Why I don’t plan to have more children

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Well hello again and welcome back to my blog. I am sure you are curious about the title and I thought since my little man is now two and people have started questioning me and my husband about possibly having more, (a daughter perhaps) I thought I would address my feelings on the matter.

I DO NOT WANT TO HAVE ANOTHER CHILD!

No, it is not because I dislike being a mother, being a mommy is the best thing that has happened to me and I adore my baby boy so much, but pregnancy was AWFUL for me. Let me explain in a bit more detail so maybe I will stop getting the “when is the next one?” question from now on.

Background

Because I do not come from a big, supportive family like many people I know, when I found out I was pregnant no one was planning a baby shower or any of those fun things for me. I didn’t have many people to celebrate with and it was a little lonely. At the time I just told my husband and a few relatives. My husband, on the other hand, does have a big family who all seemed really excited, so we decided to go to Belgium to have the baby. I was young, pregnant, lonely and in a foreign country where I did not speak the language and it was rough. I’ll add that this is the summer after my brother died and I was also struggling a lot mentally so I had dropped out of college and was quite depressed but that is not even the full story… allow me to go into the pregnancy itself.

First Trimester

My first trimester I had hyperemesis gravidarum, which is basically 24/7 morning sickness. I vomited constantly… It was miserable. I could not smell food cooking without vomiting and even when my stomach was empty (which was 90% of the time) my body would try to vomit which led to dry heaving. The only things I could manage to get down on occasion were apple slices, oatmeal and sometimes soup or crackers. I also drank a great deal of apple juice. I was weak because I could hardly eat and basically lived in bed.

At some point, It got so bad and I got so weak I almost fainted and had to go to the emergency room. I was then given an IV and prescribed medicine to help with the extreme morning sickness. It helped a bit but not enough, I was still sick constantly. I remember trying to walk through the city with my husband so he could show me around and literally having to walk into an alley to throw up. Not fun at all! I lost over 10 pounds during this trimester.

Second Trimester

During this point in my pregnancy, I developed what is called sciatica. This is when pressure is put on the sciatic nerve that leads to radiating pain throughout the body, particularly the lower back and hip area. It was excruciating and I have a high pain tolerance so that’s saying a lot. There were no medications that I could take for this while pregnant so I had to just make myself as comfortable as possible.

Around the same time I developed this problem, we started to have issues with some of Michael’s relatives and were put on the street living from home to home due to the severity of those issues. I was having to walk a lot and sleep on floors at times and the pain got worse. I also developed pelvic girdle pain, this happens when the joints in that area become unstable. It literally felt like my hip was popping out of place when I walked at times. It became painful just to roll over in bed, I would literally cry ( I didn’t even cry during labor) and as the baby grew more and more the pain became worse and so did my mobility.

Third Trimester

So at this point in the pregnancy, my extreme morning sickness had subsided but the sciatica and pelvic girdle were really bad and because my belly had gotten big it became very difficult for me to walk.

Around this time we were still living from house to house and struggling with the family conflicts. We were being threatened and harassed and my stress level was at an all-time high. I started having contractions at around 30 weeks and went into preterm labor a week later. I was taken to the emergency room where I was monitored, given a steroid shot and other medications and put on bedrest. The entire time my husband and I were in the hospital we were still receiving threats from some of his relatives, so while doctors were telling me to relax, I still could not. The hospital staff even locked the door to our wing because they were receiving calls and asked if we wanted to contact the police. I can’t make this stuff up, it was stressful.

I returned to the home we were staying in at the time and had to stay on bedrest for the last six weeks of my pregnancy. I was given medication that was supposed to stop the contractions and prevent preterm labor. I could only get up to use the bathroom or take a shower (I had to sit on a stool in the shower because I couldn’t stand). Because of my lack of exercise, my sciatica and pelvic girdle pain became ten times worse and I now needed help to get around. I could not walk properly. I had to go to my doctors’ visits in a wheelchair at this point. I was honestly worried it would not improve after labor and that I wouldn’t be able to walk normally again.

Labor

I went into labor at 38 weeks, a few weeks before my actual due date. This was actually the easiest part of my pregnancy and for a lot of women, the opposite is true. I was in labor for around 33 hours. I wanted to have a natural birth so I gave birth in a room with a jacuzzi tub, but because I had a high-risk pregnancy I wasn’t able to have a full water birth and had to get out of the tub once it was time to push. Everything went perfectly, the pain was awful but bearable… at least for me. I spent the majority of the time trying to meditate and do deep breathing practices. The intimacy of the room was incredibly nice and my doctor and midwife were great! I loved giving birth in Europe because they do not intervene as much as American doctors.

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(Old Instagram Post of the room ^^)

My son and I had skin to skin for the first two hours of his life and he was kept by my side the entire time. The only mishap was that I tore (TMI) during labor and had to have stitches. I honestly did not feel a thing until later. I was up and walking like normal the next day and my sciatica and pelvic girdle were gone. I literally felt like giving birth was a miracle and I was so grateful my pregnancy was over. The recovery went fairly well minus the stitches and my baby boy was perfectly healthy.

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(After labor^^)

And so…

I have no doubt that I could get through labor but I am not sure my body can stand another pregnancy. I was told several of the issues I had are sometimes even worse the second time around and that seriously concerns me. For now, I am content with my little man. Adoption is something I have always considered and always wanted to do and something my husband and I will discuss more in the future but for now, I am completely content with just one.

I hope this puts things in perspective for you. If you’re reading this and you are a mom what are your thoughts on having more children? Do you feel pressured to have more? If so comment below and let’s talk about it!

Thanks for reading!

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Why I can’t lose weight!

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I’m writing this post in hopes that someone out there can resonate with it. I write this jokingly but at the same time it is seriously frustrating trying to get the body you want, especially after having children. However, I hear it can be done… I will let you know when I figure out how (lol). Lets get to my list of reasons why I can’t lose weight.

I am an emotional eater

I am a pretty anxious person to say the least and I find a great amount of my comfort in extremely stressful times comes from a big bowl of ice-cream and a chocolate bar. Now this is a tough habit to break (especially when it’s that time of the month). It doesn’t help that I feel I’m going to kill someone if I don’t have at least one sweet a day which brings me to my next reason.

I am addicted to sugar

Hello, my name is Raneisha and I am a sugar addict. I first found out about this problem when I went to spend a year in Europe. I was pregnant and was told my sugar levels were way too high. I had to have the amount of sugar I was eating measured weekly and I had to go one day without ANY sugar even natural sugars for a blood test. Needless to say that day I turned into an absolute monster. I never knew you could suffer actual withdrawals from not eating sweets.

Exercising consistently is hard

I will admit I have very little self-discipline. I can not afford a personal trainer and therefore without someone there literally telling me what to do I tend to stop after the first 10 minutes or so. One thing I DID find helpful was trying to find a class I could actually afford to attend and join. It also helps to have someone to go with because then you feel obligated to go and for people with no self-discipline like myself you know you will probably stop going if it were only up to you. So find a buddy and make sure it’s one that is actually consistent otherwise you’ll both end up watching fitness videos on Youtube while eating ice-cream.

So those are just a few of the reasons I am struggling with my fitness goals? How is your fitness journey going if you are on one? It’s hard. I am so bad at it that it’s hilarious.

Comment below if you have some of the same struggles and share with someone you know feels the same way I do! You’re not alone girl I got you!

  Until next time bye!

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How to reach your mental health goals in 2017

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When we tend to focus on our physical fitness goals for the new year but overall wellness requires more. If you’re like me and struggle with poor mental health this post is for you.

I’ve struggled with low self-esteem, depression, anxiety and intrusive thoughts for numerous years. While things have improved a bit I’d be lying if I said they were completely better.

A huge goal of mind is to truly heal and grow this year and here is how:

Connect with others

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This won’t be easy. If you’re like me and tend to distance yourself from others this will be your biggest challenge. Find support from others. I’ve learned nothing is more healing than having someone you can really talk to about the things you struggle with.

A key factor in this is finding someone who understands which I’ve found to be hard.

For example I can’t talk to others about the struggles I feel about being a black woman if they have no experience with that. They may be able to sympathize but not show true empathy because they don’t fully understand. Same goes for whatever you struggle with. If you struggle with depression or body image issues it’s helpful to talk to someone who has also dealt with that because they are more likely to understand.

It always helps to open up and to let what your feeling be known and have a safe space to do so.

You can seek people out in a group setting, therapy, church or other spiritual gatherings.

Find the root of your struggles

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Sometimes but not always poor mental health is caused by underlying pain that hasn’t been fully addressed. I understand this isn’t the case for everyone and in some cases it can simply be genetic or caused by chemical imbalances in the brain but for some it’s caused by trauma.

Being unsure of the cause of your pain is very conflicting and can make things more difficult. If you believe the source of your struggles is trauma, dig deep figure out exactly where these thoughts and feelings stem from and go from there.

This is something that will take years and years of work. Therapy helps in many of these situations but also finding others who can relate (as mentioned above). Knowing where you were in your life when your mental health started to take a turn is important because it allows you to understand your triggers and understanding your triggers can bring growth which brings me to my next point.

Avoid Triggers

Easier said than done but once you understand what triggers you and why they trigger you it’s easier to avoid situations that will cause you harm. This is difficult because those around you are not aware of your triggers, they may not understand how your brain works and this is not the same for everyone.

We all struggle differently but something sets us off. Whether it be a comment, someones tone of voice, failure… any of those things can cause a breakdown.

However, it’s also important to note that some triggers can’t be avoided and we simply have to learn effective coping mechanisms to deal with them in a healthier way. This is one of my biggest goals as I tend to lash out either internally or externally when I’ve been triggered.

Being connected to those who understand is helpful but we also have to be able to cope with those who don’t or can’t understand and that’s where things get a little complex. In order to do this you’ll need to work on building healthy coping skills.

Learn to cope

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This is something that you’ll learn as you heal but how you react to triggers is vital and in some situations can be the difference between life or death especially if you’re one who struggles with intrusive or suicidal thoughts. This is a tough cookie to swallow for those who don’t struggle with poor mental health but have close relationships with those who do because for them everything is an “overreaction” or they simply don’t understand.

My suggestions (other than the ones listed above) are to meditate or pray (if you’re religious). For me this is my go to coping mechanism when I’m triggered. Though I personally believe quiet time is important in general whether you pray or not because it gives you a safe space to clear your head.

Working out is also helpful. It’s actually incredible what exercise can do for your mental well-being. Ever heard of runners high? Yea that is a real thing.

Focus your energy into something you love. This can be therapeutic. For me it’s writing and dancing. Simply writing this post is helpful for me as I’m able to express myself. Find things you enjoy doing and in times where you find yourself really struggling do those things.

I want to remind you I am not a doctor or therapist or psychiatrist at all so these tips are just based on my opinion and what helps me personally. Everyone is different. If you find yourself in serious need of help please talk to someone you trust and seek real help. In the meantime if there is something I can do to encourage others who are struggling I will, that is why I write.

Thanks for reading.

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How to reach your fitness goals in 2017

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If you’re like me you see the new year as a great opportunity to start fresh with your fitness goals. It’s so easy to get off track but if you start making steps now they soon become habits.

Here are a few tricks I’m trying and you should too!

Don’t Skip Breakfast

I realize not everyone struggles with this but I did for sometime. It’s so important to eat a healthy breakfast first thing in the morning, and can really help you not feel super hungry later in the day.

Some quick healthy breakfast ideas are:

Oatmeal with cinnamon, honey and fresh fruit (I like to add strawberries and bananas)

Toast with jam and cottage cheese

Egg white omelet with spinach and cheese

Drink Plenty of Water

This one is so important but is easy to forget. You should try to drink at least 2 liters a day. This may seem like a lot but once you get into the habit of it, it becomes a lot easier.

I’ll admit I’m still slacking on this and it’s not because I’m drinking other things but because I’m not drinking enough fluids in general. Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger and end up eating when we really need water.

I’ve started using an app I used in the past to really help me with this.

*I promise this isn’t sponsored it’s just a really great app*

It’s called plant nanny and you track how much water you drink a day. If you do well your plant grows and if not your cute little plant withers away.

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Find exercise you enjoy and do it often

Okay so this one is crucial. If you find that you have to literally drag yourself to the gym it may not be for you and that’s okay. Find exercise you really enjoy because you will be more likely to stick with it.

I personally like to dance. I listen to a lot of k-pop (Korean pop music) and I get my exercise by dedicating an hour of my day to just practicing dances in my living room. I’ve also attended a few Zumba classes which are really fun and highly recommend if you like dance.

If not there are tons of other ways to get good exercise besides the gym.

You could try yoga, jogging, boxing, martial arts or even a self-defense or swim class.

Find what works for you and stick with it.

There are even great in home workouts on youtube for free that are easy to do at home with no equipment.

Replace tempting food with healthy treats

It’s hard to reach your fitness goals if you’re constantly being tempted. If you lack self-control like I do it’s best to just clean your kitchen out and only leave the good. Replace ice-cream with frozen yogurt or frozen fruit (you can actually blend it up after freezing so yummy).

Pinterest is a great place to look for healthy replacements. You would be surprised what healthy treats actually really curb your cravings.

My personal favorites are banana chips (or just plain bananas), yogurt and granola bars. Quick and healthy.

Walk when you can

As simple as it sounds this can really help burn those extra calories. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk to class or work when you can. It’s also great after a big meal. Taking an evening stroll is also really relaxing, I’ve found I always sleep better when I walk after dinner.

Well guys there you have it. I’ll be trying these tips all year and keep you updated with more. Hope this helps someone.

Thanks for reading.

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New Year, New Opportunities

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HELLO cliche blog post!

I can’t believe it’s almost 2017. 2016 flew by but so many things good and bad have happened. Though that’s interesting and all that’s not what I want to talk about, I want to focus on what’s next.

I always see the new year as a perfect opportunity to start fresh and while I believe you can do that anytime, there is something about the calendar changing that motivates me to really push myself to make positive changes.

This next year here are a few things I hope to see happen in my life:

Good Health

I know I know I sound like a fortune cookie but this is something I’ve actually struggled with. All of 2016 I’ve felt sluggish, fatigued and recently I have even suffered hair loss.

This next year my first goal is to successfully change my diet making sure I have all the vitamins and nutrients I need and also address any underlying or chronic health issues I have. This begins with finding the right doctor but also taking better care of myself.

This also includes mental health which brings me to my next goal.

Better Self Esteem

In the new year I hope to spend more time focusing on the things I love about myself. I’ve realized I spend a great majority of my time focusing on the things I dislike about myself, some of which I can do very little to change.

I hope as I get healthier I will also become more secure with who I am. I want to be more vocal about intrusive thoughts and body image issues and hopefully not only help myself heal but also help others who may be struggling as well.

   Career Opportunities

Next year is my last year of college and I will (hopefully) finally graduate with my bachelors degree. I want this new year to be a year of opportunities. I don’t know where I will end up but I love writing and I whether or not I get accepted for a job that allows me to do that, I still plan to write.

One thing I’ve always wanted to do was write a book and/or book series and It’s something I plan to start in the new year.

I also plan to purchase my own domain and design my website. I hope to increase my design skills maybe even get certified in various software tools.

I am excited to see what opportunities arise next year but I know none of it will come without hard work.

Travel

This is what I’m most looking forward to in the new year. My husband and I have come to a place where we are both mentally exhausted in the current town we live in and we are ready for a change.

We want to raise our little boy in a place that is diverse, open-minded and lively and sadly we currently don’t live in a place with those qualities.

It’s been particularly hard on my husband whose family and friends are on the other side of the world in Europe. We hope next year we have the chance to visit but we also have big hopes of moving west to California. Wish us luck!

I know none of these things will come easy and I’m determined to work hard to make these goals a reality but it’s exciting to take time to list the things I hope to see happen. I would love to hear what you guys have planned for the new year.

Feel free to share in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

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Sick for the Holidays? Try these!

It’s that time of year! The Christmas trees are getting set up and you are probably getting ready to prepare Holiday dinner but uh oh… you start to sneeze, cough and sniffle.

Yea, it’s THAT time of year too!

I’ve been a little under the weather for the past couple of days and since I’m a rebel and hate over the counter meds (or any other pharmaceutical for that matter) I’m going to share some NATURAL remedies to help you deal with that Holiday cold!

GINGER TEA

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Ginger is one of the healthiest things you can consume. The root originated in China and has long been used for medical purposes. Some of it’s uses are to treat nausea (pregnant mamas remember this), helps with digestion, helps fight the flu and common colds and has numerous other benefits.

When I’m really sick my husband will go purchase ginger root (found at most health food stores and local grocery stores) cut it into bits and boil it in water. I then pour the water into a mug and I like to add honey and lemon (I’ll get to that later).

Ginger has quite a STRONG taste so be prepared for that but after a day or so of drinking this I feel much better.

   LEMON WATER

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With tons of Vitamin C lemons are great for reducing symptoms of colds and flu. It also reduces the gross phlegm that comes with many colds.

You can add it to water or tea and drink it hot or cold but I would suggest adding it to a hot beverage especially if you have a sore throat or lots of mucus.

I prefer adding it to my teas and drinking it hot but adding it to warm water is great too! Drinking it warm helps break up the mucus making it easier to cough it out and rid it from the body.

 GREEN TEA

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So this one has to be one of my favorites! Green tea is filled with antioxidants and also has antiviral properties that helps fight off sickness.

I tend to buy the Yogi brand and once again I drink mine warm with honey and fresh lemon. I can immediately feel the difference especially when I have a sore throat. Drinking it warm always helps me breathe better when I’m congested.

  A FEW OTHER TIPS

Here are a few things other things I do that help me feel better when I’m sick.

1) STEAM

This helps me breathe when I’m feeling really congested and full in my nasal area. It also relieves those sinus headaches that come with it.

Hot showers are my favorite but if you don’t want to use too much water I’d also suggest boiling water in a pot and putting your head over it with a warm towel. It provides temporary relieve but it’s refreshing to be able to breathe even for a few minutes.

2) TILT YOUR HEAD BACK

This one may sound strange at first but it works for me. I will sometimes lean my head slightly off the edge of my bed or couch and massage my forehead/bridge of my nose upward toward my hairline. It really helps the drainage and relieves some of the fullness.

     3) GARLIC/MULLEIN OIL

Ever get that annoying scratchy throat feeling?  Use a few drops of this oil in each ear and that feeling goes away! It’s also great when you feel like you have fluid in your ears. I prefer this remedy to antihistamines any day.

4) GET REST

I know that can be hard during the Holidays but try your best, even if it’s just a power nap here or there.

I hope these tips help so you can enjoy the holiday season without being stuck in bed!

Let me know your tips and tricks in the comments below or comment if you’ve tried any  of the above tips!

The Halloween Blues

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I felt it necessary to be honest about how I’m REALLY feeling today. I LOVE Halloween it’s my favorite Holiday but today I don’t feel excited or happy. I honestly just feel “BLEH” that’s the only word I could find to accurately describe how I’m feeling.

Poor mental health never takes a break. Overwhelming feelings of sadness or just general disinterest are an everyday thing for me and many others and it doesn’t take a break just because the Holiday’s arrive.

I think it’s important to address this right now because a lot of people tend to get even more frustrated with people like me around the Holiday season. You typically hear things like …

“So what are your plans”

“Why the long face”

“It’s *Insert Holiday here* Be happy!”

“What’s going on, why are you upset?”

I wanted to be honest about what I would most likely spend my Halloween doing.

It’ll go a little something like this…

Take care of my son, while simultaneously being frustrated that I can’t dress him up and take him out to trick or treat because it’s too hot where I live, my husband has to work, and my son has learned how to say “NO” and run away from me every chance he gets.

So I’ll most likely end up at home watching cartoons… alone. I’ll feed my son, bathe him and put him to sleep like usual.

Then I’ll probably snuggle up on the couch put on a scary movie on while I scroll through Instagram looking at everyones Halloween pictures from the weekend. Tweet “Happy Halloween” to everyone and go to bed.

It won’t be fun and sadly I won’t enjoy it.

I know it’s not fun to read posts like these but I feel like the internet is so curated to make it seem like everyone is having so much fun. People like me see that and wish there was someone we could relate to that shared what they REALLY feel. That’s why I wrote this.

I realize not everyone out there is a mom or wife, but I do know there are other people out there who have few friends, distant relatives, little money or just a general disinterest in being around other people and today like every other Holiday won’t be as great for those people.

I just want other who are dealing with anxiety or depression to know they are not alone. I know how it feels to always be trapped inside of your mind and I understand that even on days you really want to let loose and have fun it’s extremely difficult.

So if you find yourself on your couch, numb watching Netflix tonight alone. Just know I’ll be doing the same exact thing.

You’re not alone.

 For the rest of you.

Happy Halloween!