Motherhood

Grief Recovery For Mamas

Grief

Moving forward past my miscarriage has not been easy. Grief swiftly can turn into depression, and being a mental health professional I knew I had to search for recovery with true intent. For me that meant that I nourished my soul like fuel to the body in order to repair and recenter. This concept was challenging because I also wanted to spend time being sad because lost is a true emotion. I believe that there are times we ask women to be strong, push harder, and get back up again too quickly. We expect to be okay right after we have been hurt because we have been raised to believe that we can get through anything. And yes "getting though it all" is absolutely true, but it forces us to numb out feelings so we can quickly recover. So I sat in silence and cried my heart out. I slept, I refused to eat, and often times I forced my anger on my husband. I blamed myself, and wanted to stay hidden. But when did I know I had to let go....

In understanding grief, research has broke it down into 7 stages. Please note that we all go through the grief process in our own time, and slide in and out of the stages in our own way. But the feelings of pain and guilt can keep you under, so it is important to turn those hurtful feelings into hope to live out your life in the way it is intended to be.

7 Stages:

  1. SHOCK & DENIAL- You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. 

  2. PAIN & GUILT- It's important to experience your pain fully. Do this healthy, don't turn to liquor or drugs or bad habits. 

  3. ANGER & BARGAINING- This is where it felt good to displace my feelings on my husband. Thankfully he knew and still supported me through it. Remember that others may not be so sympathetic. You don't want to make permanent damage from temporary feelings.

  4. DEPRESSION, REFLECTION, LONELINESS- During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

  5. THE UPWARD TURN- This is when the storm is beginning to clear, feelings begin to shift to more calmness.

  6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH- You made it! Take what you have experienced and work through it.

  7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE- This is when you learn to except the testimony that God has placed in you. You have a new fond hope and perspective on life that makes your life more meaningful. 

Redemption is given to those who believe. So know that it is absolutely okay to be down, but balance it out with the belief that you will see the light again. There are a few things I did purposely to get myself through the grief process. I share this with you in hopes that it can get you out of your darkness as well.

Recovery tips:

  1. Quiet the noise- I immediately logged off of all my social media platforms. I called it a cleanse for no specific period of time. Just to be honest I felt some type of way when I would see women celebrating a birth, or being pregnant. I had to accept that I wasn't ready to celebrate anyone else and needed to walk away from that. I also wanted to take time out for me without putting effort into viewing others. It was my time to make me a priority. 

  2. Write- As soon as I miscarried I picked up my computer and begin to write. Part of this is a way to acknowledge your feelings and thoughts, but also it helps process emotions in a different way in the brain by putting words to them.

  3. Keep up on healthy habits- I had drifted away from working out. A week after I miscarried I went to my local YMCA and grabbed a membership. Working out is known to release feel good endorphin's, and lower stress. 

  4. Accept condolences- This was tough. I am not a woman who looks for those around me to help, I try to work through life with my little circle. After sharing my story, I immediately received a vast amount of support and encouragement. Women sharing similar experiences who have got through the storm. Friends bringing flowers, affirmations and blessing being received. It just felt good to be loved. Be okay with being vulnerable and needy. That's what your tribe is there for.

  5. Be present- this was part of my cleanse. Once I begin to pay close attention to my own children and life around me, I begin to see the beauty of it all. I was able to appreciate some of the little moments that I've missed before.

  6. Be spiritual- Believe in the notion that "all things happen for a reason" "God does not give us more than we can bare" "The Lord is my strength and my shield" "By the Grace of God, I am what I am" "Be strong, be brave, be fearless. You are never alone".

I would like to conclude by thanking each and every person who believed more than I did that I would be okay. For those who listened to me, allowed me to cry, and picked me up when I had nothing left. Thank you for loving me past my pain. 

 

For any Mama who is still suffering from grieving and/or can't get past it please call a local mental health professional, local churches, or other parenting resources.

A Mother's Nightmare

Although the holidays were filled with lots of love and laughter. My Thanksgiving night ended in me giving more thanks then I could ever imagine. To me this was my worst nightmare as a parent, and a reminder of my constant strength and vulnerability.

Thanksgiving evening my youngest daughter Karter, 2, was attacked by a dog. Not the average she runs and is chased, or nearly bitten. She was mulled and attacked. Here I am helping my oldest daughter fold laundry, Karter who is behind me playing like her usual self, suddenly screams. My reaction time was immediate, I looked over my shoulder and witnessed my brother's pit bull mix tightening his jaws around her scalp.

In those quick seconds, I didn't scream, I didn't shout. My body went into full attack mode, and all I could think of was "I have to save by baby". Thank God my mother was by my side, she begin to tighten the collar around the dogs neck, as I kicked and pulled my daughter away from his mouth. Here I am a mother, whose mother was protecting me, and still to my rescue. Look at God! My husband rushed as he heard my oldest daughter screaming for help, but because it happen so fast she was already loose. His reaction was to kill the dog, my reaction was just to hold Karter who was screaming with blood dripping from her body as well as my older daughter who was also traumatized from what she had just witnessed. 

Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed

I don't know if there was a thought or light bulb that cut on. But my demeanor was calm and collective because my need was driven to soothe her wailing body. I kept reminding her that she was safe, and that I was sorry. I felt a huge sense of guilt, thoughts going in my head such as I could have watched over her more, or why did I allow her to be by a dog. Once everyone was calm we rushed to the hospital. Karter stayed in my arms. She had suffered through multiple abrasions to her skin, bruising, received stitches in her scalp, and was clearly traumatized and in pain. I was close to losing my shit (excuse me). But I felt so hopeless and so powerless in those moments of witnessing her pain.

But when I say God has a plan....Dr. said she would be okay, and that these things happen to children. My husband praised me for my strength and power of composure and security. He even asked me "how did you remain so determined". I didn't know how to answer. It was this innate ability that came out of me,  the same ability that helped me push her out of my belly. 

"No one knows what you have been through or what your pretty little eyes have seen, but I can reassure you--whatever you have conquered, it shines through your mind"

Life is precious. There are days I take motherhood for granted. Days that in my head I ask myself what was I thinking, or I just need a break from this commitment. This motherhood ship is not easy sailing. When I thought I was on top of my game, God reminded me there is always room for growth. My baby girl was attacked not because I don't love her but because as parents we don't always get it 100% right. 

Every mistake, every wrong turn, every experience is a lesson. A lesson for me to be kinder, stay stronger, try harder, and keep hoping. I had blood all over my shirt because Karter stayed in my arms through the entire experience. It was like she knew that in my arms she would be safe. I pray that feeling never goes away.....

I will always be here to save you baby girls.

Thank you to my online and offline village who have kept me encouraged through this entire process by sending text, calling, visiting, and most importantly praying for Karter and my family. I absolutely love each and every person who held us in your heart.  

Raising Girls

Raising girls and being a female has been like watching my own reflection. Therefore I am very aware of the experiences I expose them too. Not only because they are my children, but because I once remember being just like them. Raising girls comes with its own challenges. I don't like to pick apart children based on gender, but realistically there are just biological components that make both species very different. I know in my family there are sayings that boys are more easy when raising, but harder to carry prenatal. And that girls are very challenging as they age, but seem to excel more academically. Blah, blah, blah. Although I believe those stories have derived from personal experiences, it is hard to pin point. All I can do is speak about my personal experience raising my children and why I don't place labels.

The gender roles that society likes to prescribe to certain sexes are the natural way we begin to shape and raise our children. We tell boys not to play with dolls, and tell girls not to play too rough. It's natural to adapt to those same gender roles because it makes us feel safe, but what does that teach our children? Are they only allowed to be or feel a certain way, and if not they should feel isolated? I have decided to go against the grain when raising my girls with the understanding that they are capable of doing whatever they choose to do, not because they are females but because they can actually do it.

Kennedy is my flower child. A girl of many wanders. I remember when she began to walk, how she gravitated towards art. Her security was not in a blanket, it was holding a book. She would always need to use her hands, if it was trying to write letters and words, coloring on our walls, or just having a crayon, that girl had things that she needed to come across expressively. So what did I do? I placed her in art classes. I believe as a parent we should allow our children to gravitate towards the things they are interested in. Not saying that we shouldn't give them choices. But there are particular "talents and gifts", as a parent you begin to notice early on and we should take those as signs. She blossomed so well in art it transpired into her excelling in literature because she was so expressive. Now she is a gymnast, a genius in math, and enjoys everything crafty. I never try to corner her into activities, instead I make them available for her to explore. Now that she is older, I allow her to choose all while I still challenge her to expand her interest. I never want my girls to be boxed in, or written out...if you know what I mean.

 

She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. “Time” for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.
— Roman Payne

Now Karter is my fire cracker. Her spirit is not so calm. Half of that is attributed to her being 2, the other half is her will power she has displayed since birth. I say this because even when birthing her she came super-fast. I went into the hospital and the Doctor told me she was coming now. She pushed herself in this world, and continues to keep pushing. She is a ball of energy, jumps off couches, and brave enough to take a leap off the diving board while daddy holds his hands out. Every experience is new to her and she holds no fear. This week she started swim classes, and not only did she show up, she showed out! I blame her drive on her sister being 7 years older. Since being born she has always seen herself in light of her sister. If Kennedy jumps high, she wants to jump higher. As I was holding her in the water, she looked up at her sister and said "see mom, I do it too". Reminded me that although we attend a million gymnastic meets, she also can do well in class. It was amazing to witness her sense of accomplishment.

Don't allow the world to box your children in. Let them be free and allow them to be little. Provide your children with the opportunities to explore. Don't believe stereotypes that keep our children hidden . Yes they will have differences, yes they may be opposites. But that's the joy of our seeds multiplying. My children are not just me reflected. They are pieces of me with a whole lot of them. And although I believe my girls drive me crazy because they are girls, I begin to dispel those myths and allow them to just be them. But always aware I'm raising queens (prayer hands).

 

Motherhood...more than a title (Dedicated to Kennedy)

Because I am a mother of a 9 year old....

This year my oldest daughter, Kennedy, will be 9. I always take time on my daughter's birthday to reflect on my title as "mother". Of course this is a celebration on her maturing and transitioning to a new time in life. But I can't help but recognize how much I have grown along side her due to her birth directly. Before having Kennedy at age 22 life felt selfish. Selfish in a sense that every decision I made was because of my own personal interest. Not that it was bad, because at 22, life should be self directed in order to find self-discovery. I remember my days before having Kennedy, still young in my mind, but not able to comprehend how I would take care of a baby and still needing to be taken care of myself. She then appeared from my wound and suddenly I felt a shift in my heart that made the questions I had before her birth, all seem so easily explained. This little girl needs me, I am her rescuer. Suddenly the things I cared about most, if the formula couldn't include her, then they had to be let go. As soon as I stepped in the role of being Kennedy's mother, I didn't change my sense of self, I found a way for it to include her.

My daughter introduced me to myself.
— Unknown

Now here we are 9 years later. Kennedy is my best friend. She challenges me in ways that make me feel uncomfortable, she introduced me to me. It's crazy because I have never felt like I knew myself more than I know who I am today. Kennedy is the part of me that was left undiscovered. She has made me realize my strength, my fears, all while feeling a sense of accomplishment. Her spirit is so free, and her movements are so fluent. She has reservations about things that scare her, such as joining a new team, or challenging herself to take on a new task. She then will come to me for reassurance and guidance. Motherhood has had its toll on me, being responsible for making the smartest decisions that will impact how she transitions into adulthood. I don't always feel wise enough to parent her, or strong enough to hold her. But somehow I still do. This internal sense of pride that develops when we carry a seed of life in the belly. She is my very own reflection.

I don't always have it all together. I don't always say the right things. But she still loves me. She still looks at me the way I looked at my mother. She trusts that I will keep her safe and shield her from harm. I don't know if I will. I don't even know what it might look like. But the same fear I had at 22 is not the same fear I live with at 30. I know that my title of motherhood will call for things I have yet to bare. Kennedy you have gave me all the answers for the past 9 years of my life. You are my wisdom, you are my guide. I can never promise you the unforeseen, but I promise that we will find the answers together, like we always do. And for that you will never have to walk alone....

An Ode to Motherhood

There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.
— Jill Churchill

As I sit back and reflect what motherhood means to me, I not only pay homage to my own mother, but all the women who are part of my village. For me, motherhood about re-birth. A chance to start over and reappear in a new form of life. I think about how strong my grandmother was, moving from Birmingham Al, with 9 children, including my mother, with hopes and dreams folded in her back pocket. She taught my own mother about concepts of motherhood. Then my birth occurred, forcing my mother to then pass on what she learned to me. Now here I am, transforming those teachings to my very own children. Just hoping I get it somewhat right, and make them proud. 

My mother shares stories of how much of a caretaker I was as a young child. She states I had/have a very nurturing soul. I was always taking care of my younger cousins, and other children who came around. She often explains that I always wanted to be a mommy, carrying a baby doll and purse where ever I went. Now here I am with 2 little girls whose whole life is dependent on my well-being, and I can't help but feel a little loaded. Motherhood is so complex, right? And during this Hallmark holiday I sit back and ask myself, what does motherhood mean to me... 

My motherhood is my redemption. I have a long way to go before figuring this motherhood thing out, with the understanding that I may never figure it out. But what is essential is that I give my girls a foundation to build upon to be wiser. Wiser than my mother, my grandmother, and mothers who came before her. I want them to use my failures as a chance to rise again, a new chance to get it right. My thoughts are that motherhood is a direct link to the future, giving us power to transform the world by building our children to be better than our imperfections. It's imperative I model for my daughters my fears and hopes to use as a source for growth and learning. And in return they are equipped to be great women and mothers themselves.

So here's to all the mothers who put parenting first. You know the moms who took small rations so you had seconds. The mothers who love whole-hardheartedly but understand that you still need limits. The mothers who maintain their own identities outside of being a mother. The mom who worries for you. The mom who runs off of no time, but makes time for you. The mom who will ask for kisses no matter how old you get. The mothers who live to see the smile on their child's face. The mothers who never stop trying to get it right. And most importantly the mothers who have the ability to understand that their life will continue long after they are present, so you are purposely walking in your purpose.

Overall, thank you to all the moms who are contributing to making the world a better place by raising strong children, with dreams and hopes in your back pocket.

Happy Mother's Day!

 

Karter Turns TWO!

Karter Alexandria Wells

Advice to my daughters....

Never allow the world to box you in. Be free in your mind, body, and spirit. Love those who may be deemed unlovable, and cherish all moments good and bad.

Karter, on this 2nd birthday, you have no concept of time. This exact day you will forget, as you will many moments in time. But one day you will come to me and say "Mom, how was I when I was younger?". I will share these moments with you...for your heart will remember the love surrounded by your village. And I will say "child it was perfect".

Thank you Firefly Play Cafe for your wonderful venue and service. More specifically, Andrea, who made everything look so easy.

Enjoy the birthday gallery....it was as much fun as it looks!