two weeks. I have struggled getting tasks accomplished, I have cried multiple times, I’ve felt overwhelmed, inadequate, confused and just completely DONE with being a mother.

As I stated before, I have a six-year-old daughter and recently gave birth to another baby girl. I told myself that I wouldn’t assume that being a new mom this time around would be a walk in the park, but in the back of my mind I still believed that everything would be natural for me. I was completely wrong. Six years is a huge gap between children AND my girls are so different from one another. I find myself handling certain situations with ease, and others not knowing what the heck to do. It is in those very moments that I become very insecure in my ability to be a great mother to my children.

There are two things that I’ve learned about myself this time around with being a new mom. First, I am my toughest critic. Two, I compare myself to women I don’t even know WAY too often. My expectations for myself as a mother the second time around were too high. I told myself “you should be able to distinguish what each cry is for by now, this isn’t your first time.” “Look at this mom, she has 3 kids and is finding a way to get to the playground, gymnastics, breastfeed, cook, and more.” My mind was plagued with everything that I wasn’t doing right. Slowly but surely I began to break down and become weak. Let me add that I’m also a zombie most days because I solely breastfeed a demanding 2-month-old child. I found myself not dealing well when she cried. I couldn’t decipher whether my child no longer wanted my breast or if she was sick when she would snatch away and scream her lungs out. I didn’t understand why she would wake up in a tantrum after peacefully falling asleep. I didn’t understand why I had to hold her or baby wrap her in order to get things done around the house. I couldn’t handle my oldest child telling me she was still hungry after having two snacks and a full meal, while the youngest was screaming for more milk. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. I was losing it.

I called my husband and told him I needed him. I didn’t know what was going on with me. I didn’t know if I was just having a bad week or if I was suffering from postpartum depression. You are told about the symptoms, asked questions at every postpartum check up and well child visit, but do you really know when you have postpartum blues? Whats the difference between the two? Everyone tells you not to be embarrassed if you are suffering from it, but to be honest I was both terrified and embarrassed. The first time around I had just turned 21 and graduated from college. I had no job,no car, no credit (which is considered bad credit), wasn’t married, and still lived with my mom. If I had it now, why didn’t I have it then? Now I’ve just turned 28, married, got my own place, got my own car, decent credit, and I don’t have a job by choice. It just didn’t make sense.

In my conversation with my husband, he truly uplifted me. I expressed to him that I didn’t think I was fit to be a mother of three since I couldn’t handle two. We said that we would try at least one more time for a boy, and I began to believe that was a bad idea. His words…”don’t base your mothering skills or your future on this moment. It’s just a bad moment. It doesn’t mean you have postpartum depression, and if you do we will work through it.” My husband is a truck driver and works 14 hours a day, 6 days a week. When I tell you he came home and saved the day. He came home, took a shower and asked what he could do to help. He cooked fried chicken (he NEVER cooks, and I didn’t know he could actually cook something on the stove lol), washed dishes and more. And when my night seemed like it couldn’t get any worse, I spilled over 3 oz of freshly pumped breast milk. Husband came through so fast, told me to walk away and cleaned it all up. Whoever said “don’t cry over spilled milk” should be smacked! I don’t know what is worse, labor pain or the pain from spilled breast milk.

All in all, what I really needed was some serious sleep and a little more help. Sleep deprivation is so real and something that us moms really need to look out for. Lack of sleep makes being a mother extremely hard. You lack patience and you feel like there’s not enough time in the day to get anything done in addition to the nagging of your older child and the screaming of your infant. Not to mention you still have to be an amazing wife!

Shout out to all you amazing stay-at-home moms and wives and hard-working moms and wives! You are doing your best QUEEN and that is all you can do. Stop doubting yourself and take it one day at a time. At the end of the day, your children and husband will have to “cry it out” at some point in order for you to have at least 5 minutes to gather yourself. Remember, if you’re not okay, your family will not be okay.

 

Procrastinator: Laziness vs. Fear

Hi… My name is Tiana, and I procrastinate. They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem right? For a while I thought it was okay to identify myself as a procrastinator because I worked so well under pressure. Throughout high school and college, I was able to produce quality assignments and projects at the very last-minute. If I was able to do that on a consistent basis, that meant procrastinating wasn’t THAT bad, I just had to be good at it. As I reflect on those years, I can chalk it up to being lazy, misplaced priorities and having poor time management. Don’t get me wrong, I was definitely a busy student, but there is absolutely no excuse for having two weeks to complete a 10 page research paper and choosing to start and finish it the day before it is due.

It wasn’t until I had my first child where I realized that I no longer wanted to work under pressure. Too much pressure began to cause anxiety and increased my level of worry. I no longer produced high quality results under pressure. Everything became mediocre. I would create a long list of short and long-term goals and procrastinate on achieving them. But something changed. I no longer operated out of pure laziness. Fear had tip toed its way into my way of thinking and heart. I would put off working out because I was afraid I wouldn’t see results and fail at it… I would put off applying for certain jobs because I feared rejection… I would delay having important conversations with my husband because I feared how he would respond. All of that was piled on top of my procrastinating (laziness) when it was time to clean, wash clothes, and more!

It has been six years since I gave birth to my first daughter and I still struggle with procrastination. Today,  my husband actually checked me and held me accountable. I was telling him about what I wanted to blog about and he said “let me ask you something, why haven’t you started writing yet?” I hesitated when responding because I really had to think about what I would say. I said “well I’m still trying to finalize a name for it and I didn’t know if I should pay for the blog or leave it as is.” This man has known me since I was 10 years old, so of course he was able to read between the bullsh*t. He then said “that doesn’t stop you from at least putting your thoughts and words on paper. And who cares about a name? You can change it at any time.” My response… “You’re right, I have no excuse.”  And here I am today. Writing my blog after five years of delay.

Do you procrastinate? What things have you or do you continue to put off doing? Have you identified the root of your procrastination? I’ll end with this… What if God delayed blessing you because He feared you wouldn’t be grateful? Or what if He didn’t answer your prayers because He simply didn’t feel like it at the moment and put it off until the last-minute? Intense right? I had to ask myself these same questions because I realized I was procrastinating using the gifts that God had given me. So I challenge you to fold those clothes that you washed a week ago… get up on that first alarm… go to the gym NOW, don’t wait until the “New Year, New Me” season… start that business… go back to school… have that talk with your husband… be an example for your child(ren). You are a queen, and you are equipped with the tools to push pass your laziness and fear!

Deuteronomy 23:21 NKJV

“When you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay to pay it; for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin to you.”