Posts Tagged With: parenting

Breastfeeding and the Black Woman!

I’ve been reading a lot about breastfeeding lately and all of the powers of human milk for a human baby. A question that keeps coming up is why is a breastfeeding strategy that is geared specifically for black women necessary? Here’s something I came across that made sense to me but I hadn’t thought about it until now. In “Lactation Management: Strategies for working with African American Women”, Katherine Barber mentioned the importance of understanding the history of breastfeeding for the African woman forced to come to America. A history that includes not being allowed to breastfeed their own children BUT being forced to breastfeed their master’s children. This psychological damage has been passed down BUT I believe it can be changed!

The history has to be acknowledged and once it is, we can begin to address our current state. There is very little support for breastfeeding in the black community but that is beginning to change. Deciding to breastfeed is a BIG deal when you have not been exposed to breastfeeding or especially if you’ve been discouraged from doing so.

It can be very challenging to make the decision TO breastfeed in a community where it is not the norm PLUS you have to worry about HOW to communicate with your peers, boss, neighbors, strangers…about why you’ve made that decision. The thought of having to defend yet another decision in your life can be a bit stressful and discouraging. So here are a few of my suggest. If you see a woman who is pregnant and you just happen to start talking to her about her pregnancy, why not just ask, are you planning to breastfeed? Or maybe just give a thumbs up or word of encouragement to a woman you see breastfeeding. I’m always amazed at how powerful simple gestures can be. And if you’re pregnant and see a woman breastfeeding and she seems to be chatty or willing to share some info ask her about her experience. The more we talk about breastfeeding the more normal it will become๐Ÿ˜Š.

Are you a pregnant mama who is thinking about breastfeeding? What are your thoughts or fears about breastfeeding?

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365 ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Day 111:
He ate my food!! This hasn’t been happening lately. Bean enjoyed curried veggies: carrots, peas, chick peas, cauliflower and onions with coconut milk and some seasonings. MMMMMM!๐Ÿ˜‹

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Day:112
I wanted to find a black male doctor for my boys who wouldn’t make me feel bad about my choices and boy am I happy with our new pediatrician. Today we met Dr. Michael LeNoir and he was great with me and great with my boys. He gave us a prescription for something and attached to the prescription was a nice packet of information. LOVE IT!!

Day 113:
I had a great conversation with coworkers today. Actually 2 one about creating an inclusive work environment and the other basically ended with me needing to do research for finding of my future organization. I am grateful for a healthy working environment.

Day 114:
I can’t stop praising my boys’ day care. They are so great it feels like I leave my boys with family EVERYDAY!!

Day 115:
I’m grateful for one-on-one time with Bean!

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Day 116:
Networking today with a local sister trying to create change in Oakland. I love working with passion people. #fuelformyfire

Day 117:
I’m grateful for interactive museums. The Oakland Museum of California was full of exhibits that allowed my boy to be hands on and not get bored. He was even able to mix on some turntables for the first time.

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Birthwork and Me!

As a way to bring more consciousness around the world of birthing. I’d like to feature something birth related each week. Shooting for Wednesdays. This will help me share and learn as I study so please tell me what you think (and know) and ask questions which will lead me on a search for even more answers. This should be kind of fun, empowering and insightful.

So let me start by sharing WHY I’ve decided to be a part of the village of birthworkers.

Black babies and mamas are dying at a much higher rate (almost 3x) than whites and Latinos and I believe this can change. I strongly believe that with more information about the history of birth among our people, rights as it relates to birth, support from each other and options in regards to caregivers, we can change things around.

While I was pregnant with both of my boys I was surprised and often hurt by the amount of negativity that was shared from all over, my doctor, some friends, coworkers, strangers you name it. It seemed like people just HAD to share a negative experience. WHAT THE HECK!! I just got to the point where I would just stop people in the middle of their story and politely say “I’m not even allowing that energy in my space”. I was constantly frustrated by having to leave my community in Newark, NJ to find support groups for breastfeeding, natural birth or just positive remarks.

After giving birth I loved (and still love) to share my experience because they were both positive. And yes my first boy was born in what is referred to as a ‘hood hospital AND I still had a great experience. The thing is, even with my positive story people still had negative things to say. Again WHAT THE HECK!! So I started sharing more about the facts and a little about the history that I was learning just so I could answer some questions or have a positive feedback for a negative comment. I started to realize that many of my peers were simply afraid and continuously being fed myths and reasons to fear birth and not trust their bodies. So I’ve decided to make a commitment to myself and my community to contribute to this world of birth in hopes of getting our community back to trusting our bodies, respecting our power and supporting each other.

As I continue to learn I am realizing how political this world of birthing is and how important it is to be aware of the injustices that are causing so many disparities. So I’m going to use this space as a place to share what I’m learning and hopefully start a few conversations that will normalize natural birth (or at least birth with no unnecessary medical interventions), breastfeeding, the right to choose how to birth or to birth at all and maybe, just maybe, more people in the black community will spread the word and fewer babies and mamas will die. I strongly believe that a woman’s birth experience affects the way she and her partner/community is allowed to raise her child.

So I welcome you all to participate! Are you currently a birth worker? If so how do you contribute to this work?

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365 GRATEFUL!!

Day 97:
Bean CAN WRITE THE LETTER “A”!๐Ÿ˜† Without tracing! I was so excited and surprised to see him do his “homework” which is usually drawings of what he calls elephants, lions and of course monsters, only this time they there were “A”s all over the place (oh and spiders too). Even though I’m not able to really homeschool my boys like I would love to, I do as many “schooling” activities as possible whenever I can which is usually on a daily basis. It’s also a great feeling to know that the boys are at a small Childcare place that has similar educational views as I do.

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Day 98:
Oh my goodness today was a rough day for me. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and antsy and unclear (about what’s happening my life and my next steps) and frustrated and and and. So I am happy to have to search for something I am grateful for today and that is coming home to a clean room. It allowed me to just take a deep breath and slow down for the first time today. I was even able to add a few things to my vision board. So today I’m most grateful for this 365 days of gratefulness project.

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Day 99:
Tonight the boys and I went to the gym, then home and ate dinner (I just had a snack since I am committed to eating dinner at the table WITH my boys every night). I put the boys to sleep, prepared my lunch and the bottles for tomorrow. AND THEN I ate my sandwich…with no one on my lap or breast or asking for a bite. I didn’t even turn the TV on it was just ME…AND…MY…SANDWICH!!๐Ÿ˜‹

20140409-232920.jpgsalmon, portobello mushroom, a little arugula with a little mustard on a bun. MMMMM….

Day 100:
I’m grateful for the bond between my boys. It’s so nice to sit and watch/listen to them squawk and play together. And lately Sprout has been squirming in the middle of the night and finding his way to his big brother๐Ÿ˜˜.

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Day 101:
Oh my goodness it has been a rough week for me. And today I almost broke down in my bosses office๐Ÿ˜ญ! Thank God she is so great and notice that I was a little off and she stopped the meeting did a check in with ME not my work but ME and said we would try again next week. So not the norm for me and I am so grateful to have such and understanding boss!! Thank you Anne Marks!!

Day 102:
I came home from a meeting to find my boy sleep like this. He must have been having a good time.

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Day 103:
Sprout pulled my Understanding Everyday Setswana book off the book shelf today. I guess he’s ready to learn his language. Hint hint mom!! I got it! ๐Ÿ˜ณ

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Gratefulness Continues

Day 90:
So grateful for a sit down dinner with my Aunt. It’s been a while and it was a great way to re jolt my drive! Thanks Aunt Shelly!!

Day 91:
Night time dance party!! We love to move in my house.
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Day 92:
I am so grateful for my Majuta family in Botswana. Although we are far away I still feel a bit connected and even with things not being ideal I can ALWAYS feel the love.

Day 93:
We had a seemless, tantrum, chase free daycare to car transition today. YES!!

Day 94:
Oh my goodness I REALLY ENJOY working at Youth ALIVE! I had a great weekly update meeting with my boss Anne Marks! She is so clear about her vision and her mentorship (I don’t even know if she recognizes it to be mentorship) is awesome. I am learning so much about my work, trauma and being a passionate human and it is great!! #feelingblessed

Day 95:
I got to attend a Birth Justice workshop today at the 42nd Ethnic Studies Conference that was held at Mills College. It was a great discussion and motivation.
AND I love to see my boys play together!

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Day 96:
Great day for a soccer game. We went to support the the son of one of the daycare teachers they were pleasantly surprised to see us and Bean had a great time playing in the stands.

20140406-155732.jpgcan you see him?

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365 Grateful

Day 48:
No pic but I’m grateful for a fantastic discovery life coaching session with my aunt. I can tell grate work is about to be done.

Day 49:
Again no pic but I’m grateful for the staff meeting I was able to facilitate today. I’m loving all the personal and professional opportunities for growth while working at Youth ALIVE!

Day 50:
I had a great parenting by connection study group call today. There were 5 moms on the line and I’m excited about the tools we’ll be introduced to that will help us be the best parents we can be.

Day 51:
Grateful for shoe trains. I hope we can find all the shoes. LOL
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Day 52:
Grate for my aunt and the clean laundry I can home to.

Day 53:
We had a very productive Saturday. Hair cut with Uncle, soccer practice, a walk, a nap (at least for Bean, which is rare) and a little cleaning.

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Day 54:
Another great walk. So much fun with Our Aunt. 3 generations on our walk. YAY for good health!!

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New Month and Still Grateful

Day 34:
Grateful for the little things that bring so much joy. Bean LOVES his rain boots.20140203-230133.jpg

Day 35:
I’m grateful for my sistercousin’s awareness. She spotted this sign near an office at her school, Barnard College. Way to go Barnard!! Happy nursing, pumping, mommying!
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Day 36:
I am grateful for inspiration. I say in on a meeting and heard my boss speak with so much knowledge and passion about our work. This working environment has been great, I’m learning so much everyday and I LOVE it. Definitely a huge difference from my previous job.

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Day 37:
Bean and I had a nice breakfast together this morning. That is rare during the week but we both enjoyed starting our Thursday this way.

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Day 38:
Grateful for the Nosefrida snotsucker that has helped me help Sprout breathe.

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Day 39:
Guess who’s singing his ABCs?!?! YAY! Now we busted out the flash cards. And he LOVES it!!

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Day 40:
I’m grateful for help with the laundry. Thanks Bean!

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365 Grateful

Day 27:
Grateful for big brother practicing writing while little brother plays so I can get dinner on the table. The sweetest part is when Sprout drops his toy and starts to get a little fussy, Bean puts his marker down, gives his brother his toy and gets back to his writing. “I get it mom!” Such a big boy! I swear I never could have imagined that I could get so much joy from so many small acts of kindness. #ilovemotherhood #brothers
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Day 28:
Grateful for my ergo. I would NOT have been able to get Sprout’s doctor’s appointment done with Bean sleep. He slept on my back for the entire appointment. I’m also grateful for the pediatric naturopath who saw us on time got us out in an hour and gave me advice for both boys that didn’t include any prescriptions. And it didn’t feel rushed AT ALL. I was given probiotics for the entire family to take and encouraged to continue what I’ve been doing: steam, eucalyptus, elevation, elderberry (as advised by my Holistic Moms Network mamas๐Ÿ˜‰).
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Day 29:
I am grateful for my fro today. LOL I’m starting to get the hang of my natural hair without locs. Today was the first time I pic’d out my fro since cutting my locs a year ago.

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Day 30:
I had a great impromptu conference call with my sistercousins tonight. It was so much fun and felt like we were in the same space for that time. We talked about some stuff, laughed, a snack was enjoyed. It was great!! I loved it. Boy do I miss them. No pic because we were on the phone ๐Ÿ˜‰.

Day 31:
I woke up to my boys cuddling, AKA Bean squeezing Sprout, and it made me so happy. I know it was going to be a great day. Another reason why I love co-sleeping.

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Day 32:
Grateful for an all day play date. It gave me a taste of what life may be like when Bean and Sprout can play together. And Bean’s friend, let’s call her Princess, takes such good care of him. A Rudy and Bud (from The Cosby Show) situation all the way!! LOL she even introduced him to a dance and movement teacher as “Sauce” (her special name for him). LOVE IT! So grateful for toddler friendships.

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Day 33:
I am grateful for the nice Nelnet agent who was giving me news that I didn’t really WANT to hear about my darn student loans. That could have been a bad call but his attitude was great!

See you next week!!

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Still Grateful

Day 20:
Grateful for eucalyptus oil and steam to help me get rid of Sprout’s congestion.
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Day 21:
Grateful for an early bedtime. The last time I remember seeing on the clock was 8:17. No pic because I was SLEEP! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Day 22:
Grateful that the reading of my sistercousin’s play went well. I can’t wait to see the actual play. Danielle Davenport is her nam, Always is her play.
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Day 23:
Grateful for the mail today!! YAY!!
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Day 24:
Bean is so patient with his puzzle cards. I love to watch him figure things out. And I love to here his little voice “help peeze mom”!
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Day 25:
I can’t begin to explain how great the sharing circle with Black Women Birthing Justice. I absolutely LOVE to hear women’s birthing stories no matter how the birth happened. Women are so powerful and have to deal with waaayyyy too much when giving birth. We have to continue to share AND support one another. 20140126-001324.jpg

Day 26:
We started our day with family yoga this morning and I’m grateful for the new experience. I think we may incorporate this into our weekly routine.

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Goodbye 20s!!

IMG_2658HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! I started writing this post a few months ago and I’ve had a little time to think about it and decided that I should pay tribute to my mom. As I learn more and more about birth and becoming a mom I have a stronger understanding and bigger appreciation for that entire process. So here’s to my mom. HAPPY BIRTH ANNIVERSARY!!๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ Giving birth is such an accomplishment and blessing AND choosing to be the best parent you can possibly be is also a conscience decision that not all women make. I am forever grateful for you, mommy. You have been a role model, given me tough love (that I can now appreciate๐Ÿ˜‰), supported all of my interests, encouraged me to explore anything I am curious about and my BIGGEST FAN. The woman I am today is a reflection of the queendom that is my mom. Of course there has been help along the way but if you were not who you are I would not be who I am. So this year for my birthday I am celebrating you!!

Below is the post I started a while back and of course all that is below would not have been possible if it weren’t for my mom:

I’ve been thinking about life as I wrap up a new decade and I’ve come up with a little list of some of my accomplishments. Yeah I think it’s ok to toot your own horn on a birthday.

-Received a Bachelors Degree
-Earned a Master’s Degree and Certificate
-Served in the Peace Corps
-Lived in Africa
-Addressed some internal issues
-got Married
-Ran an Organization (well the regional office)
-Started working on Lamaze Certification
-found myself…lost myself…working on finding myself again
-Boosted credit score
-Made a few people smile
BEST OF ALL
-Became a mom of 2 beautiful boys

Through loads of soul searching and learning how to reflect and accept my flaws I’ve become a stronger person. Starting my new decade living with family and working on my marriage was not an ideal situation, however I believe it was a necessary step to get my family on the right foot for a brighter future.

By the time I reached 30 I was hoping to be a home owner and be working for myself. That hasn’t happened but I do feel like I’m on the right path to make it happen within this decade. I just want to be sure that the next few years are spent setting up a life for my family that will allow my children to be stable in their early adult lives. I’d love to be able to pass on a family home or 2, a business, and savings for college.

So here’s to 2 decades doneโœ”๏ธ. I must thank my family for getting me to where I am. For expecting nothing but the best and making sure I was aware of this expectation from the beginning. Although I know there is always work to be done on self, I feel like I’m in a great place to be starting a new decade. New city, new job, new mentors, new goals….

Cheers to a new decade of ups…downs, twists…turns, parenting…mentoring, learning…sharing!!!

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