All Articles Tagged "motherhood"
Whatever you think you know about life and the world is challenged the moment you introduce a new variable. For most parents, it’s the birth of your first child that let’s you know that the way you viewed the world might not have been as clear as you thought it was. Things you know about life, your parents, society and yourself will begin to become clear.
So to all of you parent readers, potential parents, and others who are slightly curious, here are 14 (kind of harsh) revelations that come the moment the doctor hands you your bundle.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my pregnancy experience it’s that everyone has their own journey. It’s great to get pointers from other mothers on what to expect and how things will go, but in the end your body is going to do what your body will do. It’s been five months since I had my first child, a son, and, thankfully, I was able to remain active on the exercise front throughout the entire pregnancy, and give birth without meds after being in the hospital for seven hours.
The pregnancy and birthing experience was similar to what some of my girlfriends told me I could expect, but one area that didn’t pan out quite how I thought was my desire for sex. Now let me preface this by saying I don’t have the sex drive and sadly – for my husband at least — did not experience the increased libido I’ve heard other pregnant ladies brag about. My husband and I had sex throughout the entire pregnancy but we weren’t hanging from chandeliers or anything — not that I could. What’s funny is how many sexual dreams I began to have after my pregnancy that made me feel like a teenager. “Why on Earth was I thinking about bumpin’ and grindin’ when I have a child?” I thought. “I just gave birth!”
Even though I was back in the gym within a few weeks of giving birth, I made the decision to wait the full six to eight weeks before I could open up my stairway to heaven below. Regardless of your pregnancy experience, if you delivered vaginally then you know how sore your lady part gets – and how long it feels sore. God bless my husband for being patient (what else could he do), but I surely did play double dutch with my emotions. One day I was ready to give sex a try only to take it back out of fear.
I’m not gonna lie, the first time after giving birth felt like the first time ever. I was awkward and very fearful that I was going to rip something – even though my stitches had already dissolved. After the second time I felt a bit silly. “What am I doing?” I said to myself. “No man part is going to break my sweet Nancy.” And then it dawned on me, I just gave birth, got my snatch back within three weeks and proudly joined the mother’s club. What do I have to be fearful of? If men think there’s something sexy about a pregnant woman then us ladies need to think there’s something even hotter about a mother who gave birth. Our bodies change, we get more curves, and we are now in charge of this little blessing of life.
From then on I started to think about myself in a new light – one with self-confidence and awareness. Damnit I looked good for being someone’s mother and didn’t need to wear a MILF t-shirt to show it. It was this confidence that made love making with my husband all the more special. I switched up my intimate apparel, made sure to stay fresh and ready by way of Vagisil’s Moisturizing Wash, and became this new woman around my husband. He was shocked when I would prance around him and give him a peep show once our son was sleep. Granted I didn’t do it all the time because we were both tired from waking up at night, but there was this vixen I felt needed to get out.
We had midday meetings where we didn’t make it to the bedroom and took each other in the hallway. If I heard a sensual song I would save it on my phone and add it to my “lovemaking soundtrack.” Child I even invented characters like Keisha from the South (random I know) who would twerk and ride if you know what I mean.
I reclaimed my sexual empowerment not because my husband was a good man and stuck it out, but because I deserved loving too. Our love life since the birth of our son has been wilder, more random and freakier than before. I see why Beyoncé made a grown woman’s album!
REGISTER TO RECEIVE A FREE VAGISIL MOISTURE KIT HERE
By Nicole Weaver and Michelle Toglia
There are so many arguments for and against breastfeeding. And the controversy surrounding it (and doing it in public) is constantly in the news, whether it’s Facebook figuring out its stance on the topic or a celebrity mom posting a special, proud moment with her child on Instagram.
There are also a lot of myths out there circling the act. There’s no doubt a great bonding experience that you can share with your baby but what about the bizarre stuff that no one ever tells you?
Well luckily, we gathered some of the stranger facts about breastfeeding that will definitely amaze you.
1. The Taste Of Breast Milk Is Never Boring
You would imagine that someone would get tired of having the same thing to drink morning, noon, and night but according to Women’s Health, your breast milk can taste different according to what you eat. This is a great way for nature to help prepare your baby to get used to the taste of solid foods.
2. Your Breasts Provide “Liquid Gold” For The First Few Days.
After giving birth, your breasts provide yellowish liquid also known as colostrum, or liquid gold. According to Women’s Health, it’s packed with so many nutrients like calcium, potassium, proteins, minerals and antibodies. It’s also filling.
3. Breast Milk Has Healing Power.
You might have heard this before but were skeptical about the truthfulness of this statement, but it’s the real deal. According to Pregnancy Info, breast milk can heal minor injuries like conjunctivitis or “Pink eye,” ear infections, scratches, cuts and sore nipples. Who knew?That will save you a visit to the first aid aisle for quite some time.
Read more on YourTango.com.
Welcome to our weekly column, Reset. Written by Karen Taylor Bass, this column, published each Tuesday, is about life lessons learned and mastered mentally, spiritually, and physically and how they contribute to a successful life and career.
How many of you dislike fake folk who talk up experiences in ways that seem unrealistic? What about the celebrities you admire talking how motherhood is amazing and perfect? Then you realize they are eating baby food to stay slim and have an around-the-clock nanny because they can’t deal.
I love Jill Scott because she is absolutely raw and naked — unafraid to talk life challenges, regardless of the forum and outcome. Motherhood is not about comparing yourself to the next mother. It’s about realizing that life happens so you deal with it the best way you know how by pressing reset every once in a while.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Jill Scott for my book The Brand New Mommy: From Babies To Branding To Bliss about her take on motherhood and why it’s necessary that women portray the real deal, raw, and unfiltered as it relates to birthing ‘dem babies from branding to bliss.
Here’s an excerpt of our conversation from the below:
How was your experience when you were pregnant with Jett?
Jill Scott: When I was pregnant, I heard only beautiful stories about being a mother; the tender moments, little sweet fingers, softness. I so wanted a child and this little person inside me, was my very own miracle. I was excited, happily fat and full of dreams. I imagined nursing my baby while wind chimes clinked outside. I would glow and feel beautiful. My mother would help me. My grandmother would school me, friends would be on deck to support me and my child’s father/my husband would bring me tea and love us both. This would not be my reality.
Why do you think motherhood was initially challenging for you?
JS: In actuality, my mother was across the country caring for my sweet grandma Blue. My friends were busy with full, demanding lives and my son’s father, well… we could hardly bare breathing in the same room. After 36 hours of labor and a vaginal birth, I was sore, exhausted, hormonally unbalanced, emotionally taxed and deeply afraid to be alone. I never felt more alone in my life.
What do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions about motherhood?
JS: Breastfeeding and how easy it is. Ha! I tried to breastfeed. A lactation consultant came. I tried. Every 15 minutes he screamed. I was going crazy; my poor little person. I had no choice but to supplement. I felt like sh*t. Nothing was like I thought. Absolutely nothing.
When did you realize you had to press RESET?
JS: I allowed life and everything to get to me. My mom was far, my grandmother (and best friend) was dying, and the friendship with my son’s dad had disintegrated and I wasn’t prepared for the sad me. I’ve always been moderately positive and always counted the good/bad and prayed for the good things to come. Who was this insanely emotional replica? What had motherhood done to me? I tried to rationalize and knew that I had a lot to be thankful for and I needed help.
How did you press RESET?
JS: I looked at my poor little baby and thought, “I’m already failing you.” My ego and my spirit were puddles under the floor. I just wanted to be a great mother but I wasn’t doing too well. I wasn’t feeling too good either AND I was wallowing in it. It felt like I was dying. I know it sounds extreme but that is truly how I felt.
I had to choose my child. I got up, put that baby in the little lamb singing chair thingy and asked myself what was really really wrong. OK so he didn’t breast feed, I thought, but he’s alive ain’t he? And maybe his father and I didn’t make it to forever, but we made a beautiful, healthy boy and he’s alive ain’t he? Shoooot maybe my friends couldn’t drop their lives. Who the hell was I to ask them to anyway? I was being a punk. I took a long look in the mirror at the new mother I saw and quietly screamed, “Stop bitching and focus.”
While my baby slept, I cried one more “good” cry. I felt better. I needed rest. I asked friends who loved us to come anytime they could, for an hour, so I could sleep. They did. I felt better. I hired a loving, mature, woman with three adult children, a southern background and the skin the color of rich fertile soil to be OUR nanny. She gave me breaks and a chance to heal. The crying nights became easier. My patience blossomed. I discovered my Jett was lactose intolerant. OH I changed his formula. We felt better. I befriended a trainer (Scott P). I kick boxed through massive depression and aggression. My ex-fiancé and I communicated (kinda). I went back into the studio. It was cathartic. I could see myself finding a rhythm. I was nurturing to my child, patient with us both. Life got better.
Jill Scott’s RESET (in her words):
I’ve learned that
Motherhood is the most demanding job created.
Motherhood is not a dream or a fable etched in the mind.
Nothing is simple when you love someone this much. Nothing is neat when you’re this needed
Life doesn’t stop because you’ve given birth.
A new life begins and you own it and make it yours.
Karen Taylor Bass loves to share interesting and motivational stories about women pressing reset on their terms. Follow Karen @thebrandnewmom
If it always seems like pregnancies among your social circles come back to back or in multiples, a new study suggests that it’s not all in your head. According to the study, young women whose high school friends have bore children are more likely to join the mommy club shortly after. Researchers note that they noticed the trend in young women in the United States who planned their pregnancies. However, the baby-making decisions of friends showed no direct impact on unplanned pregnancies.
“In our study we focus on high school friends because the later a friendship is formed, the more likely it is that the individual chooses the friends on common future family plans or common family orientations,” Nicoletta Balbo, a researcher at the Carlo F. Dondena Center for Research on Social Dynamics at Bocconi University in Italy told Reuters Health.
The study followed 1,170 of women beginning in the 1990s when they were adolescents. The participants were interviewed several times over the years. Out of the 1,170 participants, 820 became pregnant during the study. According to what the women revealed during interviews, approximately half of the pregnancies were planned, while the other half were not. The study revealed that after one friend in each pair had a baby, the likelihood of that other friend having a baby went up for nearly two years, the declined.
According to Balbo, who coauthored the study with Nicola Barban, a sociologist at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, there are three ways in which a friend may influence another friend’s decision to have a child.
“The first mechanism that might be at play is the so-called social influence,” she said. “We all compare ourselves to our friends and being surrounded by friends who are parents makes us feel pressure to conform to parental status as well.”
The second mechanism is social learning, says Balbo.
“Friends are an important learning source,” she explained. “Becoming a parent is a radical change in an individual’s or a couple’s life, and by observing our friends, we can learn how to fulfill this new role and therefore be more willing to become parents.”
Lastly, Balbo says having children at the same time as a friend can prove to be less stressful and more cost-effective.
“For example, we can share the childbearing experience and thus reduce the stresses and costs associated with pregnancy and child rearing,” she said. “In contrast, being the only childless couple within a group of friends who have children can lead to isolation.”
Researchers note that the association between friends and childbearing was only studied in first-borns and not subsequent births.
So after turning forty last spring and considering, I am single, childless and still searching for the American Dream, I embraced my newly minted status without having a major breakdown. That came much later.
When my day arrived, I did a mental tally of the positive things that made my life worth celebrating; Despite my lack of a trust fund or socialite status, I had managed to last 16 years in NYC, my recent physical exam had revealed that I was in excellent health, and I was still being told that I looked much younger than my age. I figured those three main highlights were reason enough to pop the cork and paint the town red with the a little help from my friends.
But my family and some of my close friends were quite concerned that I was perhaps pretending to be happy and content because in their eyes, turning forty for me was almost like a nail in the coffin. There were expectations that needed to be met and I had failed to meet them so how could I accept my fate so complacently?
The major category of interest is the marriage and family section, which has always been a tricky territory for me. Coming from a Nigerian background, after the age of 30, you are seen as some kind of a curse to your parents if you are an unmarried female. It’s even worse when you are the firstborn child and only daughter because all your mother’s hopes for grandchildren are dependant on you. You are her only access to experiencing the complete joy of being a grandmother without much interference.
My younger brother thankfully tied the knot a couple of years ago and diligently produced the first grandchild but despite this welcomed blessing, my mother still took every opportunity to remind me that I wasn’t off the hook. My brother’s daughter brought them a lot of joy but they would never be truly fulfilled until I had my firstborn.
When I was in my early thirties, my parents started to panic, it was almost as if they sensed the danger ahead, so they worked overtime to try to pair me with men who were based in Nigeria from good stock. Just like the British, who colonized us, we were reared in a classist society and so I wasn’t going to just end up with any man on my parents watch. I appreciated the efforts being invested on my behalf but it was pretty challenging trying to date guys who were literally on the other side of the equator. Coincidently enough I wasn’t having much luck at home either, with the emergence of online dating and speed dating, I sort of got lost in a whirlwind of options and unavailable men.
But don’t get me wrong, I am a hopeless romantic and always envisioned myself finding my mate and settling down with a couple of kids and a golden retriever. My name means “Good Mother” in the Igbo language so basically my destiny was sealed at birth. I had the best mother any girl could ask for and I have always hoped for the opportunity to pass on the torch to my own children. And most importantly, I can’t imagine anything more inspiring than watching your parents suffocate your kids with love and adoration. It’s definitely a right of passage and signals a comfortable continuance that every family strives for.
I am consistently tormented by the idea that I may never be a mother and as my parents’ age, and the gravity of my situation sinks in because I realize that time is no longer my side.
But I haven’t completely given up hope, neither am I paralyzed by the idea of being motherless. I still believe that I can possibly give birth to my love child in the next two years. But some of my friends and a handful of acquaintances are ready to throw in the towel on my behalf. Lately, whenever the subject of marriage and kids come up, I have been consoled with a standard declaration – “You probably won’t have any kids. But that’s okay.” It’s somewhat alarming and invasive to have someone decide your fate with such finality as if they are the masters of your universe.
How do they know that I am okay with the notion that I probably won’t have any kids and why do they feel the need to convey such a loaded sentiment with such ease as if I am devoid of any level of sensitivity?
I have perfected my immediate response – ‘Thanks for sharing, but I will most likely have a child. And that’s a fact!”
Monday’s Madame: Rachel Miller-Bradshaw
Why She Inspires Us:
Rachel Miller-Bradshaw has often noted: “In my neighborhood and in encounters with many black women from various walks of life, I realize the common denominator was that many could call themselves ‘mothers’ but not ‘wives.’” This perspective hit close to home for Miller-Bradshaw whose father was more absent than present after her parents divorced. Originally from Harlem, NY, Miller-Bradshaw fell in love with film as a teen and eventually merged her passion for social advocacy and television producing to create Little Harriet Productions, a production company that vows to create appealing visual content to spark conversation within African American communities. Since the company’s creation, Miller-Bradshaw’s produced her first documentary, On My Own, which explores the overwhelming trend of single motherhood in America. Rachel hopes to inspire black families to revisit family values and practices that advanced communities at the turn of the 20th century, believing the black community’s tolerance regarding single-motherhood needs to be eliminated. “It is my hope this documentary will reverse the issue plaguing the community for quite some time,” she says.
Facebook: Little Harriet Productions
Monday’s Madame is a column on MadameNoire that highlights inspirational women who are doing great things in black communities around the world. If you would like to submit an inspirational woman for consideration, please send her name, age, location, photo, and a blurb about the work she’s doing to email@example.com.
Welcome to our column, Reset. Written by Karen Taylor Bass, this column, published each Tuesday, is about life lessons learned and mastered mentally, spiritually, and physically and how they contribute to a successful life and career.
As I get older, I sincerely believe more and more the old adage that everything and everyone has a season. Nothing underscores that more than motherhood and friendship.
Six years ago, I had a falling out with a dear friend and it hurt like a man stole my money and left me for dead. It was hard to comprehend the end of a friendship – a season; all I knew was my heart was broken. My bestie and I had shared everything until I became a mom. We exchanged heated words about my new found flaky behavior when it came to hanging out: hurtful things said, and at that moment I felt like I would never get over the loss of my friendship. Guess what? I did.
Friendships change simply because your needs have changed – it’s not your fault, just life. When a mom talks about fatigue, lack of sex, career drama and shuttling kids back and forth to swim meets, moms get it (instantly). As a mom, you understand that when you make plans to hang out with your girlfriends, the likelihood of that happening is slim to none because of the variables. Babysitting, stomachache, fatigue, and car problems. And if you’ve got a side gig going, or if you’re still trying to climb that professional ladder even with all of your family responsibilities, there are just never enough hours in the day. You become that person who pops up on the Facebook newsfeed once in a while to many of the people you used to hang out with regularly. Friends without children can be judgmental and classify you as flaky because they don’t understand that “your” schedule is no longer that.
This past Saturday, I went to the movies with my Mocha Moms, a support group for mothers of color. It was just moms, savoring a few hours of leaving the house and being called by our first names – “Karen,” “Khadija,” “Shannon,” “Christine,” “Cheryl” and “Diane” – simply a person and not so and so mom.
The days of having a carefree schedule is simply a notion for now; life is filled with the PTA, after-school activities, life issues, and the ultimate hustle to get some “me” time. Although friends will change with motherhood, having a supportive group of mothers and sisters (now) that understand authentically the chaotic world of motherhood from the joy, drama, stress, love, struggle, reinvention and excitement is pure bliss.
Motherhood Reset: Remember, your friendships will change with motherhood, however, it does get better when you find the right circle that fits like a good bra.
How have your friendships changed with motherhood?
Follow me @thebrandnewmom
On February 14 my husband, James, and I welcomed our little girl, Anna James (AJ), to our family. I had lost my uterus to fibroids five years earlier, so we turned to surrogacy as a way to have our own biological child. We were already raising Parker, our spirited 12-year-old daughter from my previous marriage, and with AJ’s arrival I became a 40-year-old mom of a new-born and a tween.
The idea of balancing two children with a 12-year age gap between them, a still-young marriage and two full-time jobs (my self-titled MSNBC show in New York City and a Tulane University professorship in New Orleans) had me panicked that first night in the hospital.
But my anxiety transformed into deep sadness the next day, when, after 30 hours of deliberation, a Florida jury returned a verdict in the case of the death of Jordan Davis. The jurors found 47-year-old Michael Dunn guilty on three counts of attempted second-degree murder for shooting into an SUV full of African-American teenagers. During a dispute with the teens about loud hip-hop music at a gas station, Dunn fired ten bullets into their vehicle, killing 17-year-old Davis, who was sitting in the backseat. On the charge of first-degree murder, which was tied directly to Davis’s death, the jury was hung. Finding Dunn guilty on the attempted murder counts means that it’s likely he will spend decades in prison, but like many others who followed this case closely, I had lingering angst that Davis’s killing would not be legally recognized as murder.
I met Davis’s mother, Lucia McBath, when she appeared on my show last August. She joined me on the same day I hosted Sybrina Fulton, the mother of murdered teen Trayvon Martin, and Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of Mississippi civil rights leader Medgar Evers. I was struck by the reality that the father of Evers-Williams’s children was ripped from them by an assassin 50 years earlier, the killer of Fulton’s son was set free by another Florida jury the month before our taping and McBath was still waiting to learn if her slain son would receive justice. These women had all experienced unspeakable suffering, but were still compelled to bear witness to their tragedies.
Read more about Melissa Harris Perry’s motherhood journey at EurWeb.com
Can we pause for a moment and just point out how adorable Ciara looks as she approaches her due date? So cute!
Over the weekend, Wonderwall caught up with the expectant mother at the Safe Kids Day celebration in Los Angeles and the singer dished on all things mommy-to-be, including some surprisingly good motherly advice she received from Kim Kardashian. According to Ciara:
“One thing [Kim] said that I believe is so true is that you kind of create your own system [of parenting] that works for you. There are things I can’t talk about — like breastfeeding … But she showed me how [the stroller I love] moves and how it works. We’ve had really fun moments like that.”
Considering Ciara’s baby will only be a year younger than Kim and Kanye’s daughter North West, many are already expecting their kids to be BFFs like their moms. To that Ciara responded:
“We haven’t talked about play dates, but we’ve talked about when my baby comes and the fun we can have [together] as moms.”
Luckily, Ciara’s already having quite a bit of fun as an expectant mother, telling Wonderwall: “What has been fun at times is feeling my baby randomly kick. I’ll just be sitting there and I don’t know how or when the kicks are going to come. It’s a crazy but sweet feeling.”
Since we know it takes two to Tango, Wonderwall made sure to ask Ciara how Future’s feeling about their little one as they start the countdown to his arrival. According to the “Body Party” singer:
“He’s been so sweet. I think sometimes I drive him crazy, but it’s been really cool. We found a good balance so I’m enjoying it.”
Sounds like these two are on the right track. We can’t wait to see their little one when he (or she) arrives!