This Is What Black Motherhood Looks Like: Birth After Loss

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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!

#ThisIsWhatBlackMotherhoodLooksLike

 

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!”

 
Read more and see this full article here at EBONY
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Ectopic Pregnancy and Loving After Loss

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As the new age millennials say, “I’ve been all up in my feelings this morning.” Two years ago to this day I sat in a stiff hospital bed, staring blankly at an egg-plant painted wall, wondering if I would ever be the same. Would my marriage ever be the same? Would my body ever be the same? Would I still be a good Mommy to my two-year old? Would I ever be able to face all of those people I had so excitedly gushed about our newly expected arrival to?

On October 7, 2013, I suffered one of the most common conditions experienced by almost 200,000 women a year: an ectopic pregnancy. For those who have never heard of or don’t truly understand it, ectopic pregnancy (extrauterine pregnancy), occurs when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus and continues to develop there. Typically the fetus attempts to grow within a fallopian tube. This is not a healthy nor sustainable pregnancy, and depending on how far along the Mother is there will either be oral treatment to permanently dissolve the pregnancy, or in more severe cases, emergency surgery. I fell into the latter group. I also had to lose a fallopian tube.

While my husband and I had planned for this new little life, we never penciled in the concept of someone telling us that he or she may never see the light of day. This was hard. I was a seemingly healthy young woman in her early 30s. I had a normal first pregnancy with no complications. I prayed every night, Thanked God every day, we were really good people…and my baby was still gone. No one could logically explain it to me, even in the sense of medical mumbo jumbo. All I kept hearing was the all too nerve-wrecking “Sometimes these types of things just happen.” The Hell You Say!!! Not to ME! Not to US! Not MY family!

As I’ve stated before in my published Ebony article, days rolled into nights and nights took way too long to go away. Despite my pain, my strength for my husband and my love for our son was my main concern. I cried in the shower and sat in my own awkward silence throughout day when no one was around. When I was finally able to log back into social media, I wasn’t all that comfortable yet about interacting with people, seeing pictures of babies, or being completely honest about how I felt. When I go through things on a serious level, I become the poster child for every stereotypical characteristic of an introvert. I don’t want pity parties or thousands of phone calls. I’ll text you to let you know that I’m alive, and the rest you can get from my husband. However, you realize at some point that life goes on, you aren’t the only one to go through this, and in fact, there are some who have suffered worse. You get a bit more humble about your experience, but you never get over it.

Last year on October 9, 2014, I pushed out an 8 lb bundle of healthy joy and my life changed forever! Devin and I have a bond that No One can or will ever understand. Of course I still often wonder longingly who that child would’ve been, but then I look into Devin’s eyes and I get my answer. People often criticize or judge my husband and I for the tremendously strong relationship that we have, and how seriously we take our family unit. Now you know why. Loving after Loss isn’t easy, but together you can make it through!