As much as I want to be Storm from X-Men (let’s be real Wonder Woman is so overrated. Debate me later lol), I’m not. I recently found that out and although I don’t like it, I have to accept that. I’m the type of person that feels like I can do any and everything on my own. Yes, I know how to ask for help and occasionally I do, but for the most part I prefer not to. Growing up it was better to do things yourself or have it thrown in your face later. The past few weeks I have been adjusting to having 3 rowdy children at home 24/7 now that school is out, blogging, working on my Masters, helping my husband start his business (super proud about that. Anybody who’s into cooking and good recipes check out manthatcooks903 on Instagram He’s going to go far and his meals are yummy).
This weekend I found myself in the hospital wondering, “How did I get here?” Feeling my heart racing to where it feels like it’s going to explode, dizzy to the point I might pass out, and sudden sweats was completely terrifying. As a person that dislikes hospitals, even I knew something was off and I needed to get seen. After two hours alone in a hospital bed (thanks to COVID and no visitors allowed in the hospital) turns out I was experiencing anxiety/ panic attacks and high blood pressure.
Serious wake up call. My body has spoken and now I am listening. It sucks that we as people wait until we have a scary moment to take certain things in life such as our health more seriously, but we do. Now I am dedicated to knowing my limits. I’m dedicated to not feeling guilty about taking a rest period or allowing those I TRUST to help me when needed. More importantly, I’m dedicated to getting healthy. I have a family that depends on me and not taking care of myself can potentially rob them of future moments that can be made because I was foolish enough not to take life seriously. This scare was only anxiety and blood pressure, but it could’ve been worse. What if it was a stroke, a heart attack, or something severe that called for more than just rest and a few changes? What if I was too stubborn to get checked out and gotten to the point where it was too late for help?
We as people have to realize that we are not promised tomorrow. We only have one life and once it’s gone, that’s it. When that’s it, we are not only hurting ourselves, but those that we leave behind. They are the ones that have to deal with the pain of not having us around and holding on to memories/moments they’ll never have again.
***Trigger Warning: Please be advised, this post may be difficult for those that have experienced child-loss, difficult delivery, or lost a loved one during child birth***
While much of the world watches how things are going to play out with the Ahmaud Arbery case, another topic weighs heavily on my mind. Our black women are still out here suffering and many do not know that something that brings us great joy can also end us due to the fact that our concerns are not being listened to. I’m speaking on childbirth. Did you know that black women are three to four times as likely to die during childbirth than any other race? This issue has been going on for years and many seem to overlook it.
Many will ask why I single out black women as an importance. My answer is simple, I am a black woman and the numbers show the need for a greater concern. That does not diminish the deaths of any other race, but I can’t speak on any other race. I will support anyone who does, but once again I do not have experience as a different race. I know what it is like being a black woman, giving birth, almost dying due to not being listened to, and I now have a voice to speak on it at the time.
I remember in my second pregnancy; I was told I had partial placenta previa. For those of you who do not know, this is when the placenta either partially or completely covers the cervix. I found this out when I started to experience pains early on that didn’t feel like growing pains. It took many trips to the doctor informing them that something was wrong before they finally listened to my concerns and discovered that was the cause. Moving on in my pregnancy, the pain seemed to get worse with each day, but I started dreading going to the doctor because with each visit my concern fell on deaf ears. Finally, two weeks before I delivered, I made three trips to the doctor still with nothing being done.
At 26 weeks, I gave up and just started to try to move as less as possible. That’s pretty hard when you have a toddler and a husband in the military, but I tried. I remember going to sleep one night and waking up in excruciating pain. I quietly went to the bathroom so that I wouldn’t disturb my husband who had to be up early. Attempting to use the bathroom I realized that I needed help. As I called for my husband the most severe pain shot through me, and blood filled the toilet. Immediately I thought my baby was gone. With the aid of my family I was able to get back to the bed to wait on the ambulance. By the time they got there, that too was soaked in blood.
At the hospital it was revealed that I had a placenta abruption which led to me going into preterm labor. My child survived but had to be sent an hour away to a NICU. I on the other hand suffered severe blood loss. All this time and I can’t help but to wonder if something could’ve been done earlier if I had just been listened too when I expressed something was wrong. How many countless others have experienced the same experience that didn’t survive to tell the tale? Serena Williams and Beyonce were one of the lucky ones that had the status and finances to make doctors listen to them and give them extra care, but what about the ones that do not. Judge Hatchett’s daughter in law, Kira Johnson passed away after childbirth. Despite expressing concern numerous times and being ignored, she succumbed to internal bleeding that probably could’ve been stopped if someone had just taken the time to listen.
Now there are many things that effect black mothers and put them at risk. Poor healthcare, lack of insurance, lack of knowledge is among those things. But what about the issue that is simply beyond our control? What about the many that are victims of someone else’s negligence or failure to take them seriously? Who will be their voice? How do we fix this issue?
In the closet, I’m obsessed with yoga. Meaning I totally love yoga, but haven’t worked up the nerve to follow all the way through with it. Many things have been the cause of that. Fear, anxiety, intimidation, just to name a few. Being plus size, I see all the images of the different yogi’s in the different poses and it just look so amazing….right? Wrong! Beause in my mind I’m screaming, “I CAN’T DO THAT! HOW IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO BEND LIKE THAT? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?” Then I politely roll up my mat and tell myself I’ll try again later.
But what if later never comes? What if that last time I rolled up my mat was actually my last chance to move forward in this journey. Let’s be honest, no one is promised another chance. We only have the right then and that moment. Anything else is just a blessing moving forward.
So now I’m challenging myself. It’s time to let go of the fears and negative thoughts. No longer will I walk in the ways that I feel will be more acceptable for my size. After all there is this gorgeous plus size woman by the name of Jessamyn Stanley that is awesome at yoga. Serious goals in my eyes. So dang it (yes I said dang it, I’m a country girl lol), I’m going to start back and stick with it! Nothing beats a fail, but a try and I’m not a failure so I have to try. Wish me luck!