Real Me

The real me is a sad person

and yells over the voice inside saying chill, you’re alright

The real me is lonely

and feels fraudulent expressing peace

when I can’t find it

The real me wants to be better in a real way

not in a temporary way

not in a fleeting way

not in a way that’s here and great today

and tumbleweed dust tomorrow

without warning

without a note

How long will you be gone this time?

Happiness isn’t a planner

She never tells me when she’ll be back

So I just have to wait

and try things out that I’ve heard can help lure her

like eating leafy greens

and i’ll take that walk

i’ll sit in water

i’ll rub oil on my body

and light a candle

and write my feelings

then thank them

burn them

then release them

and hope for the best

when I can find hope

and for the love of God

I’ll try not to destroy relationships in the meantime

that’s why people ghost

to keep their sabotage to themselves

Noble, no?

I don’t ghost though

because I want to be noble too

The real me knows that I’m everything

and that whatever I am at the moment feels the most real

Today, I am sad and I don’t remember any other feeling

I know I haven’t been very nice lately

but can you tell me something nice?

Can you tell me I’m in my head

and there’s so much more outside

Tell me I’m beautiful when I cry

but you hate to see it

Tell me you feel me and you see me and you hear my heart

and the apology I owe you isn’t necessary this time

Tell me it’s ok to feel dark

to ugly cry in the mirror

Please tell me that the real me isn’t broken

just human

 

 

 

 

Growing Love

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Every birth usually ends with tears. I’m crying, mom is crying, dad is crying. Tears of gratitude because we’re all incredibly appreciative of this moment and for each other. Yesterday, I attended my thirteenth birth and this family conceived through IVF. Their journey to conception was long, hard, expensive and at times heartbreaking. I previously learned pieces of their experience during our initial and prenatal meetings but it was while we labored together for 18 hours on the upper east side of Manhattan, that I learned the details. So much had gone towards the bringing to life of this little baby boy, who we were all waiting to welcome.

Because the conception story is different for IVF families, the experience of pregnancy, labor, and birth can also be different. Sometimes families feel a distrust of their bodies because they were not able to experience conception without medical intervention. When I work with IVF families, part of my job responsibilities is to remind my client of their strength, of their abilities, and if they are planning a hospital birth, of the options that are available to assist them if they want or need them.

Yesterday, this incredibly loved and yearned for baby was placed on the chest of his mother after long and hard laboring and she just broke down. Some families wait nine months for their bundle but in this case, years of ups and downs, disappointments and miracles had to happen to bring us to where we were.

Witnessing this moment was the catalyst of my own emotional release. I began to think about the love that I already have for my next child and how the work that I do as a birth and postpartum doula keeps me in a constant mental space surrounding my next pregnancy and baby. In the past, Rick, friends and I refer to the future baby as baby Ricky. More recently, I’ve started calling him by his name and sometimes I get glimpses of his face. I don’t know what conception will be like for Rick and I in the coming months when we begin to try,  but the love for our baby boy has already begun to grow. The love is real even though, as of yet, he is not.

What’s In My Doula Bag?

There are so many ways to support a laboring woman and the tools that people find valuable, vary from person to person. Take a closer look at some of what I have in my doula bag. These are some of my favorite ways to support.

 

 

The best ways to bring support to a laboring woman is with good old fashion emotional connectedness and information. However, I find that the tools mentioned above are highly useful and appreciated.

It’s Never Him

When I worked in Brooklyn, I had a direct supervisor and his name was Jerry Negron. Jerry was an older Puerto Rican man with thick jet black hair and a furry mustache to match. Every day he would ride in to work on his Harley Davidson Motorcycle and every afternoon he would ride back out. Jerry was a simple man whose main pleasures in life included long rides on his bike, hunting, fishing and spending time with his family. The fast-paced, ever-emergency-ridden atmosphere of the Day habilitation center where we served adults with developmental disabilities was too demanding for Jerry. He longed for retirement and ease and spoke of them often, with a smile.

Jerry saw potential in me as a younger and newer member of the agency and he treated me with favor. He would spend extra time explaining policies and made sure that all of my order requests for supplies were approved. He encouraged me to think about my own retirement and helped me to plan for it financially. Although Jerry, through his actions was encouraging of promotion and mobility, his words strongly urged against it. “The higher you climb, the more stress you will endure and this job is never worth the stress” he explained. In any difficult job, when you find someone who gets you, you hold on close. Jerry got me and together we sighed under our breaths and rolled our eyes expressing the same disconcertment towards the growing disorganization of the place we called work. More than a friendship, I looked up to Jerry as a father figure. He looked out for my professional well being and was concerned about my future.

After working together for several years, Jerry finally announced his retirement and as his sidekick, I was invited to be in charge of his farewell celebration. I ordered the largest greeting card Amazon could deliver, with the hope that he would recognize the size of the gift to represent the size of my admiration for him, although I never took the opportunity to state it explicitly.

We had a wonderfully bittersweet party for Jerry where we eagerly listened to his plans of future nature exploration and family reunions. Later that day, Jerry walked out of the building and I haven’t seen him since. I let him leave without a single way of contacting him. No phone number, no email address and certainly no social media.

What I do know is that Jerry loves his bike and so whenever I see a rider on the streets or on a highway I am enthusiastically checking to see if it’s him, but it never is. All I will tell him is that I’m well, I left the agency and am working towards living a stress-free life. I will thank him because his financial advice has given an extra cushion to my retirement plans that I  would not have if it were not for him. I will ask him if he’s done the things he was most looking forward to and I truly hope he has.

You never know the impressions you can leave in someone’s heart even years after an encounter. I  wonder if I’ve left a mark on his and if he ever thinks of me. For now, all I can do is keep looking for Jerry on the open roads, even though it’s never him.

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I Am Not a Photographer

I am not a photographer

I am a girl

who takes pictures

sometimes 

when the inconvenience

of taking out my phone

doesn’t outweigh

the aesthetics of my view

 

I am not a photographer

but I play one on Instagram

 

I am not a photographer

but when I see homegirl

on the A train

in the corner

with swelling eyes

and tears forming

I think about the intensity in her gaze

and the perfect shadow formed by her profile

like a photographer would

but I’m not one

 

I am not a photographer 

but my commute

my reflection

my experience

is made better

because I pretend to be

a photographer

sometimes

A Gift Worth Giving

As I sit and reflect during this holiday season, I am flooded by the memories of gifts showered unto me by my family, all year long! Blog ideas from my husband, reposts of my work on IG by my best friends and understanding of my new schedule by my daughter. They gift me so that I can continue to gift the pregnant and their families.

What better gift is there, for a sleep-deprived new mama than rest, support and peace of mind? This is why you should consider giving someone you know, the gift of overnight doula support!

As a mother, I remember the long days and nights of waking up around the clock to feed my newborn. The first time my daughter slept 5 hours straight, I woke up in a panic realizing that I had slept more than usual. I didn’t get another 5 hours of consecutive sleep for weeks to come.

Imagine being able to sleep through the night with peace of mind knowing that your little one is being fed and cared for by a trusted provider. This is a gift to wake up feeling refreshed and brand new and a wonderful option for both breast and bottle-feeding families.

Please Contact Me to learn more about how you can give a meaningful gift that will truly make a difference!

Crystals, Tarot & Reiki… Oh my!

Ever since I began my journey of self-actualization and a career as a Birth Doula, I have found myself emersed in a culture of pseudoscience which is also a culture that I don’t necessarily identify with. I don’t use tarot cards. I don’t get reiki massages and I don’t believe in the power of crystals, but so many of the people in my circles do. I entertain astrology because the coincidences amuse me but I do not believe that all (enter any subgroup here) is any one particular way. Not all black people are the same. Not all women are the same. Not all Capricorns are the same, as much as I joke about the opposite being true.

I subscribe to science and logic and I believe that I have found the same comfort in those subscriptions that my peers have found in pseudoscience. Even science has an explanation for the anecdotal benefits of pseudoscience and it’s called the placebo effect:

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I try not to judge others who move in this world differently than the way that I move, so long as it isn’t harming themselves or others but I find great disadvantages and harm to believing in pseudoscience.

I believe it is limiting. If you only feel a sense of relaxation when you have an Amethyst crystal in your hand, then what happens when you lose that crystal or can’t find it? Now you’ve lost your sense of calm when in reality the power to be calm was in you all along. Crystals can be a great reminder of strength but I think more often than not, it’s used as a crutch and a replacement of real soul searching and digging. It may also be limiting because it isn’t encouraging you to investigate your self, your emotions or your trauma. If you think the problems exist outside of yourself, then I guess it makes sense to believe that the answers to the problems are outside of yourself as well. This is faulty though, because the problem IS in you, and so is the solution. Pseudoscience also may require that you need to buy something in order to possess this power which feeds into commercialism when again the power is in you already.

I’ve told my daughter since she was young that there’s no such thing as Santa. I was criticized for doing so and accused of stealing her innocence and adolescent joy but anyone who knows her can attest to the quality of her childhood. She views life through rainbow colored glasses, sprinkled with glitter and fairy dust. Her lack of belief in something made up had no negative effect on her experiences. Similarly, me knowing that crystals are like any other rock (albeit prettier, much prettier) doesn’t make my life any less magical. I see magic and beauty every day. I am awed by the relationship between God and science and I love seeing them work together.

If you believe that crystals will work for you, they will.

I don’t believe that crystals will work for me, so they won’t.

Looking at this, is the crystal actually working or is the power in you?

I think it’s more empowering to believe that you hold the key to your future, that you control your mood and your destiny, that you have influence over your own life rather than these arbitrary rocks. I think it’s dangerous to believe that these outside influences control your life because then when they’re broken you’re broken. When you can’t find it, you can’t find your self. It’s harder to find the power within yourself but once you do, it can’t be taken away. It can’t be bought or sold and it can’t be manipulated by anyone other than you. Isn’t that more powerful? Isn’t anything else detrimental to your spiritual and emotional well-being? 

What are your thoughts on pseudoscience such as crystals, reiki or tarot cards? How have they shaped your experience of the world? I’d love to open up the conversation because I don’t believe that I have all the answers. I just know that what I believe, works for me.