All Articles Tagged "motherhood"

The Gift of Life: Did You Get A “Push Present” After Having A Baby?

July 11th, 2015 - By Toya Sharee
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"pregnancy myths"

The first time I ever heard of a “push present” was when Tamar Braxton was shading hubby Vincent Herbert on “The Real” after he neglected to give her one after birthing baby Logan. He later made up for his oversight by gifting her with a huge diamond ring. Then there’s the rumored $770,000 tiger-striped diamond ring Kanye blew on wife, Kim after delivering North West in addition to sparing no expense on a birthing suite complete with leather sofas, mani/pedis and blow outs at Kim’s command in between breastfeeding and burping (which I am going to assume she did herself).

After I gave birth to my daughter last fall, I barely got an Edible Arrangement let alone a tiger diamond, but the idea of getting a “push present” after having a lavish baby shower and having the world wait on you hand and foot for nine months just screams excessive greed to me. It makes a sad statement on a culture I feel is no longer appreciating moments for that sentimental value and using them as mere opportunities to “turn up and get stuff”.

Don’t get me wrong, milestones in life such as weddings, births, graduations should be celebrated. The problem for me is when people think these times are an excuse to have their hand out, especially when a side-eye is given to any gift that someone didn’t have to invest a whole year’s salary into. People are expecting more and more for less and less energy and effort. Don’t get me wrong, I feel like any woman who can endure pregnancy and birth deserves all the respect and love in the world, but at the end of the day you aren’t doing anything your body wasn’t already designed to do. You didn’t colonize another planet for humans to live on or invent an alternative energy source, you gave birth and women have been doing it for millions of years without a “push present” to look forward to.

I won’t feed you some Hallmark BS about how a beautiful, healthy baby should be all the gift you need after giving birth. After having a c-section I was nursing a mean set of staples and hadn’t bathed for at least two days. Not only was I being harassed by a nurse about if I had passed gas yet, but also by an annoying photographer that wanted to take pics of me and my newborn while I sat in a satin bonnet looking anything but “glowing”. Trust me, a push present may have took my self-esteem up a few notches (but I didn’t actually have to “push” so I guess that’s why my present wasn’t in sight). So I totally understand how a woman wants to feel appreciated and rewarded for getting that mini human into the world safely after a labor that might make you feel like you’re going to meet your maker. But if what Tiffany locket you’re going to get to makes or breaks your priorities as a new mom, I’m going to need you to get it together. And it’s one thing if you’re child’s father is Vincent Herbert who is worth a reported $10 million, but if you are parading a flashy push present and wondering how you are going to afford formula: Get your priorities straight, ASAP. This also applies if you’re hype about a getting a Birkin diaper bag from a guy who also impregnated his side chick at the same time.

The Today Show recently asked viewers how they felt about push presents with 45% saying they weren’t fans, 28% responding that they were great and the remaining 27% who were clueless about the whole process like me thinking, “Does you partner pop up with a Tiffany bracelet before or after cutting the cord?”.

Look, I’m not hard to please. After 8 months of motherhood , I’ll take a good six hours of sleep and a bottle of Yellowtail Big Bold Red as push presents. But in all honesty I must say there are sweet simple moments in motherhood that money just can’t buy. And if your partner wants to get you a little something for harboring another human being over your bladder for almost a whole year, that’s awesome. But it matters not if that same person is pulling a no show during every 3 AM feeding. At the same time if he blanks on the push present, but spends the next year covered in spit up and swaddling mid REM, you’ve probably got a winner even if you don’t have a new piece of jewelry to show for it.

Most importantly, giving birth should your first and most important lesson in motherhood: It’s no longer only about you. If you’re more concerned about flossing your gifts for the ‘Gram and getting a pat on the back, you might need to nip that narcissism in the bud before baby takes his first steps.

How do you feel about “push presents”? Here’s how other women felt about the business of getting gifts for giving life:

“I have no idea what that is. I’ve never heard of it. But in regards to presents, I think that American culture is constantly inventing new reason to receive presents and it’s shallow and unnecessary.”

“I never heard about ‘push presents’ until a friend asked was my child’s father getting me one when I was pregnant earlier this year. I knew he wasn’t, so she ended up getting him one to give it to me. Apparently, I definitely deserved one.”

“It’s cute.  Like a ‘thank you for sacrificing your abs to bring my baby into the world.'”

“People hype about a ‘push gift’ and got a trifling behind baby’s dad.  Explain how that makes sense?”

“I thought gifts were just for the baby. Damn, the mom gets a gift too?  Does dad get anything? I mean he showed up at least once for this whole process.”

 

Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a  passion for helping  young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health.  She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about  everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.

8 Breastfeeding Myths Debunked

July 9th, 2015 - By Julia Austin
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Corbis

Breastfeeding your child is a beautiful thing, but it can also be a very complicated thing. We’re here to make navigating such an important process a little bit easier. Here are eight common breastfeeding myths, debunked.

Did Y’all See? This Week’s Moments In Questionable Parenting

May 29th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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This week on "Did Y'all See?" we're talking about questionable parenting. Is Ciara moving too fast with Russel Wilson, having already introduced him to baby Future? And what about the mother who left her son home alone over the long holiday weekend? Was the neighbor wrong for calling the cops or was it right for Child Protective Services to step in? We're talking about all that and more in the video above. Watch and weigh in below.

How My Son Helped Me Appreciate The Small Things In Life

May 22nd, 2015 - By Liz Lampkin
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Black woman/mother with child/son happy and smiling

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The alarm goes off at 5 a.m. sharp. My busy day is about to begin. Shower, breakfast, meditation, and then I dart out the door to embark on an 18-hour day filled with an unpredictable morning commute, lesson plans, and deadlines to meet.  And that’s just the first eight to 10 hours of the day. Then suddenly I look up, the sun begins to set, and yet another productive day of work has come and gone.

Once upon a time this was my daily routine. This was my so-called life. Everything was about work and making my mark in the world as a single, successful woman. While I saw nothing wrong with my life at the time, I felt that something was missing. But I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

It was my period. One day I had my routine doctor’s visit and found out that I was going to be a mother. Life as I knew it would change forever.

Giving birth to my son was a humbling experience, and watching him grow throughout the years has been heartwarming and one unpredictable adventure after the next. Seeing him take his first steps, listening to him mumble his first word, which was “Da-da” by the way, brought about feelings in me I had never felt. And then it hit me. I discovered what was really missing from my life. It wasn’t necessarily motherhood or the things that it brings. It was something much deeper that I often overlooked.

As I’ve watched my son develop I realize that he’s taught me how to appreciate the little things in life, which have turned out not to be so little after all. Have you ever been to a spontaneous concert? I have. It’s a private concert that has one or two singers who only know the chorus to a particular song and sing the lyrics as loud as they possibly can as if no one is listening. My child and I have these random jam sessions now and then just because. I can say that I have yet to go to a musical performance that’s better than the ones I have with my baby. Before I had my son, I would never do anything like this, not even in the car alone because I didn’t want to feel or look silly. But now I realize that there’s no harm in being a little silly from time to time. In fact, it’s quite healthy and freeing.

I also have come to appreciate a welcoming smile after a long day at work. Who wouldn’t appreciate this? Every day when I walk through the door my child runs to me with open arms, a huge grin on his face and yells out my new favorite words: “Hey mommy! I missed you today!” In an instant, my day starts anew. Before he came along, no one greeted me with a genuine smile. I missed the importance of a warm grin. I believe if he weren’t here I wouldn’t understand and appreciate how this small gesture can make a good day great and a bad one much better.

Being a parent has taught me so much about living life to its fullest by taking the time to treasure priceless moments and things that can easily pass you by and be overlooked. My son’s carefree attitude has helped me to live in a new way that has been refreshing to my spirit. I’m grateful for the privilege of caring for one of the most precious gifts anyone can have, but I’m even more thankful for how my child has taught me to live. People always say that big things come in small packages. I must agree because I’ve learned that the small things in life bring about the greatest lessons and the most joy.

Take some time each day to stop and smell the roses before you’re covered in them. Laugh as if you’re the only one who understands a joke being told. Smile at someone at least once a day and stare at the beauty of a flower just because you can. Look at each day as the gift that it is.

Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? a speaker and an advocate for single women. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin.

 

Among Developed Countries, The US Is Worst For Mothers

May 6th, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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You would think that the United States, the land of the American Dream, would be a haven for women to have their bundles of joys — but it’s not. Not even close. According to RT, the U.S. is the absolute worst place to be a mother in the developed world.

State of the World’s Mothers 2015, a comprehensive report published by Save the Children, rated the United States dead last in maternal health among developed countries, 33rd place overall. America dropped two spots from last year’s 31st ranking.

An American woman is 10 times more likely to die from childbirth-related causes in comparison to an Austrian, Polish, or Belarusian woman.

Women in the U.S. also face a 1 in 1,800 risk of pregnancy-related death. This is the worst performance of any developed country in the world.

“Other countries are passing us by,” said Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children.

Save the Children also zoomed in on 25 capital cities of wealthy countries and found that in the United States, Washington D.C. had the highest infant mortality rate with 6.6 deaths per 1,000 births in 2013. “This rate is a historic low for the District of Columbia,” RT wrote, “but it is still three times the rate in Tokyo and Stockholm.”

In 2012, D.C. had an infant mortality rate of 7.9 deaths per 1,000 births. Yikes.

The study, unsurprisingly, found a notable disparity between the richest and poorest nations. In Norway, for example, the odds of a child dying before his or her fifth birthday is just 0.3 percent. In Somalia, on the other hand, that figure jumps to 15 percent. “Somali children who survive will get fewer than 2.5 years of formal education, while Norwegian children will get 17.5 years of formal education,” CNN said.

“We need to do more to make sure that all mothers and babies have a fair chance of survival and a happy, healthy life — no matter where they live,” Miles said in a press release.

The “State of the World’s Mothers 2015″ report investigated 179 countries and looked at five indicators of maternal death: educational status, children’s well-being, economic status, gross national income, and political status, CNN said.

Norway ranked first; Somalia ranked last.

Too Much Or Too Real? Mother Breastfeeds While Using The Bathroom

April 27th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Elisha Wilson Beach, wife of actor Michael Beach, who many of you may remember for his role as Miles, Terry’s husband who slept with Cousin Faith in Soul Food, recently posted a picture of herself that’s attracting quite a bit of attention on the internet.

In the picture, Wilson Beach is using the restroom, toiletries strewn across the bathroom floor, and she’s also breastfeeding her young daughter.

You already know the deal. Any type of image of a woman breastfeeding elicits a variety of responses. So people see it as something natural and beautiful. Others view the images as everything from TMI to completely tasteless.

When Elisha posted the picture, she wanted to illustrate the often unseen realities of motherhood.

 

As you know when someone exposes something that once was private, people, inevitably, have a lot to say.

According to Clutch Magazine, one Twitter user tweeted: “So disgusting, see photo of a mother breastfeeding her child while using the toilet.” 

Another person on Facebook wrote, “I would never breastfeed my child in the bathroom. It’s unsanitary regardless.” 

Other women could absolutely relate.

“This pretty much sums up mommyhood,” one Facebook user wrote.

Another responded to the issue of cleanliness.

“To the people calling this unsanitary or gross, most people brush their teeth in the bathroom and leave their toothbrushes in the bathroom. How is this gross and not that? Breasts are way more sanitary in the bathroom than your toothbrushes.”

#Facts

Some of us might need to reevaluate our bathroom habits.

Still, there are quite a few points of contention with this photo. Pictures on the commode are normally in bad taste, regardless of what you may be doing on the side.

And breastfeeding photos are almost always received with criticism and backlash. So it’s a double whammy here.

After the photo started being shared more and more and people started suggesting or stating outright that Elisha was a bad mother, Michael stepped out to define his wife, and mother of the youngest of his six children.

My wife called me into the bathroom a few days ago & asked me to take this pic. She was laughing & thought it was a classic shot about some of the things she deals with as a mom. Not meant to be a huge statement or movement just a humorous moment captured on "film". Isn't that one of the great things about Instagram? Now it's all over the Internet! Many people got/get that but quite a few others have felt the need to chime in on her horrible, unsafe parenting skills. I get that some may see this pic & disagree with it or not like it BUT to make drastic judgements about her/our parenting skills or character based on one pic??? WHAT??? I have 6 kids & have been a parent for almost 30yrs (4kids from 1st marriage) & all my children are healthy, kind & well liked people. My wife is an AWESOME mom, a very intelligent woman and, most of the time 😜, the best part of my life! We know, as much as anyone does, what we are doing. Our kids are safe, happy, respectful & are being well trained/prepared for adulthood. We are VERY happy after 14yrs together (8yrs of marriage). So why am I posting this? To support my love @mylifeisabeach ! And If any of you find someone as amazing as her than YOU are also ahead of the game! 😎 "This is motherhood and it ain't always pretty. What's your #momtruth?"

A photo posted by Michael Beach (@mikeabeach) on

Many even believe that these breastfeeding pictures are mainly about attention-seeking tactics. But hell, the only reason we post any picture on the internet is about some level of attention. Do you think this image would have been better for the personal baby book rather than the internet; or, is it time we start being honest about motherhood.

Dr. Jackie: 5 Things You Need To Know About Black Women And Fertility

March 11th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Fertility is increasingly becoming a concern for women of all ages, and though Black women aren't absent from the conversation altogether, we tend to be late to the party, notes "Married to Medicine's" Dr. Jackie Walters. We recently spoke with the OBYGN and asked her to give us five things we need to understand about Black women and fertility and she broke it all the way down for us, from our tendency to have fertility issues due to our weight and lack of an active lifestyle, to our hesitancy to follow through with doctor's appointments. Check out the video above and get educated.

Fried Eggs: Motherhood The Second Time Around Post-40

January 6th, 2015 - By Karen Taylor Bass
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Motherhood is the ultimate gift from the universe. The cycle of giving and nurturing life: having babies, loving babies, teaching babies and having them ultimately go off to school, get a job and move out. But what if the unthinkable happens? You realize that you are no longer an empty nester. Your eggs are still cooking and you are about to become a mom (again) in your 40s?

Meet Berenice Mabrey-Ojo, CEO of Precise Management, a Baltimore agency specializing in strategic marketing and sponsorship campaigns for corporate brands. Mabrey-Ojo looks like a supermodel: tall, beautiful and stylish, with an intoxicating smile. She has been married for 19 years (second marriage) with a couple of grown kids (ages 24 and 33) and is finally embracing motherhood the second time around. “Having a child in my 40s was unexpected. I can laugh now and say it was gift to my hubby. I love my baby. However, the newness of being a ‘seasoned’ mom wore off real fast. I had to accept that. I truly was in love with my old life and that was challenging to accept at first,” says Mabrey-Ojo.

Real Talk: How many of us can honestly say that motherhood is everything you thought it would be, especially when your career/brand is put on hold after having a child in your 40s the second time around?

Recently, I chatted with Mabrey-Ojo about getting back on track mentally, spiritually and professionally.

MadameNoire: How are you doing?
Berenice Mabrey-Ojo: I am doing much better. I am almost 50, my daughter is in the first grade and the anxiety is being kept at bay. In the beginning, I was so overwhelmed, I couldn’t breathe. My heart was constantly racing and I felt that I had lost control of my life.

MN: How did you press RESET?
BMO: I had to press stop. Stop beating up on myself, stop hiding my feelings and start communicating with my hubby that this was a challenging period and I needed all hands on deck.

MN: What are some of the lessons you learned to help get back on track?
BMO: This might sound corny but everything gets better with time. I love my baby, now little girl. She is a blessing but when the unexpected happens, you simply gotta put your trust and faith in God and ask for help.

MN: How did your business outlook change during the early stages of raising your daughter?
BMO: Great question. Taking the time off to raise my daughter the first few years allowed me to gain clarity, redefine my business model, research child-friendly brands and rewrite my personal goals. Prior to having Leila, I was traveling often, always rushing to an appointment, but now I utilize technology to interface with clients and work smarter to spend quality time with the family.

Berenice Mabrey-Ojo Tips To #RESET After A Surprise Pregnancy:

1) Take routine walks with the baby and breathe. Exercise and yoga will save you and reduce stress.

2) Daycare or a nanny is imperative, even if it’s just for two to three hours. Do something exclusively for you once a week.

3) Sleep every chance you get.

4) Make love to your husband and channel that inner sexy.

5) Join a support group­, ‘cause you are not alone.

6)  Wine. That’s good mommy medicine after the kids have gone to bed. No drinking and driving.

7) Pray and pray.

8)Enjoy your gift. Many people try to conceive each day.

Reset: Mothers are not perfect. We are all a work in progress, especially us career moms on hiatus. Just be honest with yourself and know that all will be okay.

 

Karen Taylor Bass, The PR Expert and Brand Mom, provides entrepreneurs, corporations and mompreneurs with essential branding, marketing and public relations coaching. Follow Karen @thebrandnewmom.

 

No Time Like Right Now: Why I’m Choosing Graduate School With Two Babies

January 5th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Busy/working business woman

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Life always has a funny way of presenting opportunities when you least expect them.

Last year was quite the memorable one in my household considering I had my first child in January, my husband and I moved our family cross country in May, and we found out we were expecting baby number two (coming in early June). I guess you can say we were very busy in 2014!

Life has since slowed down a bit with all of us falling into a groove. Things have been very great considering my husband and I both work from home and we’re able to balance work demands (I work for myself and he telecommutes) and parenthood. We have our health, our loving family and the financial capability to plan and invest for our future. Hey, you don’t have to be the Huxtables to make moves.

So what’s missing?

I have felt like a broken record these last few years because I have been dying to go to graduate school. You would think the timing would be better before popping out babies, but it actually wasn’t. There were too many things up in the air. I kinda gave up on my “dream” once my son was born because I knew I would be too focused on parenting to dedicate any time to school. Part of me also thought it was a bit selfish.

Well folks, it seems like an opportunity has presented itself that actually seems to fit in my puzzle of a life. Our new home is not too far from a major university that offers some of the most affordable in-state tuition prices I have seen. In doing the math, I would be able to take a graduate course once a semester and finish in three years — provided I also take a class during winter and summer sessions. The campus also happens to be close to an accredited learning center that has a Spanish immersion program that’s perfect for our sons (my husband and I are are about the bilingual life). It will be especially good for our toddler to spend time with other children twice a week as he’s home with us all the time. Thankfully this location caters to the needs of matriculating parents; they appear to work with different schedules so we don’t need full-time care.

In the grand scheme of things, this does sound crazy… but not impossible. I actually know of other mothers who were able to start a business and go back to school sometimes without the help of a spouse or partner. There will always be something that will scare you into a reason why you shouldn’t pursue your dreams. Sure it’s important to weigh all your options, but don’t wait for that “perfect” time. There’s no such thing.

With regards to my situation, finances are thankfully in order where we’re paying bills, saving for a house and investing in our children’s college future. Moving from the New York City area and to a location with a lower cost of living definitely helps. The degree I eventually obtain will come in handy as I would like to head back into an office once the kiddos start school and need an advanced degree to couple with my experience.

Have you ever considered doing something, but were too afraid the timing wasn’t right?

Difficult But Not Impossible: One Baby Here And Another On The Way

December 5th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Pregnant mom with child

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I always knew I wanted to have children close together, but didn’t think it would happen this quickly. This time last year, my husband and I were making last minute plans in anticipation of our son. The heavens must have opened because I had a very easy pregnancy with a healthy weight gain (just under 20 pounds), minimal nausea, the ability to continue with my workouts and a natural (med-free) childbirth. I jokingly told myself if pregnancy would be like this every time I would happily carry a child every year.

Well here I am a year later with a 10-month-old and a child on the way. I promise I’m not crazy!

If you speak to my husband, he would have liked to wait two years before going for the second child. But once our son started transitioning into the beginning stages of being a toddler, he didn’t think he would have the energy to push the reset button down the road. Thus, he was cool with waiting just a year.

Every parent knows a child takes work and energy. Our son reached milestones earlier than expected (began eating solids at three months and started walking at eight months) which was a “sign” to my mother another child would be in the cards. “He’s getting out of the way for the next one,” she said. Who believes old wives’ tales?

When reality set in I was pregnant again (our son was eight months old at the time), there were mixed emotions. The first was obviously joy. Children are a blessing. I love being a mother and am so thankful for the opportunity to be one.

Then the thought, “Holy crap we’re going to have two kids in diapers” began to settle in. Even though we both work from home (definitely great to save on daycare), could we handle a 16 month old and a newborn? Would it be too much? There was obviously no turning back. Our little bean is here to stay. The good news is we made a big move months ago to an area with a lower cost of living that will surely help our money stretch. Diapers are no joke!

I then started to think about all the positives of having children closer together in age. For starters, we have just about all of the items we need. Sure we’ll have to purchase new clothes if we have a girl, but we have many leftover goodies from our son we can put to good use. We started a 529 college savings plan for our son and will do the same for our baby on the way so their money can grow over the years. As much as handling a toddler and a newborn seems impossible, it is very doable.

While I can only imagine the craziness that will come with two little children running around my house, I know the bond they will develop is going to be worth it. I adore my little sister, but I wish we didn’t have 10 years between us. I have seen families with siblings close in age who later grow up to have their children (also close in age) play together.

In the end, the age difference between children will be up to the parents. There’s certainly nothing wrong with waiting several years before you pop out another one. For my husband and I, we wanted to strike while the iron was hot–and our bones less achy.