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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I saw my Civil Rights Icon: Ruby Bridges

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Growing up black and southern I heard a lot of stories of the difficulties many of my ancestors and family members faced 50 or so years ago. Ruby Bridges’ story was one of those stories I always grew up hearing. My family owned the film created in honor of her and I watched it all throughout my childhood. I was not able to understand what she faced and how significant it was until I was much older and now I can fully appreciate everything she experienced.

On Feb. 2, 2017 I was able to see my childhood icon share her story in person in the auditorium of my very own campus at Harding University. It was a historic moment as I, an African American woman at a historically white university, was witnessing a woman who helped break the boundaries to allow that to happen. Needless to say, I was extremely excited.

The event began with a formal introduction of Ruby Bridges along with a video that shared a bit of her story. We were then introduced to her and were able to hear her story in detail. Afterwards, the President of Harding University was able to sit with her and ask her a few questions. This was the only part I didn’t quite enjoy because I was unable to see her from where I was seated. After that she stayed on stage to sign copies of her book, which were available for purchase prior to and after her speech. I unfortunately was not able to get a photo with her but being able to hear her speak was incredibly rewarding. I really loved that even with the amount of people who showed up, everyone was incredibly respectful and courteous. She had several standing ovations and just had a way of speaking about a difficult experience with such grace.

Several of the things she said have been engrained in my mind. One of my favorite quotes from her that night was: “Evil doesn’t care what you look like. If you open yourself up to it, it will use you to do the work that it wants done. And if evil doesn’t care what we look like, why should we if we consider ourselves good?”

I hope these are words we all take to heart. All in all it was an event that I and many others will remember for a lifetime.

Five Signs You May Need Some Alone Time!

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Lately I’ve been feeling irritable, cranky and tired constantly. I dread every time my alarm clock goes off in the morning, and Monday’s, oh Monday’s are the absolute worst!

If this resonates with you at all you may need some “YOU” time.

Now I’ve heard it all before, but it really clicked for me once I took the time to consciously consider my behavior and what it meant. Maybe that lightbulb will go off for you as well, and after reading the list below you’ll actually make time to do something for yourself.

Every little thing starts to irritate you

Now I’m a naturally impatient person and you may be too but this is different. You find every little thing starts to annoy you REALLY fast! I mean I even had a moment where I wanted to scream at my tv because Netflix paused for too long… yea definitely NOT normal person behavior right there. If you find yourself screaming at your tv, laptop or other inanimate object or maybe just snapping at the people you love… maybe just maybe you need a little break.

You’ve lost a great deal of motivation

Sometimes we all get a little worn out. Have you had those moments where you just don’t want to get out of bed. Maybe you have a huge to do list that you keep pushing off or maybe you’re just not feeling your daily routine anymore. Hey, I’ve been there! In fact I’m there right now so I feel you. Maybe it’s time to take a mental health day (can we make these mandatory please) and go for a walk or run alone, see a movie, visit a spa or pool or just bathe at home with a bath bomb and some candles. If you can’t afford to take a day off plan an evening just for you! You will thank yourself for it later.

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You’re feeling sluggish and fatigued

Your body will be the first to let you know that you need a break. We live in a noisy culture, between Iphones ringing and bosses or schoolwork we never get true rest. I’ll add that just because you may physically be alone doesn’t mean you’re necessarily getting the alone time you need. If you’re at a computer or on the phone the majority of the day you will still feel worn down. Our bodies react to stress and it has a great impact on us. Sometimes a little quiet time is important. If you’re like me and you have a child then quiet time is necessary to stay sane trust me. If you have a spouse or family to babysit schedule time during the day that you can use to have a little rest and this doesn’t necessarily have to be sleep. Just be sure to unplug for a bit and have a little quiet time.

You’re not enjoying your company

Do you find yourself forcing conversations lately? Do you cringe when your phone lights up or someone shows up at your door. If you’re not enjoying hanging out with the people in your life it may be that you’re just not getting enough time for yourself. It shouldn’t feel like a burden to be around your friends and family (unless they are insane). It is okay to say no sometimes and explain that you need a little rest. If they really care they will understand. If not, you’re better off anyway.

You’ve been extremely busy

Sometimes it’s just that simple; you’ve been working way too hard. Remember, we are humans and NOT robots. It’s okay to be proactive but when you start to experience the things above it becomes unhealthy. Sometimes staying busy is a coping mechanism. Take time to rest and consider what’s really going on. Maybe it’s nothing and you really just need rest or maybe it’s something deeper and you’re distracting yourself from it by working day and night. Taking time for yourself allows you to reflect and dig deep, without having time to do this we lose touch with ourselves. So take time to stop and rest!

I hope after reading this you decide to take a little time just for you. It is not selfish to think of your needs from time to time. Your body and mind will thank you for it later!

Comment below with some of the things you do to relax when you’re feeling worn out!

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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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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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How To Study For Finals!

Well if you’re a student like me it’s that time of year again… final exams. Don’t pull your hair out just yet there may still be hope.

I’ll be sharing a few of my personal tips for retaining all that info the night before the exam because lets face it Netflix exists and we all procrastinate sometimes.

Tip #1

WRITE THINGS OUT

You’re more likely to remember the content if you write it down, even if you’re like me and prefer typing (maybe you have bad handwriting) I’d suggest doing both. Write it several times if you have to. The more you write it the more likely you are to remember it.

Tip #2

TRY NOTECARDS

This is one of my favorite test prep activities and thanks to technology you no longer have to write each out on individual notecards (though that may help as well it’s also tedious).

Quizlet.com is the best website for this. Not only can you use the digital notecards but it has an audio button that allows you to hear it and also allows you to test over the material. Another thing I love about Quizlet is it’s easy to find study sets that match your material. I swear Quizlet has gotten me through this semester, I highly suggest it.

Tip #3

  REPETITION  

This is one of the most important things to remember. No matter which technique you choose make sure to repeat the content over and over. You are more likely to retain it if you read over it more than once. When I really have to memorize something I read it at LEAST three times before moving on.

Tip #4

QUIZ YOURSELF/HAVE SOMEONE QUIZ YOU

Another one of the most helpful study tricks for me is to have a partner ask me questions over the material to see how much I’ve actually retained. If you study alone try looking away from your notebook and testing yourself over the material. This is a good way to make sure you’ve actually learned the material and won’t blank out when you get the real test.

Tip #5

GET REST

You’ve probably heard this one a lot but it’s so important. Your brain can not function properly if you’re sleep deprived and you’ll just end up doing worse. If you’re too tired to go on but know you need to study more, try to at least take a power nap, or try waking up earlier to study (I know this can be rough but Starbucks exists so you’ll be fine).

And there you have it you’re ready to crush those finals!

Good luck to all you tired students out there and comment below if you have other great tips that work for you!

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Why I quit Blogmas & other news

It stinks to have to post this because I was so excited to participate in Blogmas for the first time but sadly if you hadn’t notice I’ve quit posting and here’s why:

Family

For those who hadn’t read my previous post my husband got into a car accident, he is ok but that put a lot of stress on us since we were without a car. 

UPDATE: We did get a new much better one.

School

For those who may not know I am a full-time student and mommy (my son is not in daycare) balancing those aren’t easy. I overestimated just how much work I would be assigned at this point in the semester. I’m currently taking a break from studying for finals to write this.

Bad Planning

I’m a little disappointed at how poorly I planned for Blogmas and this is probably the biggest reason I failed to follow through with it. I hope to really grow in this area within the next year that way I’m able to accomplish these things without pulling my hair out. 

While I didn’t follow through with Blogmas I do plan to continue to post but I don’t want to stress myself out to the point of not actually enjoying it.

IN OTHER  NEWS

I became an online ambassador for The Bloggers Hub an online community based in the UK that connect bloggers. They host Twitter chats three times a week. I’m thankful for this opportunity and the chance to meet other bloggers and learn from them. Hopefully in the future I can grow as a blogger and learn to plan properly.

For those of you reading this thank you.

Until next time!

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