I turned 28 yesterday so I wanted to take some time to truly reflect on everything year 27 was for me…and I mean EVERY THING.
Becoming a Wife
8 days after my 27th birthday, I made the decision to share my life with another human being.
As a kid, marriage seemed like the “normal” thing to do when you grow up, but as I aged and got to know myself and learned to love every bit of myself including every flaw, marriage seemed like a more and more distant thing.
Not because I didn’t think I’d ever find the one and all that fairytale stuff, but because I’d become so comfortable with my independence and who I was on my own that I wasn’t sure I wanted to truly share myself with someone to the capacity that marriage is supposed to bind you to.
But, as I do with most things in my life, I decided to look at marriage and this life partnership in my own way and not allow it to be what it’s “supposed to be” like.
Year 28 will allow me to truly explore that notion when my husband finally arrives in the States and lives with us.
Us, that’s right, I am not longer just an I, I am now forever an us despite my new marital status, because year 27 also was the year that I experienced my first pregnancy and was introduced to motherhood.
Photo Credit: https://www.laurendavonne.com/
November 28th, 2017, 2:09pm – 8lbs 9oz 21 1/4 inches
If you’re a mom, you know the above is something that will forever be engrained in your mind – the date, time of birth, weight and length of your first child.
My best friend’s mom always refers to the day that he was born as her BIRTHday.
I understand and relate to that now more than ever.
I think I’ve had several Phoenix moments in my life, but this day, this day gave rise to one of the best versions of me.
I’ve told those closely to me that becoming a mother and experiencing having a newborn was literally one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.
If I have to be completely honest and transparent with myself, I have also had trouble with commitment in all aspects of my life – love, career and etc.
I’ve always had the choice to quit and move on to the next thing or forget what I started and never truly finish it.
In year 27, I made several attempts to improve myself and stop quitting so much, but becoming a mother truly forced me to learn this, as well as, learn that a little perseverance and resilience can result in such a grand feeling of accomplishment.
A short anecdote related to this concept that some mothers may relate to is the my struggle with learning how to breastfeed and being successful at it.
First and foremost, as I already knew, but was reminded of, success should always be looked at subjectively. Success is what you think it is for you and no one else. In this scenario, I decided success for me was to breast feed the majority of the time, but was okay with supplementing with formula.
Once I figured out my routine and made it work for me with many many moments of trial and error, I experienced such a feeling of gratification and accomplishment like no other.
It’s cliché, but true what they say, the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory.
Finally Starting this Blog
Before I became a mom, as I had mentioned earlier, I made several efforts to stop quitting my big ideas and truly sticking with something.
This blog was definitely one of those big ideas for sure. I launched it in July 2017 alongside my public social media pregnancy announcement.
I started out strong:
Designed a logo
Bought the domain
Designed this website
Had a photo shoot for the launch
Launched the website
Wrote my first blog post
The momentum died. Flat.
I said I was going to blog every month, but that fell through. The excuse – irrelevant.
All in all, I’m proud to say I made these moves to finally launch this passion project of mine, but I’m disappointed that I stopped being consistent with it.
That being said, through the lessons motherhood has taught me and the euphoria I know I can experience when I stick to something and persevere to see it to success, I am vowing to myself that in year 28, I will be writing content more frequently even if it’s not “perfect.”
Year 28 will be the year that some of my big ideas come through fruition because I owe to myself to stop being so scared of what I know I’m capable of.
After all, now I’ve got a little human being watching my every move and I refuse to indirectly teach him that quitting or leaving things unfinished or complacency are okay.
Here’s to a year of more personal growth – year 28!
By now, most of you have probably seen at least one or hundreds of pictures on your Instagram feed of the beautiful and glamorous melanin Queen – Amara La Negra, one of the stars of the new Love and Hip Hop: Miami.
Amara La Negra is no stranger to the entertainment industry – she has already been successful with her music in the Latin American market for several years, not to mention she was on one of Univision’s longest running shows, Sabado Gigante, for several years as a child star.
Currently, she is grinding day and night (#teamnaps as she often captions her photos on IG), to cross over into the American market.
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably seen a clip of Amara’s conversation with Latin Trap producer Young Hollywood on one of the first episodes of Love and Hip Hop: Miami.
Only three episodes in and we can already see why Amara La Negra is so incredibly important for those who identify as Afro-Latinx and the Latinx community in general
1. “What is an Afro-Latinx?”
One of the first questions The Breakfast Club asked Amara La Negra during her interview this past week.
The majority of the population, including most of the Latinx community, is confused as to what Afro-Latinx really is.
As we saw during the now-viral scene on Love and Hip Hop: Miami, even fellow Latinx Young Hollywood ignorantly made comments regarding Amara La Negra’s cultural and racial identity – “Afro-Latina, elaborate, are you African or is that just cuz you have an afro?”
Well, no, the “Afro” in Afro-Latina does not refer to Amara’s natural afro (although her hair is another important conversation, but we’ll get to that later).
Yes, it does refer to her African cultural roots and beautiful, melanin-rich skin – #melaninpoppin.
For a long time and to this day, many people don’t understand, or honestly acknowledge, the fact that there are black individuals that are simultaneously Latinx.
Sadly, some Latinx have been ashamed and almost afraid to acknowledge their African roots because of the hardships that come with being black in our society. It is not unheard for a Latinx individual to say “I’m not black, I’m Colombian” or “I’m not black, I’m Dominican”, etc.
However, Amara La Negra is not afraid of these hard conversations where she makes the conscious choice to embrace the opportunity to educate individuals like Young Hollywood in an effort to create awareness and teach others what it means to be Afro-Latinx.
People very often comment under her social posts that they never knew that there were black people that spoke Spanish.
Or as one of the Breakfast Club hosts said “I thought you were black before you started talking” – the fact of the matter is she is black and she is Latinx – she’s both.
2. Amara La Negra proudly rocks her voluminous, natural afro
Although she admitted during her Breakfast Club interview that she does wear extensions to help maintain the look of her afro, Amara’s hair is mostly natural.
At one point in her career, a few years back, just like many American black women who are not Latinx have felt, Amara felt the need to wear straight hair.
She then decided there was no reason for her to conform to Eurocentric beauty standards and began to wear her natural hair.
Although we’ve seen this movement among American black women for a few years now, we have not seen this done in mainstream media by a Latinx woman.
Just like we’ve heard the term “good hair” in black American community, this same type of self-hate is common in Latin American countries.
In my travels to Dominican Republic (where Amara La Negra’s parents are from), I’ve often heard people use the terms “pelo malo” referring to naturally curly Afro-descendant hair and “pelo bueno” when referring to straight hair.
The fact that Amara La Negra is a Latinx, Dominican woman that unapologetically wears her natural curly hair and is now a topic of conversation in mainstream media is so important as a catalyst for these types of conversations to be had in the Latinx community.
Amara La Negra is showing the world that natural hair is beautiful and Latinx women should not be ashamed and should be loud and proud about their hair and should love this part of their African roots and heritage.
3. Amara is an Afro-Latinx Millennial
In case you didn’t realize, there are over 57 million Latinx in the United States – that amounts to over 17% of the total population.
Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest living generation.
In the United States, nearly 6 in 10 Hispanics and Latinx are Millennials or younger.
For these reasons and more, Amara La Negra is so so important for young Latinx in our community.
Amara La Negra represents such an important message for our youth – that of self love and cultural pride.
Amara wears her Afro-Latinx identity loud and proud both figuratively and literally through her hair and fashion and by educating the American mainstream media about Afro-Latinx.
She refuses to conform to Eurocentric standards of beauty to be successful as an entertainer and musician.
Amara La Negra wants to show Americans that there are Americans and Latinx like herself who have darker skin and curly natural hair.
She wants to show Americans that not all Latinx women look like JLo (who has been historically casted as the racially ambiguous and even white or Italian character in movies, but we’ll leave that conversation for another day), Shakira or Sofia Vergara.
4. The Afro-Latinx superstar we’ve been needing since Celia Cruz left this world
The late Celia Cruz, the Queen of Salsa, was the last Afro-Latinx woman that we saw truly represent internationally and in the American market.
Most Millennials that are not Latinx may not recognize or know of Celia Cruz, but to Latinx individuals, Celia is a legend much like Michael Jackson is to African-Americans.
Amara La Negra is the Afro-Latinx star we have needed for a while since Celia departed from this world.
Amara La Negra is not just bringing up extremely important social conversation and creating awareness for Afro-Latinx, but she is also extremely talented and has already proven her talent in the Latin American market and is even known in international markets and has performed in African countries among other places worldwide.
Her music speaks for itself and after only 3 episodes of Love and Hip Hop: Miami has landed her a record deal.
I am excited to witness the impact Amara La Negra will have on young Afro-Latinx by teaching young Latinx girls to love their African heritage and embrace their melanin beauty, but I’m also anxious to see her career take off in the United States and become a household name because there is no doubt that she will.
#ALNSoldier #ALNNation #TeamAmara
Watch the full Breakfast Club interview with Amara La Negra below:
As I began to brainstorm in my head how I would write this second blog post, I slowly realized that like most bad memories, I subconsciously repressed some of the details of this experience.
My memory is usually very strong when it comes to remembering exact dates, but I could not remember the exact dates of when I experienced my first miscarriage.
I knew it was in January of this year, but I had to look back to text messages to close friends to remember the exact date.
Saturday, January 7th, 2017
As I pulled the screenshots of the conversation above, I could not contain my tears.
Reliving those moments and what I felt, both physically and emotionally, are details of this memory that I did not suppress.
When I was first checked in to the emergency room, I was asked if anyone was with me. The only person I wanted with me in that moment was my husband, who was my fiance at the time. For those of you that know my story, you know that he would be there if he could, but we are currently waiting for his immigration case to be processed so he can be here legally because he lives in Dominican Republic (that’s a story for another post).
My Fear of Miscarriage
At that time, I was about 6-7 weeks into my pregnancy. Although some of my close friends knew about my pregnancy, I chose not to tell my family for two reasons.
One was an almost irrational fear I had developed earlier in life. When I was younger, I had an extremely irregular menstrual cycle, which did not regulate until I decided to take birth control between the ages of 19-22.
When I stopped taking birth control, my cycle continued to be regular, but I still had this fear in my head that having an irregular menstrual cycle earlier in life would one day affect my body’s ability to carry a child to full term.
I remember asking a doctor during a routine check-up if this would affect any future pregnancies for me and he gave me a very uncertain answer — “we won’t truly know until you try and get to that place in life one day.”
Because of this fear, I did not want to share the news of pregnancy with my family, more specifically with my mother, so early on. I did not want to excite them, her mainly, with the thought of her first grandchild, having this internal fear.
I had read countless articles online that suggested that you should wait until after 12 weeks to tell people about your pregnancy due to the risk of miscarriage.
When I first started spotting, which had started as light spotting 3 days before but progressively became more of a light period, I could not help but feel like I just knew what was happening.
My internal fear of my body having issues with carrying a child and reading how common miscarriages actually are within the first 12 weeks, made me jump straight to the conclusion that I was, in fact, experiencing a miscarriage, or a spontaneous abortion as it is medically referred to.
The emergency room doctor could not find the gestational sac during a vaginal ultrasound so this had rationally confirmed the loss to me, but blood was also drawn to measure pregnancy hormone levels (hCG) and results would come back two days later. If levels decreased over time, this would be the ultimate confirmation of the loss.
Expecting and basically knowing at this point that I was having a miscarriage did not make the experience any easier over the next few days.
The next morning was the most difficult for me. Mentally being aware of what was happening was already bad enough, but the physical pain that followed combined with this amplified the amount of pain I felt both emotionally and physically. I woke up to strong pains, that felt like strong menstrual cramps x20.
I dreaded going to the bathroom because it seemed the bleeding would become heavier and the pain would worsen each time.
I would cry each time because when I saw the blood, I felt I was watching my unborn child die right before my eyes and there was absolutely nothing I could do to save him or her.
An Unexpected Bonding Experience with My Mother
As my pain intensified and I became more and more emotionally and mentally drained, I no longer wanted to be alone through this. There was only one person I wanted around me at this point and that was my mother.
I called her in tears and her and my father drove two hours to see me that day.
As my mother hugged me, I felt her thoughts without her saying not one word to me. In that moment, I realized what it was like to be her first-hand. I realized how empathetic mothers are with their children more than ever – their pain becomes your pain and their joy becomes your joy.
Mental Agony & Grief
The next day, my physical pain subdued, but then, all I could focus on were my thoughts.
Although the doctor and what I read online all said miscarriages this early not preventable and were a lot more common that we are led to believe, I could not help but blame myself. This led me to go on an mission to look up everything I could online regarding miscarriage.
Miscarriage Risk Rates, Causes & Misconceptions
Below are some of the statistics I found concerning miscarriage risk:
When doing your own research, one thing to be mindful of is how a lot of websites misleadingly use the term “causes of miscarriage.” Be mindful of the distinction between things that can increase your chance of having a miscarriage, such as the use of drugs or alcohol or being overweight prior to pregnancy versus true causes of miscarriage, which are only a couple that have been medically concluded to be true causes.
My Internal Locus of Control
Generally speaking, I lean more toward having an internal locus of control rather than an external locus of control. According to the Psychcentral.com, “a person with an internal locus of control believes that he or she can influence events and their outcomes, while someone with an external locus of control blames outside forces for everything.”
Because of this, I sometimes struggle with accepting that there are some things that can be out of my control due to factors outside of myself or my own decisions.
Experiencing a miscarriage forced me to reflect on these beliefs and also led me to do a lot research on medical facts in order to grieve in a healthy way.
Stigmas Associated with Pregnancy Loss
Before I did extensive research on the causes of miscarriage and realized how common it was to experience miscarriage overall, I believed it was not as common as it truly is.
I believe this is because women simply do not speak up about this because their is a societal stigma tied to miscarriage in the same way that there is a stigma regarding speaking about menstrual cycles, which is one of the most natural things women experience during their lifetime.
This past weekend, I saw a campaign on social media with #breakthesilence that urged women to speak more about pregnancy loss, miscarriage and death of young children. October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
I was already planning on writing about this stigmatized topic and sharing my personal experience, but this prompted me to dedicate a day to writing this post.
I want women to realize they are not alone in experiencing miscarriage, feel comfortable speaking up about their experience, realize there are resources to help them grieve and to get away from the notion of blaming themselves.
If you have experienced miscarriage, I encourage you to #breakthesilence – speak to a loved one, a close friend, express yourself on social media or feel free to contact me directly if you are looking for some support.
Miscarriage Online Resources
Below are a few online resources I found that provide support for miscarriage and pregnancy loss as well as information regarding the topic.