Black & Bossy Pre-Motherhood…This Ain’t Cute.

I have been a solid Dog-Mom for the last three years, and like a Black small-footed Peggy Hill, here I find myself pregnant with a son that I never imagined would be. Yes, I know where babies come from. No, I didn’t think that I was in the danger zone. I was wrong.

Now I’m 34 weeks into this deal, and I’ve finally landed on a solid feeling about this whole situation.

This Ain’t Cute!

Don’t get me wrong, I can intellectualize the fact that this is a beautiful scientific process, but I need someone to articulate that to my hips and my plans for the future.

Seriously.

I was the kind of girl that collected horror stories along the way to help me stay on the kid-free path, despite the ticking of my biological clock. While that helped create a nice callous around my heartstrings, trying to undo three decades worth of opinion is harder than it sounds, especially in such a short time frame as 40 weeks.

I’m shook.

Even with my Rolodex of easily accessible worst-case scenarios, now that I’m in the go zone of this “journey” I’m finding out new and unnerving things.

Here’s where I get graphic and say things that my family and church folk shouldn’t read. If you’re trying to keep me in a certain light stop reading right now.

I mean it, it’s about to go down. Go read the post about Grandma.

Ain’t cute thing #1- 

When you really have no idea what you’re doing, and you have no desire to start a new dynamic in your immediate friendships in which you start discussing bodily functions; you get on the Internet like a respectable nerd and find out things from strangers. That action leads me to the realization that there’s such thing as a “pad popsicle”. The young lady on the post (not the article I just linked) had concocted a menagerie of aloe, coconut oil, sage, bitters and wheatgrass (who knows, I zoned out) for the purpose of freezing the mix on a huge sanitary napkin, to place in her panties after giving birth.

I had to scroll to the comment section to see if there was anyone else completely confused with me. Nah. Everybody on the thread had their own recipe ready to rock and the old school moms had stories of how there’s a contraption at the hospital that you just twist and it gets cold like something out of a hiking kit.

Do you know what kind of beat up your “purse” has to be for COLD to feel soothing? I’ve had some… “oh Lord just leave the hot rag in place” moments in my life, but NEVER in the history of this kitty box have I been so swollen and that I have ever even contemplated an ice pack.

Help, God!

Ain’t cute thing #2- 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmfcRaQAcZo

I’m out here trying to take over the world. Same thing I do every day, Pinky. So there’s not a lot of room for dramatic emotional shifts. As a person that has dealt with anger issues that reach as far back to the age of 5; hormonal imbalance, physical changes, and mouthy people just don’t mix. I’ve found myself having to pray aloud to keep the urge to heel kick someone in the mouth at bay.
The fact that I’m not in prison is proof that prayer works. I’ve found myself feeling levels of mad as hell that rival my years as a brand new teenager. Who has time for that? Remaining sociable and acceptable in public is probably draining more out of me than this huge baby inside of me that likes to boogie to music and wiggle when the food I eat is tasty.

Between that and moments of crushing sadness, I’m ready for this kid to get done cooking and come on out, so I can establish his LLC, schedule his music lessons and teach him how we roll. I’ve lost and missed out on enough things that I generally don’t spend a lot of my normal time being sad. So, this whole tear act is beyond annoying because I absolutely know that whatever it is, it’s not that deep; and with the emotional swings comes the act of faking like everything is just fine. I honestly don’t know the answer at any given time. Sometimes I’m cool, sometimes I break things that I don’t care about. This is stupid.

Ain’t cute thing #3- 

There’s apparently a protocol to doing this whole thing, from pictures of my waistline disappearing gradually to inspirational quotes and deep shit I’m supposed to be spewing to the masses about how I’m transforming as a woman. I’m 33 years old, at this point I’m as grown as it gets until I start going through the change of life. Since the beginning of my pregnancy there’s been a wave of articles on how black women are the most likely to die during and after childbirth so excuse me if I can’t give a damn about all the mushy stuff until after I get through this thing I’ve feared and avoided my entire life, alive. Thanks. Not to keep talking about the emotional piece, but with that, I check my blood pressure on a regular basis, especially after a mood shift. I also weigh myself twice a day, in the beginning, it was to be sure I didn’t lose too much, and now it’s to be sure that the gain is within reason to my height. I’m much too busy trying to be my own advocate, watch his seemingly rapid growth (his ass is over 5lbs already) and be sure that there’s absolutely nothing else that I can do to create the best situation. I don’t have time to be cutesy. Sorry.

Ain’t cute thing #4-

I don’t ever like to be touched in places beyond my hands and shoulders. There’s something about a pregnant belly that makes people feel like they need to reach out and put their possibly washed,  but more likely to have just touched a doorknob hands on your good clothes. I don’t even remember who it was that did it, but I’m at my Grandmother’s funeral trying to be all dignified and comport myself in a manner that wouldn’t embarrass the deceased if she saw me, and missed a belly touch dodge. I let it ride on the strength of time and place, but I was visibly upset according to my Sorority sisters that caught my body language from over my shoulder.

If you wouldn’t rub my belly to admire my work in the gym, randomly touching my belly because I’ve been screwing just seems weird to me, but hey, let the spirit move you as you see fit… it’s creepy. That’s my uterus. If you’re not directly connected with what’s on the way out, what’s the obsession?

Ain’t cute thing #5- 

I’ve been doing Kegels since the age of 15. So imagine my surprise when I find out that sometimes when the moon is just right, a gag or a good joke can undo over a decade and a half of pussy power and send me into peed in panties.

You’re talking about one disappointed woman.

I take joy in the small things in life, not stinking, being clean, having control over bodily functions. Here’s the conundrum, I’ve doubled the exercises but this baby’s head has an 8cm diameter as of last Thursday so there’s a piece of me that can’t put together a loosening and tightening routine that will soothe my paranoia.

All jokes aside, I’m looking forward to what this little life is going to do to the rest of my world. However, freaking out about strangers being around him to not knowing exactly how my leave situation is going to work, as a planner I have way more questions than answers and that sucks the last little bit of what could be fun right out of it all.

Even more, I’m bringing a brand new Black male into the world and if my Punnett square analysis is accurate, he’s going to be big and chocolate. I’m preoccupied with determining the balance of making sure he’s exposed to multiple cultures and hoping that he has a healthy understanding that everything that this world has to offer isn’t necessarily for him in the same way that all people enjoy them.

Can I afford to try and skip all of that, and if I do, will that allow him the maximum room to grow, or will it get him killed? See…it ain’t cute.

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Black Alzheimer’s

I’ve been holding on to this thing for a while now, and I think that I’m ready to discuss where I am in the process. Keep in mind, the experience that your family may be having may not be anything like the account I’m about to give you. Hell, my perspective of it all may not reflect how anyone else in my family feels right now… but I know that I can’t be the only one that feels this way among the community of people with family members that have Alzheimer’s.  As a community (I’m talking about Black people now), we don’t share these stories so every time one of us goes through it, it’s brand new and none of the information available has our cultural context applied. For all these reasons, and the fact that my Grandma is in no shape to make me pick a switch for a whipping, (I think she’d laugh at that) I share this story.

Watching your loved one lose their mind is a frustrating, borderline infuriating process. There’s one side of it where optimism lives, and you go on as if everything either is or will be ok. Then there’s the side of reality where all of that is a lie. Everything is not ok, and also, there’s nobody to blame, nothing to protest, and nowhere to boycott. You just have to live in that thing. Each day is an additional goodbye to what’s left of the person that you once knew.

People talk about waiting for the “lights” to turn on, and how exciting or happy it is when they have a lucid moment, but it’s excruciating… why? Because they seem to have those moments just before you come to terms with the idea of them not being all there.  It’s also extremely sad because you know that just as quickly as they came back to you, they’ll be gone again.

Then you think about what they would want you to do in these situations. I can’t help but think back to when my grandmother would travel to see her brother that had Alzheimer’s and Dementia and how she refused to give up on him no matter how long he sat without recognizing her. The whole family would be dead dog tired after riding in the everlasting heat of Alabama for hours and we would just wait until she’d had enough of asking him if he knew who she was. Then she would get in the car and say

“He’s not a throw away. We don’t throw our family away. There’s still something there.”

So now that it’s time to walk this road with her, every moment of considering giving up, is haunted with her words… so you rip the band aid off and try to get her to come out again. I’ll admit that I don’t believe that I’ve been the best grandchild that I could be. It’s so hard for me to come back to the world if I see her on a bad day that I double-dutch the contemplation of each visit. “Well, how’s she doing today?” “Is anybody with her right now?”.

Visiting was easy when she was in the super-plush tricked out rehabilitation facility after a recent fall. Grandma is not a fan of strangers, so while she didn’t warm up immediately, she eventually established a routine and became comfortable. Now, she’s back home and we had to make improvements to the house to assure her safety. This means her environment is different AND there’s a bunch of strangers around the clock to keep her safe. Strangers that she’s ready to fight to get them to leave her house.

I want to cry so badly because I know that she’s scared (because when she comes out, that’s what she tells me) but I am so grateful that the strangers are available because I promise she couldn’t have picked a worse time in the life of the family to be ill. Everybody is booked to capacity. From people making professional and personal shifts and transitions, we don’t even hang out like we did in years past. It’s nearly impossible to get us all in one place on a non-holiday.

With the family dynamic comes the frustration of wanting to be able to effect more change. I’m the only grandchild, which in many times puts me in the placeholder as the 4th kid. When I was living with my Grandmother trying to get my life back, I couldn’t wait to use my Paralegal degree to help organize her estate prior to taking the information to an Attorney. Now that we actually have to use some of the things I helped locate and file, I have to fall back and just hope that the kids make great decisions about their mom… even though I owe my life as I know it to her and Jesus.

The up-side is the fact that we’re all forced to figure out how to work together while Grandma’s still here. I’ve been through the death of my other grandmother and watched how it shook my other side of my tiny family out of socket. From petty fights during the grieving process to a complete overhaul of the order of dependency. I know that facing the hard times, while there’s still work to do is going to help us be a tight unit whenever Grandma goes to Jesus… but that requires us all to kick in where we can so that nobody gets the flake title.

In all, I’m just scared, and not for myself, but for my Grandma that once ruled the family with an iron fist and would strike fear and reverence into all who dare cross the threshold. She’s no longer in charge of the house that she was able to help her husband purchase by using coupons and saving the money he gave her as allowance while she took care of the children. She can no longer tell me the stories of how she dreamed of making it out of her hometown, and made it happen despite not having the approval of her father. Our times in the kitchen, have come to a close as the knobs have gone away from the stove to make sure she doesn’t forget to turn off the pilot. These changes are the ones that I don’t really believe anyone could have warned us about, the emotional shifts that happen inside of handling the business that needs to be handled for the safety of your loved one.

I walk away feeling like I know exactly where she is, but it just takes a while to find her.

No matter how sad we get, how long we can keep her home, or how difficult the road may be ahead.. she’s not a throw away. We don’t throw our family away. I just miss her so much already.