- I am becoming.•I am feeling grateful for all the lessons the universe has given me over my 24 years of life.•I feel as though I have lived multiple lives throughout my (nearly) 2.5 decades in this planet realm. My spirit has been here before. I feel as though I have raced to this point in my life where I have finally reached my “calling”. My spirit is calling me to return home. To go back to space in the centre of my chest and give love. And do it loud.•I have spent most of life living in fear of what if? What if I don’t do it ? What if I do ? What if I don’t do it good enough ? What if they don’t like me ? It’s agonizing. Self doubt is agonizing. Living for other people gets exhausting. And yet I did, I performed so well that I created an alter-ego to help me feel safe. I could be Demi, and be Myself. The shadows took over, I gave birth to Demi. I loved her, she protected me. She saved me. Kept me financially stable. I trusted her. Demi saved me. I am who I am today because of her. She is my feminine power. Gab is my masculine strength. Together we are unstoppable.•
I am She. I am He. I feel the energies of the divine rotating around my spine. Leaving me cushion at my root.I am ready to reveal myself, my true self. It feels good to be home.•For those that do not know me in person. My birth name is not Demi. My mother named me Gabrielle. After the nurse that helped her during delivery. I truly believe it was my angel friends that sent the nurse to my mother. That set the seed in my human body to live as one of God’s messengers.•The other evening, after I had laid my child down to bed, I went to my mirror and I watched myself breathe. I stood there, feet shoulder width apart, palms open and ready to receive. I watched my chest rise and fall as I exhaled the old and inhaled the new. My left arm went numb. Pins and needles all the way down. I asked my partner to touch my arm, I couldn’t feel her touch. My arm was numb. I continued to breathe. Standing strong. My feet connected to the ground beneath me.“Thank You” I whisper as I bring my hands up above my head, my shoulders opening up more, more air into my lungs.I let out a big sigh as I release my hands down. “Ahhhhhh”I lose control of my balance. I am caught off guard.My hands float back up into the sky, I feel myself stretching into the ceiling and into the floor at the same time.In this moment I am infinite.I giggled.I felt so large, and suddenly felt silly for feeling so powerful.My mind plays tricks on me but I know my body does not lie.In that moment my body reminded me of who I was, it reminded me of what I am capable of.Expansion.•Giving Birth is an Expansion of Mind, Body and Soul.I didn’t understand it at the time. It was frightening, connecting to such strength, the pain vibrating through my bones making me into a new human. One with a heart that doesn’t quit, even when it wants to.I push forward. For my child. I push forward for my community.I do not want people to fear their power.We should be embracing it.•I am learning to embrace both sides of me, balance the duality that is Spirit.I am She. I am He. I am Me.
It was the end of the year, and coming to the end of a chapter in my journey. Life in Guatemala had ended and I was laying in the basement bedroom of my fathers’ home. The plan was to move back to Toronto, get my doula certification, get back to school, get my blog running, get my book written, get my products made. Basically the plan was to flood my brain with things that needed to be accomplished,
Now. I entered a manic state. Nothing but coffee, and ‘working’ instead of sleeping. I would stay up all night, writing, planning, and searching for apartments in the city. Crunching numbers, making lists, listening to self-help audio.
Busy. Busy. Busy.
It is easy to avoid healing when we keep ourselves busy. We stay tuned in, turned on and focused ahead. Mother’s Day passed and I was triggered. I saw posts all over social media about how mothers who have lost are mothers too. Although I always agreed with it, I never understood their position, until actually being in that position. Last year I had become a mother who had lost. I feel like I’m over reacting sometimes because I miscarried at 12 weeks. My child had just crossed the bridge of embryo to fetus. Her body was almost fully formed, her bones were beginning to harden. I was just about to hit my second trimester. I was a mother for the second time. I realize while writing these words that, I have not healed from the loss of my child.
Why did I try to force myself to forget ?
I asked myself this over and over and I still don’t know the answer. I think that I am ashamed. I am ashamed that I had another unplanned pregnancy, I am ashamed that I couldn’t hold on to the baby. She chose me to bring her into this world, and I failed her. The tears pour out and as I write these words I think I tried to force myself to forget because when I remember, I ask myself What if? What if she lived on ? What if I was pregnant right now? Would things be different with my relationship ? Would I be happier? Would I be granted new opportunities, new wisdom and new mommy magic?
I don’t know why she left me so soon. I don’t know what I did wrong. I don’t even know if it was me or a bad combination of cells like the doctor told me.
What I know for sure is that I must heal.
Coping With The Unexpected
Through my readings, meditations and spiritual therapy I am creating my own healing process and coping mechanisms.
I use the word “coping” because I am not sure I will ever be able to “be okay with it”. I’m not okay with it. I’m confused with it. But, I know that I do have to face it. Look in the mirror, and tell myself, you’re gonna be alright kid. More importantly, remind myself that sometimes, it is okay to not be okay.
I highly recommend speaking with a professional on pregnancy loss but I want to share with you how I have been managing it.
Allow myself to Feel.
I really really suck at this but, allowing myself to feel the loss of my child has helped me tremendously. That means snotty nose, scream crying, banging on the walls, screaming at the universe for answers. Grief is dreadful but it’s really important in the healing process. You have to “be okay with” the fact that they are gone. Which fucking sucks, don’t it? Cry it out sis. You’re going to be okay.
Even though its not talked about, you’d be surprised how often miscarriages happen. Knowing that I wasn’t the only one who had experienced this loss made it slightly more bearable. I shared my story online and I was (as usual) shook at the amount of women that approached me sharing their experiences. The more we speak about it the more we break this taboo barrier. Doctors still are uncertain what exactly causes a miscarriage and I think that more we speak up about it and push for research, maybe one day so many women won’t have to go through such a terrible experience. Try to rest easy knowing, it’s not your fault, and you’re not alone.
Focus on Self Care & Remain Present
The days right after my loss, as I described earlier, I refused to stay still. When I was still, I could picture my baby in my hands. I remembered every detail of the miscarriage and I could handle that. I avoided it so hard it put me right into the hospital. Where I bawled to the doctor and was suggested to be put on anti-depressants. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in high school and have chosen, deliberately, to not take medications and instead seek out “natural” remedies for my brain. I did the same thing this time. I did the same things I’ve always done to cope when going through an episode. I wrote and I wrote. I forgave myself. I took showers, long hot showers and let the water wash away my pain. I tried to get reconnected with myself. I tried to remain present and remind myself that, I’m already a bad ass super mom. I have one healthy lovely baby already and he’s a miracle. I went back to gratitude instead of being angry and although I still get choked up around the subject it doesn’t hurt as bad. Still hurts, but I’m alive and I’m grateful.
Have you experienced a miscarriage ?
How are you coping with it ?
Two years into parenting and I’ve got a morning routine down, for the most part, we try to keep it simple and we try to keep it repetitive. I read somewhere that consistency is good for young children, and it just so happens to be good for young adults as well.
The routine is more of a guideline if I’m being honest, we give it our best each day and our best changes depending on the day, either way we’re still moving.
That’s what kids do, they keep you moving and well it’s really quite exhausting. When I said yes to being a parent back in 2014 I imagined that it would be difficult that I would have a harder struggle than I was experiencing at that point. I expected to spend more money, to have more responsibility, to be working more, to be planning more, to be saving more. These things I expected, I welcomed in that change.
What I forgot to welcome was the fact that my son, my creation would also have his own creations as he grows. He will come with his own changes, his own growth spurts throughout his physical and spiritual life and at two years old he has already taught me so many lessons.
When I said yes to being a parent I didn’t realize that he would be teaching me, more than I am teaching him.
When I said yes to being a parent I didn’t realize how many lessons I would need to learn.
When I said to being a parent, I didn’t realize I’d also be saying yes to having more anxiety and less time to breathe it out.
During L.B.M (Life Before Motherhood) I was an independent ice queen. I did everything on my own, I aimed to be as independent as possible because asking for help wasn’t an option. Asking for help meant you needed it and if you needed help it meant you weren’t capable. This is what my 21 year old brain firmly believed. If you want to do something, you’re better off doing it yourself.
Parenting is not something you can do by yourself.
When I said yes to being a parent I didn’t realize I was saying yes to changing core parts of my personality.
When I said yes to being a parent I didn’t realize how much help I really needed to get it all done, without losing my mind.
My child’s blossoming light reminds me on the regular that he has his own plans for the world.
When I said yes to being a parent I didn’t realize that gentle parenting really meant consistent breathing to avoid freaking the fuck out.
I spend a lot of time breathing when he’s frustrated, his words haven’t come yet and the more we try to talk it out the more frustration arises.
When I said yes to being a parent I didn’t realize that breath would be the key to all of our problems.
Through the birth, through the first nights at home, through all of the unknown.
When I said yes to being a parent I didn’t realize I was also saying yes to becoming one of the most patient individuals on the planet.
Watching my child grow and allowing him to find his own space and grow at his own pace has (forced) me to become an extremely patient individual. Also an organized one, so that I can make sure he has time to move at his own pace, while he struggles to put his own shoes on or scurries to get all his favorite toys before we leave the house.
Every morning is a rat race, we’re up as early as we can, we’re dressed in 10 minutes (well we try to get dressed in 10 minutes) and then we battle to put on his winter clothes.
When I said yes to being a parent, I didn’t realize I’d have to convince my child to put on pants in the winter time. I didn’t realize that my child might hate wearing mittens.
My child hates wearing mittens. But, I put them on him anyways and he screams at me in defeat but I kiss him on the forehead anyways.
Our walks to daycare are usually just me running down the side walk like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.
Gotta Go. Gotta Go. Gotta Go.
There’s always somewhere to be, always something to do and it leaves me feeling like I’m not present with my child. I’m always waiting for the moment that I can do something for myself.
When I said yes to being a parent I didn’t realize how much guilt was attached to wanting to do something for yourself. I didn’t expect myself to shame myself for wanting to live my life the way I dreamed of in my head.
Life changes quickly, it spirals and it spins, it bobs and it weaves. Children are magical indeed, they add light to the dark spaces within us. Which is why I hate to say it but, when I said yes to being a parent I didn’t realize the true sacrifice it takes to have a dependent.
That’s what kids are okay ? They’re dependents. They need for you everything.
E V E R Y T H I N G.
It breaks my heart on the regular when I finally get my child to daycare and he realizes I’m leaving him and he has this look on his face that says, “Are you really going to leave me here all day long again? I love you mommy, do you love me?” It’s almost been a year and I don’t think it’s gotten easier on either of us but we’ve just learned to adapt and cope.
I look into his little eyes, and I send him my telepathic love. I kiss him on the forehead and say “I love you Elijah, I will see you soon.”
I always tell him I will see him soon, even if his father is picking him up that day and I won’t be seeing him for a bit. I don’t know if this is traumatic or if it’s avoiding abandonment issues. Either way, I’m just doing my best. Whats the right way to raise a child? Does anyone know ? ANYONE ?
When I agreed to being a parent I didn’t know I’d be agreeing to lying to my child to avoid hurting his feelings. I didn’t know mom guilt would wind up a good friend of mine.
Every time I close the door behind me after dropping him off I feel a rush of calm energy roll over me.
Sometimes my favorite moments of the day are closing that door behind me and that makes me feel like a bad mom and makes me question if I love him the way I should.
But, it’s true. Mommy loves knowing she can use her energy to focus on herself.
When I said yes to being a parent I didn’t realize that I was saying yes to taking on 10 jobs at once.
By 8:50 a.m. I’m already exhausted.
When I agreed to being a mother I didn’t realize I was agreeing to selling out and working a safe 9-5 and being so tired and drained from the succubus energy that I don’t have the passion to invest in my family home. I didn’t realize I’d feel like such a failure.
When I said yes to being a mother, I thought I was going to be one of those amazing Pinterest moms who does DIY crafts with her kid on the weekend, never lets them watch TV because by 3 years old my child would be the next prodigy or something.
When I said yes to being a parent I didn’t realize that everything on the internet I aspired to be was staged.
It was staged to look so happy and perfect. I was bamboozled.
When I said yes to being a mother I didn’t realize that my child would only be as good as I was.
I didn’t realize, how much fucking work this lifestyle is. Because that’s what it is, it’s a lifestyle. It’s not a job. There’s no time to clock out. Whether he is around me or not. I am a mother.
I am responsible. I am the provider. The caregiver.
I am his first teacher.
Who I am as person, the way I move through the world will shape his entire existence.
You must be, slightly insane to choose this lifestyle, to choose to not having enough hours in the day, to choose the level of sacrifice it takes to be a parent.
YOU DON’T SLEEP FOR THE FIRST YEAR.
ONLY AN INSANE PERSON WOULD WANT THIS.
and you know what ?
When I agreed to being a mother, I didn’t know that I would absolutely fall in love with my child and our insane lifestyle.
I didn’t know that when I gave birth to my seed, my own light would blossom.
I didn’t know that the tears I’d shed trying to figure this shit out would water my roots.
I didn’t know that he would bring healing to my chakras.
I didn’t know that he would force the darkness out of me.
I didn’t know.
and you know what ?
It’s the best blind decision I’ve ever made.
The Terrible Twos – They actually aren’t that terrible.
I’m here sitting next to my toddler, Elijah, who is 2 years old and some odd months. I stopped counting the months a long time ago. After a certain point, it gets ridiculous doesn’t it ? Anyways, It must have taken near an hour to get him to nap. Somedays are easier than others. It depends how my toddnager is feeling that day. Yes, I made up the word toddnager because my toddler seems to act like a broody teenage boy who wants me to get out of his room most of the time.
Look, the point is, even though he’s got an attitude that makes me bite my tongue a million times a day. The terrible twos ain’t all that bad when you remember to respect your babies growth process.
What is it like being two years old ?
The truth: They have a lot going on, okay ?
Be kind to them.
Another truth: Babies grow at such a rapid rate that if humans continued to grow at this rate, we’d all be giants.
They’re brains are constantly taking in the new words, new sounds, new images and they’re hormone rates change as they grow too. And the worst part of that the language barrier makes it near impossible to explain to them whats going with their bodies. Everyone just has to ride it out and do their best.
When a child turns two, I feel their personalities really begin to flourish. They know what they like and they most definitely know what they don’t like and are eager to tell you so. They begin to find their voice. They begin pushing the boundaries of the world they know, they want to learn. They test you to see what is good, what is bad. This is why parenting a toddler is exhausting. They’re so eager to discover new things it feels like every other minute you’re trying to explain yet again, why it’s a bad idea to do that. Which is always followed by tears of their disappointment, probably some toodnager language telling you that this isn’t fair.
I think this is why tantrums happen. They just feel like life isn’t fair. And well, it’s not fair is it? So this is a valuable lesson for our children to learn that sometimes in life you win, and sometimes in life you lose.
A Motherland Belief: We’re responsible for providing our child with opportunities to win and preparing them to handle the loses.
You can’t always tell your child no. You need to let them experience life. Let them explore on their own. Say yes to more and always have a valid reason when you say no.
Another Motherland Belief: Always explain why you are saying no. Let’s drop the “because I said so” act and give our children valid answers.
When we fail to check in with our children, and how their doing. Are you giving them the attention they did ? Or, is it the opposite and they receive too much attention and thus set an expectation to receive everything and anything they way.
It doesn’t have to be a dramatic war everyday. As the adults, who are more conscious of our actions we have to choose our battles and when it’s time to fight, we got to learn to fight with love. Remind yourself that your baby is still growing, still learning, that they’re doing their best.
I pride my myself on the fact that my motherhood style includes consistent communication. I like letting my kid know whats going on. I like letting him have choices and options and giving his little brain time to prepare for all the errands mommy is dragging him along to.
I respect my child as a human being, and because of this the terrible twos ain’t all that bad.
You know those kids that be going off the way, screaming and causing a scene. They want attention. That’s just a fact in my brain. People that act out recklessly, are seeking something and it’s usually affection or attention.
Or, maybe that’s just my kid. I don’t know.
But, what I know for sure is that when I spend too much time on my phone in a single day, or put on the TV baby sitter on for too long, or tell him to “just go and play, mommy is working” he gets a little antsy. He gets a little bored. He gets a little frustrated.
He is human after all, and we all know that humans love connecting with other humans. So, I understand his frustration when he’s the only one in the room bursting with energy ready to play all the games and all the boring adults are busy “working”. Kids don’t understand what “working” means. At least not a toddler. At least not my toddler.
How do we avoid the tantrums?
Do you remember being a child and asking your parents to play with you ? The days before your parents became embarrassing and old ? When you were still young and pure and they were the coolest people ever ? Do you remember how much it sucked when they didn’t have time for you ?
I’m sure we’ve all felt that sting, the sting of loneliness when your caregiver tells you they’re too busy to play with you. As adults it makes sense, sometimes we just don’t have the time to play. We have work to do, chores to finish, meals to make but guess what caregivers?
We have to learn to make time.
We have to learn to make time for our children, especially these intense toddnagers.
They require a lot of love and attention.
No. They deserve a lot of love and attention.
That’s how we can become parents of children who don’t have to recover from their childhood.
Quality time is key.
Quality > Quantity
When I say quality, I don’t mean taking them out to the coolest of places and spending all kinds of money buying them all the things they want but don’t need. I mean quality, one on one, full attention bonding. Maybe let them decide what to do for the day, for the hour, for whatever amount of time you can give them. Let them pick, let them show you their world.
Things like playing hot mountain lava on the couch or building towers and then pretending to be dinosaurs crashing everything. Grabbing paper and markers and paint and creating something together. Reading stories or making up stories. Pretending to be superstars and dancing and singing in the kitchen. Yes, all of that. Don’t just watch them have fun.
Do it with them, have fun with them and make the memories together.
(this is long post, so get comfortable)
The idea for this project started from scribbled notes in my journal. My postpartum journey has been one of the biggest mental battles I have had to deal with.
The truth is that, if you asked me 3 years ago where I thought I would be, it wouldn’t be here that’s for damn sure!
I didn’t picture myself as a mother. I didn’t picture myself living in Toronto. I didn’t picture myself bald and yet, Here I am !
Photo by: Jennifer Toole
I’m bald, I’m queer and living life with no fear !
I am grateful to be where I am today.
I feel as if I am coming into my own, I am returning back to my roots.
I am becoming me, and my life is seeming to flow endlessly because of it but, it hasn’t been an easy journey.
I’ve been dealing with mental health in silence for many (too many) years, and after I had my son I felt like I had been bombarded with darkness.
Everything lost meaning.
Everything lost light.
All I could see were dead ends, trap doors, and no way out.
People would ask me how I was doing and I would lie,
and I would lie,
and I would lie.
I was afraid they would take my baby away, if I told someone that I hated being a mother, so I remained silent.
I stayed silent because even though I hated being a mother, I loved my fucking child, and I’d turn into a fierce lioness in heartbeat if anyone dared to look at my child the wrong way. I was afraid of being put in a box with a big fat label on my head that said “YOUNG, UNFIT, SINGLE BLACK MOTHER.”
I felt incredibly alone all of the time even though I had my son in my arms, all of the time.
I kept it all in,
I held it all in,
and in and in until my child would fall asleep and I would cry
and I would cry
and I would cry.
I’d cry into my journal.
I use my journal (along with other things) to connect with my guides, with my higher power.
I used my journal to ask questions like:
WHY DO I FEEL LIKE THIS ?
IS THIS NORMAL ?
AM I THE ONLY ONE?
The questions poured onto the paper, and so did the tears.
Y’all I was heartbroken.
It hurt my heart that I didn’t love my baby the way I read about online. That beautiful mommy glow I saw all over my Instagram feed. Eventually, i grew tired of living in the dark and began to google search crazy things like “how to fix mommy brain” and “how to love my child?” and “when will the sadness go away” and ended up finding other women out there, who felt like me, who felt a disconnect, who felt sadness, who saw the darkness.
I wasn’t alone anymore.
I avoided going to my doctor to share my thoughts of suicide, I wasn’t alone but I was still afraid they would take away my baby so I created my own safe haven, Demi’s Motherland. I wanted the pain go away, I wanted healing and since typing was something I could do with my child latched to my breast wrote my first blog post, “How does it feel to be a Mother?”
I thought that the post was going to be dark and dreary, all about how much I hated my life but oddly enough as my fingers tapped away, every key stroke helped release some of my anxiety and by the end of the post, I felt comfortable with the transition of life. Three months into motherhood, and I was finally (somewhat) okay calling myself, a mom.
Accepting my title, as a mother was the hardest part.
I shared my words with my friends, and I was absolutely shocked at the responses I got from parents all around the world. They thanked me for sharing my truth, they saw strength in my pain and that is when I knew that this fake happy mom, quick snap back post partum shit, wasn’t real.
The universe sent more online supports my way, I began to discover more mothers who were #unbothered and spoke their truth, they were real and they were raw. Even the women in my own family became comfortable sharing their stories and feelings about early motherhood, single motherhood, their battles with their partners. Man O Man, it felt fucking good to identify with other human beins face to face.
I didn’t feel so bad for feeling sooooooo bad.
I have continued to share my truth, my ups, my downs through my social media as I continue on this journey to self, this journey of motherhood.
After attempting to flee the country, after a failed attempt at love, after a mental breakdown that put me in the hospital, after the suicidal thoughts, after the miscarriage, after living off welfare(WHICH AIN’T A BAD THING BUT THATS A STORY FOR ANOTHER DAY), after it all, I’m still fucking here.
I’m fucking here, I’m alive.
I didn’t think I’d make it here.
But, I did.
You see y’all ?
That’s what I was trying to say at the beginning, you might have a plan for your life but sometimes the universe has a different one for you. You got lessons to learn, mountains to climb, muscles to build in order to get where you want. You got to learn to just live and life. But, thats hard to do alone.
I would know.
I took back to my journal and I prayed for the universe to send people like me, and it did. They sent me other young humans like me, queer humans like me, humans struggling with their mental health and I love them.
But, I’m looking for parents, I want to heal mamas and papas alike through my company, The Motherland Collective.
I want to create a collective healing space for all humans who identify as a parent.
I want people to know that they are not alone.
We all came from the same place, we need to support each other on this life journey.
Thank you for reading, xoxo