Don’t Pay to Play

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When Cadden was born.. I had this fantasy of doing mommy and me classes with him… that I would be that perfect mom. We would do mommy and me yoga, mommy and me music, mommy and me wine …. what ever came up we would do, and we did. Well we didn’t do mommy and me wine because there is no such thing yet ( great business opportunity).

We did it all.. I for one time was the “perfect” mom.

Lyam then  was born … and again we just added him into the mix. We did less classes but still it worked out.

Then I was pregnant with Eli.

The last class we did then was a yoga class… it wasn’t a mommy and me class it was donation based. The class went somewhat like this:

Teacher: “Lets all get into downward dog pose.”

Cadden: ( who gets in pose) “Mommy I just farted”

Lyam: ( looking around helplessly) “mommy where’s akila?” ( then bending over to look in my face, as if I would answer his question faster if he asked face level)

Me: ( breathe, breath this will be over soon right?)

………

Teacher: child pose, breath in and let go of distractions.

Cadden: ( does pose) “mommy I farted again”

Lyam: ( Climbs on top of me )

Me: ( for the love of god, how can one let go of their stress if it’s on top of you? My belly is not liking this)

……………

End of class

Teacher: “Now lets lay on our backs and relax”

Cadden: ( gets in my face to have a conversation)

Lyam: ( gets in my face to repeat every damn word cadden is saying)

Me: (get me the hell out of here.)

Lets say after that hour class … we never did another class again…

until the other day.

Now background context… I went in for a weight check for Eli… ( the only mommy and me activity) and saw the poster for baby music classes 9 bucks… ok cool. I asked the woman there if all my kids could come… she said yes. Now I was some how thinking this was a drop off music class that I would be able to drop off all the crumb grabbers and leave for an hour.

I was in heaven just thinking about it.

Class day comes. We arrive late.. get directed to the class room I open door and there are all these moms with their babies.

I panic.

Now the teacher must have realized I was panicking she welcomes me in and asks me to join my kids on the floor.

SHE ASKED ME TO JOIN MY KIDS.

I really didn’t want to join them.. I wanted to leave.. I wanted freedom.

Yet I listened and joined my kids on the floor.

She began to sing… and hand the boys bells and birds.

(what do birds have to do with music?)

Cadden takes the bells .. you can tell my mommy and me classes with him paid off.. he joins right in singing about birds and horses and what ever the heck other animals.

Lyam well he is hesitant. The teacher notices and asks him to help sing.. his answer “No” in fact he said no to everything she asked of him. (that’s my boy)

Eli.. well he looked .. then his bottom lip quivered and he cried. After a quick nursing session he looked at everyone in the class like what am I doing here.

Me: ” hello, hello hello, Eli, eli , o ….” ( wait why I am i singing this? Why are we adding O’s to everyone’s name? why is she pulling out a parachute? Why am I still here?)

Looking around at the moms in this class they all look fresh, just the one child who is not yet running, climbing out the roof of cars, fighting. like no worries in the world.

I on the other hand had to proactively ask the teacher to give the boys their own bells or world war three would unfold in front of our eyes.

I sat in that class thinking “I just gave this business money to play with my kids…. I seriously just paid to play with them”.

 

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 Lesson learned: next time give the kids pots and pans and sit with a glass of wine … at home.

 

Oh and if you do you know of a mommy and me wine class …. Let me know.

Let It Go

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I never really got into the whole Frozen crazy for the following reasons:

1. Complaints from other parents whose kids got sucked in and the million times they had watch it.

2. The boys already speak ninja turtle ( they declared this) so don’t need to go adding another language in and confuse them.

3. Any movie that has you publicly declaring that you want to kill the characters cannot be possibly ok for my well being. Click below if you have no idea what I am talking about.

Kill Elsa

So never really paid attention to the anthem of this movie… Well until two awesome kiddos Vi, and Alanya introduced me to it…. In which we watched it twice … And sang with it twice, and danced with it twice ….. Though it really wasn’t that bad…

The “Let it Go” song though does have a pretty good meaning behind it when you can listen to it without a child in the forefront singing along.

Letting it go is what I have had to learn the past few weeks with adding a third boy in the mix. Things have been crazy and chaotic. Though apparently on the outside I must not be showing it, seeing the past two Sundays at church a few people have commented on how I am well put together and so calm lugging three boys along. Let’s make this clear now…

I AM NOT

In fact the moments that this has been said, the boys are usually on the church floor fighting in a corner somewhere, or on their worse days in the middle of the floor with a sea of members walking around them commenting on how cute they are.

Them being “cute” is how they have survived this far… And even then it’s not enough pay.

Even Eli who has only been here for 6 weeks, has coughed and choked upon hearing the compliments. Granted he was nursing and may have swallowed wrong… But who cares about the details?

I am far from having things together…

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See that there… That’s not having it together that’s called “when I thought my three year old was sleeping, calls me to come look at what he did and having no words upon seeing this hell of a mess other than the many swear words that went through my head along with thinking spankings really aren’t that bad…”

Breath…..breath…..

I did eventually let that go. In fact I have found going for two to three even more so with boys, I have to let things go.

From the burps, weird noises, wrestling in public places, farts and excitement over poop… Just letting it all go.

The biggest test this week… Eli going to a sitter.

Six weeks have past since this child has exited me.. and now working he will have to be with a sitter for a few hours during the week.

Now granted I am blessed to not have to let him go full time… But his first day yesterday with my crying you would have thought so.

Eli’s day:

Headed out the car to head to sitters- I cried

Car ride to sitters – I cried, and explained to him I love him… As he slept and had no idea what the fuss was about

Get to the sitter- I didn’t cry… But explained everything in his back pack as if for some reason she couldn’t figure out what extra outfits, diapers and paci’s were. She thank god was patient.

Drive to work: yup you guessed it I cried more.

Yet guess what:

He survived, I survived

So I may have been a bit dramatic.

You would think as him being the third I would be fine, yet I wasn’t. Days leading up to his first day I had conversations with friends about the disservice, I thought I was doing to him. That I had stayed home with Cadden and Lyam for three years and some how I felt like I wasn’t good enough as a mom leaving him with someone else.

Yet the great thing about friends… They are there to reassure you, even when you doubt yourself.

So from here on out … No more crying on the way to the sitter.

Letting it go….

Though I can’t let it all go in the end … Because I still need a reason for wine in the evening

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African American midwifery – Omited from studies.. Something Needs to Change.

To whom it concerns:

Black history month has come and passed and within the birth world that I am deeply involved in, I have come to learn that February will probably be the only month I hear about the rich history of African-American Midwives. Then usually Midwifery Organizations will usually close those gates of knowledge for the next 11 months and their social media sites will then again plaster the photos of women who are not of color having their perfect home birth. In the midst of those pictures and great stories may come up the fact that black women and their babies are not faring so well when it comes to birth. Yet that is soon forgotten when an article comes out titled “Home Births Rising Among White Women, Report Says”. Who would ever use that as a title I have no idea, yet I will admit they did a great job at grabbing the attention of readers. Yet it also reminded me of what I have stated before “the natural birth movement leaves women of color behind way behind”

I stand by this statement even more so when the article “Childbirth Abolitionists”  written by Jan Tritten who is the mother of Midwifery Today. The article shows how disconnected she is from the black community and yet how scary it is that this midwife thought this article was brilliant. Yes, she may have said sorry after being called out. Though the fact that she published the article leaves me to think that she really thought it would have been this thought-provoking piece, which was going to somehow change the birth worlds thinking. It left me feeling numb. Numb because I no longer have feelings to give and put out there when I see things like this written by people who claim to care. That part of my heart has frozen over and fallen off. You can only scream “my race does not need saving or a pity party” so many times at a computer screen. You can only argue on how forming a group for birth workers of color is not racist and sure as hell isn’t excluding anyone that we just want a safe space to talk. After a while you just aren’t surprised any more.

Yet this letter wasn’t supposed to go into those issues. What I wanted to do with this letter was address the fact that my midwifery required/recommended reading material is missing an important part of history. The mention of African-American midwives before Ina Mays time has somehow gone missing from my reading material. In fact looking at many midwife programs for CPM’S I am more likely to have to read a book about a Midwife from a foreign country than I am about reading a book about a African-American midwife.

In fact my reading list has turned into the Ina May Gaskin Party. I am not saying she is not important but I will say without the Black midwives who delivered 1000’s of babies of black women as well as poor white women, the same black midwives who passed down their skills and knowledge to their daughters and other black women of the community, who kept midwifery alive even when many women were flocking to hospitals to have their baby, there would have probably been no Ina May Gaskin.
Yet no mention of that in my books.

Nor are the names :
Margret Charles Smith- former enslaved women who delivered 3,500 babies without a death of a mother and few babies.
Mary Jane Lawson Trust – First Black licensed midwife in the state of West Virginia
Maude Callen, or the fact that many of these black midwives were run out of practicing by states outlawing midwives. Not because they cared about the mothers delivering these babies, yet due to a system full of racism and greed.

In none of my books does it speak of 1976 in Alabama in which 150 black midwives were threatened to be jailed if they continued to practice.
Wasn’t the farm formed in 1971? So I believe the “Mother of authentic midwifery” really isn’t the mother at all. Nor is this an attack on her, yet more so pointing out how I do not understand why more of her books appear on reading list yet never
Granny Midwives and Black Women Writers: Double-Dutched Readings
LISTEN TO ME GOOD: THE STORY OF AN ALABAMA MIDWIFE (WOMEN & HEALTH C&S PERSPECTIVE)
AFRICAN AMERICAN MIDWIFERY IN THE SOUTH
Black Pioneers: Images of the Black Experience on the North American Frontier
These stories left to be discovered at a later date if ever.

Nor is any of this mentioned when I see the many “fund the black midwives campaigns” that I have been tagged in about 20 times now.
What I do see is a campaign that tells me the mortality rate of black mothers and their babies. Then I see a link for women of color to apply for scholarships to help fund their midwifery journey. Yet when the books are ordered there will be barely any mention of the women they could relate to during these studies and that is unacceptable and needs to change.
You cannot tell a group of women that their presence is needed then turn around and omit their presence from their studies.

  A more culturally inclusive curriculum is needed in midwifery training in order to provide culturally competent care. Midwifery care is not a service of affluent white women, but should be offered as an option of all cultures and socioeconomic statuses.

I challenge schools to change their required reading list to included books about the mothers who kept midwifery alive, I also extent this challenge to MANA and NARM, even ACNM.
I also would like to see not just keeping black birth worker accomplishments to Black history month.
I also won’t limit this to just Black midwives, yet I also want this for the Native American, Asian, and Mexican/Central American whose work is not mentioned and lost in the shuffle.
Maybe my voice will be left unheard, yet I could not continue to go through with my studies while screaming to myself that this complete and utter bull.

Much thanks to Friend Venita LS for your feedback.

No.. Just .. No – MLK Day sale

I love a great sale, and until recently believed there was no such thing as a bad one. Until I came across this story:

http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/289169/group/homepage/

I honestly don’t know whats worse the actual for sale sign or the fact Owner Rachel Mock truly thinks there is nothing wrong her sign.

Rachel Mock I would love to invite you out to coffee to discuss what was just not right with your sale. Yet,  I have no plans to go to Duluth anytime soon ( Even though you are just 2 hours and 24 mins away). So I will just think out loud here.

I will not yell nor try to explain how you are some horrible person. I will not say how you are some racist who has yet to discover you are racist, or that you had ill intentions about your sale.

Yet I will tell you what was wrong with your sign.

I shouldn’t have to tell you, in a country that has a history of selling ACTUAL BLACK PEOPLE, that your sales gimmick  is culturally tone deaf and racist.

You sign announcing “25 percent of anything black” just continued the cycle of some how black is not beautiful nor worth much. Yes I know you just see your sign as a sale of material things trying to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King. I see it as just confirming the message I was exposed to since I was a young child.

Black will just never be good enough.

Whether it was hearing my sister being teased for her much darker skin, or seeing other family members claiming their beauty on the fact that they were mixed with something. Apparently just claiming one was just black wasn’t good enough to be considered beautiful.

I won’t even get started in the subtle messages given by skin bleaching creams sitting on the shelves, right about the perms in the ethnic Hair Care aisle.

Your 25% percent sign reminds me of the statement: Blacks babies cost less to adopt

Or the many times I have walked into animal shelters and found the black animals rates less because no one wants them.

You see there is a stigma associated with the color black, and though you may think its nothing and a bunch of people are trying to be politically correct, you did strike a nerve.

Yet you don’t understand the nerve stuck, because it doesn’t affect you in any way. You intent doesn’t magically erase the fact of what you actions have done. Nor the fact that yes you are wrong.

As for Martin Luther King being so fly… I am pretty sure if he were here today with us he would have taken that as a compliment. Yet he is not, and all we have left of the man you have named “super fly” is a legacy of his work, and continuing on with his dream. If that is all you have to say about the man who had a dream, then I will polity suggest one goes and cracks open a history book.

While you are checking out your history books I would also like you to check out

U
npacking the Invisible Knapsack

Race: White Privilege

 

Tell ’em Why you mad

I met Ashley Wright randomly on Facebook. She friended me and we quickly bonded over being mothers of color who had a similar parenting style and were breastfeeding. I admire her. Her post below was written after a Wet- Nursing photo was posted on The Bad-ass Breast feeder. Nothing was wrong with the photo its self. Yet the comments that came after of how beautiful the picture was and the unity that came with it, showed there was a Huge disconnect. In response The Bad-ass Breast feeder apologize to the black community about the pain it may have brought. That didn’t go over well either. She was told how it was racist to call black people black ( which is news to me). Oh and the comments of how nothing was offensive and people need to get over it poured in. Then it turned into well the woman wasn’t a slave she was a paid wet-nurse. Which was supposed to some how suppose to change the situation. This is when Ashley called me and we talked for a good hour. She wrote her response as we talked and then read it to me. I had to even stop and pause as she read it. Yet her words are true and I had to share.

 

As a Black Woman the picture alone is not offensive. The ignorance and hate which brought about her displayed action in the photo is; and certainly doesn’t depict unity as which was first thought by the admin whose intent was only to share love.

Since many of you all cannot think back to what it was like to be Black in 1910, and as displayed have no freaking clue from the lack of color I see in the strand, please allow me to shed some light and information. As a daughter of a father who was born in the 1940s, who picked cotton in Mississippi (segregation still existed at this time), whose mother (my grandmother) was “The Help”, a “disgusting” job as she called it, I have been told many stories of how WE were mistreated, misguided, hated and unappreciated. We were low class, matter of fact not even considered human beings, only able to occupy “professions” that they allowed us to have to make us believe we were providing for our families by paying back debts of working in the fields and in homes. Yes, you read me correctly. Paying back debts from working in the fields. You see, when we were allegedly set free, the white man had to find ways to keep us put. That meant, continuing to work for the tools and clothes that were given to us, the produce that we had previously eaten the years before and not to mention the straws of hay and sheds that some of us were so fortunate to have slept in. Many times being a wet nurse was the only thing the older Black women could do and were forced to do to pay back debts and be a contributor; as they were too slow to be outside and too ugly to help out in the house. They simply weren’t allowed to just grow old. Oh no, definitely not going to waste any man power in any area, so put the old cow to be a wet nurse.

Most times, photos of Blacks back then, were to show off the owner’s slaves and Black workers. They were trophies, prize winning, domesticated, bred, livestock not wonderful people who came into their life to help out around the house and voluntarily care for the children. In 1910 there was no unity of black and white. The only thing the people stood united on then, was the fact that Blacks are dumb niggers who have to be controlled.

So the reason for the uproar and the continued offense is not the photo. We all can appreciate history and the simple act of breastfeeding. What we, Blacks, have a hard time swallowing is the fact, apparent from the comments, is the continued action, a continued mindset, a continued hate, a continued wakeup call that my white “friends” may simply go home and write some of the same comments some of you all have; projecting superiority, ignorance and racism well into 2013. This is the pain of a Black woman and an even deeper fear for a Black mother as she strives to teach no color lines yet awareness with a simple phrase of “they don’t really like you and they wont ever understand”.

 

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More of Ashley here

The Jameson House

SIDS is the leading cause of death for Infants 1 month to 12 months old. Each year SIDS claims the lives of almost 2,500 infants in the US  – that’s nearly 7 babies every day. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) defines SIDS as the sudden death of an infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation. SIDS occurs in families of all races an social economic backgrounds and in spite of parents doing everything “right” to lower the risks, SIDS cannot be prevented.

October is SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, a month I hold close to my heart. In honor of this month I have chosen to share the Jameson House story.I was introduced to this family some time ago when a friend was asking for prayers because they had lost their son Jameson to SIDS. That same friend introduced me to their now project of creating a house parents who have lost their children to SIDS can come grieve, talk and receive help and support.

 

The Jameson House does not exist, yet. This is our story and vision…and why The Jameson House needs to be built. January 2nd, 2013 was the most incredible day of our lives.

Jameson Reid Stidger

Jameson Reid Stidger

At 2:17 a.m. Jameson Reid Stidger was brought into this world. I will never forget the look on her face when Jameson was put on the baby warmer…seeing the look in Gabby’s eyes that she was a Mom, finally after, carrying him for nine months. From that day forward, her life had changed. Gabby was a “mom” to my other three children but this was her own flesh and blood. I could tell then and there that she was born to be a Mother and her purpose in life was to nurture this little boy. For Gabby’s entire pregnancy, she did everything by the book. She took her pre-natal vitamins religiously, ate healthy, didn’t drink or smoke. Gabby is a RN (registered nurse) and knew the importance of doing things right.

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  She was a perfect Mom…from the day he was born until that day he was taken from us. I home office and she worked nights. Our  schedules worked out perfectly. I would watch him at night and when she got home in the morning, she would take over. Their nap time was so consistent…I could walk over to the couch where they were both sleeping at exactly 10:15 and take a picture of them sleeping together. It was beautiful to see a bond between a Mother and child that I had never seen before. They were in love.

 

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July 2nd ,2013 was a perfect day…we went to the pool as a family and had a wonderful time. This was the first day that 6 month old Jameson felt comfortable in the water. Later on that day we went out for dinner, went back home so Gabby could get ready to do her overnight nursing job. It was a usual routine. I would watch baby Jameson while she either napped or got ready for work, or both. His soft skin and beautiful smile. The way he would get shy sometimes. His funny, yet cute little hair part. His wonderful giggle. That day was a perfect day, our lives were perfect, even though our schedules were quit hectic. Everyone fought for Jameson’s attention. All the kids would want to hold him or take him for a walk. He was the light of all of our lives

 

 

. July 3rd, 2013…out lives changed forever. I woke up at 7:17 a.m. to find little Jameson lying on his stomach. When I went to turn him over, I knew he was not breathing. As panicked as I was, I gave him mouth to mouth and CPR. I placed a call to 911 and was hysterical, not only to know that our healthy, happy Jameson had gained wings…but to know that Gabby was going to come home from work wanting to feed him and do their daily routine. It was horrific. Words cannot explain the feelings or emotions. The image of that morning will be burned into my memory forever. Gabby came home to a nightmare that unfolded in front of her. Police cars, fire trucks, ambulances and worst of all, the coroners vehicle. The only questions was “why”? Why did this have to happen to him…to us? He was perfect in every way. Why would God take our son from us? Why?!?

July 7th, 2013 We buried our little boy, personally setting him in the grave to rest. Knowing that was his body and his spirit was in Heaven. Gabby and I were not in our right minds, and will never be. Gabby wanted to be with her son, not having a plan to kill herself, just not be here. The next morning, a doctor’s appointment was set up for her for evaluation. July 8th, 2013. In the morning, Gabby was admitted into a mental health ward in a Minneapolis Hospital. It was not the place for her. Gabby, being a nurse, knew what kind of help she needed and this was not the place. She called me crying hysterically shortly after we had left, telling me this was not the place for her and to PLEASE come pick her up…even pulling the “if you love me” card. I explained that we couldn’t but I would do my best to get her out. After spending two hours with her crying on the phone to me, I went back the same day to get her out, to no avail. I got her out the next day. She told me how awful the nurses were and had nobody to talk to. We were promised that she was going to get help. If you call showing where she was going to be sleeping and a nurse calling her disheveled “getting help”, than it was a success. She cried up and down the hall hysterically for hours, and nobody cared. Gabby needed to be with her family.

The one thing that came out of her being in lock up was her idea of The Jameson House. While lying in that white room, with nothing on the walls, she imagined the perfect place. A place that hand comfortable beds, walking paths, a bench around a pond to watch wildlife…someplace serine. Most importantly, a place with therapists, RN’s and a doctor to do rounds once a day. We would also offer clergy for each patience’s preference of religion. The Jameson House would be a get away from all the people calling and knocking at the door, dropping of the next pan of lasagna. A place to grieve, heal and learn how to carry the pain and to get the necessary help. We later got a bill for $4100 from the hospital, for the worst possible care, ever. TJH would be free for the first two weeks. July 9th. We brought Gabby home, where she belonged, but stopped to see a therapist on our way. She made us feel at ease and it comforted us slightly, but did not take the pain away.

We just have to try to learn how to carry it. There have been many nights that Gabby has been crying on the garage floor and me lying next to her. So many times saying to ourselves that we both need to be at The Jameson House…that does not exist. The tears. The anger. The questions in our minds of why. Everyone we talk to think TJH is an incredible idea. The Jameson house does not exist, yet. We are taking all the steps to put it into motion. The plan is to build the first one in the Minneapolis area, in the suburbs on some acreage. We are having plans drawn up of what the house will look like. Taking into consideration that the walls have to be sound proof and all rooms handicap accessible. We would want meetings every week for grief groups and SIDS, so there would have to be a ample room. We would want a large kitchen area and dining area to accommodate 4-8 couples. It helps to be surrounded by people that are going through the same tragic experience. The floor plans of TJH would stay the same in every city that is built around America, we would just have to find the land to build them on. There are thousands if not tens of thousands of people in our same state of mind that could use a place like TJH to feel comfort, right now.

 

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For More on the Jameson House Project or how you give to this project please visit the links below:

The Jameson House Facebook Page

Jameson House Webpage

Connect on twitter

On October 15th at 7:00pm I ask you to join me and others across the world in lighting a candle in honor of Pregnancy and Infant loss Remembrance day.