Sometime several years ago, I had the conversation we all at some point need to have with and within ourselves. The one where we sift through what we thought to be true and come to discover the real truth of who we are. Exploring fearlessly what's really and truly important to us, getting to know who we are beyond the surface and coming to understand what matters most; defining and living our purpose for a purpose!
This was a special trip home for me. I recently visited my home, Cleveland. Baby E got to meet a chunk of his family that he hasn’t for the first time, including my father, which was interesting and funny to see. Why ? Because for as long as I could remember, my relationship with my father was fragile. I would go so far as to say non-existent at times. I’ve since come a long way healing the traumas that took shape in my childhood and carried over into my adulthood. I did the work and finally gotten to a point where I knew forgiveness had fully and completely come full circle. It was when I no longer saw him as the man who couldn’t do or be the man I needed him to be for me. After digging and discovering the misguided, troubled, afraid little boy. I no longer looked at him as a culmination of all the mistakes he’d ever made. My forgiveness didn’t make certain decisions right, but at least now I had understanding. I was no longer the victim as a result of my understanding the history.
Knowing the historical background in which my father came from, the emotional language that he spoke, ultimately allowed me to forgive and communicate in a more effective manner. It took time, patience and a certain degree of willingness to learn his history, and if I’m being completely honest, there was a point I simply didn’t care. I saw no reason how that would benefit me.
I know that there’s a weight he carries on his heart. There are still remnants of guilt that are obvious to me even without his verbally expressing that. But it’s not over until it’s over. And one day hopefully he'll completely set himself free. He’s now a grandfather, and to him that means an opportunity to redeem himself in ways only he can understand as a man, father and provider. Life is fleeting and as far as I know we only get one shot at this at least until it's time to move into a different dimension. SO....
Forgive often. Set yourself free always.
9:40AM its Sunday, gloomy, raining and cold. It’s been raining for two days now. But I’m not bothered in the least. Baby lies beside me sleeping, peacefully. The sound of his breath as his chest rises and fall coupled with the sound of rain leaves me feeling content, present, thankful. He’s just had his second morning feeding and I still find myself in utter awe watching him nurse. My body continues to produce what ultimately nourishes and sustains my son’s life. I have to pause often when I think about that. That’s deep to me. I mean none of this was on accident. All of this, this life stuff all has a purpose has meaning, something far greater than me. I’m thankful for these small big moments. These moments of stillness, quiet + calm. Moments we're able to lay around and just bask in the presence of the ones we love. They're fleeting, but when the opportunity presents itself I try my best to stop pause + feel.
Now I sit watching my own breath rise and fall intently, consciously. It's been loud lately. Running doing and more doing throughout the week trying to create and maintain some sort of rhythm. This week was exhausting but these moments are sacred. I was asked recently how do I do it. Work, mom duties, find time to work out etc. Certainly I’m ‘not the first and won’t be the last. But I’ve learned to stop pause and feel. Which in turns boosts my endurance, allowing me to at least attempt to get it all done as best I possibly can. Sometimes I do, most of the times I don’t. I’m okay with that. Allowing things to be ok, and flowing with the as “isness” of life helps too. Everyday is practice for me.
When we empty our life of clutter, noise and distractions prioritize our schedule around the creation of space, we open the way for vital experiences. Such as these. Until next time.. Someone is requiring my attention.
I'm officially back in the swing of things and I'm feeling somewhat accomplished (inserts pat on the back)! I made it one week back in corporate america, hired another nanny and managed to find a new type of rhythm. The week prior was absolute hell. Everything seemed to fall through the bottom literally. I underestimated how challenging it can be dealing with childcare. The first nanny lasted all of three hours, yes three whole hours! And I lasted not even a full two hours at work, I was a mess, emotionally beat down. Man it was a rollercoaster ride, but here I am, part two.
The second time around, I came prepared, organized and ready. Life seems to work out a bit better for me when I'm organized.
Here's a few of my new and old favorite staple items used to help me transition back into the workplace.
- Honest Diaper Bag- I'm so in love with this bag. It's perfect because baby is at home with the nanny during the day, therefore I can lug all of my things including breast pump and cooler to and from work. Not only is it stylish, spacious, and durable but it's made from 100% vegan leather.
- Nest Indoor Security Camera- Listen, as much as I'm enjoying our nanny so far, you can never do too much when it comes to the safety of your baby. If dad and I are both going to be away at work, I want to do whatever I need to do to be comfortable with that decision (no apologies). For $200 I'm able to live stream, store video to the cloud, use the microphone so baby can hear my voice, and check in right from the convenience of my mobile device.
- Journal- Well because when I'm writing, I'm in alignment, or well on my way. If you know anything about me, you know I enjoy writing, reflecting and jotting down the everyday nuances, thoughts etc. This was a gift from one of my favorite cousins, she knew it would keep me sane. Journaling is and will always be one of my favorite personal self-care tools.
- Oiho Essentials- My favorite, lavender vanilla whipped shea butter creme. A girl's gotta feel good. Ok it wouldn't be fair if I didn't mention the fact that Oiho Essentials is actually partially my company. Mom is the genius behind these handmade 100% all natural products. It's the only moisturizer that actually works for my skin. I was out of my stash and had to wait for mom to send me the goods. You can have some too! Go check it out www.oihoessential.com
New year, new me…
Wrong, new year, same me (at my core) still adjusting, modifying, tweaking and basking in my new role as mother. It’s hard to believe how much has changed and transpired in just a few short months. Let’s see, there was therapy to help with the bouts of postpartum depression, which by the way is a very real thing. I’d read about it in all the brochures at the doctors office and all the mommy blogs but at no point did I think I’d be hit with it. However the reality is, is that when it hits, it can hit hard and unexpectedly. Fortunately for me, it was’t so hard, but certainly something I felt I needed to address with therapy. I’m glad I made that an immediate priority, because it helped tremendously. When the going gets rough, you’ve gots to be equipped with your tools. I’ve always been pro therapy and to be frank, I think we could all use it in some capacity in our lives. Trust me it helps.
Then there’s been getting back in the groove of working out and re-creating a new regimen. Which has been fun, and all around challenging squeezing in 15 minutes here 30 minutes there. I make it work, and he seems to enjoy watching me jumping, flipping, squatting all over the place. The fun truly is in the journey and the commitment, my commitment is real. Not because I’m in some rat race for the “perfect snap back” but because I enjoy building character through discipline and hard work. What else? My maternity time is coming to an end, which will be another blog post all together! Say a prayer for me.
All in all, my head is above water, life is happening, nothing is perfect. I could find a ton of things to complain and fret over, however I’m highly capable, deeply rooted in faith and I find solace in that when things just feel downright hard.
Baby E is developing tons of personality, perfect, innocent and continues to tug at my heart with baby talk and spit bubbles.
As if I had time for anything else aside from nurturing and loving on a newborn baby, I decided that the leftover time I did have would be spent away from social platforms, away from all things external and into myself. Winter is here and it's the perfect time to recalibrate as we get ready to step into a new year. Just thinking about all that has transpired throughout the course of this year is all the reason to PAUSE. Something we rarely do. We move from one thing to the next, one person to the next, one phase, one job, one task to the next without giving ourselves the permission to stop and pause in those in-between spaces. The spaces where there's so much to learn, but requires a certain degree of quiet and stillness. The meantime often a space we tend to run from trying to get to our primetime is some of the best moments to be in.
The way I see it, life is all about the moments. Big moments, small moments, all of them. The mind that is accustomed to thinking everything that is worthwhile is in the future wouldn't be able to grasp the idea that everything you could possibly need you have right now.
These days, I've gotten real clear about some things. About myself, who I am , what I want and as a result I've needed this downtime to to let it sink in and resonate deeply into my being. For me it's not enough to have a revelation about something, it requires me to meditate on it, pray on it, talk about it, write about it... so that it sticks.
Mommyhood has been beautiful, challenging and humbling to say the least. It's been hard, and easy, fun and surprising and filled with everything in-between. I've been reminding myself to really enjoy these moments, to bask in these moment, every single one of them. Because it's been not one person that I've come into contact with that has not said "enjoy these moments, they go by so fast".
So that's how I've been spending my time. Enjoying the moments, basking in the holiday spirit, the gift of gratitude and being very intentional about caring and loving on self.
Eight hours and three pushes later here I am on the other side! It has been one hell of an adjustment period thus far, but lets rewind to labor and delivery. As many may know from my sharing on instagram and facebook, throughout the duration of my pregnancy I was fortunately able to remain very active; yoga being my primary source of activity. Now having had the experience I can unequivocally say that maintaining my practice and dedicating even more time to my pranayama practice helped me all the way through especially during the home stretch. If I didn't understand the importance of breathing and actually being able to put it into action, I don't think there was any way I would have been able to manage without some type of drugs.
Yoga for me has grown to be something far greater than vinyasa class, but something to anchor me in my everyday life. In the grocery store, stuck in traffic, in my relationships, in the delivery room. A discipline to breathe life into me during the best and worst of times. Something to re-enforce the breath always.
Being able to yield and surrender to the pain and discomfort was one of the most critical pieces to my having a pretty straightforward uncomplicated birthing experience. I was able to labor and deliver naturally with no medicine.
Although I didn't have a plan (because.. well plans don't often go accordingly, especially during a time like child birth) I was committed to my preference and understood completely that when it came time for it I would have to put in the work, if I were to go at it all natural. I wanted to deliver my little one in the water, but that didn't happen and I was completely ok with that. I went in flexible with no attachment to any one way of doing things. I knew that by doing so I would only be doing myself a disservice by not being open to the many different ways he could join us earth side. I was however able to labor in the tub for some time, which was extremely helpful. Being able to move about freely, without the constraints of being in the bed on my back was a big deal for me. Big shout out to my midwife for going above and beyond, really setting the mood just right. Flameless candles, clary-sage, music all played an important role. I wanted to feel as close to home as possible and she made that happen.
Aside from the pain known as contractions, one of the most challenging parts of labor was the duration of it. You absolutely have to have the stamina to endure. The hustle and flow that is NYC, I have to give credit to for keeping me moving the way I did throughout the pregnancy. There came a point probably at my 7th hour where I felt so exhausted and wondered how much longer I could go. Teary eyed, I was on the verge of doubting myself, but my partner in crime wouldn't allow it and gave me all the encouragement I needed to keep at it. I'm extremely thankful for not only his support but my sister and mother's as well. It's mind boggling to think of all the moms that labor for 22, 24+hours. All the moms who are pushing for hours! That shit is exhausting and I pushed for all of 5 minutes if that, more like 3 minutes. I can't say it enough, women truly are something magical!
So much of my journey was mental. They laughed and joked at me because my go to word was "ok". I must of said ok at least 100 times. I said ok at the start and end of each contraction as a way of affirming "Latarria, here you go you got this" and ok "Latarria, you got through another one, keep going". It helped to keep things light and fun.
I'll never quite have all the words to thoroughly express the joy and countless other emotions experienced in that room. This is my humble attempt in doing so:)
Cheers to new beginnings!
39 WEEKS AND COUNTING:
Self care these days looks like 4am bath time rituals (candles, music, oils), journaling, meditation, alone time and lots of reflecting. 39 weeks, we're officially in the home stretch. Any day now, and our little one will make his grand entrance. Now don't get me wrong there are moments where it feels almost too quiet, but then I'm reminded to bask in and to take advantage of this sacred time. This time and space allows me to continue my work (you know the work we all at some point realize we must do to evolve and expand) uninterrupted, freely.
Self care looks like connecting with a good friend and enjoying a day of yoga in the park. Because time in nature will forever and always have an immense effect on my life. I spend alot of time inwardly but I'm a sucker for genuine connection with like minded people. Add a nice nature walk and several moments to breathe in that good prana, and it's a win every time.
These days has slowed me down, but in the best possible ways. I'm able to see life through a different set of lenses. I'm being challenged to go about things in a different way, to relax into the process and all that that embodies. To trust it, to find my rhythm in it and to ultimately enjoy it.
As common as blended families are these days, there seems to be very little dialogue surrounding the topic. I know many and plenty of people that have children with more than one other man/woman yet It’s not a common conversation at least in regards to successfully bridging the gap between multiple families. I hear and see more of the negativity being highlighted for instance the baby mama, baby daddy drama and everything that comes along with that, but we aren't discussing how we can nourish these relationships to ensure that our children and their overall well being are the number one priority. There’s no guide books or manuals to any of this, so alot of it is trial and error, making observations, and just finding what works for you and your family.
I don’t think anyone, whether you already have children or not goes into a situation with the desire to blend. However, as common as it is and once you reach a certain age the likelihood of dating someone with an existing child(ren) is high. For some that's a deal breaker, for many it's not so much. Me personally, I accepted a long time ago that he had children and what that meant. I knew what his children meant to him and how critical his role/ presence in their life was/and still is. I understood that some day I would want a child and family of my own and that if it was going to be with him I needed to accept everything that came along with him.
Two things are critical here, ACCEPTANCE, and understanding that you have a CHOICE and the power to CHOOSE. If you do so happen to pursue a man/woman with a child already, I think if you can truly and honestly grasp those concepts coupled with openness and a shift in perspective when necessary you can set yourself up to building the foundation required to successfully blend.
Im certainly no expert, and my journey is only in it's baby phase. I speak solely from my experiences. I have my moments where I'm not certain how things will play out, I have had a selfish thought or two or three. However, what has been shown to me is that the first step is the most important step. I trust that when ego, pride and whatever other distractions are set to the side or done away with all together good things can become. My little one will have a relationship with his siblings fortunately because we (the adults) I would go as far as to say believe that there is something greater going on beyond ourselves. And that hopefully will be the fuel needed to successfully blend. Not to say there won't be bumps and obstacles along the way, but where in life does those things not exist, (shrugs shoulders).