I am a wife and a mother of three, 2 of which are twins and the other (my oldest) is 9yrs old and living with Type 1 Diabetes. None of those facts are limiting but they are good initial descriptions as they provide a preliminary perspective of the meat and potatoes that build the foundation of “my plate”. My side dishes include a plethora of hobbies and passions that range from youth sports coaching to fitness and of course birth work. On top of all this, I clock in from 9-5 as a professional in the healthcare arena who manages compliance, policies, and risk for a pretty neat healthcare organization.
How did your motherhood journey start?
My first came as a bit of a surprise as she was not completely planned, though she was born completely in and out of love. I ALWAYS knew that I wanted to be a MOTHER, whether born of my body or adopted, I was gonna have me some babies (smile). I was, gratefully, blessed to conceive my oldest when I was 27yrs old with my husband.
What was your birthing experience like?
My birthing experience was one that showed a true lack of experience on my part. Having taken the classes and read all the books, I deferred most of the decisions to my OBGYN as I didn’t want to “mess anything up”. While I’d planned a natural birth, I was approaching 40 weeks with no changes or progression; my cervix was not softening and my baby had not dropped. My OBGYN encouraged me to induce to ensure that my husband (who was working out of state at the time) could be present to help me recover should I “have any unforeseen birthing complications”. After the L&D unit kept filling up with spontaneous labor mama’s, my OBGYN decided to schedule a cesarean section operation to remove my baby and ensure that I could have her “in time”. I was completely naïve and trusted her decisions to a T. A bit regretful, in hindsight, but my baby was born healthy, and I recovered beautifully and without issue. If I had to do it all over again, I’d be in a birthing center on hands and knees!
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had as a mom? Do you think some of them, or all of them, could have been avoided or lessened if we had a more supportive maternal culture in America?
My biggest challenges surround my oldest who has Type 1 Diabetes and making her world as normal as possible. My perspective has changed with her diagnoses that came almost 7 years ago. The small inconveniences that “burdened” me as a new mom are much more trivial now. I now worry about things like our nation’s insulin supply and the rising costs of the pharmaceutical drugs that her life depends on. She simply can’t live without insulin and though it costs less than $2 to manufacture there are thousands who are rationing their personal supplies because it can costs hundred of dollars, per month, to keep on hand. There’s the cost of insulin and then there are things that I can’t control such as the circumstanced exposed by the recent pandemic. I have a child who’s life depends on things that I cannot produce for her with my own hands and that’s the number one thing that keeps me up at night. Sure, it would be nice if childcare were made accessible and if we could all stay at home with our kiddos for longer than 9 weeks, but for me, my biggest challenge is ensuring my insulin dependent daughter can continue to live a life of normalcy.
In your opinion, how do we evoke and incite a sisterhood of motherhood?
I believe that we can totally have a sisterhood within the maternal space but we first ALL need to look in the mirror and acknowledge where we fall short at ensuring there is space enough at the table for ALL mama’s. For the impoverished, the myelinated, the immigrant, the disabled etc. Cut the cliques and accept that we are all in this SAME SPACE together, and that the only way we can move mountains, is by doing so TOGETHER.
We’re well aware that deep inequality exists among moms in America. How do you think we help amplify ALL mom’s voices?
By listening to understand. Plain and simple. Drop our guards, let go of our defenses, disable our emotions and LISTEN. If there is silence, it’s because we are not close enough to hear...move in, get close and LISTEN.
Speaking of maternal inequality, how do you think we go about encouraging moms to care about other mom’s problems, even if they aren’t shared problems?
Worry less about the other moms, look in the mirror and make sure YOU are doing your part. Be the change you wish to see, set the example, don’t shame others for “not getting it”. Eventually, they’ll see; and if they don’t (after you’ve done your part), maybe they are in need of a little prayer. Bless their hearts *smile*
If you could create a new maternal culture tomorrow, what would it look like?
SISTERHOOD! I am a part of this amazing group of mamas who all had twins scheduled to be born in April of 2014. We love, we don’t judge, we listen, we support, we laugh we cry...we’re simply there. The platform we communicate on enables us to be there for each other without impediments, or cost or censorship. I see this as a great example of what MOTHERHOOD should look like and feel like in America. We should see each other and feel supported by our environment, cushioned by it even. We are birthing, nurturing, and molding future generations. It is a responsibility with immeasurable value and immense significance. That should be felt, understood and respected by all.
What maternal policies do you think the US should have and why?
I believe there should be social policies intended to support mother’s, period. From childcare costs to expectant mother parking/accommodations. Mommas shouldn’t have to worry about how they’re going to get to their pre-natal appointments and healthcare should be equitable for ALL mothers no matter what they look like or where they live.