First 5 California was created by voters under Proposition 10 to recognize that children’s health and education are a top priority, especially in the early years of development. Research has shown that in the first five years of life, experiences and relationships stimulate children’s development, creating millions of connections in their brains. IN FACT: children’s brains develop connections faster in the first five years than at any other time in their lives.This is the time when the foundations for learning, health and behaviour throughout life are laid down. – First 5 California
Being a Cali native and having received my undergrad teaching degree in California, the First 5 Legislation was something that I learned about very early on. And when I became a parent, I took this research very seriously. It has been the backbone of my parenting philosophy.
While I was pregnant, my husband and I researched and decided to adopt The Whole Brain Child Approach, Growth Mindset, and the difficult, but well worth it, No TV Till 2 campaign. We promised we would continue to travel, and not let having children slow down our thirst for adventure, but rather, bring them along for the ride, in hopes that they too would be bit by the travel bug (and boy oh boy were they)! We vowed to practice and model inclusivity, to encourage curiosity, to remain gender neutral and to teach the importance of compromise and self advocacy.
We have all learned a lot these past 5 years, and I don’t know if we got it all right. But what I do know is that my 5 year old was more prepared for this moment than any of us. He ran to the bus, walked into his classroom with his hands in his pockets, as cool as a cucumber!
He was ready.
And so now, I get prepared to share this amazing, curious, empathetic, little human of mine, with this big, scary world, and trust in my mommy gut, that everything is gonna be just fine because we gave it our all in those first 5 years, we laid a solid foundation. Now it’s time to build upon it with the help of our community. We can’t wait to see where he grows from here!
Happy First Day of Kindergarten sweet boy…mama loves you so!
A rainbow baby is a name coined for a healthy baby born after losing a baby due to miscarriage, infant loss, stillbirth, or neonatal death.
The American Pregnancy Association, estimates that 10 to 25 percent of pregnancies result in this type of spontaneous loss. But the exact number of rainbow babies born every year isn’t known, largely because miscarriages are often under or unreported.
March of 2017, I became apart of this daunting statistic. We experienced our first miscarriage at 12 weeks. To say that this was one of the hardest moments of my life would be an understatement. I knew exactly what was happening and what my body was physically doing, but mentally accepting it, that was the toughest part. I remember thinking, “This can’t be happening to ME…”
The night before we went in to get confirmation that I had indeed lost the baby, I remember taking a bath and holding my belly as I prayed and sobbed. “Please Lord, this can’t be happening to me, please Lord…”
But the next day, as we listened to silence, and saw no movement on the ultrasound, it was confirmed that we had lost the baby.
We were then given the choice of inducing a natural miscarriage with a medication called misoprostol or having a D & C at the hospital. We choose to take the medication and to naturally miscarry in the privacy of our home.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but I know that I was not emotionally or mentally prepared for what I took place that day. When contractions started and I felt the urge to push, I got out of bed and squatted over our toilet.
In hindsight, it totally makes sense that my body would expel the embryo, but seeing it there, in my toilet, lifeless….It’s an image I’ll never forget for as long as I live.
My husband and I had the remains cremated and casted inside of the most beautiful, porcelain blue bird. I look at this beautiful mama bird as I type this now. Knowing that the remains of my baby now rest inside her belly forever more. She is a reminder of the life that could have been. She is a reminder of the experience that DID happen to me, that DOES happen to so many of us: The loss of a child and the brunt of emotions that come from the betrayal of your womb as she rejects something you want to keep so badly.
I wish I could tell you that was the end of our miscarriage journey, but it wasn’t.
When I went for my follow up appointment, my doctor noticed that I still had quite a bit of tissue left in my uterus. The natural miscarriage was not successful and I was at high risk for infection or scar tissue forming in my uterus. What I thought was just going to be a check up appointment, quickly turned into an emergency D & C.
My best friend came with me to my appointment and was in the waiting room with my then 1 year old son. My husband was at work and offered to come, but I told him I’d be fine, it was just a little procedure. Right? Ha!
As I write, I reflect on my decision not to have him there with me. I’m still not sure if I would do it differently though. Apart of me is ok with my decision to go it alone, because till this day, my husband has never seen me in such pain before (both my deliveries were pain free and I smiled the whole way through lol). But another part of me wishes it was him holding my hand and not a complete stranger, who I feel I burdened with my pain and grief in those few moments that the procedure lasted.
I had the option of being put to sleep with a general anesthesia, or local anesthesia with numbing medicine. I was, and still am till this day, terrified of being put under, and have never experienced general anesthesia. And seeing as most of the tissue had already passed from the natural miscarriage, I elected to have the procedure done under a local anesthetic. Meaning, I was awake for the whole thing. The doctor did numb the area, but it wasn’t very effective. I felt and heard everything.
Till this day, it was one of the most painful experiences of my life. My doctor, God bless her, kept apologizing as she was scrapping and sucking the tissue from my uterus. “I have to get it all out sweetie, I’m so sorry…” she repeated. Tears streamed down my face as I held the hand of the nurse trying not to vomit from the pain. I remember thinking, “Why can’t this just be over already…? This is too much pain…”
Flash forward 6 weeks later. My husband and I decided we would try again. I had 3 chemical pregnancies. Back to back. I was devastated. And ready to give up. Or at least take a break from trying. It was too much for my heart. I felt like I was just losing my babies and it was best if we just stopped trying.
But, we decided to give it one more go, and then we’d take a break.
August 23rd, 2017. We had a positive pregnancy test.
I remember thinking, “This is a strong line! I think this one is gonna stick!”
And she did….
My rainbow baby, Miss Cassiopeia Rachel Dailida was born April 17, 2018.
I take this day to reflect on the storm, the pain, the dark days, the grief. I reflect as a testament that even after the fiercest storms, there is still beauty, there is a rainbow.
To any mamas who have experienced a miscarriage, know that you are not alone. It is ok to be sad, it is ok to grieve, it is ok to be angry. It’s ok to feel those feelings and to feel them hard.
But know this; the storm will pass. Let me say that again. THE STORM WILL PASS! And when that rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean that the storm never existed, or that you’re not still dealing with the damage and debris that storm incited. For the significance of rainbows are not to erase the storm, but to remind us, that even after the darkest of clouds, and fiercest winds, there is still beauty in this world.
“Every time I look into my daughters eyes, I’m reminded and humbled by the beauty of life, of hope. For she painted away my dark clouds with the colors of the rainbow…”
I tried to stay quiet…I promise I did. But I’m two glasses of wine in and there are too many Black men who need to hear this. So here the f**k we go…
To the Black men who voted for and support Donald Trump: For you, this is not wasted breath. To you, I write the following Op-Ed.
In these closing days of the 2020 presidential campaign, a remarkable and surprising measure of campaign attention is falling upon African American voters — specifically a small and typically overlooked segment: young Black men. Several recent polls have found that Trump actually has more support from Black men now than he did in 2016 — an estimated 17% compared to the previous 14%. (The Hill).
I have seen your posts, your comments, your memes. I have seen your support for this man. So rampant, so passionate, up and down my newsfeed, like a true Karen. But it’s not Karen. It’s you. My Black brotha, my fellow millennial. It’s YOU!
At first, I was too infuriated to listen, too pissed to try and understand your point of view. But, I’m ready now. For you, I’m ready to listen, to learn. And thus far, this is what I have gathered:
You Don’t Like Kamala Harris – Or better yet, you don’t think she likes you, a Black man in America. And let’s be real according to her track record, you have good reason not to be a fan. Given her early departure from the Democratic Presidential ticket, her record, in some senses, escaped a thorough vetting. And even though she is now on track to be our next VP, we are still waiting for answers. And here come those Democrats, urging you to push aside your feelings on her record to VOTE! “Vote like your life depends on it!” a popular phrase that Kamala has coined. But as far as you’re concerned, you are! So let’s talk numbers. Let’s talk facts. FACT: During her time as San Francisco’s district attorney, the conviction rate jumped from 52% to 67%. FACT: From 2002–2005, during her tenure, Black people made up less than 8% of the city’s population but accounted for over 40% of its police arrests. FACT: While she was attorney general for the state, her office oversaw over 1,900 marijuana convictions— convicting people on marijuana charges at a higher rate than under her predecessor. FACT: One of the biggest criticism of then-Attorney General Harris was in 2011, when she openly defied U.S. Supreme Court orders to reduce overcrowding in California prisons and argued against expanding an early parole program in court. FACT: For many of these reasons, she was not my Democratic nominee either homie! I wanted Buttigieg, but ya’ll ain’t ready for all that! LOL! But seriously bro, I hear you. I do. But let me ask you this: Why is it that time and time again white men have been able to sit behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office for more egregious offenses in their past? Why is it that they can be forgiven for their past transgressions with an apology? An apology, that in most cases, wasn’t even asked for?! Most importantly, why is it that when these things happen, they are so quickly dismissed as justpolitics? Why is it just politics for him, but not for her?
I’ll tell you why. It’s because the most disrespected, unprotected, neglected person in America is the Black woman (MalcomX).
You think Trump’s got your back on criminal justice reform? The man who is all about being “tough on crime” and “the death penalty” ? And sure bro, it’s played out, but for good reason…his role in “The Central Park Five,” sends chills down my spine every time I read about it. And please! Take a look at his First Step Act. Which rather than reforming the system itself, mostly involves backend reforms that affect those who are already incarcerated. It does not address frontend solutions to the issues that funnel people of color (YOU AND ME) into the justice system in the first place. Issues such as over-policing, bail reform, racial profiling, mandatory minimums, all of which are left unaddressed. And don’t get me started on Mike Pence and House Bill 1006! Which he only agreed to sign after lawmakers made changes to make the bill tougher on offenders convicted of drug crimes. Forcing them to serve 75% of their time opposed to the original 50%. So now Black residents in 23 counties in Indiana are three and a half times more likely than white residents to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite having similar marijuana usage rates. FACTS.
“TRIBE” – A word that I know I used very frequently when referring to my Fit4Mom mom-friends. But recently, I got called out on a post for using the term “tribe”! And the mama who called me out did so in the most respectful and sincere way, that I was able to put my pride aside and truly HEAR what she had to say and to LEARN. And after doing some more research on my own, I wanted to pass on this knowledge in efforts to eradicate this word all together. The following comes from my favorite teaching magazine, Teaching Tolerance.
“Tribe” promotes a myth of primitive African timelessness. Under U.S. law, “tribe” is a bureaucratic term. But away from the law, Native Americans often prefer the words “nation” or “people” over “tribe.” When Africans learn English, they are often taught that “tribe” is the term that English-speakers will recognize. In English, writers often refer to the Zulu tribe, whereas in Zulu the word for the Zulu as a group is isizwe, meaning “nation” or “people.” When we see that the same term is applied indiscriminately to Native American groups and African groups, the problem of primitive savagery as the implied common denominator only becomes more pronounced. The idea of tribe we have today cannot escape these roots. – The Trouble with Tribe” by Chris Lowe.
“I am addressing white people in business in particular: stop using the term “tribe” to mean your fucking email list. What you think you’re using it for: A cute buzzword for a close-knit community of like-minded people. But it doesn’t mean that. It’s a term to describe a familial, cultural, and historical group who often live close together….So how is it easy for us as white people to take a word that we know has racial connotations and make it about us and our marketing? When we use this term, we are effectively profiting from cultural appropriation. It’s your fucking email list, not The Maasai. This is white privilege in action. Stop using this term.“
TERMS YOU CAN USE INSTEAD? TRY:
Society. Circle. Squad. Kindreds. Crew. Pack. Team. Community. Club.
So, there you have it friends! Some food for thought! And if you want some further reading, please see my list down below.
As a woman, I’ve learned that when searching for a soulmate, there will be heartaches and disappointments along the way, so much so, that I felt like giving up on love all together, (or settling for what felt close enough)…but in the depths of my despair I dreamt of what could be, and I persisted…
And when the time came for my womb to be filled with the gift of life once more, we had a pregnancy that never lead to labor and delivery, in these moments of deep sorrow and sadness, still, I persisted…
And after becoming a wife and a mother, I felt that I had a Master Degree that was just collecting dust, because since I don’t “need” to work, how selfish would that be of me to still continue to chase my career goals & ambitions? But even still, in the midst of these feelings of guilt and uncertainty, I persisted…
Because of persistence, I gave love another chance and met the love of my life. And for the first time ever, I felt like an equal, I felt like he was bringing out the best in me just as much as I did for him. For the first time, love wasn’t exhausting, it was exhilarating. I felt humbled to be his and grateful for all my past heartaches and disappointments, for it all lead me to him.
Because of persistence, I slowed down and truly gave my body the time and attention it needed to heal, we tried again and became pregnant. And from that, came the most perfect, independent, happy and confident baby girl I’ve ever known… the little lady who completed our family…our rainbow baby…
Because of persistence, I took a leap of faith, and applied for a dream job, and got it…
So, I say to my daughter, persist baby girl, for persistence conquers all things…
This is the boss lady I want to feel like everyday, all day. She is beaming with confidence, more organized than Marie Kondo, always on time (if not 5 mins early), and she’s a cool, calm and collected leader like Barack Obama back in 09! Lol! But most importantly, she’s a mother who knows how to leave work at work and how to be truly present when she’s home with her family (I’m talking personal and work phone off, emails on do not disturb!) … I love this woman!!! I obsess over her sometimes because all I really want is to be like her every day, all day!! Because in all reality, I only see glimpses, bits and pieces of her through out my work week…I’ve learned fairly quickly (and harshly) that it’s not easy to be like her…But, you know what? I still try! And I accept that despite trying my best, sometimes “my best” is missed deadlines, or running 5 minutes late for an important meeting, or leaving a desk full of work because I need to race across town to get a sick baby. I accept that sometimes, even after hours of work, “my best” is simply adding even more items to a never ending, ridiculously ambitious “To Do List.” Why? Because this is the real life of a working mother, or at least this is my version of it. I strive for my best self, but sometimes, I fall short…But still, I’ll continue to keep this image at the forefront of my mind, even if I can only be like her a few moments a day, or a few times a week. This wifemomboss will take that as a win and keep on pushing to do better! This is me as my best self, she is who I strive to be, she is my #goals ….