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Children Food For Thought life Pregnancy

The Mindset Behind Having Children

A friend texted me the other day regarding my last blog post, which talked about my pregnancy and my decision to keep the, now baby, growing inside of me. She told me that she also envisioned herself having a kid, without the father or a partner by her side. That for some reason, she pictures herself pregnant with her belly out and that’s it.

Texting with her about her thoughts and sharing mine made me think more about how society expects people to have children and to have them a certain way. We’re lowkey taught that babies come out of love and out of marriage. I mean, we were singing on the playground “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in a baby carriage.” Most people do not envision having children until they are married. And I get it because we are taught that. I get it because children are looked at as two people’s legacies. I get it, because the idea of marriage brings about an idea of stability, which is important for babies and children growing up. With marriage, one can assume you would have someone to make decisions with, to lean on, and to help take care of and raise the children. Regardless of my understanding of this thinking, I think society needs to shift its mindset behind it.

For one, not every person with a uterus wants to have children. That, like most ideas regarding children and marriage, comes from a traditional way of thinking. Women were expected to stay home, raise a family, and take care of their husbands back in the day. Hell, some men still expect that now, whether they are aware of it or not, when it is not reality. It should’ve never been the reality, but you know, misogyny. Women are people with their own goals, feelings, thoughts, and lives. Surprise, surprise. Some people with uteruses do not see babies or raising children fitting into their life plan. What’s the problem with that?

And on the topic of tradition, let me just mention real quick that people, mainly women, weren’t really supposed to have sex outside of marriage. Doing so would strip them of their “purity.” They would become “whores” and “harlots,” unwanted by a man they could’ve married for soiling their name. Back then, marriage was a woman’s main role. The concept of virginity was just another attempt by men, and upheld socially by both men and women, to control women and their actions because of their “inferiority.” Effects of this still exist today, including but not limited to, the concept of slut shaming, for example.

There’s still the pushing of people, mainly woman, to just get married and have children already. For why, though? Why rush them into lifelong commitments with a partner or with children? Why rush married people into having children? What if they can’t have or afford children? What is societies need of focusing and controlling other people’s lives?

Don’t get me wrong, I still envision getting married and having more kids one day. Even though it is a want, it isn’t a need. As I said in that previous post, I have always wanted to be a mother more than a wife. Over the years, I began to view children, for what they are: people who come about because of sex. I grew out of the mindset that children were products of love or a relationship. Yes, consensual sex sometimes occurs out of love, but that is not the reality for everyone. Yes, consensual marriage tends to come out of love, and married people tend to have sex, but in the long term some marriages lead to divorce. Some people fall out of love. Some people begin loving someone else. I didn’t and don’t want to feel stuck to someone solely because of another person, even if it is our child. I didn’t and don’t want to stay in a relationship because of a child. I don’t want to rush a relationship because of a child. It’s why I didn’t move in with my baby’s “father” when he suggested it after we found out I was pregnant. I don’t want to have an abortion if I feel ready and am able to raise a child, even if the other person isn’t on board. And ultimately I didn’t have an abortion because I didn’t want one, could adjust my life to raise a child, and I don’t view children as products of a relationship or of love.

When I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to co-parent, especially because I was worried about having a boy. Co-parenting simply put, is two people raising a child together who are not in a serious romantic relationship. From my viewpoint, boys tend to take not having a father around more personally than girls; I only say this because, when girls grow up, they tend to understand the situation because of their own interactions with men. Co-parenting can be just as productive as a married couple or a couple in a relationship raising a child together. What matters is that kids feel loved, understood, and supported. What matters is that both parties are mature, can communicate effectively, are on the same page, and support one another. These concepts can be achieved, challenging, or seemingly impossible while co-parenting. It can be achieved, challenging, or seemingly impossible in marriages and among couples in relationships. Living under the same roof makes raising children easier, but it’s not necessary, especially if you give your child the tools to understand the situation without judgement when they’re older. Why can’t someone choose a specific person to co-parent with? Why can’t two people who know they want children do so platonically without judgement?

As time went on, I realized, with this person, I didn’t want to co-parent. I wanted it because society says children need both parents to thrive. I wanted it because he said he would be there. I wanted it because society looks at people who stray away from tradition differently. Though she may not be the only one, for now at least, she’ll be a girl without a father on Father’s Day. I wanted it because growing up, at least for now, my daughter will think something is missing because society will continuously tell her that, even if she doesn’t feel that way at first.

I changed my mind about co-parenting because I realized the tools I stated earlier that are needed for it to be successful aren’t there. He also isn’t ready for the responsibility, regardless of what he told himself in the beginning. Forcing that to work would only harm her more in the long run. Regardless of what the laws say, regardless of what society says, having both parents in a child’s life is not always the best option, even in non extreme circumstances. People who think their parents should get divorced can understand this. People who have seen children used as pawns or ways for parents to feel control and power can understand this. People who get along with one parent and not the other can understand this. The knowledge of this, however, will not change how a child feels about it growing up, but hopefully with honest communication and the tools needed for understanding, they will come to understand and accept it, without it affecting them negatively.

Another example, to wrap this up, I was watching Insecure on HBO by Issa Rae months ago. I was around two months pregnant. Spoiler alert, one of the side characters ends up pregnant. Of course she’s pregnant by the man the protagonist is trying to get back together with. She tells him she’s pregnant, tells him she was ready to have a baby, and tells him he doesn’t have to help. After all of that, when the episode aired, people were commenting on Twitter that her choice was selfish. That is was weird she was ready to have a child with a man she wasn’t in a relationship with when she had gotten an abortion in a previous, more serious, relationship. That she was messing up his current relationship because she knew he would stick around to help her with the baby.

All of the blame regarding the situation went to her and people questioned her intentions, but no one said anything about the man who got her pregnant. No one said that he should be around because he is also responsible for her pregnancy. No one thought it could work out successfully through co-parenting and the protagonist being understanding of the awkward but workable situation. The new season isn’t out, so it’s unclear what her intentions actually are. Still the fact people’s first response was that she was having the baby to trap him is ridiculous. I’m not saying people don’t do that. I’m saying that we are so conditioned to view children as products of a relationship and of love that even when a fictional woman chooses to keep a baby, even if it means she will be a single mom, people assume it’s to keep a man close by. People are pro-choice when it comes to having an abortion, and rightly so, but when it comes to choosing to have a baby with or without the partner present, then people start acting weird, calling the decision selfish. I can’t tell you how much guilt I was made to feel for making the decision that was best for me.

I always pictured having my first child without a partner. Although I was content with it when it was just an idea, and I am content with it as my reality, it does not change how society views it. It doesn’t change the few people who were surprised I said I was going to continue with the pregnancy, even though the relationship wasn’t serious. It can be hard to ignore the stigma around single moms, especially black ones. It doesn’t change people’s thoughts that a woman would have a child just to keep a man around. It can be hard not to feel a type of way when people say on social media that women should “choose better men” or “not open their legs for bums.” And tell me how a lack of responsibility on the man’s part leads to judgement of a woman?

All of this just made me think, what’s wrong with a person with a uterus choosing to have a child alone? Why must it be a product of a relationship or of love? Why would it be more acceptable if I chose to have a baby for and with a man versus for myself?

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Food For Thought life Self Love and Personal Growth

The Dream I Had

I had a dream a month or so ago that woke me up feeling some type of way I cannot really explain. I wholeheartedly believe dreams that are remembered can tell you a lot. They pull from your subconscious. They can spark your creativity and imagination, remind you of something you have forgotten or have been meaning to do, teach you lessons, and even tell you how you feel. In this dream, there was a bunch of things happening, but the part I am going in to detail about is the part I remember the most that resonates the most with me.

I suppose I was a teacher in the dream. I had a whole group of people with me, all in their twenties-around the same age as me. I don’t know what kind of class it was. It seemed like the mission was to complete an escape room like experiment. A lot of us had finished it on our own already. There was one person who hadn’t experienced the escape room yet.

One of the stages required the participant(s) to knock out this monster guarding the next round. The way to achieve this was to pull the ropes so that the monster would be enticed to go near the dangling slab of concrete attached to the rope, which you’d end up releasing on its head. The person who didn’t complete the escape room beforehand, lets just call her “Student,” performed this step with the help of everyone else. As the teacher I allowed it, though I was getting a little annoyed because she was meant to do it herself.

We moved through that round of the escape room and got to a huge room with two sections. As you walk in you would see a desk with with papers on it, with a drawer and a lock. To the right of that was a huge window that opens out with another desk underneath it. Shelves covered in books, vases, and plants decorated the walls. An archway to the left led to treasure chests with key holes on top of chairs. Bookcases were on the walls behind that.

The group that was there started explaining to Student how to get the keys to open the locked drawers and chests without her exploring the room and finding them for herself. I was getting more and more agitated. At one point I told them all to stop feeding her information. She found a key with their help and searched for which keyhole it opened by herself. She went to the first keyhole she saw and attempted to open it. It needed a code. She couldn’t figure out the code, so the drawer wasn’t opening.

Everyone knew the key wasn’t meant for the desk drawer. The key opened the treasure chest in the archway. A group of people moved there because they were getting restless. It seemed like a lot of time was passing. I was worried that she would assume the key opened a treasure chest in that room simply because everyone gravitated there. Then, someone opened up the treasure chest and pulled out a plant, which was what Student was meant to find. I yelled at that person for sabotaging this whole experiment which was meant for Student to learn. Turns out that person took the plant that was inside to mess with, who I assume, is the other person who facilitated the experiment. Their actions had nothing to do with helping or harming Student although it would affect her.

I went outside to recover the plant that was taken and when I got back inside, Student was crying hysterically. The drawer just wouldn’t open and she was frustrated. Someone else was crying watching her. I approached Student and consoled her, holding the plant behind my back. Someone took it from me as I told her, “Hey, obviously this isn’t working. This key isn’t for that drawer. You know that. Why do you keep trying? Find the right keyhole.”

She ended up going to the room everyone gravitated to. She picked the right treasure chest and opened it. Although the plant she was meant to find wasn’t in there, it would’ve been. One of the members of the group revealed it to her. Student seemed satisfied and asked, “See. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just tell me how to do it?”

“No,” I answered, “Because this was meant to teach you how to think critically and problem solve. I would’ve let you keep going but we’re running out of time. Now it’s time to open the desk drawer.” The code to the drawer was outside, on the ground, which could be discovered by looking out of the window. I was worried she wouldn’t find it.

Then I woke up.

I took away a couple explanations and lessons from this dream. A part of me felt like I was talking to my daughter just because I am pregnant with a girl and mothers tend to teach lessons to their children.

However, I also took away how Student was trying the same thing over and over again. It wasn’t working, she knew it wasn’t working, but she kept trying. And though getting up after you get kicked down is admirable, it is equally as important to recognize when your approach is wrong. Trying the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result, is insanity. It’s important to be flexible and to learn when to keep going, walk away, or approach the situation differently.

I was upset in the dream because I wanted Student to figure out things for herself. When you are always given all the answers, you become dependent on others. It can make it hard to know where to start when you are met with a problem. It can, in some ways, hinder your growth. Problem solving and critical thinking are skills. Skills need to be developed and sharpened. This doesn’t mean not to ask for help or rely on others. It’s just a reminder to trust yourself and your instincts as well.

People providing Student with answers also bothered me because it did not allow her to look for clues. Escape rooms somewhat require you to solve a puzzle by looking at all the details to make sure you don’t miss anything. Student wasn’t turning every stone. She looked at the directions she was pointed to instead of the bigger picture. She also wasn’t looking at the details. You can learn a lot by stepping back to see the whole picture and by zooming in to look closely at the details.

It can be hard or disheartening to watch, but sometimes you have to watch people figure it out on their own. You can give your opinions and advice, but ultimately it is their life. You can tell your kids not to touch the hot stove, but they will not understand how hot it is until they touch it. Similarly, sometimes you have to learn the lessons for yourself. I mean, how many times has someone given you advice that you did not listen to? How many times were those people right? It is different to hear it than experience it.

Lastly, upon editing this post, I was reminded that life happens. People, events, and situations may interfere with your life and unknowingly (or knowingly) affect your life. The person who stole the plant was not thinking about Student when they did so, but the chest was still empty when Student unlocked it. Intentions matter, but they do not always warrant forgiveness.

Maybe I think too much, but those were the lessons I took from that dream I had. It was so random but the fact I remembered meant something to me. It felt like a metaphor when I woke up. I had to share what I learned and was reminded of.

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life

Exciting News Alert

In the midst of a pandemic, I found myself working, sleeping, and social distancing, with the exception of one person I would see outside of my household. I know, shame on me. That’s besides the point. My point is that all the signs were there, but I was not looking for them. I peed on a stick for clarity and peace of mind. I was not even late yet, but something told me to check. My coworker encouraged me to check. You could say it was my location’s bonding activity. After checking, I wouldn’t have to worry about if I was or if I wasn’t. I would instantly know. That was the ideology among us.

I always figured I’d be a single mom because I saw how society was growing up. I noticed how there were many depictions of single moms in the media. I have seen friends or classmates more often closer to their mothers and with less interactions with their fathers. I’ve seen how men treated strangers, and saw them with my friends and I. And because of these initial thoughts and depictions, I was always prepared to go through the process with or without the baby’s “father” by my side. The idea of me having a baby in my mind had always existed, regardless of if I had a husband or boyfriend there by my side. That never mattered for me because I always wanted to be a mother more than a wife. Maybe the baby dolls targeted to girls impacted me too much. I actually had one that would eat gloop and shit it out so you’d have to change its diaper.

With all that being said, fast forwarding, I saw two lines on the stick. It was an earth shattering moment. It is safe to say deep down I knew. As I said, the signs were there. Instead of freaking out while waiting for the results, I was calm. I was trying to convince myself of all the reasons why I couldn’t be pregnant. I believe I reacted this way because deep down I knew. And still I was in shock when I found out. I cried and took some more tests and cried more. I tried not to freak out. I freaked out. And I told the people around me. It was too much to comprehend on my own.

I struggled with a decision for months. It took weeks for me to fully believe I was pregnant. Even though deep down I knew what was right for me, at that point in time I was hesitant. I wondered if I was really ready, wondered if I was doing right by the baby by continuing the pregnancy, wondered if I was doing right by the guy. I thought about what it would mean for my future and what it meant for my present. I thought about where I would live and all of the support graciously thrown my way. I was stressed to tell people and stressed about the thought of having to explain myself.

It’s easy to say how you will react to a situation when you’re not in it. It’s easy to say you want a baby when you see a cute video or when there are babies around you. It’s easy to say you’ll get an abortion if you got pregnant before a certain time in your life. Its easy to say you’d never get an abortion. It’s easy to say you’d keep or wouldn’t keep the baby in an unplanned pregnancy when it is just a thought. The mindset is different for every woman.

Before I found out I was pregnant, I thought I would get an abortion. But when it actually happened, I didn’t jump at either option. For me, it felt like either choice would change my life. It was the first time a test actually said positive. The fact that I always wanted kids and to be a mom followed me. The fact that I never saw myself having kids conventionally stayed with me. The worry of regret haunted me. An abortion didn’t seem like something I could emotionally handle when I’ve always wanted a family of my own. I kept wondering what if I never get pregnant again and what if I never have this amount of support again.

I decided to continue with the pregnancy because of the timing of things. A five year chapter of my life was coming to an end. I was months away from securing a degree. I knew and was reminded of all of the support I had. My parents told me they would help me in every way regardless of the choice that was mine to make. I felt like out of any time to change my life, what better time then when my life was already heading towards change.

I also believe everything happens for a reason, whether philosophical or spiritual or not. And yes, there are reasons as to why I got pregnant. Still getting pregnant isn’t exactly easily. And because I am in a time in my life I feel I can amend to add a baby, it felt like it happened for a reason. I had always felt like I met that guy for a reason. I believe the universe, God, or whatever you want to call it, would not lead me astray. If this pregnancy was meant for me now, I’d continue through okay and deliver a healthy baby. And if it wasn’t meant for me and it just happened, I believed and still believe I’ll miscarry. I have faith in the universe mainly because I couldn’t manage without it. Nothing is random to me.

This pregnancy journey has been a ride, which I’ll explain more in another post. And though I made the choice to continue with this pregnancy, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have the choice later in my life to end a pregnancy if I see fit. It doesn’t mean women should lose the choice to terminate pregnancy, whether it be their first or second or hundredth. It doesn’t mean anyone should feel bad for having an abortion. Pregnancy is a whole lot and people with uteruses should be able to choose for themselves to keep or end a pregnancy. I decided to continue with this pregnancy and even though I’ll technically be a single mom, I won’t be alone in the slightest.

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Food For Thought life

Let’s talk about: Fate

In the past couple of years, my life has been coming full circle. Doors that were closing and opening that didn’t make sense in the moment began making sense with time upon self reflection and conversations with others. Within the past four or five years, I have had various thoughts of, “Well if this didn’t happen, this wouldn’t have happened,” or “It’s a good thing this didn’t happen because, knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t have been able to execute or appreciate it.” It really can be a blessing when we don’t get what we think we want. This sort of realization has helped me become more confident and secure in my decisions. It has further affirmed my belief in the universe and that almost everything, if not everything, happens for a reason.

First, I want to emphasize that I say almost everything because few things are accurate and applicable 100% of the time. I also want to add that the reason some things occur may not always have a spiritual, philosophical, or deeper meaning attached to it. Sometimes you really are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes you make a disadvantageous choice. Some people take advantage. Sometimes the reason for an event occurring has nothing to do with you and is instead a consequence of someone else’s actions. However, I do believe in some version of fate or destiny. I believe that some occurrences just happen to align perfectly, whether for a higher purpose or the purpose we assign ourselves. 

Fate is defined by Google as “a development of events beyond a person’s control.” I see fate more as a destination one can end up experiencing and passing by than a driving force that actively dabbles in our lives. Too many tragic events occur for me to feel comfortable saying every single thing that happens is justified because of fate for a higher purpose. I don’t believe people’s fates are sealed and can be unchanged. Free will, the idea that we can do whatever we want, is said to exist, though some think it’s an illusion. I think that we have free will because we are not consciously forced into every aspect of our lives. For the most part, day to day, we are theoretically free to choose what we eat, where we go, what we wear, and what we do. However, the options we have are are not vast because of societal norms and structures, because of our past decisions, and because of other people and their choices. I believe we are free to select a choice among the options we are given. Maybe the choice we choose is predetermined or inevitable, but theoretically, I think often times no higher entity is actively forcing us there.

So, with the idea that we have free will, we make numerous decisions throughout our lives, all of which have a multiple possibilities. The situations we fall in- where we are born, race, nationality, gender, income levels, our parents, growing up with whoever raises us etc.- and the choices we make lead us to each moment. To me, those series of events and each present moment set up potential for the next moment which has the potential for us to experience a moment of fate.

I see life as a path. I know cliche. But hear me out. You start at the beginning of the path when you are born. You are your own person; that’s why everyone has their own path. Choices are made for you and people influence you. Each major choice and situation that effects who you are, like what high school you attend and the people you encounter, create a new branch and direction for the path that you’re on. When you get older, you start making those bigger decisions regarding who you associate with and how to spend your time. Each of these decisions, including major life events, branches into different possible paths. Once you head down a certain direction on the path, you can’t turn around.

For example, I consider college a major life event. Choosing a major and attending college will inevitably jumpstart how the future will go. I had multiple options for where I wanted to go. That’s multiple branches on the path of life I could’ve chosen. I went towards the direction of school in Vegas, and even if I happened to transfer, I couldn’t take back what I experienced. I couldn’t turn around on the road I was already going down. I would’ve only been able to switch gears from there. The same is true of having a baby. All of the options about how to handle my pregnancy were different roads I could have taken. I chose the path I did.

We make choices and situations occur in the moment. Some of us have no true foresight about how the future will pan out, only a view of how we want it to go. The path you go down is the path you choose, whether consciously or through fault of your own or not.

It’s important to note that I don’t believe everything that happens in life is always or entirely our own fault. As I said, I don’t think fate is sealed. Things happen and we don’t have control over everything. For example, my skin tone and my body type are the way they are. I can’t wish my autoimmune disease or anxiety away. I was born into the family I was born into. Society is the way it is. Even though I could make choices to change my appearance, ease the symptoms regarding my health, or not be around my family, all those qualities about me will always have existed without my choosing. They are what they are. I can only choose how to cope, react, and move forward with them.

Also, we are all interconnected. Our life paths cross those of others daily. Some of the people we encounter can influence us negatively, leading us down a road with consequences we don’t want to experience. Some help guide us to where the universe or even where we want to end up. Some abruptly knock others off the entire path itself. We have the same effects on others as well. We can also hypothetically do whatever we want whenever we want. Nothing is stopping us from anything, except for ourselves and of course the measures we as a society put into place. To me, this could mean we make choices that take us longer to meet our various moments of fate. It means we may never experience a moment of fate.

Because of free will and the uncontrollable, it just makes sense to me that fate is a destination and that one can encounter different moments of fate. I see fate as moments in life that just align perfectly maybe through some guiding force. If you believe in “the one,” in “soulmates,” in having a purpose, or in things being meant to be of happening for a reason, then at least a little part of you believes in fate too.

Side note: I love talking about ideas and theories like this. If you want to talk more about it with me and share your view points, feel free to comment or message me!