Something You Should Consider Before Having Children

If you ask any parent to give a list of things to consider when thinking about having a child, the lists may sound similar, but will vary. However; there are quite a few that should be at the top of the list. They sound a little something like this:

(1.) Think about your finances: Diapers, formula (if breastmilk doesn’t work for you), daycare, before and after care, clothes, shoes, the type of car you’re driving (Is it big enough for all of you?) food, pull-ups, school, extracurricular activities. They all cost when it comes to your children.

(2.) The pain: This isn’t at the top of my list to say to people, but it is for others. I don’t believe in scaring women with birth stories. Everyone’s experience is different. I do share mine, but I always reassure women about the beauty of it all.

(3.) The risks– For black women, you’re honestly risking your life to give birth in a hospital setting. The healthcare system does not serve black women and babies properly, and the maternal/infant mortality rates are out of this world. It has been a huge concern for decades, but is more recently catching TV time and headlines.

(4.) Sleep deprivation: You legit won’t get any sleep for at least two years. Thats the nice way of putting it. You really don’t get any sleep for the rest of your life. Once children sleep through the night, they do everything in their power to fight naptime and bedtime. When you finally hit the weekend and think you can sleep in, you can’t because of Saturday activities! Not to mention, you’re still trying to do things for yourself in between and have alone time. That usually takes place at night. You find yourself enjoying the peace and quiet that you stay up way too late and now it’s morning again.

(5.) Libido changes: Everyone’s experiences are different, but many will say that the desire for sex dies after having children. Most women say it’s because they are so tired from the baby crying, nursing, working, taking care of home, no longer feeling sexy and more. I’ve unfortunately heard of men no longer desiring their significant other because of her body changes (ie. stretch marks, a larger stomach, weight gain) and not seeing her sexually attractive because they are disgusted from her breastfeeding their child.

This list could go on forever. But let me help you out with one huge, forgotten thing to consider when having a child. It’s potty training. Many will share the various stories they have about their child’s huge blowout (when the poop explodes out of the diaper, up the back, down the legs, etc.), but won’t share the pain, struggle and hard work it takes to potty train their children. Well, I’ll be the first to do it.

I hate it! Potty training my oldest eight years ago was a much easier process than it has been for my newly two-year-old. I tell people all the time. My oldest daughter did nothing to prepare me for her little sister. I feel like she tricked me into thinking I could parent again, without giving me the whole truth! If you’re wondering… yes! I just blamed my daughter for my having another child. LOL She begged my husband and I for a baby sister for four years. She even asked my father at his gravesite! Clearly it was his and I doing, but she played a part. She was (still is) such a good kid, I really thought it would be a breeze this time around. I was so wrong. The potty training experience has only been one part of the torture. But it’s a huge part.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve watched my daughter sit peacefully waiting to poop, then all of a sudden she stands up when it’s coming out. Yepp. So now I’m cleaning up poop off the floor, her legs and the pot. I thought I would have to call poison control because I randomly heard a sucking sound and caught her sucking poop off her fingers. What irritated me about that experience the most is that when I yelled “No, stop!” her face was frowned with disgust from the taste. However, she needed a little more to taste in order to confirm that it was nasty. Thankfully, I’d already made it to her before her hand could reach her mouth again.

We are currently in between using a transitional potty training seat and her pot that goes on the floor. She knows how to say, “Mommy, bathroom” or “Mommy, pot-pot,” but chooses to grunt as if she’s already taking a poop. So I find myself almost breaking my neck running to her and taking her to the bathroom. She’s too young to be trusted in there alone. I’ve left her alone on the pot on multiple occasions and learned my lesson each time. Not deliberately, but because I ended up having to pee while she was waiting to poop. When I return from the bathroom, I buss in the room to find her little naked butt on our bed. Thankfully, she hasn’t had poop on her during those moments.

I’ve also noticed that my daughter uses going to the bathroom as a way of escape from her playpen or high chair. In addition, she’s obsessed with washing her hands (not a problem at all until water is all over the sink, floor and her clothes). I still put her on the pot anyway in order to not take any chances. What happens? Endless tears and screams. Snot everywhere, and demands for foods and drinks.

I’ve found myself in a conundrum. I no longer want to pay for pull-ups, but I loathe the moment where I have to wake up in the middle of the night again for this little girl. Making bathroom runs during the night, or having to change her clothes and bedding because she’s had an accident. Having to be on call to wipe your child’s but after every bathroom visit or being traumatized when you realize they’ve used the bathroom and didn’t call you to wipe! Oh and let’s not forget how close you are to a heart attack when the newly potty trained child needs to use the bathroom while you’re driving. In addition,  my oldest has to use the bathroom nonstop (she gets it from me). She specifically finds a way to have to use the bathroom after when our food has finally come when we’re at a restaurant. At this point, I’m convinced frequent bathroom visits from my children will aide in my weight-loss journey. The amount of times that we have to run back and forth to the bathroom. The unfinished meals… Pray for me…

Sincerely,

An “I’m over this sh**”(literally & figuratively)

Queendom Wife and Mother

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Breastfeed Here, Breastfeed There, I’ll Breastfeed Everywhere!

Except for the bathroom… or a closet. I would never nurse my child in those places. It’s unfortunate however that many people in the world are so against breastfeeding that they’d rather a mother take their child into a public bathroom and nurse. I guess it’s extremely difficult to turn your head and continue to mind your business on this strange planet called Earth.

I wrote a blog titled To Cover Up or Not to Cover up? back in January when my youngest daughter Jayla was three months old. I was still getting the hang of the new mom life for the second time, and was in the early stages of breastfeeding. I became engulfed with all things motherhood and breastfeeding. One thing I found myself uncomfortable with was nursing without a cover. I didn’t disagree with women who chose not to cover, I just preferred to keep myself and daughter covered. It gave us as much privacy as we could have in public.

I had no idea what would transpire only five months after I wrote that post. Jayla turned eight months and grew irritated with being covered. Partially because of the Summer heat, majority of it being because she needed to see my face and feel my skin. She and I would go back and forth playing “tug of war” with the cover the entire time we nursed in public. I would be embarrassed each time my breast was exposed. I didn’t want any negative attention or encounters. I had been reading about so many terrible experiences women were having while breastfeeding in public places, and was also witnessing pictures and videos going viral of women being shamed for breastfeeding in public. More specifically, the black woman who was breastfeeding her child uncovered on the airplane.  I was appalled that someone would find her nursing her child uncovered disgusting, but had no issue with recording her baby and bare breast. To top it off, the video went viral.

I didn’t want that to happen to me. I wasn’t totally confident in myself or my breastfeeding journey. Although it had been eight months, it was still new to me. It’s new each month I go on because it’s a month longer than I expected I would nurse. I had to get my mind right QUICK because Jayla wasn’t in the mood to give me a grace period. So I upped the ante on the amount of breastfeeding pages that I followed on Instagram, and  joined a breastfeeding support group on Facebook to surround myself around women who were on the same journey as me. These women were unashamed of their purpose no matter the size of their breast and the setting where a feeding would take place. I grew to feel empowered.

I had to “get rid of my stinkin’ thinkin'” and remember my purpose is to provide for my daughter in the most natural way that I can. My breastfeeding journey doesn’t need to be a stressful one because of my fear of stares or negative comments. My baby needs her mother’s milk. I refuse to walk down the formula aisle at the grocery store losing my hair over the prices when I already produce milk for free. I remember that feeling when Taniya was younger.

Once I refocused and got inline with my vision for my mothering and breastfeeding journey, I began to see more positive breastfeeding posts and experiences. Definitely had to change my perspective in order to see this. I began to see animals of all sorts, which is as natural as it gets, breastfeeding their young. Monkeys, dogs, pigs, bears and more. During one of Taniya’s science classes in homeschooling, we learned about the blue whale. I was amazed to learn that baby blue whales, mammals just like humans, survive only on their mother’s milk for their first year of life, gaining about 200 pounds each day. I was getting reminders during a homeschool lesson! Not only is breastfeeding beautiful in all forms, but a reminder that our babies can definitely survive off of our breastmilk and be ok without anything else for the first year of life. I am now 1 year and 2 weeks strong on my breastfeeding journey. I thought I would stop at 1 year, but it didn’t happen that way.

Now I don’t just whip my breast out while I’m walking down the grocery store aisle, but I would do it if I need to. Nurse and continue to shop like I intended on doing in the first place. I’m learning that I can’t let motherhood stop me from doing what I set out to do. I’ve breastfed in the gym in between workouts, before I went out on my high school’s track to do an alumni cheerleading performance and more. Amazingly, I’ve received such beautiful feedback. An older woman at my high school’s homecoming football game said, “I just want to tell you that you are doing an amazing job! You are out here doing your thing. One moment I saw you breastfeeding your baby, the next you’re out their cheering like you’re still in school.” That same day my mother said, “I’ve noticed that you’re much more comfortable with feeding Jayla in public now. I’m proud of you for being confident. I know that’s been a struggle for you.” My heart was so full.

I am still the mother who enjoys privacy when she breastfeeds though. One because I just love peace and quiet when I’m nursing because it’s calming for me, but two because toddlers are extremely distracted. I can’t count the amount of times Jayla has snatched off my breast to see what was going on wasting precious milk. So when an establishment has a room designated for breastfeeding mothers, I’m in there! If there’s no room, I’m nursing proudly and confidently. Restaurants, my car, the gym, the mall, football games, dentist offices, doesn’t matter. In Dr. Seuss’ voice, I’ll breastfeed here, I’ll breastfeed there, I’ll breastfeed anywhere.

I hope other mothers who are experiencing shame, embarrassment and fear of negative responses read this and leave with an understanding that your responsibility is to your child, not the comfort of others. If you are the friend or family member to a breastfeeding mother, please continue to support her and uplift her on this journey. She’s doing the best she can. She doesn’t need to hear your comments about how HER child is ready for cow’s milk or formula. Or how HER child is too old to still be breastfeeding. If you’re a stranger and you see a woman breastfeeding and it makes you uncomfortable…. turn your head, and mind your business like a normal functioning adult. Most likely, you’re making that woman uncomfortable and staring for long periods of time only makes you come off as a perv.