2020: Manifesting the Vision

Happy 2020 y’all! Now that the holidays are over and done with, its time to get down to the nitty gritty. It is time to decide what kind of year we want to have. Bringing in the new year gives you a chance to start fresh. Some people see it as a way to invite something new into their lives, a chance to be great. Its been a challenging last few years for my husband and I. We spent that time doing a lot of sowing and building a foundation. We were wronged on so many levels, were disappointed by a lot of people, struggled, but managed to come out on top. We celebrated our first year of marriage and welcomed our baby girl into our lives! We spent time cultivating our marriage and other friendships as well.

This year, we decided that we wanted to manifest everything we sowed in the last few years. A year of manifesting the vision that we prayed for. A year of “multiplied blessings.” We believe that this year is only the beginning for us and everything we prayed for will come to pass.

This year, we’re being very specific about what we want, but allowing God to still work His will, because let’s face it, He can do more that we ask or think. We’re spending the first few weeks of this month creating our vision boards, writing out our goals specifically (there’s that word again), praying over them as much as we can (because God never gets tired of hearing from us). He’s waiting on us to get serious and be truthful and concise about what we want because He can do it and then some.

Every year, our church has a “theme” for the new year and ours is 2020: Our Year of Multiplied Blessings. When I walked into church and saw this, I felt my spirit shift in excitement because it goes hand in hand with how my husband and I wanted our year to go. If you need a theme, feel free to take this, especially if you’re looking for God to truly bless your life this year.

After you’ve created your boards, and wrote everything down, believe that it is already done and that God has made a way for you.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepare for then that love him.”

1 Corinthians 2:9

Happy 2020 guys. I can’t wait to see what God Does for you.

Follow me on IG here to share your amazing adventure!

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Dress: Lane Bryant/ Get it here

 

Tips to Slay 2020 as a New Mom

Happy 2020 new moms! Congratulations on your bundle or bundles of joy! Being a mom is very new to me and something I will be adding to my platform as well. Even though we’re new to this, we already know being a mom is very challenging and sometimes we may lose our way. I also understand that we’re so caught up in caring for our little one that we may forget that we have a life. A couple weeks after Harper was born, I  too, forgot I had my own life.

Now that we’re here, I wanted to share a few things you can do to get back on track and slay 2020 as a new mom. Please understand that all our time lines are different and we all have different, demanding little humans. Even if we adjust these tips to our lifestyle, I still believe we can prosper as new mothers!

Address your Postpartum Blues

Listen, postpartum is not a joke and should be addressed immediately. Sometimes you may not notice it, but those really close to you will and they may tell you. Don’t be quick to defend, but listen. I wrote about my time dealing with it so feel free to get some inspiration if you need here.

De-Clutter and Re-Organize

When I was pregnant, I threw so many things out, either donation or trash. I treated motherhood as a new chapter and I couldn’t be bogged down with “old things.” I gave away 85% of my wardrobe, got rid of things I haven’t used in at least 6 months and sought other things to the trash. My biggest reasoning behind this is because adding a new human in the home will yield extra human things, so it felt so good to get rid of old clutter. The air is clean and fresh, and your mind will be at ease.

Keep God first

Of course this is for my believers. God wants to be in everything you do. Take a load off and give him the heavy stuff. Actually, give Hi all the stuff. One of my biggest lessons in 2019 is giving up control. I only trusted myself to several things and it was severely exhausting. When I started to give up my control bits and pieces, I didn’t feel like I had to carry the weight of the world on my own shoulders. And you will need to do this as a new mommy.

Make Time for “You”

You are no good to other people, if you aren’t good to yourself. Although my husband and daughter are a priority in my life, I can’t give them my all without taking care of myself. So, slowly I started back doing the things I love to do; blogging, getting mani/pedis, going shopping, journaling, creating content for my blog, reading, watching my favorite movies/tv shows and anything else that peaked my interest. Whatever interests you that makes you feel good, continue to do. Sometimes, your day may not allow you to with a demanding little human and that’s okay. I love to read, so what I would do is read to Harper.

It’s okay to ask for Help

This was a hard pill to swallow for me. I never wanted help. I felt like I was Wonder Woman and that I can do everything by myself. After my c-section, I could not do anything but rest. There was no laundry, no cleaning, no cooking, nothing that took a lot of my energy. I was on bed rest and the only thing I could do, is feed my baby. I felt stupid asking my husband for a glass of water when I can just do it myself, limping and all. So understand, that it is okay to ask for help. If you’re having visitors, put them to work. If they love you, they will do it. Help can be in several different forms for each of us. I needed my husband dearly and a little ‘pick me up’ from my doctor so she prescribed me a low dosage of “help.” DO not be ashamed to ask for help.

Write down all your goals…even the crazy ones.

Make a vision board! Something bright and attractive! Write down ALL of your goals! How do you see yourself as a new mom? What ambitions do you have for your child/children? If you’re married, what goals do you have for your family? Write it all down. There’s nothing too hard for God. Make then attainable and start at a comfortable pace. I started this on my birthday and realized how excited I was that it is something to look forward to.

Good Luck Moms!

 

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Dress: Eloquii (old) Shoes: JustFab
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Earrings: Walmart, Bracelet: KateSpade

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Depression & Postpartum Blues As a New Mom…

I thought I was crazy. I thought something was wrong with me. These were exciting times. I’m married to the love of my life, a man who treats me like a Queen and honors God for all his blessings and we were planning to bring a baby girl into the world in the fall. So why was I upset, sad, angry, tired, and motivation-less this year?

Although I had a great pregnancy physically (except body pains), I was struggling mentally. I feared bringing a baby into this cold world. These people crazy. Wrong was becoming right, and right was becoming wrong. How could I bring a precious innocent into this? What did I do that God trusts me to mother a baby girl, who will later turn into a young woman? Who said I was good enough? I dealt with this my entire pregnancy, not to mention being tired and hungry all the time. My goal for 2019 was to increase my social media presence and take my blog to the next level. There were events I wanted to go to, networking I wanted to do, content I wanted to make. I also wanted to work on getting a newer and better position for my 9-5. All of my applications were getting rejected and I was physically too tired to create content.

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Here, I felt my lowest. Harper is so tiny 🙂

For some reason, “pushing” wasn’t something I was interested in doing. Maybe I should just relax and focus on bringing in a healthy baby. I’ve worked my butt off since I was 15. I barely worked this year and somehow still managed to keep my job. My social media presence wasn’t up to par but I always got DM’s from blogger friends who told me to take care of myself and I can put my all into it after baby comes. Then doctors said I had gestational diabetes, and I was so upset. No matter what they say, dietitians and doctors have you on a diet. I was angry because I could possibly pass this to my child, so there was lots of guilt, and I was hungry. The things I couldn’t eat were the things I was craving. More importantly, I had to poke my finger 3-4 times a day and take insulin. In my leg. With a syringe. That even brought my spirits even lower, but, things will get better.

Then…she came. Such a beautiful, tiny, human. Resembles both of her parents, more me though (LOL). I braved a scary c-section and both my baby and I went home healthy. I was so thankful that my husband had 4 weeks off to be with us and my mother in law stayed our first week home. I couldn’t do anything because I was supposed to be healing. If you know me,  you know I can’t sit still and I have to be doing something. I literally felt like a failure and that I wasn’t healing faster. I would cry every day and didn’t know why.  My husband told me he was surprised I wasn’t crying or feeling sad until I told him I would hide from him. Then he made sure that we took a few minutes out, just us, to talk. If I took too long in the shower, he’s knocking and coming in. And I would tell him. We would talk about how scary it was to be on this new journey, how I wanted a new job, how I wanted to brand CurlsWithStyle, remove the keloid from my jaw, etc. The more I talked about it, I started to feel better. I think.

Then my mother in law suggested that I might need a little “help.” It is normal to need a little medication. I was opposed to it. I frowned upon it and turned my face up at her.

“There is no way I’m taking any drugs for feeling sad. That’s not a good reason to ask my doctor for medication. I can get over this. I’m just complaining and it will pass.”

Only, it wasn’t going away. Then my husband added his thoughts and told me, I didn’t look like myself. I wasn’t me and that its okay to ask for help. After weeks of being convinced and telling Jesus all about my troubles, I asked my doctor and she prescribed a low dosage of Zoloft. Only 30 days.

Then I decided to do what I never do in church: participate. Yeah, I sing on the choir, but that’s it. So I decided to talk to Jesus more. Stop looking at other people. Praise him. Worship. Yell if I needed to yell. Speak LIFE into my situations. PRAY MORE. I told a great friend of ours, whose a minister all about struggling with postpartum. My mother in law told her mom, and they all prayed for me, husband included. They didn’t judge me. They just hugged me and took their concerns to Jesus. For that, I appreciated them.

I took those pills once a day for about 9 days. I didn’t need them anymore. I felt like a new person. I was back to my normal self, but better. I started job hunting, making content for my blog and social media, reading to my baby, indulging in intimate times with my hubby, hung with my brother, went shopping, just…..did things that made me happy. I realized when I was happy, I can pour into my daughter and husband. I even let my daughter spend time with her grandparents for about 4 days! I’m also spending more time with God, and journaling. I’ve never felt better. For me, this journey took about two months but for someone else, it could take longer or shorter. I’m sure the next challenge is when I go back to work, but it is a challenge I’m ready for.

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This photoshoot made me realize…I still go it. 🙂

It is okay to have feelings like this as a new mom. The key is to get help. Don’t stay in it too long. Understand that you’re no good to people, if you can’t be good to yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup. I’m here to tell you, that you can live the life you want and go for what you want. With God, It’s only up from here. 🙂

 

Stay tuned on Tips to Slay 2020 as a New Mom.

 

Forgiveness is Not For Them…it’s For You.

“I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry, and accept an apology I never received.”

Or may possibly never get.

I saw this quote on social media after giving birth and it hit me like a ton of bricks.

In the last two years, I’ve seen the true colors of so many people and the lengths they would go to provoke negative reactions and in turn play victim. I’ve seen what a slight disagreement would do to people who you thought were your friends. I’ve seen people hate on you, so green with envy, you would think they were the real Bruce Banner. People would go above and beyond to paint a picture of you, that’s not you at all, and in turn, pit people against you. This is what hate will do. One person’s hatred towards you can cause others to hate you as well, or at least make up in their mind that they won’t even give you a chance.

I never understood why people never wanted to hear all sides to a story, rather than just the one; especially when the one was flawed. I never understood how, a person who knew the entire story, would still act like they didn’t, and in turn never stand up for you. Imagine this happening to you for years. After awhile, you start to think, maybe it is you. You’re the problem. But that’s what the enemy would do. The enemy would make you feel like that to isolate you and make you feel alone. I constantly had to talk to my husband, my best friend, my brother, my sister-in-law, and cousin to make sure I wasn’t crazy. They would tell me the truth because that’s what I expected. Tell me if it’s me and I can improve. I became paranoid because I thought I was the problem, but it turned out that people hate when you stand up for yourself. When you won’t take toxic behavior no matter who the person is.

I struggled with forgiveness, especially when my daughter was born. I never understood why God wanted me to forgive when I was the one who was wronged. When I felt like I was being made a fool. Why do you want me to forgive when the people who hurt me, never said they were sorry or even acknowledged that my feelings were hurt? I’m human too. I have feelings. And if I forgive them, wouldn’t that make me look stupid? Like, they one up me? Lord, I know if I hurt someone’s feelings and I knew I did, I would apologize and make it right. So why can’t people do that for me?

But then I learned, that, forgiveness is not for those who hurt you. Forgiveness is for yourself. Why, do you ask? Because the one who is wronged, is always holding grudges. They are bitter, and upset. This was me. When you can’t forgive those who wronged you, how can you expect God to forgive you? How can you expect to reap the blessings that God has? So here I was, holding my beautiful daughter listening to God tell me that the forgiveness he wanted me to do, was for me. It was so I can move on. It was so I can experience the blessings that God was ready to give me. It was to show that the God that people talk about and claim that they know, lives in me.

“You might be the only Jesus that some people see.” Jesus is all about love, forgiveness, and grace and because we are all striving to be Christ-like, it is important to start practicing what we preach or go to church every Sunday for.

“So, honey, if I forgive them…do I have to say it to their face? This is the question I asked my husband. He then reminded me that forgiveness is not for them. So I didn’t have to. It was for me and between me and God. When I forgive, I must show in my actions. So I pondered a few more weeks because, I’m a Capricorn and I’m stubborn.

But then I did it. I let it all go. I gave it to God. And it felt great. I want my blessings. I want to move on. I have a whole daughter now. My job is to teach her about giving grace, compassion and forgiveness. I will also teach her that is is also okay to guard your heart and never put yourself in a position to be treated a certain way again.

So if you’re struggling with forgiving, remember, it is not for them. The Bible says “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord (Romans 12:19, KJV), so it’s not our job to get back at those who wrong us and believe me, I wanted to. Our job is to let go and give it to God. Let him handle our heavy load because he can do it better than we can. And when you do, life will get better. Trust.

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Outfit details: Sweater Dress: Eloquii, Belt: Lane Bryant, Boots: Torrid

My Labor and Delivery Experience

My husband and I walked into the hospital at 7pm on October 6 with the expectation of a successful induction, and a quick and easy delivery.

Little did we know, God had other plans. My labor/delivery experience was not pretty. There was no makeup, no cameras, no beautiful glow that you normally see on these social media posts. It was stressful and scary and one of the hardest things I’ve done so far in my young life.

Being diagnosed with gestational diabetes, my doctors wanted to induce me around 39 weeks and they gave me different options; with me deciding to go with Pitocin and then a foley catheter being inserted in my cervix. This process started close to 10pm sunday night. The Pitocin kickstarted my contractions and that balloon thingy slowly started to help with dilation. To past the time, my husband and I binge watched Marvel movies all night while playing on our iPads, when I wasn’t distracted by the pain. Listening to baby’s strong heartbeat also gave us relief as well. As we moved on into the late nights, the contractions became more intense, and around 2am, my doctor woke up me to break my water because I was already at 3cm. They were hoping by breaking my water, it would speed up the dilation and that I would be ready to have a baby around 6am!

Sounds great right? Just a few more hours.

Wrong.

It was until around 4am that I could not deal with the pain any longer. It was a different kind of pain. Worse than the cramps you would get on your period. My husband and nurse had to talk me into getting the epidural and also tell me that I am not wrong for getting it. I had this image in my head that I wanted to do this process as naturally and quickly as possible and that I would be stronger for it and no one can tell me anything. So, here I am around 4am, with my husband sitting in front of me, while I sat on the edge of my bed while the anesthesiologist preps me for the heavy meds. I felt him create a maze on my back, taping everything in to place. Then I saw my husband’s eyes get bigger. I remember there is a huge needle involved in this process; and then I felt a sharp pain in my spine, which definitely hurt folks. But it wasn’t the big one. My nurse told me I wouldn’t feel that one and I should relax. Then I felt cool liquid flowing through the maze he created on my back. Few minutes later, I went numb and got some shut eye.

Close to 7am, I was still at 3cm dilated and now we’re all having a different conversation: We may have to prepare for a C-section. Excuse me? Come again? I don’t want that. Jesus please help. We can still come out of this. “We still have some time to see how things turn out by noon,” doctors say. Great, because I wasn’t prepared to accept this. We didn’t plan on this alternative. After hours of being probed, stabbed and the nurses having to rotate me every hour, I developed an infection, a fever, and preeclampsia. It didn’t register that on Monday afternoon, I was freezing, shivering, with a headache out of this world. They had to take me off the Pitocin because it was harming the baby. Every time I had a contraction, her heartbeat would spike high to a number we knew wasn’t healthy and when the contraction subsided, her heartbeat dropped even worse. Around 5pm, my doctor informed me with what was going on with the baby but I was so out of it, I had them talk to my husband and my parents but all I heard was, “we’re going to prep you for surgery because your health and baby’s health is first priority.” I had about an hour to get my head in the game because this was going to happen.

Not 10 minutes later, about 5 nurses barged in, along with a few doctors saying, “we’re doing this now.” Of course, I silently sobbed to myself because this is not what I had in mind. But maybe this is what God wants. While they prep me, my husband was asked to “scrub up.” My dad had to give me a few words of encouragement and of course everyone prayed for a successful procedure…Tv shows and movies lie people. I mean we all know that, but let me emphasize how they lie. The procedure room was bright and cold and there wasn’t a spectator’s view either. The operating table was small and I was wondering how my body was going to fit. There was about 15 people in there (ALL WOMEN!!) plus my anesthesiologist from the night before. The big blue sheet is real though, only allowing me to see as far as my chest goes. I felt so exposed. I was strapped down, taped up, with these little compression leg thingy’s on. I felt like Jesus on the cross about to be crucified.

I cried the entire time.

After I was prepped, my husband came and sat on a stool on my left, and a different anesthesiologist on my right. Everyone got quiet and my doctor started talking and before you know it, it was time. Now I was told before that I may feel pinching and pressure throughout the entire procedure, so don’t forget. Boy. Pinching and Pressure? Is that what you call it? I cried the entire time. I was so scared. I felt the pinch of her cutting me open and I felt the pressure of her moving my organs around trying to get to my baby. It hurt. So. Bad. I was so hysterical that my anesthesiologist increased my epidural while rubbing my forehead, and my husband holding my hand. When the extra epidural wasn’t enough, she added morphine and increased that. After the baby came out, I was nowhere near calm and my morphine drip was increased again. When I thought the worse was over, my doctor started putting everything back, my organs, my uterus, and that pressure may have been worse than everything else. Here my husband was beside me, with baby in tow and I couldn’t look at her. I didn’t want to. I was in to much pain. And then…I passed out. 

I am here to tell those that a cesarean is not an alternative to avoid delivery pain. There’s this idea floating on the internet that a c-section is the easy way out. It is major surgery. Doctors do not recommend this unless they absolutely have to. You are literally being cut open, organs are being shifted, baby is being moved and tugged to safety. The aftermath is just as intense. The “belly massages” they give you to massage the uterus is the absolute worse. The first one they did, I yelled and gave my newborn baby a bear hug ( I was holding her). You can’t lift anything or do much of anything for the first 6 weeks at least. Laughing and coughing was so painful, I never realized how many muscles you use to laugh or cough. 

Here I am over a month later, still trying to grasp and understand the experience. People expect you to just be happy and accept that “but they’re so worth it,” that you forget to think about you. Would I do this again? Are babies really worth the pain and worry? More of this will be discussed in my postpartum post that will be coming soon, but I can tell you that my husband and I are truly excited to introduce and welcome baby Harper Celeste to the world!

Before you ask, nope, no heartburn.

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