Parenting Guilt

Growing up with PCOS and learning more and more about it over the years, I knew there was a possibility that I would be unable to conceive or that the road to conception could be filled with hardship.  I  prayed to God to bless my husband and me with a healthy child, and he did.  It almost seems like I was nobody before I became a mother.  As a parent, you know there is someone who depends on you for love, care, guidance, and so much more.  My son is now four, and this journey has not been easy.  There have been the late nights up worrying when he’s sick. I can normally tell when a fever is coming.  There are those moments of worrying about whether he will stand up for himself instead of letting others run over him.  Since he’s started school, I wonder/worry about him making friends.  I worry about the testing they’ve already started although he’s just in Pre-K.  I am always doubting whether we’re doing enough with him at home with teaching him things.

Then I have feelings of inadequacy surrounding the important role of parenthood.  I also have feelings of guilt because I feel like I don’t have enough time to spend with him because I work full time.  Then I have so much cleaning to accomplish.  Some things never get done, and some are like a vicious cycle.  I feel like I’m forever washing clothes or dishes.  I feel drained at the end of the work day; drained and frustrated.  I feel like I’m just a shell of a person when I come home.  There are some days I feel overwhelmed, and I struggle with finding/making time for myself.  I want to be a happier person so I can be the best wife, mom, sibling, etc.

It’s so easy for people to judge.  For instance, if it’s cold outside and you send your child out with a light jacket instead of a coat, people will think you’re a bad parent.  They don’t know that sometimes it’s taken everything to get the child into a light jacket.  Children can be very head strong, and they are also very intelligent human beings.  I like for my son to be able to make some decisions.  There are days I really have to laugh at the debates we have.  He’s somewhat of a know-it-all, and he’s come by that honestly.

So, the other day he wanted to go outside.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am not an outdoor person.  It was nice and warm out, so I took him out there.  He was playing in his playhouse initially.  Then he decided to play with the hose by the pool.  I told him countless times to stop.  I warned him about falling in the pool.  He told me that he wouldn’t.  I decided to do a workout while we were out there.  I noticed his antics with the hose were becoming increasing aggressive.  He kept looking at me as if he expected me to say something to him.  There was a splash, a cream, and then crying.  When I looked he was climbing out of the pool.  Um, for the record, the pool is cold.  Thankfully his head didn’t go in the water.  The only reason this boy was crying was because he thought he lost his new toy in the pool.  Once he realized it was in his pocket, he immediately stopped crying.  I ran him a warm bath.  As we talked about him falling into the pool, he told me that I was the one who kept us outside so long when I knew it was dark.  It wasn’t, but yeah, my fault.  We went outside the next da, and he said he would not be playing with the hose again because he didn’t want to fall into the pool ever again.  I love that boy so much.  He really keeps me laughing.  Although the journey hasn’t been easy thus far, and I don’t expect it to get easier, it has been very rewarding.

Hopefully we’re all doing the best we can.  I just pray that my best is good enough.  I’ll try not to beat myself up about it so much.

Until next time,

It’s Me

Lottery Dreams

I had never been one to play the lottery on a regular basis.  I barely knew how to play.  Back in 2017, I joined a lottery pool that had been in effect for quite a few years.  On April Fool’s Day, we won $5,000.00.  Had we played the multiplier, it would have been $15,000.00.  We were also one number away from winning the big jackpot which was over $100 million.  That was disappointing.  The day we went to claim our winnings we had some time to kill, so we ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant.  After we received our money, some of us decided to get a roll of tickets.  We split them, scratched them, and cashed them in for another roll either two or three times.  It was a lot of fun.  I don’t remember how much we ended up with, but eventually we didn’t have enough for another roll and decided to use the money for future tickets.  So since that day I realized how much fun it was, but also, I really wanted to win big.  I started playing.  I’ve bought a few rolls along the way and also just some single tickets.  People would laugh at my piles of losing tickets.  I wouldn’t throw them any of them away.  I couldn’t bring myself to, and every once in a while, I’d go through them to make sure I hadn’t missed any that were winners.  

This year they came out with some new second chance drawings.  You could scan in all of your qualifying losing tickets for a second chance at winning the particular jackpots that they had set up for it.  Yall, I had so many entries, and I have not won a thin penny!  I feel like I’ve lost twice.  There were a couple of people who literally won in every drawing.  Either they know somebody or they’re very lucky.  My lottery group and I have determined that this whole thing is one big hoax, unless you win.  I don’t even think we knew any of the people who have won aside from one lady who won $25 in the first drawing.  There are two more drawings, one at the end of this month, and the other is supposed to be the first of January.  I don’t have any high hopes, but I’ve decided to scan my remaining tickets.  At one time I had gotten discouraged because I figured I won’t win anyway, but I already lost once on the tickets, so I might as well waste my time and scan in the last of them.  When work would get a little bit miserable, we would decide to put in extra for more tickets.  I was just like if we’re meant to win, we’re going to win regardless of whether or not we have extra tickets, so we’ve calmed down a lot on the extra.  Oh, and all I’m going to say about online is that I played there too, and I didn’t win big.

Anyone with dreams of winning the lottery, good luck because the chances of winning are slim to none.  Now that hasn’t stopped me from playing, but I don’t play as often.  I’ve joked about how I’ve helped to fund my son’s Pre-K education as well as a few of his classmates.  Ridiculous! One thing I do know is that anytime I’m buying a ticket, I’m taking a gamble.  If you do choose to gamble, be sure to do it responsibly.

In case anyone’s wondering, “No, I haven’t won enough to quit my job yet.” If you do, please remember me, and give me a nice chunk of your winnings.

Check out a losing ticket.

Until next time,

It’s me

Growing Up

My son had gone to the same daycare since he was a baby, so a little over four years. Since he was getting ready to start school, I had to find a place that provides before and after school care. My oldest sister already had my niece in a decent place, so I signed my son up for the same place. His last day at the old daycare I took him around to say goodbye to his teachers. They loved up on him and said how they would miss him. We were all emotional, and he was all smiles and waves like, “Bye. I’m going to my new school.” They prepared him so well for moving up.

That next week he had to have full time care at the new center, and I really almost cried when I left him there. I wanted to run back home with him and just hold him, but I didn’t. I called back about two hours after dropping him off to check on him, and they said he was doing just fine. I felt better. When I picked him up that afternoon, he said he had a great day, so I had no issues with leaving him the remainder of the week.

This week was the start of school. My husband and I got to take him to his classroom. He sat there quietly, and I sensed he wanted us to leave so he could start his day. I asked him, and he nodded his head yes. We left, and I didn’t shed a tear. We are constantly wishing our children will just reach these next stages of maturity, and sometimes forget to cherish them I. Their current stage. Then we look back on some of those times wishing we could get them back. I am going to try and cherish him even through the ferocious fours…we already survived the trying threes. I look forward to seeing his continued growth. I mean it when I say that he is truly a blessing sent from God.

Open Letter to Maui Bigelow

Maui,

I’m sure you’re well aware of the impact you have on people’s lives.  You know your Life Styled Honors event is amazing and all that.  I just want to thank you for blessing me with the opportunity to attend and to bring people along with me.  Nakiba, Arhonda, and I had an awesome time over the weekend filled with so many smiles and an overabundance of laughter.  It was a genuinely happy time.  It was all of our first time attending a fashion show, which was absolutely amazing.  Listening to and observing such amazingly diverse and talented women all in one room was just a great experience.  Listening to someone like Hayet Rida speak about not knowing she was beautiful until the age of 26 (three years ago) and thinking, “As gorgeous as she is!!!”  It just lets you know that we are all everyday people having the same or similar struggles in life.  Not only that but the talks about letting go of toxic people who don’t have your best interests at heart, people who are just naysayers in general, people who don’t support you in your dreams, just really struck a nerve for us.  Be around people who encourage you, especially to do good things, to be great, to be you; That message rang loud and clear.

Nakiba and I were just talking about what it would have been like to have grown up around such positivity with women encouraging one another rather than always competing and putting one another down.  I’ve probably been trying to hide nearly my whole life not feeling like I was good enough, pretty enough, small enough, etc.  Why do people use me for what I have or what I know, I’ve often wondered.  All of the negative thoughts and self doubt and uncertainties…then I see you and this space you’ve helped create and you live life so unapologetically, you and the people around you, and you all give me optimism that I can actually achieve something in this world.  You let me know that it’s okay to look like I do, to act like I do, and to do the things I want to do, whatever they may be.  You let me know that it is nothing wrong with the way I look.  We have some family who have treated us differently just because of the way we look.  They don’t want to be in a picture with us or invite us to their events, but I know that it’s their loss.  If I’m not important to them, then they definitely aren’t important to me.  You have to think about the people who treat you well and treat them the same.

When I found you at the VIP Mixer, you made me feel like I was so beautiful even though I was feeling the complete opposite…Thank you.  I can hardly write this because I’m fighting tears.  I don’t do things with many people, but you make me want to get up and attend your event every year.  I know you’re a light where there’s darkness for many people.  While I’m still fighting the dragon that is me so much so that I can’t force myself to go and meet people that I follow on social media, I thank God for people who are like, “Girl, I got yo back and you gone meet these people.”  My oldest sister, Nakiba, went up to Crystal of Society of Harlow and told her I wanted to meet her, and she was as social as she looks in all of her posts on Instagram.  My brother, Martin, found Sabrina Servance and told her I wanted to meet her, and she was friendly as well and even introduced me to Addison.  By the way, I took pictures with Crystal and Sabrina.  It was pure joy!

Afterwards Nakiba, Arhonda, and I went out to 4 Rivers Smokehouse, and they gave us samples before we ordered.  The food was so good.  Although we were hungry, it was really about hanging out and having some girl time.  It was just nice to sit and chat, and laugh, and make future plans.

You probably already know this, but the gift bags were everything!!!  Thank you for having such an awesome event and helping to create a space for people like us. You are awesome!

Special thanks to my sister-in-law for keeping our kids safe and happy while we enjoyed ourselves because we rarely go out and do anything.

Just a few pictures from the weekend:

We’re looking forward to next year’s event.

Seeking Help

A couple of years ago I was going through a lot of changes in my home and personal life, and I became completely overwhelmed.  I work in a fairly highly stressful environment, but one of the things I had working for me is that I worked with my husband and my oldest sister.  I also had a good supervisor and worked on a very good team. 

The stress began when the team started dismantling.  My supervisor retired and people began leaving all around the same time.  My sister and my husband were among the people who left.  The void was felt all around.  It is hard to describe how things totally fell apart for me.  One of the changes is that my personal support system at work was gone.  My husband was working and living out of town during the week.  We had gotten into a routine where in the morning I got our son ready and my husband took him to daycare and I picked him up in the evenings.  Now I was back to rushing in the mornings.  On top of that I was being mistreated at work.  I was exhausted in the evenings and only bringing home a depressed, exhausted shell of a mom to my son.  I tell y’all, that son of my was sometimes the only way I made it through the day.  While I’m writing this, all of the emotions are rushing back to me and I’m crying.

I can remember one morning I was at my desk and my oldest sister called me on her way in to work.  I was on the phone crying about how I didn’t know how much more I could take.  She showed up at my desk to hug me and provide encouragement.  I sat at my desk crying so many days over the treatment of those people.  I had one co-worker who would take me outside for a breather. 

One afternoon I picked my son up from daycare, and I sat in that parking lot just crying like my world was ending.  He was telling me that everything was gonna be alright.  He was probably two at the time.  I talked to my mom who gave me encouraging words. 

This one day I had been in a meeting with some very disrespectful people who I had allowed to get my spirits down.  I was on my way to a luncheon and had tried calling two or three people who didn’t answer.  I sat in my car crying about how alone I was.  I was like, “I see how people commit suicide.”  I finally got myself together and went to the luncheon.  That moment was really scary though. 

This entire time my sister kept encouraging me to contact the Employee Assistance Program for some help.  I remember the final incident that pushed me over the edge enough to where I finally called the number for assistance.  They got me set up with a counselor.  That was one of the best decisions I ever made when I finally reached out for help.  It felt so good to talk to someone who didn’t know me nor any of the people or situations I needed to discuss.  It has been a big help to just talk about everything and realize that I am not just crazy.  Although I cannot control/change the people around me, I can control my response/reaction.  Counseling has somewhat helped me with coping. 

Some of my regrets about the two years I let those people control me is that I allowed it to affect my health.  My weight got out of control again, and with it went my blood pressure control, and I was diagnosed with diabetes.  I feel like I loss control of my life.  I feel so much embarrassment and hopelessness about letting people who really should not mean much to me cause me to lose so much of myself.  I’m still struggling, but I have been trying to regain control of my life.  I became more vocal at work, which could be seen as good or bad.  While some people think I’m a rebel, there are others who see me as a person who speaks when I have something valuable to say and it is always the truth. 

To anyone who may be reading this and who might be dealing with work and home stress or any jumble of emotions, don’t be afraid to seek help.  People look at you everyday and judge.  They think they know, but they have no idea.  Please try and treat people kindly because you really don’t know the things they may be suffering through in life.  I am still dealing with forgiving people who mistreat me and have been unapologetic about it because I still have to work with them as though things are fine. 

I am on a journey to becoming a better me.  I don’t know what all this journey will entail.  I’m scared, and I’m excited.  Most people who know me know that I live in fear a lot, and that’s something I’m trying to change. Stay well and join me in becoming a better me.

Until next time,
It’s Me

P.S.  Thanks to all the people who prayed for and with me during those trying times.  You all really helped bring light during some dark days. 

My Infertility Journey

I started my menstrual cycle when I was 10.  By the age of 15, I was having issues with it.  During my cycles, I experienced excruciating pain where I could barely sit.  I also noticed instead of lasting a few days, my cycle were lasting for months at a time.  There were other times where it wouldn’t come on for months at a time.  I didn’t know what was wrong with me, and I didn’t tell my mom.  When I was 17 I told my oldest sister, and she took me to the doctor who just prescribed me birth control pills, but never said what was wrong.  I remember looking in a Woman’s World magazine that same year and seeing something about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).  In reading the description about what was going on with the individual, I found that I could identify with the symptoms, so I figured that’s what I had.  The birth control pills that the doctor prescribed for me did not solve my problem; it was just like putting a bandage on it.  The problem persisted throughout college and afterwards. After I started working and had my own insurance I finally decided to go to a specialist.  This doctor never told me what was wrong with me, but she did prescribe extended release Metformin.  Afterwards I saw where she had written PCOS on my script, so there was my official diagnosis.

When I met my husband, PCOS was one of the things I talked to him about.  I had to let him know that I didn’t know whether or not I could have children because I wanted for him to make an informed decision about whether or not that was something he was willing to accept.  After we got married, we decided that I would go to the doctor to have a checkup to see what course of action we would need to take for conception.  They decided that they would start me on clomid, which is a fertility drug.  While I was on it, I had to come in at least twice per week so they could do ultrasounds.  I did not understand what they were looking for while I was in there.  They kept talking about follicles.  I did two rounds of clomid over time, and I was so emotional that I told my husband I could not do it again.  The doctor’s would make comments about me losing weight and being able to conceive.  It was insulting and irritating because I knew people who were significantly heavier than I who were having babies with no issues.  Why not view me as a human being who was interested in conceiving.  I decided that I would not be going back to that doctor.

I have always struggled with my weight, and I had several times in the recent years where I was trying to get it together weight wise, but it was like I had to work at least twice as hard as others to lose any amount of weight.  It was frustrating.  I decided to go away somewhere and just work on myself for a few weeks. There will be another post about that coming soon.  When I got back, my oldest sister was telling me that she had spoken with her doctor about my situation.  He told her to let me know that I could come to his practice, and if I would prefer a female doctor, one would be joining his practice soon.  In June of 2013 I went.  Below is what I wrote about it June of 2013.

Hope For a Baby:  Well, I’ll start off by saying that I have a new OB/GYN who happens to be a male. It’s a shame that he seems to care more about me and my desire to conceive than my female doctors. I hadn’t been sharing with anyone that I dreaded going to my doctors because they seemed to only look at me as a morbidly obese woman. I already know my weight and the fact that I am morbidly obese. They act as though I am the largest woman ever to attempt to have a baby. Well there are women out there who happen to be a lot larger than I am who have had no issues with having a baby.  My new doctor did not even mention my size. He just started talking to me about everything he could do to help me on my quest to conceive. I really appreciated his interaction with me, and it caused me to feel a little weepy. I feel like he is the first doctor to give me any hope.  He asked me if anyone had ever checked my tubes for blockage. No one has ever checked them. He needs me to come into the hospital for a procedure where they will check for blockage. He said that if there is blockage, everything thing such as the clomid has been a waste of time.  I look forward to the next step.

Then my writing in December 2013:

It’s Been a Long Time:  It’s been a long time since my last blog, a little over 4 months to be exact.  Things have really changed in my life.  One of them is pretty major.  I began to see a new doctor months ago.  This doctor looked at me as a human being, a woman who wanted to have a child, and he told me that he would give me what I wanted. He never once mentioned my weight or the fact that I have PCOS.  It was so refreshing.  My previous doctors acted as though I didn’t know that I was morbidly obese and need to lose weight.  That can’t be the only reason that I have been having problems conceiving.  I see women who are significantly heavier than I am who have children with no issues.  When you don’t look like people, sometimes they seem to dismiss you as insignificant.

My new doctor had a plan of action for what he wanted us to do. He did a somewhat painful test to check for blockage in my fallopian tubes.  There was no blockage, but he said that even if there was some mild blockage, the test would have gotten rid of it, and that would significantly increase my chances of conception.  He put me on birth control for 2 months.  After that, I started clomid. I believe it was just 50mg. I took a pregnancy test in the wee hours of the morning of September 22nd. There were two lines meaning it was positive!!! I began to cry because I had taken so many pregnancy tests before that were negative. No matter what, there would only be that one line staring back at me. This was such a big shock.  I will say that my new doctor gave me hope on the first day that I met with him.  It wasn’t a question of if I got pregnant, but when. I wanted to tell the whole world as soon as I found out, but I only told my immediate family and a few close friends.  A few weeks ago, I finally told people on Facebook and at my job.  Now I am finally getting around to talking about it on here. As of today I am 15 weeks.  I will be 16 weeks on Tuesday. I have my next appointment on Friday. I hope that I get an ultrasound done on that day.  My first appointment, all they gave me was one ultrasound picture.  On my second appointment there was no ultrasound, but I got to hear my baby’s heartbeat with the doppler. I think I will get the 2D ultrasound done at 18 weeks just so that I will have something. (End of old post)

I am so glad to have saved those previous posts that I wrote because they allow me to go back and reflect on those times and share.  I had such a hard time sharing those posts because people can be so judgmental, but you never know who you could help by sharing your story whether it’s by letting people know they aren’t struggling alone or giving them an idea for treatment options, etc. I have been in multiple PCOS groups on Facebook for years and I’ve seen so many women struggling.  There are people who have tried over 20 years and finally conceive when they are in their 40s.  There are some women who haven’t been in the struggle long.  There are some who have struggled for many years and tried all types of fertility treatments and have not had success.

Once my son began to walk, the comments of, “Oh, he’s getting out of the way to make room for another one.” began.  Then people started asking if we were planning on having another one or just telling me that he needs a sibling.  Every time someone makes a comment, I cringe just thinking about the journey.  I feel like my husband and I are blessed to have one especially considering the fact that we didn’t know if we would have one.  This situation can be so personal and delicate, and unless you have a close relationship with someone you should probably refrain from asking such personal questions.  Some people are quick to say, “Oh, it’ll happen.”  You really don’t know that because there are so many people for whom it has not happened, and they’ve tried everything.  Sometimes all people need is a listening ear and not empty words.

If you have PCOS and think that you cannot conceive, maybe it’s the treatment that you are receiving and maybe not.  I have been through a few doctors and my current doctor was sent to me by God.

My husband’s and my greatest blessing is now three and a half years old, and we love him to pieces.

Can you relate?

Feeling Ourselves

Some of you may or may not remember my post from last year about the photo shoot my oldest sister and I did with my husband (here).  Well, we decided that we loved it so much that we could have a repeat every year.  We had decided that we would work hard and lose weight and have a comparison photo shoot the following year.  This past year we did not have the same level of excitement leading up to the shoot.  I attribute that to the fact that we did not lose the weight that we wanted so we were a little disappointed in ourselves.  I told my sister that it didn’t matter that we didn’t lose the weight because we are still women who want to feel good about ourselves so we should just go on with it.   Our year was a little tough, so I knew the shoot would be a welcome break.  I had chosen my outfits fairly early, and my sister decided she wanted the same “super hero” outfit as me.

The day came and we had an early morning appointment with the makeup artist, Charlene Dunlap.  My husband, our photographer, had already told Charlene the look he wanted us to have.  Well, she worked her magic, and that was the beginning of the transformation.  We really did not overthink things for this shoot, so we didn’t have too many options available to us.  When it was time we all went to the studio to get ready and perform.  Needless to say our photographer had the studio set up beautifully for us(the setup) . We felt amazing and got through the shoot.  I will admit I was a little glad when it was over because my feet were screaming!  When we got the pictures back, we looked absolutely gorgeous.  I am already looking forward to our session this year.

I still think every woman should have a photo shoot like ours at least once in their lifetime to just feel uplifted, amazing, glamorous, empowered, or some other wonderful feeling she has never felt.  Check out some of our pictures below so that you can experience some of how we felt.

Us

Us

Sis in lingerie

Me in lingerie
Until next time,
It’s me
Make-up artist:  Charlene Dunlap
Photographer:  Patrick Dillon