Babies: The Great Hope.

It is amazing to me how many people are so happy about excited about my pregnancy. At first, I really only thought it was because they were happy for me to experience the joy of motherhood, however, this unborn child has sparked such intrigue that I began to look a little deeper and wonder why. Is it because I “finally” got pregnant? Is it because mothers know how much of a blessing children are and can’t wait for me to experience the same? Is is about the extension of a family’s legacy? 

 The more I thought about the conversations I’ve had with a variety of people, it dawned it me that babies often symbolize hope and new beginnings.  They elicit a wonderment that causes those around to speculate on what he or she will look like, the type of personality he or she will have, and what they will do with their life. Fortunately or unfortunately babies symbolize the unfulfilled dreams and spark an unstoppable drive to provide whatever it takes to nurture the best within that child, to ensure these dreams come to fruition this time around. A clean slate, a blank canvas on which the hopes and dreams for tomorrow can be sketched, carved, painted, created. For some, babies represent what could have been or what one longs for in life. The entering of a new baby into a family, even with the uniqueness that comes with each of God‘s creation, can be a reminder of a loved one no longer here. A way to receive a visit from a miniature version of what once was. A way to get back what was taken. 

Whatever the reasons may be, I feel fortunate that my unborn child has brought so much happiness and excitement to so many people. Ultimately, I feel blessed to be the vessel through which God can bring so much joy into the lives of those who are connected to me.

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Cyclical

I don’t understand why so many people complain about how Black women are portrayed on reality television when the same people who complain are the ones patronizing the shows!!!! These shows are a business and in business, everything is about the bottom line, therefore, if it’s not making the company money; it will go away. The more you tune in, the more ratings they will have, which will lead to more money. It’s simple mathematics. Supply and demand. No matter how you slice it.

So the real question becomes, “why do you watch it?” Those who know me know I haven’t had cable in over 2 years because when I returned to school I decided to rid myself of it because television became nothing more than a distraction. The deal I made with myself is that I would not sign up for cable again until after I graduated. Well, now that I’ve graduated I still can’t logically convince myself to pay for cable. Anything I really want to watch, I can watch online for free. Hell, all I really have to do is look at my Facebook timeline and I know exactly what happened. There isn’t much substance on television today and I don’t think many would argue with me about that.

You call it guilty pleasure. A way to release from your everyday life and unwind with something that is completely ridiculous and will allow you not to use any brain cells. I get that, as I’m guilty of the same. What I DON’T get are the people who complain about it week after week after week. It’s like complaining about how much a broken bone hurt and yet not going to the doctor to do anything about it.

If you’re going to watch it, watch it, but don’t then get on a soapbox platform and discuss the ills it creates for the image of Black women, especially if you’re a Black woman contributing to the increasing of its bottom line.

Planned

After announcing to my friends and family that I was pregnant, a few people asked me if I had planned it. This seemed to be one of the most absurd questions I’ve ever encountered, given I am not a married woman and given that I have always been vocal about wanting to be married prior to becoming a mom. It baffled me to the point to where I questioned who I have been in my life, as my question quite naturally was, “what about me says I would intentionally become a single mother?” In my mind, perhaps it would make more sense if I were much older, but given the fact that I haven’t succumbed to societal pressures to be married by a certain age; that should have been a clear indication that I don’t care what people say about what I “should” be doing in my life. 

 

Let’s be clear, I have been proposed to more than once in my life, 3 times to be exact, and twice by the same person (the first time I said “no” and the second time I said “hell no” because he obviously didn’t hear me the first time he asked. we broke up shortly thereafter). This is a fact I don’t think I have shared with anyone, because when asked, I knew they weren’t my husband, so there really was no need to involve my friends or family in something that would never be because that would undoubtedly lead to annoying questions and unnecessary pressure stemming from their projections. 

 

In theory, if I was concerned about what people thought about my marital status, I had 3 opportunities in my 20’s to do something about it. Thankfully, I was secure enough in myself to not give in, just to have the pleasure of saying I could change my last name, have the big wedding and reception, only to pacify the public, while denying my true desires, wants, and needs. Had I gotten married at those times, my priorities would have changed and I probably would not have gone back to school for my Masters degree until much later, if at all.

Many also know that I spent a bulk of my 20’s taking care of family members, which meant I often traveled to my hometown several times throughout each month, before I eventually resigned from my position and moved there when the travelling became too physically and emotionally draining. Had I been married, I’m certain that scenario would have played out differently, as I wouldn’t have been able to up and leave my husband and who knows; I could have also had kids by that point, which would have made traveling to Florence much more difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. I’m thankful for the time I got to spend with my dad before he passed away. I learned so much in those last months and many questions from my childhood finally received answers. That experience was the type of self healing that can only occur when you are able to put self first. I also got to fulfill some promises I made to my grandmother before she passed away.

Again, if I had a husband or children, there is no way I could have accomplished what I was able to do for them. Only a single person with no major responsibilities outside of the typical bills could get done what I got done. The conversations I was able to have with my grandparents before my grandmother left shed light on so many things and also gave me answers I needed in moving forward. Even when things went berserk after my grandmother passed away, I had peace because I knew. I have peace, because I know. 

 

My 20’s were spent concentrating on myself, my education, my career, and my family of origin. Keeping that focus allowed me to not have any regrets. I never thought time was running out on the marriage and kids front, because 30 isn’t old in my opinion. I still had more I wanted to accomplish in my career. I eventually went back to school to increase the knowledge I believed I needed to enhance that career, and in my mind 2012 was my year to make the career moves I was unable to make because I spent so much time making sure I wasn’t more than a quick drive away from home. This was my time to open that business, so to get knocked up in 2011 was far from any plan I had for my life. At the time, I was in a great relationship with a man unlike any other I’ve dated and I was content with seeing where that would grow. However, missing my period wasn’t planned. 

 

Every fear I’ve ever had was actualized in the moment when the results of that pregnancy test came back. My mom reared us without a husband, so I knew first hand the difficult road I had ahead of me. Disappointment in myself also set in, as I couldn’t logically think of how in the world I could have gotten pregnant after never having so much as a pregnancy scare in my 32 years of life. I had prided myself on being able to live the dream of graduating from high school, going to college and graduating, going back to college and graduating, and finding myself working in a career with young girls who saw me as an example they should follow.

That gave me joy and much pride, as I was able to show them that you did not have to give in to pressure and it is okay to wait to have sex (there were several years of celibacy during this time period). All of my years of work, all of those group sessions, all of those individual conversations seemed to drip down my face with each tear that flowed. I thought I had let down everyone, including myself and God. Being the book smart person I am, I knew I could continue to work with young ladies and have my testimony serve as a “look at what can happen to you” story, however, I did not want to be the stereotypical single mother who now works as a mentor showing young ladies there is a better way than the path she took. I preferred being the “this is how you can live your life and still be content and happy” mentor where my life and my choices were the choices to make. Why would someone like me choose to eat so many words shared over the years?

 

After disappointment came denial. There was no freaking way I was pregnant. No way whatsoever. I ignored it and carried on with my life as if I never received the results of both home pregnancy tests. I convinced myself that the sickness I was feeling was from that stupid job that I hated. They made me sick daily. And since I never vomited like most pregnant women do, then that means I wasn’t pregnant in my mind. The queasiness I felt with certain smells were because I was weening myself off of fatty foods and apparently I was doing great on my diet because the smell of this garbage turned my stomach. Yay fruits and veggies! 

 

After denial, rationalization. In my “book smart” mind, I knew statistically most first pregnancies ended in miscarriage, so I chose to wait out the month of December. I received no medical care because I just knew I would miscarry. Everyday, several times a day, I went to the restroom and looked for blood in the toilet. Abortion was never an option, but in my mind if I had a miscarriage, that would have been God’s natural way of warning me “this too could happen to you” and I would have learned my lesson. Nearing the end of December, the blood never came, and I knew I had to tell my mom. At this point only the dad and one other friend knew that I “thought” I was pregnant. But somehow, I knew I had to tell my mom. Well, I did and she didn’t believe me which pissed me off, so again I went back into denial. After the first of the year, my relationship is more rocky and while I’m no genius in math; I knew the last time I had my period was in October which meant by this point, I was a couple months pregnant. I made the decision to get over myself and make a doctor’s appointment. 

 

I got a big surprise when at the doctor’s office they told me I was pregnant. *Insert sarcasm* What was shocking to me was that I was already out of my first trimester. Those fools told me I was 14 weeks pregnant! I looked at the nurse and said, “I’m in my second trimester.” In a “duh” kind of tone she said, “Yes.” She then slapped that cold gel on my belly and for the first time I heard my baby’s heartbeat. I didn’t say a word, but tears flowed endlessly down my cheeks. I don’t know if they were happy tears or sad tears, but it felt real in that moment. My denial and rationalization turned to guilt. I began to hope I hadn’t done anything to hurt my baby. I couldn’t stop crying because in that very moment I wanted nothing but happiness for this child. I finally accepted the fact that I was indeed pregnant. 

 

I began to tell others. Many of the reactions were disbelief and I understood why. I went through it myself. But I still couldn’t and can’t fathom why anyone who truly knows me would think I would plan something like this. I know we live in a day and time where self-proclaimed “independent women” willingly becoming single mothers and profess to want to do it on their own, but I am a clinically-trained therapist who understands the psycho-social reasons behind why it’s best that children have 2 parents. As a woman who has accepted Christ as her savior years ago, I know what God thinks of pre-martial sex, marriage as a covenant, and parenting as a ministry. As a child from a single-parent household, I know life as a single parent won’t be all cheese omelets and walks on the beach. 

 

This journey has also taught me not to beat myself up too much because as much as we plan out our lives, sometimes a bigger plan comes in and trumps it all. A part of me accepting I was pregnant was because I realized many women were trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully. I also realized that women were getting pregnant but not able to carry full term. I began noticing articles where women were blessed with children only to abuse them in some of the most unimaginable ways. Seeing and experiencing these things led to me asking God to forgive me for ever wishing ill of my pregnancy, as there obviously was a reason He kept me and this baby. He chose me to be a mother at this point in my life for some reasons that have already unfolded and others I’m sure will continue to unfold. And while I know God is not pleased with my actions, I thank Him for his grace and mercy. I thank Him for forgiveness. I thank Him for keeping His promises to me despite my shortcomings to Him. From disappointment to denial to rationalization to incredibly humbled is where I now stand.

 

 

As I sit here today at 31 weeks and 2 days pregnant with a little girl I have yet to meet and am already completely and totally in love with; I have reached the point where I again say I am not concerned with what others think. I will continue to work towards my goals, perhaps more diligently now than ever now that I have another reason not to fail. I will continue to let people know God is good even when we are not. I will let my child know she is not a mistake and she is here for a reason. Every life God creates has a purpose~each and every one. I will teach her to be who God created her to be and not fall prey to what others think she should be or do in her life. She will be taught to make plans for her life, but to ultimately submit to the plan of the One who gave her life, as ultimately that’s the only plan that will manifest anyway. 

 

If God is Love

If God is love, why do we use Him to justify hate?

Do we believe that God will love a person less because of his or her sin?
If so, are we ever able to regain His love or is it gone forever?
If He loves us despite our sins, why do we believe some sins are more lovable than others?
If we disappoint Him, will He forgive us?
Does He only forgive certain people?
If He forgives all, why can’t we emulate that?
Who decides on the line between what is forgivable or not?
Is it God or is it man?
What happens if we choose to love the person but hate the sin?
Is that stance more God-like?
If it is, why is there so much hatred for people?
 
Are we really trying to be like God? Like, for real, for real?
 
Or do we only want to be like Him in matters that fit within our worldly boxes and limited thinking?
 
How do we pick and choose who we’ll accept and love unconditionally?
 
If God were to come to your house tonight for dinner, what would He say about your rationale for the choices you make?
Will He still love you?
 
Will He see Himself in you?
 
Or would you be a stranger to Him?
 
Will He love you less if you are a stranger?
 
Or will He bestow to you the same level of love He bestows to all?
 
Is loving people really that hard if we are following a God-laid plan?
 
How would you feel if a loved one told you, “I only love parts of you?”
 
How would you feel if the way you loved others was the way God, in turned, loved you?
 
Would you still love the same?
 

The Movie of Life

We can only love those who want to be loved.

That statement alone seems baffling on some level, as one would think, “well, doesn’t everyone want to be loved?”

In many cases, that question can be answered with a resounding “YES!” However if we dig a bit deeper we may find something else. As life would have it, we each have a story. Some of our stories are romantics while others are dramas. Some may be action flicks, and others thrillers. More often than not, many of our stories leaves its viewers in suspense. They give the impression the plot is going in one direction and without notice; the plot thickens and takes its audience on an unpredictable turn, and this can happen several times in the most complex suspense movies, sometimes leaving you wondering what the hell happened.

The twists and turns of life can leave the audience and actors alike confused with more questions than answers. Sometimes the answers can be found in the prequel, the events preceding the movie, however how often do we take the time to evaluate the prequel of our lives?

If more actors would conduct in depth research into his or her character, then perhaps we could more accurately portray our story, as it would be filled with additional substance. The characters would be further developed because they would be scripted with truth that leads to healing and ultimately understanding and acceptance of all that has happened to lead us to this point in our movie. An undeveloped character is a dangerous one because there often isn’t a fully developed script. As such, the actor is armed with the ability to change his or her lines as often as they wish, which leads to the potential of conflicting story lines, especially if our fellow thespians are not aware of which character is going to show up today.

The movie business is difficult but it can only be as fulfilling as those involved are willing to make it. If the actors are willing to put forth the effort to become fully immersed in their work, no matter how difficult the task may be, then consistency of character is undoubtedly the result. Where there is consistency, the movie can flourish. If the actors are on differing scripts because one decided to do the daunting homework and the other didn’t, then the story won’t flow, leaving the actor who put in the work feeling as if the movie was just a joke, and their blood, sweat, and tears were all in vain.

It could be concluded by the hard-working actor that the slacker just doesn’t want to excel within his or her own story. Why else would he or she not put forth the necessary work in producing the greatest blockbuster of all time? Does (s)he not want to be successful in the movie (s)he auditioned and signed on for? Does (s)he not want to be loved?

Some actors make the mistake of blaming themselves for the lackadaisical work of those surrounding them; however those who know their value to the project are able to quickly surmise that the responsibility lies with those who weren’t willing to tough it out through the rough patches, and there is probably of lifetime of evidence supporting this observation. It is therefore up to the diligent, hard worker to continue on with his or her life with those willing to work equally as hard.

Those who want the love.


The Least Shall Be the Greatest

Sometimes the people you most believe will be there for you when you need them are the ones who aren’t there when you need them.

Sometimes the people you least expect to be there when you need them are the ones who are there when you need someone.

Don’t write people off because they for whatever reason don’t live up to a certain pedigree in your mind. God often uses the least of us.

It’s a GIRL!!!

Written 02-24-2012

Today is the day I found out you are a GIRL!!!!!

I couldn’t stop smiling and I made the ultrasound tech check several times to make sure, in addition to making sure she pointed out your girl parts to me so that I could see them myself (even though I honestly didn’t know what I was looking at)!

I saw you on the screen and my heart melted! You were curled up and your head was tucked down as if you were praying. You looked so at peace and serene. The ultrasound technician had to move around her wand continuously just to get you to move. You finally did and I saw your arms move! I also heard your heartbeat. I was 160 beats again. All of your vital organs looked great and I can’t explain to you how excited I am to be your mom!

Your name is Nola Grace, after my favorite woman in the whole wide world. I can’t wait to tell you about her. Your name also has significance because without Grace, where would we be?

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!