words

In Case You Forgot, I’m Black

In elementary school, I was oblivious to racial issues. I was in classes with mostly white people. All of my best friends were white; they were my sisters and brothers. When I was in elementary school, I rarely heard about or dealt with racial issues.

It wasn’t until middle school that I knew something was different. There was a boy who always called me horrible names and made fun of my dark skin. Who does that? At the time I wasn’t aware, but what I experienced was racism.

When I was a teenager, I loved going to the mall and stores with my mom. One notable shopping experience happened when I was 14 or 15. My mom, my sister, and I had gone to Kmart. Because I got bored easily, I usually wandered around the store alone while my mom shopped. Usually I stayed in the book section, but I was curious about makeup, so I went to that aisle to look at all the different products. You know that weird feeling you get when someone is staring at you? I had that feeling. When I looked behind me, I saw an employee turn the corner really fast. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but when I made it to the next aisle over, the employee confronted me. I’ll never forget him. He was an older white guy with grey hair around the sides, and he wore round glasses. He demanded that I open my purse. I immediately started crying. . I didn’t know why he wanted me to open my purse, but I opened it anyway. I had lip gloss, my wallet, and a book in there. He demanded that I show him a receipt for my lip gloss–My half-used lip gloss. Through my tears, I told him that it was mine and that I didn’t have a receipt because my mom bought it from the pharmacy near my house. He huffed and walked away. I ran to find my mom and stopped wandering around stores for quite a while after that. I mean, I was so scared! I didn’t even tell my mom what happened. I was THAT scared. I thought I’d done something wrong.

Fast forward to later in high school. My group of friends was more diverse, but still included a lot of white people. Often, I had friends call me names like “Oreo” or “Black-white girl” because I “acted white.” I usually laughed with my friends about it, but I’d go home and cry. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. I felt like I wasn’t acting the way I was supposed to. I didn’t like the stereotypical black things and everyone pointed it out to me. In the same breath, those who called me the previously mentioned names also called me “clear.” They didn’t see me as black. What does that even mean?

All of this, among other things, led me to self-harm. I just didn’t want to be here anymore. I mean, my friends couldn’t even go a day without pointing out how different I was. I felt like a freak.

I’m now 27 and confident in my skin. I know who I am. When people tell me they don’t see color, I speak up. When people say something racist, I speak up. When people say things to me in an attempt to joke around because I’m not a “typical black girl,” I speak up. Yes, I’m black. Yes, my hair is kinky. No, you can’t touch it. When the cashier at Walmart decided that I didn’t deserve a proper greeting, but instead asked for my WIC payment information, I spoke up. When the random woman in the mall walked by and said,  “She is from Africa, look at the baby back there,” I spoke up. When the greeting card store employee followed me around the entire store, I spoke up.

I may not always share my personal struggles, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t deal with racism. I feel like people forget that I’m black. I do experience racism. I do experience judgment. Just because you’re white and you’re my friend doesn’t mean that every other white person in the world treats me the same loving way you do.

I don’t even know why I feel that I need to disprove the claims from many of my white friends who think I don’t experience racism. It’s probably because every time I post an article about racism, I get asked “Well, how does that affect you?” It’s probably because every time I post a status update about racism, I am told “Brittany, I love you, but I am tired of hearing about this all the time.” It’s probably because every time I post a picture about racism, I’m told “Hey, that is reverse racism!” Getting an insider’s view of what it is like to deal with racism in America is not an easy thing to digest. You’re not going to always want to see it. Be happy that you don’t have to live that every single day.

Hey friends? In case you forgot, I’m black.

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Assignments, breastfeeding, words

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is something that is incredibly near and dear to my heart. I have nursed my daughter for almost 15 months and we have no plans on ending the relationship anytime soon. It is incredible, really. I have provided food for Maxine for over a year. ME! I made it! Sometimes I sit up at night and just think “Wow! The female body is amazing!” Breastfeeding Maxine has helped me slow down and take breaks. I was always busy before I had her. I always had to be doing something. That is only one of many reasons why breastfeeding is so beneficial for me, as well as for babies.

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Nursing at ODU

 

There are many health benefits provided for mothers and babies. Breastfeeding helps mothers recover from childbirth more quickly and easily. Oxytocin is released during breastfeeding and that helps to make the uterus return to its original size quicker and reduces postpartum bleeding (American Academy of Pediatrics). My daughter’s pediatrician also told me that breastfeeding reduces the chance of getting breast and ovarian cancer later in life.  Breastfeeding also burns calories! There are some who admit to breastfeeding only to lose weight faster. That was a perk for me, but the main reason I chose to breastfeed is because it is free! It does not cost a dime to feed your baby straight from the tap. Breast milk provides ideal nutrition for infants and up through childhood. It contains the perfect balance of fat, vitamins, and protein and that is exactly what baby needs to grow (WebMD). Breast milk is free from chemicals as well (Alison Daly). Breast milk also contains antibodies to help your child battle viruses and bacteria. It is great to continue breastfeeding your child while you are sick. I had a terrible cold a few weeks ago where all I could do was sleep, but Maxine continued to nurse the entire time and only got a sniffle! That is the power of breast milk! According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breastfeeding also plays a role in the prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfed infants are also less likely to be overweight according to the AAP as well.

The first six months.
The first six months.

The most important benefit of breastfeeding for me has been the bond it created. Knowing that Maxine needs me makes me feel complete. There have been countless smiles and giggles during nursing sessions. I swear that I suffered from less postpartum depression thanks to the relaxation that breastfeeding allows me to have. I know that one day the nursing relationship that I have with Maxine will end, but for now, I will continue to cherish every single moment.

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Works Cited

Alison Daly, Christina Mary Pollard, Colin William Binns. “Benefits, Barriers and Enablers of Breastfeeding: Factor Analysis of Population Perceptions in Western Australia.” 07 02 2014. PLOSone. 10 12 2014.

American Academy of Pediatrics. “Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom.” 10 7 2014. HealthyChildren.org. 10 12 2014.

WebMD. “Breastfeeding Overview.” 2005-2014. WebMD. 10 12 2014.

Parenting, uplifting, words

You are Amazing

Recently, I have seen so many fellow mothers put themselves down, put down their partners, and just whine about EVERYTHING. I’ll admit, I’ve had my days where I felt less than human and only wanted to stay in bed all day. Most people have those days. But seriously, is your life really that bad?

You feel like a bad mother because your kid won’t sleep.
You feel like a bad mother because you aren’t breastfeeding.
You feel like a bad mother because your baby doesn’t want to be put down.
You feel like a bad mother because someone else said that your kid is “behind.”

YOU ARE A GREAT MOTHER. Being mom is not a competition. Sure, you feel like you could be doing better, but who hasn’t felt this way? Everyone has their own way of parenting. There is no right or wrong way to parent. As long as you are giving your child all the love she needs, who cares what other’s think? I know I don’t! I breastfeed, I babywear, and I do things my OWN way. People tell me how envious they are of me. Don’t envy me! I have my own problems too. I’m not perfect! I am absolutely willing to answer questions and help people in any way I can. If people criticize you because you aren’t doing what THEY think you should be doing, ignore them. If ignoring it is hard, fake it ’til you make it. Don’t respond to their criticisms.  Wait a bit before you respond. Be rational and don’t fly off at the rails. You are an amazing mom. If you don’t believe it, just look at your kid…I bet they KNOW your are the best.

Your partner did something you didn’t like.
Your partner won’t talk or listen to you.
Your partner doesn’t make enough time for the baby.
Your partner is acting strange since the baby has arrived.

YOUR PARTNER IS TRYING THEIR BEST. This is tough. I get it. Your partner isn’t a mind reader. Your partner may be working all the time and who can blame them for wanting to relax when they get home? Even if it is just texting when you can’t talk face to face, start a dialogue. When they get home, you can continue the conversation. If you don’t put in the effort, they won’t. If you try, they will try. If you put your foot down, of COURSE they will make time for conversation with you. Just don’t be an asshole about it. Seriously. I know some of you are saying, “but I’m nice about it! What does this girl know?” You may not think that you are being mean but sometimes it may come off as a little rude. You’re tired. You’ve been home all day with the baby or even babIES. Check the tone. If your partner does something you don’t like, tell them…nicely. If need be, gently remind them. Leave a note. It can’t hurt. Your partner may have limited weekday time with the kids and make up for it on the weekends. You can’t fault them for not having enough hours in the day for everything. In my home, my husband works a lot. Sometimes he is just home for bedtime. They have their own bedtime routine. That little bit of time is him making time for the baby. Something like that may work for you. If you feel your partner is acting strange since a new member of the family came along, are you sure that they just don’t feel replaced? All of your love is now funneled into this new life and you are blinded to everything! Your partner might not really be acting so strange. :)

Something didn’t go your way.
Someone looked at you wrong.
Your stack of papers fell
The dinner didn’t come out how you expected.

EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE. Every once in a while, things go awry. That is expected. Even with me…my life is far from perfect. Whining about every single little thing will not fix it! Venting can be great. I mean hey, that’s part of the reason why I have this blog. But if you are whining about everything to the point that people don’t want to be around you, reevaluate things in your life. Are you so focused on the bad that you are missing out on the good things around you? Even the little things? I tried a “No Whining Wednesday” in some forums that I participate in to see how it would go. FAIL. A few people discussed good things that happened but overall the tone was negative. I might try it again next week. I think that finding the good things makes you feel better. Emotions are contagious…spread happiness people!!

When things seem hopeless and everything seems like it is spiraling out of control, look down at your baby and know that YOU ARE AMAZING.

Parenting, words

There’s Always Someone…

Since I’ve given birth, my life has revolved around being a mom. I’m with my child almost every second of every day. My days consist of breastfeeding, babywearing, and doing homework. That’s it. It’s all I think about. It makes sense that the things I share on various social media websites will reflect my life, right?

I post about breastfeeding.
I post about babywearing.
I post about attachment parenting.
I post about school.
I post about everything I believe in.
I post about everything I don’t believe in.
I post about my entire life!

Yesterday was no different. I shared the status of one of the moms that I admire very much. It was great information so of course I shared it!

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I love that! Breast milk is amazing! The post got a few likes, but then I got an odd and unnecessary comment that had nothing to do with the post.

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To be honest, the comment angered me. I constantly see things I don’t want to see on facebook. I simply hide the posts or just disregard them. I don’t go to the posts and say, “Well you know, you post too much about this. Stop it.” The post had nothing to do with breastfeeding in public. The only hatred I have received in MONTHS is that comment right there. Of course I thought about it and I gave the person a simple and polite response.

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After this, many of my incredible friends expressed their support for me and explained to the person how easy it was to hide updates that they didn’t want to see. They also expressed how much they appreciated my posts on breastfeeding because they learn so much. The person said a few other things, but then said something that threw me off.

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Why would anyone go to an acquaintance to complain about me rather than speaking to my husband or myself first? It makes absolutely zero sense. No one tried to make the person out to be a villain, but people did tell said person how they felt about them making an unnecessary comment on an unrelated post.

Luckily the person deleted me after I asked the person why anyone would go to them about me. It’s possible that the person was just trying to justify their rude comment. I am happy that the person is off of my Facebook friends list. I am also absolutely elated to know  that I have so many friends that do appreciate my posts and care about the many different aspects of my life.

I don’t plan on changing my posting habits. If there is a problem, I extend the same invitation to you as I did the person in this post; just unfollow me. My Facebook and Instagram both reflect my life perfectly.

♡♡♡

words

Thankful

Everyone does the “I’m Thankful” posts this time of year. I’m joining in this time! These eleven things that I am thankful for are in no particular order.

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1. I’m thankful to be able to breastfeed this beautiful baby, especially since some people can not breastfeed. I cherish the journey so much.

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2. I’m thankful to have such a cute and cuddly baby who loves to be worn. It makes things more peaceful for the both of us.

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3. I’m thankful for being a mom. It can be hard at times, but I can honestly say that I have never been happier in my life.

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4. I’m thankful for that warm day in September when I got to meet my wonderful daughter, Maxine Elisabeth. You changed my life!

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5. I’m thankful for the Green Bay Packers! Football makes me happy and so does my team. GO PACK GO!!

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6. I’m thankful for being able to have been pregnant. I hated being sick all the time, but I am very happy that I got to do it. I’m happy with the outcome. I’m happy that I didn’t gain a single pound the entire time.

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7. I’m thankful for my best friend Sarah. I have had a long year and she has helped make it easier for me. Even though she lives a couple hours away, I can always count on her. We’ve been friends for about 17 years now and I wouldn’t change a thing.

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 8. I’m thankful for this smile. It always brightens my day.

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9. I’m thankful for Carressa! She has been there for me through so much since she moved to Smithfield and ran into the boys bathroom. I love my roast beef and her entire family. They treat me like family and I’m thankful for that too.

46439_816528394014_1239187228_n10. I’m thankful to have been able to graduate from college!  I’m also thankful for a great little sister. She’s got my back on everything!

wpid-IMG_20120527_091433.jpg11. I’m thankful for my wonderful husband! Thanks to him, I’m a mom! Our relationship has grown so much through the years we have been together and I am excited that I get to spend the rest of my life with him.

What are you thankful for?

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One Month Old

Maxine is one month old now. This month went by so fast! I still can’t believe that I’m a mommy. All I do is shower her in kisses. I swear I have the cutest baby ever :)

Breastfeeding is going great and I’m so happy that I’m able to do this for her. She is growing like a weed. Breast milk does a baby good!

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Maxine is the most popular person in my family right now. My grandma got to meet her and it made her day! It always makes me happy to see my grandma smile like that. My Aunt met her this past Friday and she fell in love with her too.

Today I finally got my baby smiling on camera. It’s the most beautiful picture of her ever!

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I’m really enjoying being at home with her. Hopefully one day that will be a permanent thing. Right now, I’m preparing to start working again and once work is squared away, I’ll get childcare squared away too.

I love being a mommy!