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    Dear New Mama: It’s OK To Feel Overwhelmed

    As I sit here writing this, I’m nursing my 1 week old holding back the tears from feeling like a failing mama. People who know me tell me that I’m far from failing my children but in the day to day, I feel otherwise. I’m an adult often plagued with issues that were planted in my childhood. In fact, I often joke with my brother that my measure of parenting success is by how many issues my own kids present to their therapists that are rooted in things I struggled with as their mom. The truth of the matter is is that even though this is my third time having a newborn, I’m extremely overwhelmed.

    Overwhelmed With Love

    My goodness. There’s nothing like the little people that your body makes. All throughout each of my pregnancies I was so excited to meet these creations that were bumbling in my stomach. And then when they come out I fall head over heels in love with them. Each of their perfect little fingers, toes, cheeks, eyes, all of them. They are each so perfect in their own way.

    Overwhelmed With Fear

    The world we live in today doesn’t love my children though and that frightens me. The world doesn’t see my babies as babies. The world sees them as angry black women in the making or tiny threats to be eliminated. My perfect, precocious children aren’t seen as the beautiful beings that they are. I just want them to have the opportunity to be great and positively influence the world we live in.

    Overwhelmed With Duty

    Motherhood is hard with one child. More than one child? My goodness. I don’t know how the Duggars do it. At the end of the day I want to feel good about the job I’ve done as a mom and lately I haven’t felt like that. I strive to be a mom who has her shit together most days. Waking up before the kids, having our lesson plans done, meal plans completed and executed, fun outing done, bedtime routine started with no problems. This is my daily goal. Yes, I know it’s ridiculous to expect this daily with an infant in tow but these are still goals.

    I want to be the kind of mom where my kids look back on their childhood with happiness. Pregnancy was tough on our household and so far this fourth trimester is a little rough as well. Healing from pushing out a baby in your almost mid 30s is way different than in your 20s. Again, I know it’s only been a week and I should adjust my expectations accordingly but I just love my kids so much I want them to know that. Every time I see their little faces fill with disappointment or sadness because I yelled or fussed I feel like I’ve failed.

    Overwhelmed With Anxiety

    I tend to struggle with anxiety anyway but after I have my children I have a moment where I lose faith in my God, my sight and my ability to walk in my gifts to fulfill my dreams. I’m pretty sure I “what if” until the cows come home and it’s worse now that I work for myself. But anxiety happens.

    Overwhelmed With Expectations

    My kids expect me to entertain them. My husband expects me to be, well, me. My family expects me to be available all the time for them. Friends expect me to want to share my last born freely. I expect myself to be fully operational like I was before I got pregnant. I feel like I’m failing all of them.

    Overwhelmed.

    That’s how it feels to add another baby to the picture. I know that this feeling will pass. I know that I’ll get it together and will be successful but even as a seasoned mom, I am overwhelmed. I want first time moms to know that you aren’t alone and this too shall pass. But how, right?

    Know What You Need

    This is hard to know. I’ve been asked countless times what I need and honestly, I need time. But what you might need is someone to go grocery shopping for you or bring over food or take your other children or clean your house. Take inventory on what it is that would bring you peace.

    Ask For What You Need

    This is normally the hardest part. When you have a baby, people want to come over and hold the baby, talk about the baby, and make everything about the baby. If this isn’t what you determined you need, ask for what it is you need instead. This can be hard but for your peace of mind you need to do it. Ask someone to grab some groceries for you. Set up a meal-train. Make the ask.

    Set Necessary Boundaries

    This is hard if you’re a people pleaser like me but will pay off in the long run. Post baby my phone has been ringing off the hook. Anyone who knows me (or just reads my blog) knows I don’t like talking on the phone. I received a text asking me when is a good time talk. In the midst of now 3 kids, homeschooling, being a wife, and trying to figure out who I am as a mom of 3, I don’t have the bandwidth to just be chatting on the phone. This is a hard and emotional transition for me and I had to set a boundary while just saying “no”. No is a complete sentence that requires no additional explanation. Protect your peace.

    Have Other Kids? Planning Is Your Friend

    I remember after I had abc I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to handle these two kids by myself. I consulted Pinterest and had activities planned for after I picked Mini up from school. The more I planned the more control I felt I had over my situation and the less anxious I felt. Pinterest is your friend. Craft stores are your friends. Playgrounds and all that jazz are good. Sure, it’s hard to get out the house with all the kids but you’ll make it.

    This was way longer than I intended it to be but I hope it helps someone. As my own feelings of overwhelm fade and I regain some semblance of confidence and control I’ll update this with more tips. Till then, remember you aren’t alone.

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    Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks For All Mamas

    Whether you're a seasoned breastfeeding mama or a new one, these breastfeeding tips and tricks are sure to help nurture your relationship!

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    Breastfeeding looks different for every mommy and baby but quality tips and tricks make it easier! Find out which tips I share in this sponsored posting. 

    As I sit here writing this I’m filled with both happiness and sadness at the thought that my journey in breastfeeding will be coming to a close with the freshly delivered baby snuggled up on my chest. Happy because my body will finally be all mine again and I’ll be able to do some much needed fine tuning on some things. Sad because never again will my body produce the liquid gold that has grown 2 (and will be 3) children. Breastfeeding is not the same for all kids and I’ve picked up some tricks along the way to make things easier.

    My First Time Breastfeeding

    With mini we didn’t have the current movements across social media and in real life that encourage the normalizing of breastfeeding. In truth, I breastfed her out of necessity. I was laid off before I had her and had no income to buy formula. Luckily for me, I had bartered my design services for a hypnobirthing class with a supreme hippie that taught me the value of a more “natural” maternal existence. It was the first time I’d really heard the “Breast Is Best” saying.

    Mini latched on right away. She was an easy baby anyway but she made my introduction into breastfeeding an easy one. We had no latch issues and it was a breeze. She was nursed until she was 13 months though I had to supplement with formula towards the end. While I do feel like breast is best, I subscribe to fed is better. She got sick at her 1 year mark from cow milk so weaning her didn’t happen until later.

    My Second Go Round

    Abc was a boobie lover. She, too, latched right away but hers was incredibly painful. Her latch was strong, incorrect and she had the most powerful suck which all created a recipe for some sore nipples. Correcting her latch wasn’t easy but we did it and developed a strong nursing relationship. But eventually I was over it and it almost felt like a burden. I hated pumping and though I had a freezer full of stored milk, abc hated taking a bottle more. She preferred her milk body temperature. Weaning her wasn’t as easy as it was mini but by 16 months, our nursing relationship had come to a close.

    My Mic Drop For Breastfeeding

    BC is it. Like abc, BC is a boobie monster. He’s less than a week old and I’m pretty sure that I’ve spent more time with him at my breasts during this time than with I did with both of his sisters combined. His latch is good though I have to fight with his hands and his suck is super strong. I expected to wake up covered in milk like I did with his sisters when my milk came in but he’s yet to let any of his milk go to waste. Dude is serious. But after this, there will be no more so I’m using what I learned previously to rock this relationship out.

    Whether you're a seasoned breastfeeding mama or a new one, these breastfeeding tips and tricks are sure to help nurture your relationship!

    Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks

    In no particular order:

    • Keep water with you always.Whether you're a seasoned breastfeeding mama or a new one, these breastfeeding tips and tricks are sure to help nurture your relationship!
    • In the beginning establish proper latching and always correct the lazy latch.
    • Get a good, organic nipple butter.
    • Eat enough calories for milk production.
    • The quality of your calories matters so no junk foods–get the good stuff.
    • Watch how baby responds to your diet so you know what may need eliminating for their tummy health.
    • Create a cozy nook for nursing.Whether you're a seasoned breastfeeding mama or a new one, these breastfeeding tips and tricks are sure to help nurture your relationship!

    Creating A Cozy Nook For Nursing

    Already having 2 children this is the breastfeeding tip that’s biggest for me now. In my nook, I have the following:

    I love the Ergobaby Nursing Pillow. It offers a level of support that I’ve yet to experience. My posture post-pregnancy is so not the greatest and the firm support that the Ergobaby Nursing Pillow offers makes nursing my wiggly newborn so much easier. I love that it has two different sides that offer different types of support. One of the positions that I was never able to get the girls into was the football position. Using this nursing pillow has made this possible for even this seasoned breastfeeding mama! Best part is that when we’re ready for tummy time, we don’t need to buy any additional baby gear since this handles that too!

    Whether you're a seasoned breastfeeding mama or a new one, these breastfeeding tips and tricks are sure to help nurture your relationship!

    Although it’s sad that I’ll be saying goodbye to this chapter of my life soon, I’m happy that BC and I will be comfortable as we develop, nurture, and conclude our breastfeeding relationship.

    Mamas, what other breastfeeding tips would you offer?

    This is a sponsored posting written by me on behalf of Ergobaby. 

    Whether you're a seasoned breastfeeding mama or a new one, these breastfeeding tips and tricks are sure to help nurture your relationship!

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    Setting Yourself Up For Breastfeeding Success

    Just like with everything, having access to certain information will set you up for success with breastfeeding. I remember reading an article about parents that were being charged with manslaughter after their baby died because the mom mixed her breastmilk with water to stretch it. When asked why she did it, it was because she didn’t know any better. This hurt my heart because there are so many resources out there to help.

    My Favorite Breastfeeding Resources

    The internet rules the world and most of my resources can be found here:

    Center for Disease Control

    Drugwatch

    Momsrising

    A Better Balance

    United States Breastfeeding Committee

    La Leche League

    US Department of Labor

    Women’s Health

    Healthy Mommy Happy Baby

    I think one of my favorite resources has been other mothers who’ve breastfed. There’s nothing like having the real world experience from another mother–though you have to be careful with this. Some moms like to give horror stories or act as though their way is the only way which can be discouraging. Get a group of some quality breastfriends and rock out.

    It’s Time For A Giveaway!!!

    Because I love you and want the best for you and your babies, it’s time for a giveaway. Entering is super easy and prize pack is amazing! Here’s what you can win:

    1 dock a tot

    1 of each of the gifts from the previous weeks ($25 gift card to milky mama, liquid pack, boobie pack from anna natural)

    1 jujube diaper bag

    Rockabye baby lullabye cd

    $25 GC to happy mango

     

    This is worth over $600!!!

    So how do you enter? This is a flash giveaway so you need to do it ASAP. Head on over to the Happy Mango Instagram page and find the giveaway photo. It’s as easy as that!

    Good luck!!!

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    Yes I’m Still Pregnant And Here’s Why

    I went to the doctor for my check up and yes, there is in fact still a baby in my belly. My due date isn’t until 8.23.17 but for some reason everyone thinks he’s supposed to be here already. He’s not and I’m pretty sure I know the reason why.

    I may not be ready to let him go.

    No, I don’t want to be pregnant for forever

    But we live in a world where black boys have the odds stacked against them. We live in a world where everyday I’m scared that my husband may become a hashtag. We live in a world today where racism is alive and well and threatening my people’s very existence. And this is the only time that I can protect him 100% with my body.

    While I don’t want to be pregnant for forever, I desperately want the safety of my children. This is the last one I’m going to have and I don’t trust the world with the 2 I’ve already created.

    I’m stressed as hell

    Between family stuff going on that somehow still puts everyone else’s needs before mine, re-sleep training my children, and constantly being asked if he’s here while handling being treated like a freak when I leave the house, I am beyond stressed out. People think it’s fun and funny to make remarks on pregnant women’s body’s and it’s not. Last weekend I broke down in tears after spending abc’s birthday at the aquarium listening to the comments of “you’re huge! Twins, right? Is your water going to break now? Are you dilated?” And yes, people seem to think that asking strangers about their vaginas while making inappropriate comments on my body is ok. It’s not.

    After getting home from dealing with this, we get asked again when the baby is coming. Now, I don’t normally curse on my blog (I save this charming feature for in person) but WE DON’T KNOW WHEN THE BABY IS FUCKING COMING! Simple as that. Because of all the calls, texts and just downright annoying inquiries, I probably won’t make an announcement until I have a blog post coming that has to do with him.

    I’m ready for him, but not ready to share him

    Like I said, this is the final member of our family that I’ll be giving birth to. This is incredibly special to me. Like very near and dear to my heart. I will never again feel another person moving inside my body. My body will never again grow a person from a single egg. I will never feel the butterfly flutter when I can finally feel them kick. I’ll never again be puking because of morning sickness. I’ll never eagerly anticipate a 20 week mark. I’ll never search tirelessly for things that are just right for my new baby.

    This is it.

    He’s it.

    #ColePartyOf5 is complete and while I can’t wait to meet him, I don’t want to share my final baby just yet. While he’s inside, he’s mine. Only I can feel his rolling around unless he’s kicking one of his sister that’s squishing him as they get their hair done. Only I can feel the “thump-thump” of the hiccups unless his daddy reaches over to snuggle him. Only I get to feel his response as I tell him that it’s ok to come out and that I promise I’ll keep him as safe as I can.

    I know he’s ready to come and take the world by storm. And I’m getting ready now.

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    Celebrating ABC in Centennial Park District

    My baby is three! It feels like it was just yesterday that my belly was filled with this baby girl that has completely rocked our worlds since being born but alas, it’s filled with another. On August 13th, she turned 3 and while I don’t believe in birthday parties every year, we were still able to celebrate her life with an Atlanta-style day in the Centennial Park District.

    ABC’s Birthday Itinerary

    We started the day out nice and early and we were scheduled to include 2 attractions and 2 restaurants in Centennial Park District in downtown Atlanta.
    10:00 am – Georgia Aquarium
    12:30 pm – Lunch
    2:00 pm – Private Tour of the Civil Rights Museum
    5:30 pm- Dinner @ Ted’s Montana Grill.

    Pregnancy life cut our day short since I really couldn’t walk after a delicious lunch and fun at the Aquarium.

    Georgia Aquarium

    When the Georgia Aquarium opened, I was one of the people that had pre-purchased an annual membership so to say that I love the Aquarium may be an understatement. But because it was abc’s birthday, we let her guide us around her favorite spots.

    The first stop was the Tropical Diver exhibit–also my favorite. The Tropical Diver is where you can see the luminescent jellyfish float around gracefully. They are so beautiful and everyone was hypnotized by their graceful movements. We got a chance to see Dori and Nemo too! I think this is the first time that we paid attention to the eels on our way out but the mesmerized abc as well.

    Next stop took us on an upstairs adventure to places I hadn’t been yet. We saw the Spongebob in 4-D feature which was really fun. It was the perfect length for antsy toddlers and kept them engaged with the bubbles blowing around. In truth, I don’t know who loved it more–me or the girls! I’ve never explored the upstairs before and I was really missing out!

    Upstairs brought us to the touch pool with the stingrays and other exhibits for the kids to explore that were more interactive. Both of the girls were able to enjoy themselves as I sat down for a much needed break before we left for lunch. We couldn’t leave without grabbing some souvenirs. Abc chose a mermaid–and I was sooooo glad they had brown mermaids–and Mini chose a choker necklace.

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    Kwan’s Deli

    After all that walking around the Aquarium, we were starving! There are so many restaurants within walking distance but we were invited to eat at Kwan’s Deli which is a traditional Korean restaurant that also has more traditional Deli sandwiches. There service was quick and food was rather delicious!

    Check out the quick video with the highlights of our day:

    Many thanks to the Centennial Park District for hosting our epic birthday trip! We loved being able to walk wherever we needed to making it so we didn’t have to waste time looking for parking.

    Have you been to the Centennial Park District yet?

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    10 Affirmations To Repeat With Your Daughter

    Raising daughters in this day and age is more tough than it was before. I'm working on my girls establishing strong sense of self with these affirmations.

    Being a mom is hard. Being a mom of girls is even more hard. In a society where rape culture is enforced from the top down and every where we look sex is enforced for young girls, the world can be a scary place for the parents of daughters. I always joke that moms of boys have it easier–they have to worry about one penis, I have to worry about all of them. Well, I used to joke about that but with the war on little brown boys happening this is no longer a running joke.

    My daughters are gorgeous and I’m not just saying that because they’re mine. Mini has these beautiful, big, brown eyes that are framed with thick lashes looking like she has an advanced beauty routine every morning. If you aren’t careful, you can get caught up in the puppy dog look she’s mastered. And abc is as cute (and mischievous) as they come. She’ll don the sweetest smile while telling you “no”. As a survivor of sexual assault and everything that comes after that, my biggest fear for them is that they have their choices about their bodies taken away or that they think they need the validation of others in order to feel good about themselves.

    In order to combat that, we say five affirmations in the morning and five in the evening that remind them of who they are.

    Raising daughters in this day and age is more tough than it was before. I'm working on my girls establishing strong sense of self with these affirmations.

    10 Affirmations To Repeat With Your Daughters

    1. I am beautiful.

    Every little girl should feel this way about themselves.

    2. I am smart.

    Life isn’t just about beauty.

    3. I am funny.

    If they are–of course this isn’t for everyone!

    4. I am capable of making good decisions.

    Because life is nothing but a series of one decision after another–better make them good!

    5. I am strong.

    Being a woman is hard and being a little girl still growing and developing is incredibly difficult.

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    6. I am trustworthy.

    Mini came up with this one and I absolutely loved it.

    7. I am kind.

    We all deserve kindness in a world that seems to consistently lack it.

    8. I can do anything I put my mind to.

    “Can’t” is a curse word in our house. We’re raising little girls who “can”.

    9. I am powerful.

    Because they are.

    10. I am worthy of greatness.

    This one is so important to me. Self-worth is something that we all battle with and need to learn.

    I’m a firm believer in the power of words and speaking. I want my kids to grow up knowing the greatness and love that has been poured into them by my village and I. I want them to always have a strong sense of self wherever they go and it starts at home.

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    4 Reasons Moms Don’t Answer The Phone

    Sometimes I miss the old days of being cell phone free. Cell phones seem to say to others “I welcome your instant access to me” when in fact that’s not how most of us feel. While I have no idea what I would do without my phone, there are still many days I wish I didn’t have it.

    Confession: I Hate Talking On The Phone

    I’m one of those people that hates talking on the phone now. Most of it is related to motherhood and a lot of it is just I hate having someone literally in my ear. It gives me a headache and most of the time I’m not paying attention to the conversation because, well, life. But since becoming a WAHM, I get more calls than ever and I’m not sure if it’s because people think I now have all the time in the world as I try to balance pregnancy, a toddler, a child, paying sewing projects, writing and consulting. Sure, I have all the time in the world to sit and chat about this and that wipes sarcasm off the phone I’m typing on as I ride with my husband to work.

    Sometime a couple weeks ago as I was trying to take a nap and my toddler was making my dining room look like a Smurf massacre just happened, my mom called me and then sent a text asking me if I was really that busy that I couldn’t answer the phone.

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    4 Reasons Why Moms Aren’t Answering The Phone

    1. They are working.

    Sure, they’re working at home but they are working nonetheless. Just like if someone worked outside the home you don’t call them 50 million times throughout the day, a mom doesn’t have time to talk either. If they work from home or even if they’re a SAHM, our hands, minds and patience are all occupied. When I’m not working on my business, I’m working with my kids. The one time I took 30 minutes to try and refresh with a quick nap I ended up with blue paint everywhere.

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    2. Your phone call isn’t as important as what they’re currently doing.

    Way harsh, right? Also way true. Just because you call 50 times in a row without sending a text message doesn’t mean that what we’re doing all of a sudden becomes less important. Yes, all of our phones make and receive calls but that doesn’t mean that it’s not invasive to keep calling until you get an answer. It’s rude. What you’re basically saying is “I don’t care what you have going on. What I have to say to you is more important.” As someone who’s handled the blue paint debacle, new clients, dehydration, signs of early labor, rushing one child to the ER, a happy marriage, and functioning off one car all in the last 2 weeks I can almost guarantee that what you have to say isn’t more important than what I’m dealing with AND I don’t have the bandwidth to handle it.

    3. We really are just that busy.

    In this moment I’m preparing for a 3rd child, researching and writing out lesson plans for both a 2nd/3rd grader & 3 yo, trying to remember to register at our hospital of choice, preparing my clients for maternity leave, preparing my house for BC, caring for the pre-existing children, writing enough articles so my sites don’t go dead when I have the baby, and being a wife. When I’m not fighting off sheer exhaustion during abc’s nap time, I’m hustling. These activities include emailing with brands that I think my audience will love, researching, and seeing how I can help fellow entrepreneurs.

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    4. When we aren’t “busy” we don’t feel like talking.

    Sure. The kids go to sleep. We try and shut our work down. And when all that happens, talking on the phone normally isn’t top priority. The early mornings and the late evenings are literally the only time that my husband and I have to ourselves and I value you this. I really love and enjoy the man that I married. If there’s a choice between talking on the phone or talking to him, he’s going to win hands down. But seriously, after a day filled with constant engagement (to be read as fussing at my children, coaching myself to stop self-sabotage, and more) a phone call isn’t as relaxing as it might seem–especially one that’s filled with guilt from me not being available on someone else’s time.

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    How Do You Engage With A Mom?

    It’s way easier than you would imagine–ask what works best for her and then respect that. For me, written messages work simply because I can answer them in between fussing, activities, etc. FaceTime pretty much never works for me because wearing clothing unless I leave the house is just not happening. Some moms love a voicemail. Me? I don’t listen to them ever and courtesy of visual voicemail, I don’t even have to in order to delete them and reduce my anxiety of seeing all those red bubbles with how many new voicemail I have. And sure, all this seems selfish but trust me, protecting ones peace is anything but selfish.

    Sorry if this post was super harsh but sometimes the truth hurts! Text me!

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    4 Foods To Help The Breastfeeding Mama

    ***I’m so excited to partnering with Happy Mango as we prepare to celebrate National Breastfeeding Awareness Month!!!***

    I can’t believe that it’s been almost 2 years since I weaned abc and that I’m about to start breastfeeding again for my final time! I was one of those mama’s that had a freezer full of milk after I’d left the corporate world and started keeping abc home with me. One of the most common questions that I got was how I produced so much milk. Spoiler alert: This was new to me too but I’d done so much research before having abc that I was beyond ready!!! So now I’m sharing with the masses the foods that help the breastfeeding mama.

    4 Foods To Help The Breastfeeding Mama

    1. Water

    I know, this seems obvious but your water intake has a HUGE impact on the amount of milk that you produce. More water, more milk. If you’re one of those people that don’t LOVE water, infuse it with some delicious fruit to make it more tasty. The most important thing is to keep your water accessible. Have a refillable bottle in the places that you pump or nurse, by your bed, in your purse, in the car, everywhere. This is crucial.

    2. Oatmeal

    I remember having oatmeal every.single.morning when I was nursing abc. I didn’t even grow up liking oatmeal! But with mini I barely produced enough milk and my breastfriends were over here producing 15oz in one pump session so I was working hard to keep up. Steer clear of the pre-made oatmeal packets that are super high in sugar. Instead, make your own bags with oatmeal, brown sugar, nuts, and a dried fruit. It’s much better for you! Matter of fact, add some almonds and apricots (rich in prolactin which tells your body to make more milk) to your oatmeal since both of these have been linked with boosting your milk supply too!

    3. Salmon

    Not only is this fatty fish really good for you, but it’s also good for the brain development of your baby. Salmon is packed with protein and DHA. But be careful where you get your salmon from–all fish aren’t raised equally! Do your research on farm raised versus wild and make the decision that works best for you. My favorite way to eat salmon is in the croquette form. Can we say yum.e?

    4. Spinach

    Ok, so really any green, leafy vegetable is really great while breastfeeding. They are rich in calcium to keep both you and your baby’s bones strong. I love a warm spinach salad topped with dates (also high in prolactin), walnuts, and a little Pear Gorgonzola dressing.

    Did I mention that I had a giveaway for you as well? One lucky mama will win a $25 gift card to Milky Mama so enter below!


    $25 Milky Mamas Gift Card Giveaway

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    How To Get A Prenatal Massage That Saves Your Life

    Pregnant? You need a prenatal massage. But not just any prenatal massage. You need one of those that cures your body's pains and this is how you get one.

    At 35 weeks pregnant I’m feeling the best that I have since becoming pregnant. How? I invited someone to my home who delivered the best prenatal massage that I’ve ever had.

    Let me preface this by saying that I’m not a believer in the power of the prenatal massage. Each pregnancy I’ve had one and each one felt like I was just paying someone to slather me in oil. While my skin appreciated the extra TLC, my muscles, aches and pains were still present. When my prenatal massage therapist, Ebony, arrived, I told her just that–I’m not a believer but I’m pretty ashy so I’m still here for it. Well, she flipped my entire belief system on the prenatal massage.

    What To Look For In A Prenatal Massage Therapist

    I met Ebony while she was pregnant with her now 3 month old at the Blogalicious conference last year. She has a beautiful smile, the cutest freckles and a calming energy about her. I knew that she was a blogger looking to grow but I had no idea that she was a massage therapist–let alone one certified in prenatal massage. In talking to her about my previous experiences with the prenatal massages, I realize the I went wrong in choosing my massage therapist. Our chat led to the following conclusions when looking for the proper prenatal massage therapist:

    1. Make sure that they’re certified in prenatal massage. While any massage therapist will rub up on your back, a certified prenatal massage therapist knows the ins and outs of the pregnant woman’s body and how to navigate properly to give an effective massage.
    2. You need to feel complete comfort with your massage therapist. This seems obvious but as she was massaging the most tender and painful parts of my lower back, I realized it was easy to relax into it and breathe the discomfort away because I was completely comfortable with her.
    3. Get a woman who’s gone through pregnancy. I know, this is a little sexist but women who have had children know intimately what you mean when you describe certain pains. It’s like going to another mother for advice on children. While every woman’s body is different, at least this woman has a higher chance of understanding what you’re body is going through.

    Pregnant? You need a prenatal massage. But not just any prenatal massage. You need one of those that cures your body's pains and this is how you get one.

    The Benefits of an In-Home Prenatal Massage

    All of my previous massages have been at places of business. They’ve been beautiful places too but there’s something so different about the comforts of your own home. When Ebony arrived, I forewarned her that my house was a mess. It was Sunday which is normally our cleaning day. And by “our” I mean my husband and kids because I’ve been in so much pain that doing just about everything has stopped outside of grocery shopping and cooking. This was probably the only source of tension but she didn’t care. She came in, set up her table and had an essential oil diffuser going that had my living room filled with bergamot easing pre-existing tensions.

    I didn’t have to leave the comforts of my sweat shorts and husbands white tee to get treated professionally and I loved that. We turned on my Google Home and let the sounds of Pandora whisk me away into a pain-free euphoria. Once it was all said and done, I didn’t have to put shoes on, sit in the hot car and head home. I rolled off the table and felt no pain in my body for the first time in months. I feel so good I’m almost tempted to clean the house–almost.

    Let Me Gush For A Second…

    This pregnancy has been hard. From the time my little egg was fertilized, it’s been rough. From non-stop puking and extreme exhaustion in the first trimester to constant pain beginning in the second trimester, I honestly didn’t think I would get relief from anything I’ve been feeling. My creativity and writing has taken a hit because let’s be real, who can be creative and think happy thoughts when constantly in pain? I was apprehensive about Ebony coming over. She made no promises to how I would feel but delivered on every broken one that I’d previously received. This woman is truly gifted with her hands. She gave me a deep tissue massage that hit every point of pain that I’d been experiencing and massaged it away. When I stood up after she was finished, I was able to do so without wincing in pain. My lower back is no longer a source of issue for me. I walk, bend over, take the stairs and put on panties (super winning) with no pain. It feels amazing.

    Who Is Ebony and How Can You Reach Her?

    I’m not the selfish type. Ok, I am. But I feel amazing right now and I want others to feel this way too. For those of you in the Atlanta area–pregnant or not–here is her information:

    Healing Mother Massage & Wellness
    Ebony Ricks, LMT
    757-292-9769
    info@healingmothermw.com
    healingmothermw.com

    I encourage you to let her come and nurture you! Tell her I sent you!

    Mamas, have you had prenatal massages while pregnant? What was your experience like?

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    My Marriage Is My Home

    Today marks the beginning of the 4th year of marriage for my husband and I. I woke up to the sounds of both my husband and toddler breathing heavily (to be read as snoring) and felt flooded with feelings of comfort. The first thing that I see when I wake up is our gold wall decal that says “You Are My Home” and these words couldn’t be more true of how I feel both about my husband and my marriage.

    My Marriage Is My Home

    This isn’t my first go at this marriage thing. In fact, as my cousins tried to comfort me going through my divorce, they said that our first marriages in our family don’t work out. That didn’t make me feel better nor did it make me feel like I wanted it again. I was heartbroken and confused as to why (what I thought was) love didn’t make my marriage work out. That one was filled with resentment, misery, and immaturity. I swore off getting married again until I met my husband. It’s almost as if our love healed the heartbreak, broken expectations and wounds that were left behind.

    A very pregnant me the day after our wedding.

    My marriage to my husband is my home now. It doesn’t matter where we live as long as we’re together, I feel at home. See, we’ve built a marriage that has a solid foundation that started with truth and honesty. It’s a strong one. Like super strong. He knows both the proudest and most embarrassing moments I’ve lived through and he’s loved me harder with everything he’s learned. And the same is true for him. Every day we’ve been together we’ve been building, laying bricks, deciding how we wanted our marriage to be to fit us and our longevity.

    Marriage is everything that it's out to be. Well, it's everything that you make of it and mine? My marriage is my home amidst the craziness of life.

    And it’s working for us. There are things that he’s told me that didn’t feel good in the moment but they were his truth and I knew that he was coming out of a place of love. I’ve never felt more at home and more in “my place” as I do since being with him. We lift each other up. Challenge each others thoughts. Chase each others dreams and we do it together with love.

    I can still remember when I saw him for the first time. The kindness in his eyes melted my frozen demeanor. And it feels like yesterday that we were at our wedding and I saw him telling people what to do so that the day was perfect for me. It already was because it was him that I was uniting my life with for forever.

    Yes, this is a mushy post. I share a lot about myself as a mother and my children but this is the person and very thing that gives me sanity. He is my rock. He is the person I trust with everything that is me. He is the one that showed me that perfect love does exist.

    He is my husband.

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