When It’s Mother’s Day During A Pandemic

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When it’s Mother’s Day during a pandemic and you are sheltering in place in Oakland, you will find yourself on the brink of tears at any given moment for no reason at all and for so many reasons.

A good friend will tell you that it is difficult to process trauma when you are still experiencing it.

When you are sheltering in place during a pandemic on Mother’s Day you will feel incredibly guilty for the words that you could not keep from your lips. You will tell your kids to leave you alone and you will be angry with your mouth for not being restrained by your heart.

You will start to fear the world that you are preparing them for. You will think about the days of school missed because of wildfires and now this. Will school ever be the same?

You will note that racism literally does not shelter in place.

You will wonder how crime seems to be down all over the world and yet people are getting shot on 580.

You will listen to Cranes in the Sky and Mamas Gun on repeat when DNice isn’t enough.

You will have to mentally prepare yourself for the grocery store but appreciate it for the welcomed break from your family.

You will mourn the lives lost. Some from the virus, some not. Some of people you know and some of people you do not know; but somehow you miss them.

You will begin to long for the between times. The drives to work. Prep periods. The moments before picking the kids up from school. You realize though short, those times were invaluable.

When it’s Mother’s Day during a pandemic and you are sheltering in place your husband will do whatever he can to cheer you up. He will grow frustrated when your mood doesn’t change.

You know that the only thing that would grant you solace is to have a break. The problem is, the only person who can help you needs a break too.

You feel stuck.

Your family is healthy. You have a roof over your head. You are able to work from home. You have a million things to be grateful for…

You feel guilty.

When it is Mother’s Day during a pandemic and you are sheltering in place. You will Facetime your mother. You will breath. You will enjoy a break from homeschooling. You will enjoy a break from work. You will sleep in a little bit. Maybe drink some wine.

You will survive.

Shannon

Hi everyone! Can’t believe i’m doing this… This is so authentic I can’t believe it.  Sky (my daughter) lost my earrings the day before this shoot and I forgot to look for them…

No my hair isn’t done… A luxury I don’t get to do often since becoming a mommie.  NO my panties and bra don’t match… TBH since becoming a mom I’m just happy my underwear is clean and fits! NO I don’t have on makeup… LOL I never wore it though so that doesn’t have anything to do with being a mom, LOL.  
I digress…I didn’t really realize I had body issues until I became pregnant.  Pre baby body was everything! Don’t get me wrong it was always a work in progress…BUT I prided myself in having a flat stomach despite the wide hips and thick thighs. NOW Post baby body, this belly is just here … Hips are a little bigger and thighs, face too but this stomach is the hardest pill for me to swallow.

TBH I haven’t accepted this body yet, I’m only on year 2 of motherhood and I think I still have some time left to try.  I have my moments when I’m ready to get back in the gym after about a 9 month hiatus. Then I have my “it is what it is … what ya gonna do?” phases. Followed by my I’ll just get lipo after the next baby phase. 
I’m thankful that my body was able to keep my daughter, Alice for 10 months and deliver her into this world.  I am happy I lost 70 of the 100lbs I gained, I love that I can still see my abs behind the fat, because it gives me hope.  The one thing that I really love is the one thing I really don’t want to have.  THIS BELLY! But it’s my daughters comfort zone.  When she can’t sleep she asks to lay on my belly and she gets all comfortable and her worries / fears are gone.  THIS BELLY does that for her and that alone makes me feel better every day.
People need to know that post baby bodies are a constant work in progress.  Organs are still trying to find their way home. We are still adjusting to this dramatic change. The world is hard enough as it is and then here we go bringing babies into it and trying to act as if we are ok with everything and we might not be.  Post baby bodies are a sensitive topic… DON’T ASK! Just Like you wouldn’t ask a woman if she’s pregnant… DON’T ASK ABOUT A WOMAN’S “SNAP BACK”.  Now I despise that term!  Post baby body’s are each woman’s individual journey for them and them alone! If you can’t be supportive then please take the next exit!
My feelings have evolved by the grace of God, My daughter and My husband. Society is terrible I hate it here but they are my comfort! They are the reason why I will continue to be healthy and if have a cheat day they don’t beat me over the head with it.  We laugh, smile and enjoy the FREAKING ICE CREAM!
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Don’t Ask None Won’t Be None

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Photo by Jonathan Andrew on Pexels.com

The other day I was talking to a close friend and she, being a single woman, voiced annoyance about being asked when she is going to have a baby at a baby shower she was attending. Not only did it feel like a gross invasion of her privacy by acquaintances that should know, if you don’t know the answer to that question, then we obviously aren’t close enough for you to be asking that question, (Okrrrrr) BUT it brought some uninvited feelings up in her that she wasn’t trying to feel as she was just trying to live her best life at this baby shower. We all have these moments and for my friend the baby question was particularly triggering. Y’all already know I can’t stand it when people ask me if I am pregnant even when I am sometimes (get off my ovaries!). For some people it’s, have you found someone to settle down with? Have you set a date for your wedding? Are you thinking about having children? Or, when are you going to give your mama a grandbaby?

On the surface, these questions seem harmless and just people’s casual attempt of creating small talk with you to create some kind of connection since they haven’t seen you in awhile, but what they really are are microaggressions. They serve as small little reminders of the societal expectations of how we should be living our lives as women. And the moment we step out of those norms, Oh, you don’t want to have children? Oooh, you are in a romantic relationship with a woman? O, you are taking time to seek guidance and work on your own shit before getting involved in a romantic relationship? We basically get asked questions that the people who asked unknowingly can’t handle the responses to.  

As we move into a new decade, we know better and should do better. There are so many factors that contribute to how people live their lives. Intimacy and companionship has evolved which is made evident by the Facebook relationship status “it’s complicated”. Miscarriages are real and an estimated 25% of women who get pregnant will experience having one. People have fertility issues, people have  mental health struggles, people are taking time to figure shit out, and well a lot of people out here simply discontinued their subscription to Patriarchy Daily so questions around relationship status, baby status, housing status just don’t even make sense for their non-conformist, “I’m going to do me, so I suggest you do you” fabulous selves.  

So while it is not likely that we are going to shift the habits of our Boomer aunts and uncles at family events, let’s at least start shifting things for our generation and the next. Of course we are still going to be curious but we need to just trust that the answers to our questions will reveal themselves in time if we are meant to know them. Let’s give our second cousins, nieces, play brother’s next door neighbors and friends of friends space to just be. Let’s get to know them by asking them the last movie they watched, the last book they read, where they like to go for some really good cheesy Mexican food (sidebar: Almost all of my favorite Mexican food restaurants have closed and I am on a quest to find a replacement so if you have any suggestions please feel free to comment below however, this question should work for you too, food is something that bonds people :), or where they would be interested in traveling if they had the resources to. 

Let’s proceed with caution this holiday season and try to be mindful of questions that we have that are rooted in our expectations of the type of lives we think people should desire. Let’s think about the potential for our questions to be triggering for people. I am nosey by nature and really like to study people so I know this approach will be a bit of a challenge for me but it will be worth it if it means that I can avoid making someone feel like my friend felt at that baby shower or if I could avoid the guilt I felt after asking a question at a social event that unearthed some pain for the person I was speaking with. It is simply a matter of showing respect to our loved ones, “Which was what love was: unmotivated respect” ~ Toni Morrision.