Nursing

December 2007

I asked him “Do you want me to breastfeed?” It really wasn’t his choice. It was mine. Nursing was a personal choice. He responded “I would like you to try.” I thought about it. I could try.

April 2008

I was exhausted. The delivery was an emergency c-section. I was sick. The baby had to come out because I couldn’t take anymore. But, I wanted to nurse. In post-op I wanted to nurse him. I asked to nurse him. I didn’t want them to give him a bottle. I wanted him to nurse from his mother. I was too weak. I was told that they had to give him something. Sugar water I think. I was hazy. “Rest mama” is what they kept saying.

May 2008

With many of the tubes removed from me I’m now settled in the maternity wing. No more high risk wing. My blood pressure is still high. Pills to reduce it. “I want to nurse him” I say. “You’re too weak mama. We’ll give him formula. You can pump.” I cried. All I wanted to do was to nurse him. I slept. I was exhausted.

Day 3 after my delivery, the lactation consultant came to show me how to nurse him. I told her that I had been sick and they wanted me to pump. That I pumped and my mom fed him from the bottles but I wanted to nurse him. She told me that nursing was best. She turned over the bottle and the milk just flowed out. She explained that babies don’t have to work for it in the bottle. They have to work for it on the boob. The next twenty minutes were about her showing me how to nurse my son. He was 3 days old and I finally got to nurse him. It was weird. It didn’t hurt. It just was a weird experience.

I sighed.

I’m a mom.

I’m nursing.

I did it.

N

 

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “N” is for Nursing. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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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Mom

November 2008

I went home to Tennessee to visit with my family. Specifically my cousin Boo-Bop. I needed to see him. The time is getting near His cancer is getting worse. I’m praying that he lasts until I give birth. I just need more time.

I did get to tell him that my son would be named after him. He smiled. He only had girls. He seemed excited. We talked. Really talked about me being a mom. I told him that I’m scared. I was unsure of what kind of mother I would be.

I wasn’t the mothering type. He laughed. He told me that no one truly knows what kind of parent you’ll be. You just wing it. You live, you love and you teach. He told me that there wasn’t too much to it.

I sighed.

I told him that I tell my baby every day that I love him. I know he’s in utero and probably can’t hear me, but that is what I need him to know. That I love him. I didn’t hear it growing up. He told me how my aunt, his mom, didn’t tell him until he was diagnosed with cancer. I was shocked.

I asked him did it bother him? He said no. He said that he knew she loved him but that his cancer diagnosis made her remember to tell him. He understood.

Later on that evening, I talked to grandma about our conversation and she explained that she never told her kids that she loved them either. She said that loved them, but never thought about it because she was busy being a single mom and trying to raise them. But, she said it was her fault that her kids didn’t learn it. She said many black parents didn’t tell their children that they loved them. She was one of them.

Many things scare me about being a mom, but I know that love isn’t one of them. So, I will continue to read to him and tell him that I love him each and every day. Inside and outside my womb. I need him to know that his mom means it more than he could ever have imagined. I promise to change the dynamic of this mom thing so that when he grows up – love won’t seem foreign rolling off his tongue.

M

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “M” is for Mom. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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/.

Heavy

September 2008

Heavy is the crown that comes with trying to be a good employee, wife and mother. I am failing miserably. There is not one day that goes by that I don’t see the looks of disgust as I leave on time to get my son. I have no help. I am a mother first.

H

I chose to be a mother. But, apparently I’m not afforded the same privileges as my co-workers that have children. I have to choose work over mothering. How the hell can I do that? Why would I do that?

I can’t help that I’ve been out on leave for the last 6 months and that as soon as I get back to work, my husband is now sick. I have a strict schedule. It’s the only thing that makes sense about the situation…

  • I get up at 5 a.m.
  • I shower
  • I get dressed
  • I pack Munch’s diaper bag
  • I leave the house at 5:45 a.m.
  • I arrive at day care at 5:58 a.m.
  • At 6:01 a.m. I am handing him to the teacher in the infant room
  • I leave at 6:05 a.m.
  • I arrive at work at 7:30 a.m.
  • I leave at 4:30 p.m.
  • I arrive at day care at 5:58 p.m.
  • I leave for the hospital to see my husband
  • I arrive at 7:00 p.m.
  • I stay until 10:00 p.m.
  • I get home by 10:45 p.m.
  • I get the baby bathed and in the bed.
  • I crawl in the bed at 11:45 p.m.
  • I sleep to start it all over again.

Heavy. My life is so heavy right now. But, I will choose my son over it all. I just need to work to make sure that the money continues to roll in. We have bills. We need two incomes. I am so very tired. No one understands that there is no choice but me. I watch other people afforded the opportunities that I don’t seem to have.

I sigh.

Adjust this heavy crown. Do it all again. Each and every day. Why? Because I’m a mother. I’m expected to figure it the hell out.

 

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “H” is for Heavy. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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/.

Effort

July 2013

It requires a lot of effort to fake indifference at my lot in life. To get up each morning and put on a smile and try for the sake of my son to be present in the moment. To not stress over the bulls*it games. To disengage from the noise and focus on being there regardless of those weapons formed against me.

But, I will not give up. Effort is exerting. I am tired. I’m trying to focus on the positive of my situation and accepting that Munch will be okay. I have to smile, show up and love. Love without limits and give freely of myself.

How can I do that though?

As he sat there packing his clothes to move out, he told me today that he could sue me for full custody and take half of my retirement. I couldn’t breathe. Life stopped. What were mere seconds felt like an eternity. How could you?

I don’t care about money. I care about Munch. I squared my shoulders and said “I don’t know who is filling your head with this BS but I will leave this house, put everything in storage and move in with my mother and get the best attorney and fight you with every thing I have. I will spend my yearly salary on an attorney, but you will not take him from me and when I’m done wasting your time and money in court, you will have 83 days a year instead of the 182 I offered.”

Silence. The thickness of my words filled the room. He stared at me.

The truth in my words lay like at his feet. Only death would keep me from my son. I wasn’t going to die.

Rage. I was filled with rage.

It takes effort to fix your mind when the person you loved the most tries to take the one thing you live for. The one person you breathe for. The person that needs you now more than ever. I have to stay strong. Munch needs me. I need to keep my sanity. Keeping my sanity requires effort.

I pray that God will continue to have mercy on me and give me the strength to keep moving forward. One foot in front of the other. I must keep walking for Munch. For me.

No matter what.

 

E

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “E” is for Effort. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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/.

Cleveland

November 22, 2014

I’m standing in the kitchen trying to prepare dinner. Munch is in his room watching television and waiting for his dinner. I hear the news. A 12 year old boy named Tamir Rice was just gunned down in a park in Cleveland, Ohio by two police officers. The glass I was holding shatters.

He was 12. The picture shows a sweet smiling little boy. I watch the news with tears as I wonder how anyone could kill a 12 year old boy. What has this world come too? A mother burying her son. This isn’t how the world is supposed to work. We are supposed to have our children bury us after many years lived.

He won’t have that opportunity. I wonder is anywhere safe. I wonder if this little boy’s mom thought that the city of Cleveland was safe. If her street or neighborhood was safe. If she thought that those who were supposed to protect and serve would never harm her son.

Another boy dies. Another mother weeps. A life cut short. How can I protect my four year old son? No guns. No play guns. No Nerf guns. I have to keep Munch safe.

I clean up the broken glass and think that this is life. We’re all broken. The police are broken. This family is broken. The justice system is broken.

No rest for mothers tonight.

 

C

 

 

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “C” is for Cleveland. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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/.

I Don’t Want That

Last week, in my post Marriage Isn’t For Everyone I told you that I’m freaking out because I’m not sure that I want to get married again. EVER. Not that I’m unsure about Mr. C.

He’s actually the only thing that I’m positive about when it comes to imagining my future. He’s the known. It’s the unknown that scares me.

In that, I’ve been having a lot of anxiety around our future. Last week we had a conversation and I shared with him how I was unsure of whether or not I wanted marriage again and asked could he be okay with that. I explained that I loved him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, but I didn’t know if I was the marrying type.

I told him that we’d essentially been there and done that and I asked would he be willing to be with me and live with me at some point with no prospect of marriage. He paused. He always pauses when asked deep and introspective questions, but this pause seemed to drag on for eternity.

He asked “What will we tell Munch?” I responded “The truth. That families come in all different forms and that we are a family and the love we have for each other supersedes. I’ll tell him that we love each other and maybe we’ll get married some day, but at this point, I don’t want too. I want to live and build a home and a family with you.” He asked could he get 24 hours to think about it. I agreed.

We resumed our conversation and he said that he could accept that I may never want to marry one day. He wanted to know would it be one-sided. Basically, if I woke up one day and said “Hey, let’s get married now and he didn’t want too would I be okay with that.” I paused. I hadn’t thought about that. I assumed that he would be okay with a “Hey, let’s get married now announcement.” But was it really fair? No. So, I told him “Yeah, I have no choice. It’s both of us. It’s about our family and our legacy.” He said he was fine with it.

I didn’t know if I believed him or not. I gave him a lot of information to process. I prayed that he understood that I loved him, wanted to be with him, raise my son with him and grow old. However, the male ego is precious and I didn’t know if my declaration about not wanting marriage would roar it’s ugly head in another way. Was I really being fair to him if we wanted two different things?

– 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/.

 

Parenting: Discipline Part I

I told you awhile back that I practice positive parenting. Positive parenting basically means that I embrace positive discipline. That I listen to Munch and don’t physically spank or lay hands on him. Now, this is new age in my family who believes in spare the rod and spoil the child, but I am an advocate for allowing Munch to understand that his choices will have negative or positive consequences, but he needs to understand that.

I treat discipline as a teaching opportunity instead of a physical task of spanking. Pretty much everything becomes about examining the issues, understand why the behavior occurred, making you accountable and still providing love, hugs and kisses. I know this may seem like with craft to some folks, but I don’t believe that you have to go around spanking children to correct their behavior.

Positive parenting tries to strengthen the parent/child bond by creating a more affectionate relationship. This works with Munch. He is a hugger and loves to be hugged, petted (LOL, his words) and encouraged. However, it’s not always easy.

Last Friday night, I got this email from Munch’s teacher:

I wanted to let you both know that Brennan had a problem in English class today. He had a discussion with a classmate about the biography book report. This is my knowledge of the situation. Brennan and the classmate were discussing who they were reading about. When Brennan heard the boy was reading about the life of a white person (students can choose anyone) he told the student he had to read about a black person. The student then called Brennan a racist. The boys both raised their voices and argued. Brennan was yelling I am not a racist. I was teaching, standing in front of the class and immediately raised my voice in order to be heard, and stopped the argument, reprimanded them both and moved Brennan from that table. I reprimanded the boy and we had a mini class discussion about racism. I told them that I was upset with them both for not stopping when I asked. At the end of class I met with the boys. The 1 student said he was at fault, said he should not have said that and admitted to inciting Brennan. Brennan said, right, I was wrong, too. I complimented him for being mature and respectful. But then he immediately told me, I’m being sarcastic, and continued to say he did nothing wrong. I tried to convey the idea that yes, the boy was wrong, but you were rude and disrespectful to me as I was trying to resolve the problem. I felt I had taken the time to discuss and reprimand the boy, in front of the entire class about his name calling. But Brennan was still defiant and defensive about my correction of him. I had a class coming in and no time to continue our discussion. I sent him to class but it was unresolved. I wanted to advise you of the incident. Please let me know if you have any questions.  Mrs. B

Yeah, it was rough. Basically my son told the teacher that he was being sarcastic with his apology as she was complimenting him. Huh? Where does that happen? I was mortified. I really like his teacher. She’s phenomenal and just a good human being. I trust her.

Now the question became how do I approach Munch with this positive parenting? See, I knew that my mom would have smacked my mouth for being disobedient. Positive parenting doesn’t allow for spanking. I needed to teach Munch a lesson. I needed him to see how he was wrong and needed to apologize, but I had to make sure that he understood the rules/expectations of self-control.

Could I do this? Was I ready? The challenges were only going to get bigger. I knew how I handled this would set the precedent for future parenting discipline moments. The key was to teach him, not to break him.

-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/.