Picture of Me, The 52 Project

The 52 Project || Year of Me: 4/52

Special thanks to my sister for accurately capturing my thoughts on David’s Bridal

Y’all. After my first experience with them, I have decided that David’s Bridal is the worst. The woooooorrrrst. Specifically the store I visited in Hampton, VA. I went into the store expecting them to at least have a dress in or close to my size to try on. They have the style in store so they should at least have something in a wide variety of sizes since basically everything needs to be ordered anyway right??? WRONG. My sister told them the style because it was in the appointment information and I told them I want to try on the size 24 in the one shoulder style. Well they didn’t have that, but they had a 20 in the halter style. Whatever I’ll try it on though that size is too small. As we guessed, it didn’t fit and it wasn’t even the right style so I was annoyed. So after about an hour of my kids running around in their dresses that they were trying on as well, the attendant came back with a dress in the correct style but in a size 16!!!!!!! YALL. A 16. I haven’t seen 16 since well before I got married. I humored them and tried it on anyway to see where it would stop coming up. Yep it didn’t get past my shoulders (see picture). They said “try it on and we can measure you.” LMFAO. I ended up just taking the girls with me to sit in the car. I was so over that store and that day. In the end, they just measured me so they could order the size I needed. They should have just started off with that since they knew they didn’t have my size. If the store offers in person fitting, they need to have a variety the sizes for the styles they offer. Smallest size, biggest size, and some sizes in between.

Anyways, David’s Bridal is terrible and if it weren’t for the fact that my sister is getting married and using them for dresses, I’d never set foot in that store again.

I did end the week on a positive note by getting behind AND in front of the camera. I love love love photography, especially babywearing and breastfeeding photography. I took some great pictures of myself and my girls. Check out Smitten soon to see what I’ve been up to!

Goal update: I went to the YMCA twice this past week, 3 times if I count the tour, and I listed 19 carriers!

Goals for this week: YMCA twice. DONT GET SICK.

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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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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?

Family, Maxine

Maxine is Here!

Maxine Elisabeth Marsh
September 25th 4:03 pm
5 lbs 15 oz and 19 in

Very exciting news for everyone! She is here! Maxine arrived at 37+4 weeks and it was a great surprise for us all! We didn’t expect her to arrive early, but we are incredibly excited that she did! Last week (Tuesday) when I went to the doctor, she told me that I was 3 centimeters dilated and she went ahead and swept my membranes. After the appointment, we went out to eat because I was craving Five Guys SO BAD. Then we went to walk around the mall because walking around helps the baby drop. When we got home, I bounced and rolled on an exercise ball while watching TV with Marvin, then I went to bed. I was feeling more cramps than usual, but it was expected since I had my membranes swept earlier in the day so I didn’t think anything of it.

At approximately 4:15 AM, I woke up to what I thought was me peeing on myself. Once I got to the bathroom, I realized that my water had actually broken. I changed my pants and then told Marvin to get up. Of course, he didn’t hear me tell him to get up so I said “Marvin, my water just broke, we need to go to the hospital NOW”  and he jumped up out of bed faster than I have ever seen him jump up before. I threw some last minute stuff into my hospital bag (which I had packed since 34 weeks) and headed downstairs. I wasn’t having contractions yet, so I drove us to the hospital since I knew the way and since it was so early because Marv had not had any sleep that night.

Well, 13 minutes later, we were at OBICI hospital making our way up to the women’s center. I won’t even say how fast I was driving. When I got there, I said “Okay ladies, it’s for real this time! My water broke!” Then I had my first contraction of the day. I was doubled over in pain! The nurse asked me if I was sure my water broke, so I unwrapped the towel from my waist and she said “Go get a room ready, her water DEFINITELY broke.” They put me in room 319 and I finally got to lay down and watch some TV. The contractions started getting very close together and by 6 AM I was begging for an epidural. More power to you ladies who go through an entire labor without drugs. Marvin kept trying to go to sleep and I would not let him. He told me that I said “You better not even think about going to sleep right now, I haven’t even had my epidural yet and I am HURTING. ” Finally, at about 8, the anesthesiologist came in and gave me the epidural and I felt like a brand new person. He also set me up with a fentanyl drip for when the pain got too overwhelming. I felt better immediately.

Marvin finally got to take his nap. My mom and dad arrived shortly after my epidural. I was so glad that they were finally there. Then a few hours after that, Marvin’s mom and sister arrived. We all chatted for a while and then I started to feel my contractions again. What I did not know was that my epidural was wearing off. I started to press that button for my fentanyl after almost every contraction. The pain was THAT BAD. The doctor, Tobi, came back in to see if I was dilated enough to start pushing, and I wasn’t. I still had another centimeter to go. At this point I was shaking very badly. I had been shaking all day because my body was in transition, but by 2:30 I was shaking so badly that I was shaking my entire bed. Her student assistant, Laura, came back at 3 to check me again and determined that I was ready and then she went to get Tobi and John, another student that I gave permission to watch my delivery.

FINALLY, around 3:15 it was time to push. My epidural had worn off completely and I was in so much pain that I was vomiting between pushes. And yes, there was poop. Tons of poop. Guess I’m a pro at pushing a baby out! After an hour of tears, I finally pushed her out. At 4:03 PM on September 25th, I became a mother. Marvin cut the umbilical cord. I am glad that he did.I didn’t tear at all! I was most afraid of that. While they were cleaning the baby off, I delivered the placenta. Marvin got to hold the baby first. Then the baby got passed around. I wanted to have bonding time with just me holding baby and trying to get her to latch but that didnt happen. Next time, it will happen. Next time we will have that chest to chest! When I got to hold her, I didn’t cry, I just stared at her cute little smooshed up fresh baby face. Yep. We had a moment.

Eventually, everyone left and Marvin and I got to finally be our little family of three. I can honestly say that this was the most traumatic moment in my life. It was also the most rewarding moment, and I have never been more proud of myself. I know that even though I did not enjoy pregnancy, I will probably do it again in a second. Soon, I will feel normal again. Soon, I will forget the pain and misery. Soon, I will forget how traumatized I was after I gave birth.

I love Maxine so much already. I sit and cry because I’m so happy that I finally have everything that I wanted in life. I have my husband, I have my baby, and I have the family that I always wanted.

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Agree to Disagree

So I often have conversations online with one of my Facebook friends that I know through Xanga. I subscribed to him first, then eventually just friended him. I enjoy talking to him most of the time. He is deeply religious…no, he is a Christian, he said he has no religion…and I am atheist.

 

Today we had a conversation about Planned Parenthood (PP.) I love the things PP does for everyone, especially since they were so helpful for me when I didn’t have health insurance. Soon, I will be without insurance again and I will once again be going back to PP.

 

Well you can read the conversation yourself, but I’m going to put a few excerpts from it here as well.  A couple things bothered me…well mostly him just telling me that I am flat out wrong because I don’t share his opinion bothered me.

 

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His status stated, “”Planned Parenthood”…if I was hearing of this organization for the first time, I would have thought it was a service that helped people who WANTED to be parents…not prevent it.”

My response was, ” If I heard it for the first time, I would think it was for planning your parenthood. All aspects of it. But I love the place. Helped me out so much when I didn’t have health insurance!”

He then replied, “That’d be great!! …if the place didn’t have a history of racial “purification”, sexism (namely against males), and DEATH in the name of convenience. I don’t give a rip what “help” they offer, as there are other ways to get the same help. There are Christian churches and other places that DO offer the same care or will help you get it.”

I then stated, “I highly doubt I could walk into a church and get a pap smear. Or birth control pills. That’s what they helped me out with. They also gave me tons of information on safe sex. This is back when I was 19 through 21 years old. They are actually wonderful people. Sure they have things against your beliefs but they help more than they hurt.”

It went on from there, of course. All of his responses for me were from his personal beliefs and experiences, which I can understand! That’s what I love about him! He is very firm in his beliefs and nothing can sway him. I just highly dislike that he does not accept the views, opinions, and experiences of others as justifiable.  He says that ” It’s a simple matter of common sense; of understanding the reality of choices, consequences, and what matters MORE.” In other words, if it is not a view he shares, it is wrong. Plain and simple. He is also very arrogant in his views. “So, yes, what I’ve stated is MY opinion, but it also equates to what IS true regardless of the opinion being expressed.” proves that.

After stating that we should agree to disagree, he can’t agree to disagree because my argument had no foundation to it whatsoever. He then went on to say, “You’re not interested in truth or what’s right. You’re in favor of killing babies before they’re even born even though they are INNOCENT? I would give my life to save that of a child who isn’t even MINE.”

Since he made his stance on abortion clear, that life is important no matter what, I asked him if he held the same view on the death penalty. He did not. But it did prompt him to ask me this: “Are you okay with me murdering you? Can I go up and take your life if you are perceived to get in the way of something I want? Would you be okay with that?” This made me laugh first, then I answered his question. “If you wanted to, go right ahead. I can’t stop you. that’s your choice. I don’t know the reasons people choose for murder, but if you wanted to murder me, that is your personal choice. I don’t have a say in that.”

This answer was not what he wanted to hear so he asked me again in a different form, along with a few other questions. At this point I was over the conversation because it was clear that he was not going to just agree to disagree. He wanted me to just share his views. I can’t do that.

 

 

I have my own opinions and beliefs, as do all other people in the world. If we can’t agree on it, why can’t we all just agree to disagree?

See everyone else’s point of view, accept it, and move on.

Pregnancy

Baby Registry

Recently, I have started thinking about what I will need for Baby Marsh.

I know I will need diapers and clothes.

It is everything else that has me wondering.

It is kind of overwhelming really.

 

What do I need? What DON’T I need? What will make some things easier? What kind of car seat? Do I register at one place? Do I register at multiple places?

 

WHAT DO I DO?!

 

This is where you all come in.

 

What are the essentials for a baby registry?

What have you other moms and dads received for baby that has made your life easier?

What can’t you live without for the baby?

What is something you got that was just not needed?

 

 

 

This is overwhelming, and I would love all the help I can get!