Seven months ago I randomly submitted a piece to EBONY.com for a Mother’s Day feature, focusing on extraordinary stories of Black Motherhood and what it meant to me. This movement was categorized as #ThisIsWhatBlackMotherhoodLooksLike. I literally took one of the most tragic moments of my life and commenced to spilling my pain into 1,000 words or less. I had no idea that the remarkably talented, three-time Black Weblog Awards winner, and culturally-aware Fierce Feminist Femme Fatale would actually pick my little ole essay to post! Jamilah Lemieux, Senior Editor for EBONY Magazine, made my day, my week, and inspired me to continue writing. Today I’m choosing to share again this timeless piece with you all, in hopes that I can encourage another Black Mom to keep believing!
This is my story…
At the age of 32, married with a busy body toddler, my wish was to “complete” my family by adding on a bright beautiful bubbling little girl. So my husband and I decided to discontinue using birth control and got to procreating! In September of 2013, I got the beginnings of my wish. After about a week of irritability, an unexplained appetite, and literally falling asleep at my desk, I told hubby to go grab the generic two-pack of pregnancy tests (they work better!), and trickled on a stick. Voilà! There it was! That one little pink line that usually defined the rest of a woman’s life. I was pleasantly surprised but still taken aback at the thought of going through the nine-month stretch again. My husband was happy, my mom was elated, and an unsuspecting only child couldn’t wait to become a big brother.
Then, October 6th happened.
Just like any other Sunday, I got up with my little one, made breakfast, and we watched “Elmo’s World.” My husband slept soundly after having worked a hellish 12-hour overnight shift. He had no idea our lives were about to change…as I snuggled into my couch and watched my son play with his toys, I began to mildly cramp up. Nothing extreme. The kind of cramps you have when people reassure you that your uterus is just stretching, so I didn’t worry. The cramps continued on though. A little longer than I had experienced before; and they got more intense. Still not in a panic, I simply got up and went to the bathroom, self-diagnosing myself with “preggo indigestion.” Only, by the time I had finished, I was on all fours in the middle of my bathroom reassuring my two-year-old that “Mommy was ok”, and gently but sternly trying to tell him to go get Daddy.
Mommy wasn’t okay. I was in the type of pain where I couldn’t move from side-to-side. All I could do was lie on the stretcher in the ER and groan sadly that I didn’t want to lose my baby. My husband held my hand tight and whispered to me to try and stay calm and that it would be okay. Again, Mommy wasn’t okay. I watched that ultrasound screen as the doctor poked and prodded earnestly trying to find some evidence of a pregnancy. There was nothing there. All I heard was “This pregnancy will not last. It has not implanted correctly…”
My world caved in and swallowed me whole. I stared up at those offensive fluorescent lights of that ER exam room and hot tears just ran down the sides of my face. I was a mere and fresh 7 weeks pregnant. I didn’t know the gender. I had already picked names though. Just the day before I had gone to Whole Foods and purchased every healthy item that my pregnancy app recommended. But in less than twenty-four hours, I would have a surgery to not only remove my baby, but my entire left fallopian tube. Life re-birthed itself from that point on.
Days were hard and nights were terrible. I boycotted social media indefinitely in the fear of seeing someone’s pregnancy announcement or overly adorable picture of an infant. My Oxycodone numbed me physically but did little to relieve my mental anguish. I didn’t talk about it much and neither did those around me. I cried at night in the living room while my husband slept and thanked God that my little boy didn’t know enough about life to even realize what had happened. I realize now that I probably should have sought out professional help, but I, as many Black women, instead treated myself with journaling, praying, and wine time at noon. After 6 full weeks at home, I realized that life had to go on, my family needed me, my career demanded me, and that I would be Ok.
Mommy was doing better. I finally got life back up and running and moved away from the misery. My husband and I chose to try again for another baby. Low and behold, at the end of January 2014, I got another pink line! A gloomy and strange cloud of uncertainty, doubt, and horror hovered over me, but then I remembered that I was a strong woman, one who needed to become that lost strength for other moms who were afraid to talk about this trauma and ashamed to admit it. So I embraced my pregnancy and celebrated even harder when I passed 7 weeks and we were told that this one had implanted where it should.
On October 9, 2014, Devin Letez Robinson came into this world at 9:01 am, exactly one year and 48 hours to the day that I had gone into surgery to terminate my ectopic pregnancy. My little boy was healthy, happy, and most importantly, alive! He’s 6 months now, and we have an unspoken bond that even I don’t understand at times. I released that hurt the moment he came into this world, and never looked back. I just want to empower other women to know that we can and will survive loss, hurt, and unfortunate circumstance. Black women are often so focused on being the never broken cord, that we forget we are human. I’m here to say…“Mommies, you will be okay!”