All Articles Tagged "pregnancy"

Should Women Talk About Their Miscarriages?

July 22nd, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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In the first episode of her show, “Living Lozada,” Evelyn Lozada announced, much to our surprise, that she was expecting another child.

Sadly, the exuberant feelings didn’t last too long, in the promo clip for the next episode, her doctor told her that her hormone levels were so low, they seemed to suggest that the pregnancy wouldn’t come to term.

Later, in an interview with People, Lozada confirmed that she did indeed have a miscarriage.

“When I went to my first appointment, everything looked great. My progesterone levels were good.

My hormone levels were dropping. My doctor said, ‘Let’s just see what happens and if anything changes.’ ”

 “At my next appointment, my ultrasound went from looking really perfect and beautiful to looking pear-shaped,” says Lozada. “You could just tell, it didn’t look normal.”

Sadly, the process wasn’t a smooth one.

“for me the most heartbreaking thing was knowing that it could take up to a day to maybe a week for it to happen,” says Lozada. “I became so obsessed with it. I kept taking pregnancy tests and one would come out positive, then one would come out negative. It was so hard not knowing when I’d lose the baby.”

The miscarriage finally happened during a photo shoot her family had scheduled to help her feel better.

“I had to stop the photo shoot and just lay down. It was hard.”

Though Evelyn had the love and support of her family, she said it was mostly an experience  she endured alone.

“You have a million and one questions in your mind as to what happened. You just feel responsible. It’s your body. It’s a loss that only you can relate to.”

Evelyn questioned everything, from the things she ate during her pregnancy to her age.

“It’s nothing that you ate, or did; it’s not your age. One out of all four to five pregnancies end in miscarriage,” she explains. “I have three girlfriends and it’s literally happened to each and every one of them.”

I responded to the news that Evelyn was pregnant with joy. Yet, others thought she was too old to be having more children. As someone who comes from a family where women have babies into their forties, I didn’t see an issue with it. Particularly, at a time in her life when Evelyn is not only in a seemingly more stable relationship but she’s in a better emotional and psychological space. A better adjusted mother is an asset to a child.

Plus, I thorough enjoy women over thirty giving birth to children, defying the notion that we all need to rush to have children before we’re all “dried”and”shriveled.” We all have a different story. And they don’t have to include a husband and baby before 30. There is life after 35. You can even produce it.

And like the news that she was pregnant, people are equally disappointed with Evelyn’s decision to share her miscarriage story, claiming that she was using the tragic event to further promote her show.

That’s a given. All reality stars are profiting off the stories of the lives, good, bad and ugly. While many are tripped up over the method, I think the message is a pretty necessary one.

Like Evelyn said,  many women have suffered from miscarriage and many of them needlessly blame themselves for the loss. There’s a certain level of shame many women feel about having lost a child, so they keep the traumatic nature of their experiences to themselves.

My mother who had at least two, possibly three miscarriages, before I, her first child was born, describes that own period in her life as rather dark. She spoke about hearing a ripping sound and realizing she’d lost a child, trying to collect and save one of the embryos and feeling like everyone around her had a baby.

I don’t say that to be morbid, though it is. I say that because it’s such a common occurrence and women need to know that there is hope after this.

And that’s the message Evelyn was trying to spread in sharing her story.

She concluded her story with People saying, “This was just another tragic incident in my life that I had to deal with. But I say God doesn’t make mistakes. Women just need to hold out hope.”

Evelyn is taking her own advice and is still optimistic about the prospect of having a child. “I’m not checking for when I’m ovulating or anything. I’m like look, I’m pushing 40. I’m going to be 50 with a 10-year-old! If it happens again, that will probably be my last.” 

Will Evelyn gain further exposure from this story. Of course. You’re reading about her right now. But I’m also sure her words will help someone who believes their suffering through this alone.

Tami Roman Talks Suffering Heart Attack, Concerns About Possible Pregnancy Complications

July 22nd, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Three years ago, reality television star Tami Roman revealed that she suffered a mild heart attack, which she says was partially due to poor dieting. The expectant mom recently opened up about the frightening experience, as well as other health issues she’s facing, to Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club.

“There are levels to heart attacks,” she explained to host Charlamagne. “I had a mini heart attack, and it was due to diet and smoking. I’m also diabetic.”

According to Roman, who experienced the cardiovascular attack at her home in Houston, Texas, the prior health conditions have her on high alert regarding her current pregnancy.

“These are all of the things that I’m worried about with this pregnancy; [I’m] just trying to do the right things.”

Despite her initial resistance to the idea of having a child with boyfriend Reggie Youngblood, 28, Roman says that the counseling offered by therapists Jim and Elizabeth Caroll during “Marriage Bootcamp: Reality Stars” taught her the importance of compromise.

“I never thought that I would have children again,” the 45-year-old explained. “But because he is 17 years younger, he’s never been married and never had children. What I learned on ‘Marriage Bootcamp’ was how to compromise in the relationship. So I decided to give him what he doesn’t have.”

We’re wishing this beauty a happy, healthy pregnancy.

Watch Tami’s full interview below.

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

Republicans Create Bill That Would Allow Employers To Fire Single Mothers

July 17th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Republican lawmakers are lobbying for a bill,the  First Amendment Defense Act, that “prohibits the federal government from taking discriminatory action against a person — which is defined to include for-profit corporations — acting in accordance with a religious belief that favors so-called traditional marriage. This means the feds can’t revoke a nonprofit’s tax-exempt status or end a company’s federal contract over this issue. The bill specifically protects those who believe that marriage is between “one man and one woman” or that “sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” The legislation comes on the heels of the United States Supreme Court deciding to lift its ban against same-sex marriage.

This bill sanctions employers to fire employees who are from the LGBTQ community, along with women who become pregnant out of wedlock. Though these cases seem extreme, there have been recent incidents that prove otherwise. A Montana Catholic school teacher was fired for having a baby out of wedlock. She filed a discrimination charge last year with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

According to Jezebel, this bill will also allow government-funded religious organizations (homeless shelters and drug treatment programs, for example) to turn away LGBTQ people from their facilities, refusing them the help they need.

During an interview with Senator Mike Lee from Utah, NPR asked him about religious universities firing unmarried female employees if they conceived but were not married. Senator Lee responded, “There are colleges and universities that have a religious belief that sexual relations are to be reserved for marriage…they ought to be protected in their religious freedom.”

The Hill reports thta the number of GOP co-sponsors for the bill is 115. Unfortunately, the legislation is gaining support and GOP leaders plan to vote on it this month.

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

July 11th, 2015 - By Toya Sharee
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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.

How Is Tami Roman Having A Baby At 45? The Secrets Behind Late Celebrity Pregnancies

June 29th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: WENN

Was anyone else shocked to hear 45-year-old Tami Roman’s pregnancy announcement on Love and Hip Hop Atlanta After Party Live? More and more celebrity moms are giving birth after 40 — but it’s not all natural. The secrets behind celebrity pregnancies after 40 might make you think twice about putting your biological clock on hold.

“Don’t You Already Have Three Kids?”: Waffle House Allegedly Fires Woman For Being Pregnant

June 16th, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Tabitha Handy claims that Waffle House was none too happy when she announced her pregnancy. “You’re pregnant again?” Handy alleges an upper management staff said, “Don’t you already have three kids?” Soon after, Handy was fired.

Handy is slapping Waffle House with a lawsuit, ThinkProgress reports, for discriminating against her for being a mother-to-be. “It hurt me and it was embarrassing. I felt ashamed and I felt like I did something wrong,” Handy told NBC 5 about the comments.

In her case against Waffle House, Handy claims she “assured this manager that her pregnancy would not hinder her performance.” But her promises fell upon deaf ears. “I was told that I would move too slow […] and can’t do the job” Handy said. Even though she received positive reviews for her work performance, she got the boot a short time later.

According to Handy, the manager Karen Whiting conjured up lies to justify her termination and said, “We don’t need you here at Waffle House anymore.”

“I would like to say this is some unique situation that we don’t see very often, but unfortunately, we have seen this by many employers,” said Robert Lee, Handy’s attorney.

Lee is right. Just a few weeks ago, a nonprofit organization was ordered to pay $75,000 in damages for their “no pregnancy” policy. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concluded that the policy was unlawful. Two cases, reported by ThinkProgess in March, also follow women being fired after announcing their pregnancy — one the women was reportedly left homeless after the dismissal.

As for Handy, she is suing Waffle House for $100,000 in lost wages and mental anguish.

“Don’t be afraid and don’t be ashamed,” Handy said, calling other pregnant women to speak up. “If you’re going through something like this, you hire an attorney and you fight back.”

NBC5 reached out to Waffle House for comment, but said they do not comment on pending litigation.

Whose side are you on?

“We Walk Every Step Of The Way With A Woman”: Doulas Share Their Stories

May 20th, 2015 - By Cynthia L. Dorsey
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The art of giving birth is a prominent part of womanhood. African and African-American history is rich in stories of women supporting one another during childbirth. From African villages all the way across the Atlantic to Southern plantations, childbirth has always been a time when women came together to support, encourage, and uplift one another in one of the most vulnerable but momentous occasions in a woman’s life. In many cases today, sharing in this memorable moment of labor with the mother and her family is a doula. Doulas serve as birth coaches who assist women during and after childbirth.

“Doula means ‘woman who serves,’” explains Dr. Mai Heath, ND. The 32-year-old naturopathic doctor has been a birth doula for three years. “During the relationship with the family I assist women before, during, and after labor to help ensure a safe, satisfying, and positive birth experience. It’s not about getting their ‘ideal’ birth, but about feeling like they are acting out of their power, making informed decisions, so that when they look back on the experience they feel satisfied and empowered. These are determinants for health, survival, attachment, and maternal mood.”

Dr. Heath says there is a big difference between a doula and a midwife.

“Midwives, like OB-GYNs, are focused on the medicalization of the birth process, the cervical os, the dilation, effacement, heart rate, and blood pressure. But a doula is focused on the whole transition for the mother and family,” Dr. Heath said. “We focus on the ritual of moving from woman to mother, wife to mother, mother of one to mother of two, etc. We walk every step of the way with a woman as she goes through the tunnel or portal into motherhood.”

Sunshine Cummings, 31, who began regularly attending births in the role of a doula in 2008, discusses the types of support she provides. “During birth, I support the mom with whatever physical needs she has and mostly provide comfort measures such as massage, applying hot/cold compresses, and head rubs.  I also provide emotional support in the form of encouraging words, assuring her that she can get through the birthing process and that her body is made to do it.  Whenever necessary, I act also as an advocate on her behalf to ensure her birth plan is respected by her caregivers.”

Dr. Heath continues the list of duties of a doula.

“I also use knowledge and experience as a woman, mother, naturopathic medical doctor, and doula to support the family on an emotional, physical, and informational level. I provide the options of relaxation techniques, meditation, visualization, massage, positioning, herbs, acupressure, acupuncture, and homeopathy when needed,” Dr. Heath said. “I also communicate, as needed, with caregivers to ensure laboring mothers have the information they require to make informed decisions, and I can provide suggestions for labor progression, comfort, and perspective to mother and her partner, if present. This is where the therapeutic relationship is key. You are a confidant. You are a constant for them to crash into as needed. Doulas also have a unique role in that we are an emotional support, but we have enough emotional distance from our clients so that we don’t crumble when we see them endure the things they must to bring forth their babies. Oftentime relatives have a hard time seeing their loved ones in such a state of surrender.”

Dr. Heath and Cummings are both mothers and reaped the benefits of having a doula by their side as they gave birth to their children. Cummings reminisces about what it felt like to switch roles from doula to expecting mother during labor.

“I had a doula when I gave birth to my deceased daughter in 2013, and also when I gave birth to my son earlier this year in February,” Cummings said. “Honestly, it didn’t really feel like switching roles necessarily, because in birth, when women are able to access the necessary energies required to birth a child, they are in a sense being their own midwife or doula throughout the process anyway.  It felt more like having someone there to remind me of my power and help me get through little bumps along the way when I felt like giving up.”

Dr. Heath concurs as having a doula during the birth of her children ignited her interest in becoming one.

“I had doulas at both of my births, and they proved to be invaluable support,” Dr. Heath said. “I didn’t even know what a doula was until five days before I gave birth to my firstborn. We had been living in Toronto for a year when our first child came. All of our family were in the States, and our firstborn came one month early at 36 weeks and two days. My mom hadn’t made it up from Atlanta yet. So my doula was an important part of my birth support team. That’s why I became a doula. I love reliving my birth stories, the good and bad, and doulas are certainly big parts of those stories.”

I haven’t yet had the honor of birthing a child, but I had the privilege of being in the birth room when my friend gave birth to her son. After being in labor for hours, the doctors finally decided to give her a cesarean section. As they were transitioning her from the hospital bed to the gurney to take her to the operating room, she had to use her legs to push herself up and out popped the baby’s head. After that experience, I researched childbirth practices around the world and found that in many countries in Africa, as well as in Australia, women give birth standing up to gain the momentum and energy from their legs. From my research, I have come to the conclusion that the hospitalized childbirth practices we’re accustomed to here in the States aren’t ideal. Having women lying on their backs in a submissive position prolongs labor and causes more cases of childbirth surgeries like C-sections. Both Cummings and Dr. Heath agree with this theory.

“Being on one’s back is a very submissive position to be in for an event in which you’re supposed to be an active participant,” Cummings said. “It makes absolutely no sense. I was blessed to have been able to birth in a kneeling squat. Pushing was a breeze as was labor because I had the help of gravity to get my son to descend through my birth canal.”

Dr. Heath says doulas also take on an advocacy role so that women know their birthing options and don’t feel railroaded into making one decision.

“Too often the birth experience is centered around the doctor when in fact it should be centered around the laboring woman,” Dr. Heath said. “She is put on her back so the doctor can have optimal view of the birth canal, not for mom or babe’s benefit. This is distressing. There is more than one way for a woman to give birth, and the birth support team should create an atmosphere where the woman is comfortable. When a woman is free to be in the birth room she can run the show, call the shots, and steer the ship quite effectively.”

Dr. Heath and Sunshine Cummings are continuing our African legacy as doulas. Cummings encourages women to look into having a doula and experiencing more natural forms of childbirth when the time comes.

“I highly recommend women not only go back to their roots and learn ways of birthing naturally, but also hire doulas to assist in their births.”

Check out Dr. Heath’s Birth Stories here. Follow her on Twitter @Mrs_MaiNDoula, and you can email her at MaiHeathND@gmail.com if you have questions. 

Check out Sunshine Cummings’s blog here. Follow her on Twitter @TheRealBossMom if you have questions. 

Say What Now? Woman Gets Pregnant From Anal Sex

May 19th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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In college, I had a friend who only had anal sex with men because she didn’t want to get pregnant. Unfortunately, Women’s Health Magazine just reminded my friend, along with many other women, that their logic is rather faulty because you can actually still get pregnant if you let your man enter your nether region.

Dr. Brian Steixner, a urologist from the Jersey Urology Group in Atlantic City told Women’s Health although there is a one in a million chance for a woman to become pregnant by anal sex, he witnessed it with his own eyes while in med school. A pregnant young woman apparently came to the emergency room one night because she was spotting. Although it is normal for women to have vaginal spotting  during their pregnancy, this particular woman was spotting from her rectum. She was born with cloacal malformation, a condition in which you are born without a urethra, vagina and anus and therefore only have one hole, named the cloaca. The condition is rare and usually corrected at birth, however, this particular patient either did not have a successful surgery to separate the three regions or in response to the surgery, her body created a fistula. The latter causes a woman’s uterus to be fused with her rectum. Therefore, every month the patient’s menstrual cycle comes from her anal region because her vaginal canal is not connected to her uterus.

In a conversation with the patient, Dr. Steixner learned the woman had anal sex prior to getting pregnant, which explained the occasional spotting from her rectum. Nine months later she had a C-section (since doctors didn’t think it would be safe for her to give birth naturally) and she had a healthy baby. Dr. Steixner believes if the patient had a successful surgery as an infant to correct her cloacal malformation, she would not have been able to conceive her child through anal sex.

He said of the operation: “Building the walls to separate the three passages [the urethra, vagina, and rectum] is delicate work. The longer the walls need to be built, the closer surgeons get to the urethral and anal sphincters. Some women suffer from leakage of urine and stool their entire lives. It’s a huge psychological and quality of life issue.”

Although women who’ve had cloacal repairs may not have internal organs that function perfectly, physically they look normal. This interesting health issue gives truth to the notion, no two vaginas are alike. For more medical insight on cloacal malformations, read Dr. Griffin’s column here.

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.

How My Pregnancy Kept Me Out Of Trouble

April 30th, 2015 - By Kendra Koger
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How My Pregnancy Kept Me Out Of Trouble

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It always catches me off guard when people remark, with some astonishment, that they can’t believe I grew up in an environment with mostly women and managed to have very little drama.

My father was the only male in a house full of women. (Four daughters, a wife, and my aunt who moved in with us when she was about 13 until she went off to college and grad school).  I thought it was a relatively normal environment to grow up in; but when people (usually girls) would say, “Nuh-uhn, all those females?!  I couldn’t take it!” I began to think that maybe it wasn’t as normal as I thought.

I realized that the reason why a house full of women was never a big deal for me was because of the mindset that my father instilled in us. He always told us that we were family and at the end of the day we needed to always be there for each other.  Growing up with this in my mind helped me to deal with any sense of competition and jealousy and helped us each to develop a sense of camaraderie.

That eventually translated into my everyday life.  So I don’t understand women who can’t have female friends. There are already too many things playing against women in this world for us to be fighting each other.  If, for no other reason, we need to help build each other up instead of tearing each other down.

So that’s how I try to live my life, but there was a time where even I struggled because this chick… was trying me.

A few months after my (ex)husband and I started dating, I became acquainted with a woman named Amanda.*

When I first met her, before he and I started dating, she was rude. However, I shrugged it off because life is too short to try to make someone like you. But once he and I became more serious, she was around, and she was just… so… extra.  I’d never seen anything like it before in my life, but I was committed to ignoring it.

After I became pregnant and we married, I guess I just assumed that her negativity would stop. It didn’t. In fact, she just continued to go even harder.  She would text my ex-husband about how much weight I was putting on (she didn’t know I was pregnant then), asking what he even saw in me, and I was just irritated.

One night while we were driving, he told me that the reason she was probably so aggressive with the both of us was because he was “talking” to her before I came along.

All of a sudden, things clicked, and my father’s words came back into my mind.  I told my guy that I wanted to apologize to her because, as a woman, I’ve been in her shoes before.  I’ve been with a guy once before who I was “talking” to. I was thinking it was leading to something, and then all of a sudden I saw him holding hands with his “girlfriend” without a single notice. I wanted to let Amanda know that I empathized with her, and never wanted to rub our relationship in her face. Maybe we could have a clean slate.  However, my guy begged me not to because, “It’s my role to talk to her.  Don’t get in the middle of it.”

“Well, are you going to talk to her?” I asked.

“No.”

*Eye roll*

So the next day, while interacting with her, I saw her in a new light. But as I tried to give her an encouraging “We-Are-Women” smile, she not only continued to be the most irritating person I’ve ever had to endure, she seemed to get worse.  It was almost as if she was getting joy from any type of pain she could inflict on me, my feelings, and my relationship.

After a while, the new light I saw her in not only dimmed, but turned into a haze of anger. I thought to myself, I’m trying to be sympathetic to this girl about her feelings, and she’s going to continue to disregard mine?!  I mean, all the time I felt guilty about her heartbreak and any way that I may have made her question herself, but she just CONTINUES to act crazy!  And if she sends one more text to him talking about my fat thighs…

But things changed when I had my first ultrasound and the little baby, who is now my adorable four-year-old, started kicking her legs. It brought everything back full circle for me.

At that moment, it wasn’t my duty to protect Amanda’s feelings and it wasn’t my duty to be indignant.  It was my duty to protect my child because I knew that at the end of the day, whatever I felt, my child felt. It was up to me to make sure that her environment was one of peace as she didn’t deserve to have her health compromised just because mommy couldn’t keep her cool.

After a while, I stopped crossing paths with Amanda.  However, as I raise my daughter with the same knowledge that my parents raised me with, I try to instill in her that self-preservation is the greatest strength she can hold.

Even though a few years have passed, I recently reached out to Amanda to give her not just the apology that I wanted to offer long ago, but to add to it now.  I wanted to tell her that not only did I understand her behavior, but I no longer held it against her.  I also wanted to let her know that in this world there seem to be forces trying keep Black women at odds, especially along shade lines. I wanted to let her know that if she ever needed something that I was capable of helping her with, I would.  My father always said, “We have bigger things to worry about than each other,” and that’s an example that I’m trying to set for my daughter.

Amanda never responded.