Day 2: My Niece

I had to send a special thankfulness post to my beautiful niece. In this #23DaysofThankfulness post, I wanted to highlight this amazing young lady that I’ve been blessed to know, love and watch grow into the great woman that she is today. My niece is a sophomore in college and is a cheerleader for her school. What makes her so amazing? Her fighting spirit.

See, my niece is 19 today. Happy Birthday Princess! Auntie loves you more than you could ever imagine.

Nineteen years ago today, I was blessed to witness the birth of my first niece. It was an epic experience as that was the first time ever that I had witnessed a live birth and just being there with my sister and her husband watching life come into this world overwhelmed me with such joy. She was a preemie. She was born eight weeks early. We were so worried, but the doctors told us that her weight being 5 pounds even was a great sign.

She was in NICU and her dad and I went to visit her. She was so tiny and beautiful. I put my hand through the holes in her glass incubator and rubbed her chest as she screamed, crying and oblivious to the world around her. I said “Princess, don’t cry. Your daddy is right here with me.” No lie, she stopped crying, opened her eyes and looked right at her dad. He started crying like a baby.

A fighter was born.

And just like those many years ago that she was fighting for stronger lungs and a low birth weight, she’s continued to make us proud. In everything she does. It was at the age of 16 that my princess suffered a mental break down. I watched this strong and vibrant girl crumble from the things in her mind. I loved harder.

I admired my sister for her continued strength to love and encourage her daughter as well as mother her other two children while being a full-time working wife. Can you imagine having to do all that? I was thankful for it all. My niece brought mental health closer to home for us. She helped us understand her needs. She grew super close to my mom and we just loved each other more.

Throughout her mental health struggles we learned to love and learn how we can help. We encourage each other. We encourage her. We are thankful for the opportunities that her school provides with free therapy and her own room. What a blessing! So, my day two of my #23DaysofThankfulness is for my niece. Thank you for making me love a little harder, learn more about mental health and just living this beautiful life. You are loved and appreciated more than you know.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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It’s the Mother’s Fault

I’m so tired of society blaming all the problems of the world on the backs of mothers. We are not responsible for everything that happens in this world. We create life, but as men remind us we couldn’t do so without them. So, based off that fact, wouldn’t it be fair to say that we equally share in creating and influencing our children?

I saw this post in one of my FaceBook groups and was astonished at the comments:

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Why? Aren’t both equally dangerous to the well being of a child? Children require two healthy parents to love and influence them. Mental health is often overlooked in both parents. People who should get help deny their is something wrong with them, but the statistics support that most people are suffering from some sort of depression.

I grew up without a father in my life and I disagree with his statement. It did more damage than good. My mother by no means was toxic, but him not supporting his children financially, spiritually or mentally put all the work on her and she just focused on raising us. I had a hole in my heart because my dad abandoned me.

That played itself out in the men I chose and had relationships with. Some were really good men who could see that my father’s abandonment was playing with me. They didn’t take advantage. They just loved and supported. Others did take advantage. Those were the losers that I was unfortunate enough to be linked too.

Blame shifting when it comes to our children and what is in the best interest serves no one. It only allows those that see nothing wrong with their behavior to blame someone else for them not stepping up to the plate with a knife and a fork.

Our society tends to seek to destroy instead of build up one another. The family unit is damaged and it is sickening to believe that the mental health of men promoting hate propaganda and excusing negative behaviors in men is better for our children. Both a toxic parent and an absentee parent are detrimental to the children.

We need to understad that how children are raised and the traumas they experience in childhood will carry over in their adult lives. It’s a fact. It’s not assumption. Every thing that you’re doing now could be traced back to an event that made you that way. Good, bad or indifferent your past matters. Your experiences matter. They help shape the person that you are.

Children need their parents. Both mothers and fathers. But, you have to do the work to heal yourself from the past traumas you’ve experienced or it will manifest itself in the rearing of your children. Be active, be accountable and be mentally capable of raising great individuals.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

You Probably Need Therapy

I believe in therapy. I believe that there has been a mental shift in this country in how we really deal with our issues. In fact, we don’t deal with them. We walk around wearing masks like there is absolutely nothing wrong with us.

But, it is a lie.

There are things that are wrong with you.

There is something wrong with me.

There is something wrong with you.

There is something wrong with all of us.

Let’s stop pretending.

Did you know that 44% of Americans between the ages of 18-44 suffer from depression? It’s staggering, yet imaginable. The media isn’t helping. The weather isn’t helping. Life is just overwhelming some days.

The NIMH estimates that in the United States, 16 million adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2012. That’s 6.9 percent of the population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It is a leading cause of disability.

That’s a lot of us that are depressed. Depression is common and many of us overlook it. I’ve suffered from depression and I’m pretty sure that if you think back to life’s events that have affected you…you probably have too. Was there a death of a loved one? Divorce? Job loss?

I’ve seen therapists many times as an adult. It was in therapy that I realized that I suffer from anxiety. I knew that I had a way of processing that was different, but I couldn’t put my fingers on it. When I explained to my closest friends about my anxiety. They sighed and said “Yep, that’s it.”

My anxiety may not be as severe as other people, but it is something that I recognize and realized that I’ve passed down to Munch. It’s difficult to find the words to encourage my baby to stop worrying about things and as my grandma used to say “borrow tomorrow’s troubles”. He is anxious. He’s 9. He shouldn’t worry.

But, he got it honestly. I worry A LOT. I’m just learning to let things go and not let them stress me out. Through friends and my absolutely fabulous therapist, I’m learning to process what I need too and disregard the rest of the noise. This is part of why I’ve been sharing my self-preservation and the power is within you posts.

I’m learning. I’m growing. I’m accepting that I don’t have all the answers. That I can’t figure it out all by myself. I needed help. I’m getting it.

We have to stop stigmatizing mental health issues. I know in the black community we don’t seem to believe in therapy. We believe that you can pray your way out of anything. Including mental health.

This is not true.

Prayer helps and I believe that God hears all and sees all. But, how can you hear God if you’re hearing voices because you have schizophrenia? You can’t.  It’s impossible.

Now, ya’ll know that I think all black people need three things: Jesus, wine and therapy. We have to stop labeling mental health issues as crazy and start supporting and encouraging our love ones (and ourselves) to get the help we need. It’s about time we stop promoting the strong black woman bulls*it and just promote healthy minds for a healthy you.

It’s time to take care our mental health and spirit too.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

My IVF Journey: Dying Each Day

My cousin wasn’t getting better. I was getting worse. I was feeling like a failure in all aspects of my marriage. I went to the doctor’s and you know how that conversation turned out. I was officially depressed.

Between work and trying to keep the mask of superficiality on my face, I was really going through it. Work became an integral part of my life. I needed to have something to latch on too. Something that felt real.

But it was a farce and continued to be so for many months. Until our anniversary. That night we laughed in an uneasy form, but decided to give our marriage another go. We decided to recommit and focus on us and having a baby.

I was scared as hell. I couldn’t go through this again. The pain. The disappointment. The fear of having no baby.

But, I prayed. I wanted to give my husband a baby more than life itself. The thought of being a mom was one of my deepest fears. I struggled with insecurities about parenthood. What kind of mother would I be? Would my child love me? Would my child like me?

These thoughts were real for me. Parenthood was scary as hell. So, I jumped off that cliff and closed my eyes and flew.

Back through the IVF cycle. The pills, the shots, the bruising, the mood swings. The anger was real bad this time. Those drugs had me saying stuff to my husband that I never thought possible. One day I told him “Will you shut the hell up? The sound of your voice is making my ears bleed?” He didn’t respond.

I was upset. I cried later. He consoled me and said “It’s the medications. I understand.” I didn’t. It was hell on my body. My hair was shedding like a damn cat. I felt as though I was losing it.

The day of my egg retrieval, I woke up and he was right there smiling. I heard a doctor tell the woman next to me that they had retrieved 23 eggs. My husband grabbed my hand. We both wondered would we be so lucky.

A beautiful Indian doctor walked in. She indicated that they had retrieved 11 eggs. I cried. That wasn’t enough. Here we go again.

She asked me “What’s wrong?” I told her “I overheard the woman in the next cot had 23 eggs retrieved. I wasn’t going to ever have a baby and I hated this process.” She looked at me and said “Ms. Thomas, not to give anyone’s medical information away, but the woman in the next room has a medical condition where she is producing more eggs than normal. She said 11 is a good number and it only takes one. I need you to remember that it only takes one to have a healthy baby.”

My husband squeezed my hand and said “See, we did good.” I closed my eyes. I was tired. I couldn’t take another round of defeat.

-To be continued-

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Boycott Valentine’s Day

I love the idea of love. I love actual love. I love a lot of things. Heck, I’m in love. However, I don’t like going out on Valentine’s Day for dinner. It is my biggest pet peeve.

Let me tell you why….

Nine years ago when I was pregnant I had been on bed rest for the last month. My ex husband had made dinner arrangements for The Chart House (one of my favorite restaurants) that evening. I had been ordered to not have sex (umm, I’m pregnant and wanted to have sex with my husband) because they were afraid that I would go into pre-term labor. My life sucked.

I had two doctor’s appointments on Valentine’s Day. The first was my obstetrician who checked me out and said we could have sex. I was excited. I then went to see the maternal and fetal medicine doctor a few hours later who then told me no. I started to cry. He said, “I know it’s not what you want to hear, but I’m really concerned about your cervix shortening.” I was crushed.

Aren’t you supposed to have sex on Valentine’s Day with your husband? I was hormonal. I was looking forward to some big belly loving. But, it wasn’t meant to be. So, we went to dinner that night and the restaurant had so many tables squeezed in there that I couldn’t maneuver through the tables with my belly. I started to cry as I tried to slide my way to our table.

Men saw what was wrong and started to move their tables aside as tears rolled down my eyes. I felt like the biggest pregnant loser ever. No sex and I was too fat to get to our table.

My husband at the time was very comforting and encouraging. He told me that I was creating life and that was more important than anything, but I didn’t believe him. My self-esteem was shot. It was at that moment that I realized that I didn’t like Valentine’s Day and I would never go to dinner again. I felt that restaurants overbooked and added so many more tables to get the money in and I wasn’t going to take part in that foolishness. I was deeply wounded.

And you know what? I’ve never gone out on Valentine’s Day for dinner ever again. Every year that we were married after that my husband would ask did I want to go to dinner and every year I said “No, you remember that I’m boycotting right?” He would laugh and cook us dinner at home and that was fine with me.

This Valentine’s Day, I’m in a relationship with a wonderful man who I’ve expressed that I’m boycotting dinner at a great restaurant and he’s cool with that. He laughed. I’m not even seeing him on that day because it’s a weeknight and I have Munch. So, I will surprise Munch with a dozen heart balloons when he wakes up on Valentine’s Day. I will have a card for him and we will go to Toys R’Us for a toy after school and I will buy him dinner at Chipotle.

He will love it all the same and it will be a perfect mommy/son date. I couldn’t ask for anything more considering that I boycott dinner at a fancy restaurant on this day. He’ll kiss me and tell me that I’m the best mommy in the world and I will kiss him and tell him that he is the best son in the world.

And you know what? He is. Our love is perfect.

One Day

One day you will wake up from this cold world where you feel all alone and know that I am here

One day you will listen to those whispers of love and encouragement and have them not fall on deaf ears

One day you will see the beauty that your eyes hide from

One day you will hear the beat of the drum

The drum that speaks life into you

Slow and steady

It beats for you

It beckons you to come forth

It beckons you to not stay in the dark

It beckons you that you are a fighter

Feel the rhythm my sweet princess

Dance

Dance and move enjoying the beat

Move

Let the power within take control

Be encouraged

Be faithful

Morning sits on the horizon

Your breakthrough is coming