Year you graduated high school: 1999
Year you found out you were pregnant: 2017
Number of children: 1
The Uh Oh Moment: I was 12 weeks into the pregnancy [living] in Japan. Honestly, I was in total denial about being pregnant. My cycle has always been pretty regular and has been since it started. So, when I started feeling nauseous and constipated (TMI I know), I googled reasons that could make you have both symptoms at the same time. The main issue that kept coming up was pregnancy but I couldn’t make myself believe that was what was going on with me. It had to be something else. That “something else” is the reason it took me a while to go to the doctors on top of the language barriers. Even after finding the English speaking doctor I was still in denial and I only went because I felt so constipated, it was really bad.
When I finally made it to see the doctor, she thought it was the heat because I was a foreigner. It can get extremely hot and humid in Japan. Think of a New York hot summer times 2; that’s Japan. She stated that foreigners aren’t accustomed to the heat and my symptoms were normal, so I went with it. DENIAL.
She prescribed me medication, one being a Chinese herb medicine. I just took it as prescribed. I saw her 3 or 4 times before she asked about my period.
That’s another thing; she never asked about my period and she took a blood test. So I assumed I can’t be pregnant, they would see it in my blood test. DENIAL. Funny thing is, when she was reading my blood test results she said I had a slight infection in my stomach. Then I told her I threw up twice. That is when she asked about my period, at that point she recommended a pregnancy test.
There were no thoughts. I pretty much cried off and on from the moment the doctor reassured the pregnancy test was telling me the truth. The doctor wanted to send me to an OB-GYN but that office didn’t open for 2 hours so they allowed me to stay in a private office and let me cry it out until the office opened. It was a really weird experience because nothing has ever felt so surreal in my life.
The Mom Moment: Well, he was born January 30, 2018, so I guess then. If you’re asking when I felt like a mom, I can’t tell you cause most times I can’t believe I have a child. It’s like the saying below about a father and dad. Any woman can be a mother. It takes a real woman to be a mom.
Like I know I’m a mother, I just don’t know what level I have to get to be a mom. Or what do I have to do to be a mom? I struggle with being a mom everyday. I question if I am a good mother or the best mother I can be for him.
***Any man can be a father. It takes a real man to be a dad ***
Father/Dad: [The father] lives in a different country so he uses video chat when he can. He texts now and checks in with me about Zuri.
But he can work a nerve because he always says things like God will provide or God willing. I totally believe in God and I know that He provides, but He provides when you’re working towards the goal; not if you’re just sitting and praying. That’s not how it works. I want to scream THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS BRO.
The most frustrating thing about him is that he went along with everything I said. Which was hard for me cause it felt like he didn’t care. But I went with it because I had to worry about my child and me. It’s like I had to make every decision and It can be draining physically and mentally (especially when you’re pregnant).
“I don’t know if I want to keep the baby.”
“I’m moving back home.”
“This what the doctor said….”
I give him names.
It was really aggravating. He had no input or at least he gave no input. [I wondered] if it was cultural because dads from his country/continent seem to be boisterous when it comes to their children. Unfortunately, he really had nothing to say. I had to pressure him into inputting giving name choices.
With that being said, we were hoping that he would get a visa to visit soon. Unfortunately, he was denied at this point. It doesn’t help that according to Trump, he lives in one of those shit hole countries so who knows if he’ll get a visa or not. Not to get political but you know how our country is with immigration nowadays. So we can only pray for the best; right? We do have a contingency plan. God willing in December I will be able to take Zuri to see his other family.
I never questioned his stance on how he felt about me, never not once. But, he is really hung up on coming to America to have a better life and at this point I just want my baby to meet his father, then go from there. At the end of the day, I want my baby to be happy. I don’t want my son to say I never allowed his father to be a part of his life. So if I have to suck it up and help his dad get here then so be it. When he is here then I will see which position he takes [father or dad]. I do know that I can’t make him be a dad. But I can do whatever I can to make my son happy (within reason).
Them vs. You: There were really tough times growing up, yet it could have been way worse. We never went hungry, we always had a roof over our heads, and clothes on our backs. I know my parents raised us the best they could. I feel I was raised right and I hope to raise him the same. We value family (blood or handpicked) the most and it will always be that way everything else is secondary.
I do believe in whooping kids but it’s not for me. So, my apple will be close to my mom’s in a lot of ways and slightly like my dad’s. So, whooping was a big part of my life with that said I really don’t want to spank. I always thought I would spank but as I got older it never really made sense to whip every kid. It loses its effect after a while. In one of my college courses, a student stated, “As adults, we don’t know our own strength, especially when we are angry….” That made a lot of sense to me. There are people out here whooping kids out of anger and it’s like they are beating a grown-up. I have a heavy hand in general, so I’ll pass on that one. Other than that I’m from the Midwest so he will get some of that style in his life. I’m gonna force Pop on him, it’s not Soda, judge me if you want to.
Fearful Moment: The C-section was. This was my first surgery ever and needles and being cut open. I broke down before they even gave me the spinal tap, it was really bad. Then to think in less than 10 minutes I will have to take care of another being. ME taking care of someone other than myself ranked up there with dropping him off the first day of daycare. Terrifying.
Fearless Moment: So on December 30th 2018, he turned 11 months and he took his 1st real steps. I basically cried. It’s the small things like that that let me know that maybe I am a good mother. It also reminds me that this is my new normal.
Sometimes I pray. Sometimes it’s just looking at my son. Sometimes it’s something innate, and I know that as a woman, I have no other choice but to be strong; which sucks but that is my lot in life. Honestly, Zuri is the best and I gain the most strength from him.
Support System: I’m in my late 30s on my first child. Everyone was more surprised and happy more than anything.
Two of my best friends came to visit me before I left Japan. They didn’t know I was leaving Japan early. I wanted to wait to tell them and do it around the last day of the trip. But I should have known better because they kept talking about going to bars and having drinks like we usually do on our friendcations. I love going out and would have but Japan is a huge smoking country. You can do it everywhere.
I wanted to tell my besties together without the other two being around (one of them brought their 12-year old, the other brought a coworker) but I couldn’t find the best time to tell them together. So, I had to tell them separately.
The first one was excited but after that moment every time I turned around she was shoving water in my face. It was rightfully so cause Japan gets nasty hot. The other one was happy and concerned. I was able to speak to her at the time about what I was feeling. She’s a social worker so she went straight into SW mode, sending me housing applications and giving resources. I basically came back to NY with no job and no clue how I was gonna support us. Fortunately, my village is full of strong and awesome people who support us.
They are HUGE parts of my system. One lives in New Jersey so it’s harder for her to be here physically but if I need her, no questions asked she would do what she can. But the other one watched him on weekends while I worked and if I need her anytime. It was between her and my sister. But I was basically at her house every weekend before I went back to the YMCA temporarily. Also, my family and other friends. My village is strong and they love Zuri period.
Final thoughts: People expect you to be happy when you are with child. Like it’s a necessity and if you are not, then something is wrong with you. They ask why. I want women to know that it is ok not to be happy, it’s ok to be confused, it’s okay not to want to continue the pregnancy, adoption is okay, or whatever you are feeling is ok. Whatever your decision is, that is absolutely ok. As long as it is your decision and you are confident in that decision.
Just reach out for help if you are having a hard time. I was blessed to have a supportive family and supportive friends. I am very aware that a lot of people don’t have that in their lives. Believe me that there are groups and organizations out there for you, rich, poor and in between. It’s there. Facebook groups are a huge help if you are looking for groups for anything. Social media can be a huge impact with whatever journey you decide to take.