Monday, November 18, 2019

Dance Like No One is Watching

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Braylen never ceases to amaze us. Even in some of the best and worse situations her little light shines and we begin to realize even more that she truly is a gift from God. If you know Braylen, you know she is extremely shy when she's around people she's not quite comfortable with. Once she has warmed up... well there's no stopping her from asking questions or entertaining you with her 'knock knock' jokes that aren't quite funny yet because she is learning how to tell jokes then it's funny it's own way.

These past few weeks my husband and I witness Braylen's socialization growth. She is now introducing herself to others and telling funny stories or recounting what happened in her world "yesterday."

Last week we witnessed in "awe" as Braylen stood in her uncle's wedding as a flower girl. Hubby and I were a little nervous because we weren't sure what to expect. Would she cry and say that she didn't want to walk down the aisle? Would she see us and make a bee line to where we were sitting? Would there be a meltdown and cry fest? All these things ran circles in our heads over and over again as we anticipated the start of the wedding. As "Brown Skin Girl"  played in the background, our sweet 3 year old made her way down the aisle with other beautiful flower girl waving at the guests in between tossing rose petals down the aisle. We were so proud. Hours later this same "shy" girl took to the dance floor and danced like no one was watching. Such a free spirit, caring less about who was watching her and who was dancing with her.

I don't know if we will ever get that moment back. I don't even know if that spontaneity can even be replicated. What I do know is this little girl has taught me to enjoy life. Enjoy time with the ones we love. Enjoy music and the peace it brings as well as simply ceasing the day.

In the words of my dear friend Willie Nelson, III "Celebrate Life! You only get one of them!"

Thank you Mr and Mrs. Damien and Kearsen Seabrook for creating this moment for us to celebrate!

Image may contain: 2 people     Image may contain: one or more people and wedding Image may contain: 2 people, including Jarrett Washington, people smiling, people standing, wedding and flower  Image may contain: 2 people, including Kearsen Etheridge, people smiling, people standing, people sitting and wedding

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

First Day of Pre-K

Jarrett and I have been on the count down for the last month or so anticipating today. Not sure what today had in store for us. Today is the first day of school. I am beyond grateful to the teachers and administration at her school who have been beyond amazing from the application process, interviews, home visits and everything they have done to ensure a successful first day.

So beyond the congratulatory and well wish messages we have received, the common question has been "How are the parents holding up?" or "Did you all cry?" I was so proud of our big girl and all that we have taught her including, being kind, strong and just a good human really showed today. She consoled a crying toddler and was in a place of happiness. The tears fell as I walked in the hall not that I would be leaving her but I began feeling the joy and gratefulness of knowing We Did THIS! We prayed for this!!! We anticipated this!! I left knowing that my daughter is not only covered by God but she would be a caring shining light.

EVERYTHING we taught her shined through this morning and it left no room for me to doubt all that God has in store for her today.

Happy First Day to you Baby Girl!
Mom and Daddy Love you to life!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Keeping Us on Our Toes

This little girl.. the one we prayed for, cried for and believed for... has kept us on our toes for three years! Whew what a ride!! This last 365 days we've noticed growth in so many areas of her life from her speech and holding full conversations, her reasoning skills and how she takes instruction and is learning in all areas of her life. What was a mumble during prayers have become a distinct "Thank you Lord for food in Jesus Name AMEN" or an audible, "Thank you Lord for Mommy, Daddy, Jaxson and everybody we love."

This year we saw a crying little girl who didn't want to leave her parents' side to go into dance class to a poised girl teaching us ballet terms like, arabesque, coupe', demi plie', or tendu. We are so grateful for the milestones she has reached and the fact that she is more social with others and knows how to take constructive criticism well. 

As we prepared for her recital we enjoyed not only the process of seeing her blossom but also realizing our baby wasn't a baby anymore but growing and coming into her own. This sassy then 2 year old shocked us when we interviewed for schools and was the most polite soul introducing herself to teachers and other students. On our toes we found ourselves again. Inviting everyone she loved to her dance recital with the correct date. Yep on our toes!  So we excitedly celebrate her and all she's doing. We are grateful!!

Here are videos as we prep and attend the Kelly's Dance 2019 dance recital.

Click here: Braylen's Dance Recital


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

I Never Thought It Would Be Me

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It's been awhile since I wrote. In all transparency, I have had writer's block and was contemplating what to write about that would leave a lasting impact like the other blogs did. It appeared that my job and the schedules of my husband and daughter were honestly my first ministry and priority. I felt that my “blog” ministry these last six or so months were now being converted to prayer calls, mentoring women doing through the process and keeping some of the “faith to fertility” stories private and not really use the hashtag on social media as much as I had been. This came partially after two ladies who I had just celebrated because they were pregnant abruptly had failed pregnancies. I later realized it was the devil trying to silence the blessings that God had over our lives and how people were being delivered by our testimony.

So I write! I write knowing that God will continuously get the glory in all I do. Ironically during this time of having writer’s block, God sent one of his vessels to encourage me to write. I was totally honored yet I was more concerned about the quality of work that I would produce. So I wrote!

I am grateful that so many women are being blessed by this blog. I never thought it would be that God used to be a mouth piece sharing our fertility story. I never thought it would be me who was once ashamed believing that my womb was barren and now speaking life to many who are facing what my husband I faced seven years ago.
Since he has decided to use me as his conduit I am committed to continuing this journey with my sisters and brothers who are trying to get to “The Other Side of the Blessing.”


Thursday, July 26, 2018

"I Feel Like the Bottom Fell Out"

Often times on this journey called life we are completing our day to day tasks, going from here to there, working, brunching and lunching, dancing and skipping and then we are faced with a moment that we have no control over. We cannot press the pause button and we do not have the ability to ask for an instant restart. It feels like the bottom simply fell out.

Yesterday evening, I was faced with a question that took me back to a place I thought He had already delivered me. The question came from a fertility friend that said, “I feel like the bottom has fallen out. How do I keep moving?”  This question was a throat punch and blow to my stomach. It took me back to the place where I felt like Alice in Wonderland falling down a rabbit hole not knowing when I was going to hit the bottom. Was there a net, a friend, my husband or someone there that would catch me? There was no choir singing, “I won’t let you fall if you lean on Me.”  It was simply what seemed like a never-ending fall and nothing to grab and hold for safety nor security.

On this road to fertility or the road to the blessing you desire, we have to realize at that very moment when we feel the bottom is falling out that this is the TEST! This is the point where God wants to see if we will trust Him with the thing that we desire most. Will we be faithful to Him when we get it? What is that He is building in us through the process?

The worst thing about the bottom falling out is everyone believing you have it all together yet you are hurting and in despair. Everyone is looking up to you but no one is ever seeing you nor your pain. What happens when you are a successful person but you are going to doctor appointment after doctor appointment getting NO after NO and people have expectations for you to simply be you? No one is aware that you need them to be there for you. No one knows the pain you are feeling. You are at the bottom and it is lonely.

So what happens when the bottom falls out? What happens when you feel this faith walk is more like falling in a rabbit’s hole with no end in sight? You simply pause and reflect on the promises of God. You realize that this is all for your good. You pray that God removes the scales from your eyes so you are able to know that where I am now is not my final destination! You ask Him to remove the shackles from your mind and your imagination so you are able to realize God can trust you! He placed you on this journey because He knows you will give him Glory after this.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year.. New Things...Better Me

"Tomorrow I want you to go get pampered..."  Those eight words were music to my ears. Simple words that meant so much. Those words spoken by my husband meant he knew I needed time for myself and I in return knew I deserved it. "What is it that I'm going to do?"  My husband looked at me sarcastically and told me to get a manicure, pedicure and anything else I needed to make me feel good all at his expense. I felt like I hit the lottery!!! It was then that reality hit me that I would have 2-3 hours of alone time to focus on me. It was during this time I could relax, regroup and reclaim my time.

During the last year, I managed to sneak in some time to get my hair done or a quick eyebrow waxing on my lunch break but I can honestly say it wasn't like my every two week pampering that I was used to. I am a mom, a wife, a new staff member in higher education, business owner, etc etc.. I didn't have time for that. If it wasn't served to me via take out, drive through or simmering in a crock pot, I felt like I just didn't have time for it. Everything had to be timed precisely between my new work schedule, daughter pickups from my mom's or dodging rush hour traffic in Charleston.

As 2017 began turning the last pages of its chapter I had a great epiphany. I knew it all along but I vowed to listen to my heart, my husband, and my gut. I declared that I would carve out time each week simply to take care of me. It could be something big or something small but I was going to take care of me. My husband has done a great job complimenting me when I get dressed on a daily basis or mentioning to our daughter how pretty mommy looked but I honestly think he didn't really understand that waking up every morning at 5 am to make sure I was ahead of him and my daughter was taking a toll on me. I mean, literally in order for me to look like someone I was showering and applying makeup at 5 am before they woke up. Listen, despite Beyonce's song, I didn't "wake up like this."

I made the conscious decision that I would change it up in 2018. It was time to do something a little different for me. I booked Henry Smalls with the O'Salon Charleston to give me a new look. After close to 10 years of having natural hair I decided it was time to relax my hair and do a major cut again. I made an appointment with Kira Middleton, Amplified by Kay and I was ready to walk in 2018 with new goals and a better me. During my appointment, I remembered feeling so overwhelmed with gratitude that I kept thanking them for making me feel pretty. When I arrived home my husband and daughter LOVED my new look. My daughter kept saying "Momma Hair?" I felt so good!!!!!

So in 2018, I'm encouraging all moms, wives, friends to reclaim their time and take time to pamper themselves. Take time to eat that Symphony chocolate bar or to enjoy a glass of wine uninterrupted. Pamper yourself with a bubble bath, spa day or your favorite venti-sized Starbucks drink. You deserve it!!!

Monday, April 24, 2017

"She's Busy Being a Great Mom"

"She's too busy being a great mom..."  These seven words cut so deep when I read them in a Facebook comment in regards to me scaling back on my business in order to focus on what took priority in my life after God... MY FAMILY! 

As a first time mom who had difficulty expanding our family, I wanted to make sure I devoted as much needed time with my family as well as to myself.  I mean it does make logical sense doesn't it? In the hierarchy and order of my life it is always God, Family and then business and other things.

After allowing these words to pierce my feelings, I used them to allow myself to heal and to be an even better mom, wife, entrepreneur and Business Professor. During this time I was able to support my husband, regroup, launch my daughter's hair bow business, restructure my tshirt division of Legacy Graphics and Designs, LLC. ( and become a better a me.

Becoming a mom requires lots of organization, a whole lot restructuring, several mess ups and a whole lot of balance. This road is not for the faint at heart but it's definitely the most rewarding.

Things I learned on the "She's Busy Being a Great Mom" Road

1) You don't owe anyone any explanations on why you are doing what you are doing.

2) It's okay to prioritize and realize what's important.

3) If they aren't offering to help, work for you or take things off of your To Do List, they are really insignificant. (Sounds harsh but true.)

4. Enjoy the time with your baby and family.

5. When the time is right engage your baby and family in things such as family business, cooking, etc.

6. Keep your baby on a good Schedule!!!! (IT WORKS!!!)

7) Laugh!

I pray this blog allows you to look at life a little differently.

Song: She's a Bad Mamma Jamma

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Another Answered Prayer... #FaithToFertility

No one will ever know the joy that my husband and I feel when someone who we prayed for calls us to tell us they are PREGNANT! Honestly it feels like 11/11/15 all over again. It was on 11/11/15 that I found out we were with child. The joy we feel when a couple has endured what we went through.... you know the waiting game, the tests, the failed fertility treatments, seeing God answered the prayers of others and trying to be patient as we wait on Him to answer us.

I can't tell you exactly what we say to God concerning the people we pray for because that's an intimate conversation we have with Him based on our conversations with the couples, but what I can tell you is that our prayers are beyond specific and we pray for everything imaginable concerning the conception, the pregnancy and delivery of a healthy baby who is created to work in the kingdom of God.

Over the last few years it has been our honor to pray for couples who have been having difficulty expanding their families. In fact we were praying for couples while we were facing our own challenges. We are often reminded that if you pray for others to receive blessings God will turn around and bless you because of your selflessness. We also remember the times that it were too difficult to pray or when we felt like God wasn't hearing our faintest cry nor was he going to answer by and by. During those times we knew someone else had to have been praying for us.

So today I rejoice in the answered prayers of over 20 couples we have prayed for that have conceived and delivered or conceived and waiting on their blessed babies. One day we will all gather together with our blessings and proclaim that it was nobody but God.

I speak your name! I speak your names in prayer!!

Song: The Struggle is Over   Click Here

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

And On Wednesdays We Wear Pink

"And On Wednesdays We Wear Pink" is a famous line from the movie Mean Girls when they discuss what fashions they as a group wear during the week. Many people compliment or wait to see the fashion that Miss Braylen and I wear on Sundays to our worship experience or what outfit of the day (OOTD) she wears during the week. Some have even asked do I go out intentionally shopping to ensure that we have matching outfits. Braylen and I have both been blessed with a wardrobe that had similar clothing or colors where for the last 8 months we were able to coordinate our outfits to some degree on Sundays.


No one will ever know what it takes for moms, especially new moms, to get to a place called Here every day. When I was overcoming Postpartum Depression my way of ensuring I "Got Up" and faced the world everyday was dressing Braylen and making her my human doll baby. However, I forgot about me. On Sundays I decided that we would dress alike and literally enter His courts with a HAPPY yet fashionable praise. (LOL) I would plan our outfits and take the time to look in my wardrobe to see if I had something similar. Surprisingly, we've gone through 32 Sundays dressing alike. I even started looking through Jarrett's ties to ensure he was coordinated as well. This entire process involved me ensuring our clothes were laid out and packed on Thursday nights so that we had no excuses for being late on our hour and 1/2 commute to Hemingway. This also ensured that I enjoyed doing something for me. Even when I was on maternity leave I felt like I had something to do besides change diapers, nurse or pump every 2 hours. I began feeling better about myself and coming out of this PPD.

Though I've kicked PPD's butt, this habit has literally become a part of my weekly routine that I enjoy and probably will continue until our wardrobes run out of matching outfits. I started a routine where I also lay out our clothes for the week, make baby food for the week and ensure I'm okay during the week.

So why this blog? There are many women trying to fight PPD and are looking for a way to get to their HAPPY place. No matter what anyone says or the unsolicited advice people give, I want to encourage moms to do what it takes to stay at a happy place. Whether that means dressing like your little one or if that means dinner for one and enjoying your favorite expensive chocolate and a glass of wine in your favorite glass that you've been holding on to for that perfect moment. You don't owe anyone any explanations for why you do what you do! When fighting PPD it's perfectly normally to fall but you have to remember you won't always stay there. So find your way of "Getting Up" and find your way through your own routine that works for you.

Over the last few months I've encountered moms who were on this journey with me that have battled and beat PPD. Those of us who were on this journey from faith to fertility often didn't understand why we felt this way but this is another hurdle we overcame!!

If you are reading this blog and know a first time mom please hug them, tell them they are doing an amazing job and offer to just be there for what they need you to do. Don't tell them what they should be doing but just be there for them.


"It's taken you awhile to get to this place called HERE so don't let anyone take you THERE!"-- Deronda C. Washington

Song: So Happy Being Me 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Now We're Giving Her To The Lord

I remember being asked while I was pregnant what I was looking forward to most upon the arrival of our sweet baby girl. Many asked would it be holding her for the first time, seeing who she looks like most, or dressing her up in the all the cute clothes everyone bought her. While all of those were important the one thing that I looked forward to most was dedicating our sweet baby back to the Lord.

Her baptism was so important to us because we made a promise to God that when he blessed us with a child we would dedicate her back to Him to be used for His glory and service. In everything that we do, we ensure that her life is filled with love and her knowing that she is truly a child of God. 

In prepration for her baptism, I literally spent hours and days if not months on Pinterest looking for the perfect baptism outfit. I think I pinned outfits before I even knew the gender of our baby. Jarrett ensured the most beautiful baptism invitations were designed and printed. Braylen's Auntie Carmelita had already purchased her baptism bible and delivered a beautiful baptism bib while Auntie Benita sent baptism shoes. I'm so grateful for my former student, Tiffani Hodges, who crocheted her the most beautiful baptism gown. I even added a personal touch from our wedding day. I am so excited that the day I prayed to God for is finally here!

A special thank you to her Godparents: Dr. George and Phoenicia Flowers and Mr. Jerome and Ladonna Davis for agreeing to help us ensure she matures spiritually and that she understands the way of the Lord. This is no easy tasks. Though she has us as parents to guide her, there may be times that she needs a better understanding from her godparents. Dr and Mrs. Flowers, thank you for being positive role models for us as well as showing us and example of a positive couple in ministry. To Jerome and Michelle thank you for being with us for every step of this journey from before we were even on our faith to ferility walk. Braylen is blessed with amazing Godparents!

Jarrett and I are blessed to have so many wonderful people who shared in such a special day. 



A few pictures from her baptism. Professional pictures will be posted later.

Braylen's amazing GodParents


Scripture: 1 Samuel 1:28 Now I am giving her to the LORD, and she will belong to the LORD her whole life." And they worshiped the LORD there

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Letter to Braylen Jael on the Morning of her Baptism

Dear sweet Braylen Jael,

Today you will become a Christian.

A white gown will be worn. You will be baptized with holy water sprinkled upon your beautiful hair by Godfather Flowers. Your family and friends are gathering to celebrate, and your life will forever be marked by the promises of God that we will witness together.

Today is a most important day. My head is filled with so many thoughts and prayers for you. Today is the day dad and I make good on the promise we made to God. We prayed so many times that if He would allow us to have a child we would dedicate that child back to Him for service. I'm not sure how emotional I will be today but just know if you see tears on my face it's simply because I'm in awe of God's work and I'm so happy He chose me to be your mom.

My prayer for you today is this: Do not take your baptism for granted and do not be a casual Christian. Spend some good amount of your time and your life trying to figure out who God is and who you are and why it all matters.

Your own calling on your life will emerge gradually over time, but your story begins in a new way today. Baptism is new birth and a promise of life that reaches even beyond death.

My dear, sweet Braylen, faith is a gift I cannot give you. Today your father and I along with your Godparents will pledge our hope and our love and our promise to raise you as best we can in a life of faith. We cannot hand it to you as simply as we might wish. We can only plant a few seeds, step back and pray for rain and good sun.

Before you were my child, you were God’s. When we were having difficulty expanding our family we knew God had you in heaven with Him waiting on the perfect time to bless my womb. So today we will seal that truth with a sacramental sign. The church waits to welcome you.In this broken world in which we live, there are few things more beautiful than that. May your heart always hold some memory of the peace you know today, the joy we will know today, and the love we will have for you always.

In peace, joy and love of Jesus –


Sunday, October 16, 2016

You Are Doing A Good Job

In the last 3 months, 12 days, 4 hours and 14 minutes of being a parent to this sweet little lady, I have learned a tremendous amount about her and myself. I can finally recognize what her different cries mean from when she's sleepy to it's time to up the dosage on the amount of milk she intakes in her bottle when she's not nursing or when she simply just needs some attention. This was definitely no easy feat. I finally know what the old folks mean when they said sometimes you had to drink your own tears.

There were times when I thought getting her on a daily schedule and routine wouldn't come to fruition but through consistent days and timing for feedings, naps, and play time, we are in a good place. (Thank you to my sister in luv Christine Washington for the advice with the Moms-On-Call schedule. This schedule gave me life! Literally!)

In the last 3 months, I've learned a lot through trial and error. I've mistaken an "I'm sleepy" cry for an "I'm hungry" cry and wasted 4 ounces of liquid gold and thought the world was slowly coming to an end.. and then I get a text from my a special sister friend that simply says...."You are doing a Good job!"  How in the world did she know I needed to hear that right then and there!?

There were days when sweet Braylen and I didn't see eye to eye on some things and it made for a long rough day that resulted in both of us laid out on the couch for a 4 hour nap. I recall days when she hated her car seat and my driving skills because she screamed loudly just as soon as we were midway to our destination and too far to go back home. This would send me into straight panic mode and I would have to do the "One Arm Mommy" dance to ensure I didn't wreck while she holds on to my pinky finger for comfort while I drove. I remember being at a red light and lady must have been watching and witnessing this moment and got my attention to say "You are doing a Good Job!"

My husband Jarrett often tells me  "I'm proud of you. You are doing a good job!" He's even learned to score extra brownie points when he arrives home after work with my favorite Oil of Olay Shea Butter body wash or a box of Ferrero Rocher candy.

Recently, I returned to work and I was undoubtedly ready to get back in the swing of things. I truly love Braylen and love the time we spent everyday but duty called. My mom has been doing an amazing job keeping her while I'm working.  The first day I picked her up from my mom's house my mom just looked at me and smiled. She then said six words that I've heard before but it meant so much more because it came from my mom... "You are doing a good job!" She then began to recount their day and all that Braylen did to make her smile. She went over the schedule I left for and told me how helpful it was or when she had to deviate from it. She expressed to me how much of a good baby she was and how much joy she gets spending time with Braylen and then she said those words again..."You are doing a good job!"  She rambled on a little more about some things they did and how she was ready for the next day with her Grand Baby Girl. I honestly couldn't hear much of what my mom was talking about at this point. My heart was just so filled because my mom, my first Wonder Woman, and amazing example of a Christian woman told me how proud of me she was and that I was doing a good job! I think my chest stuck out so proudly beaming with pride!

Motherhood is not for the faint at heart. It will test your faith, your patience and your sanity but it has been the best 3 months, 12 days, 5 hours and 6 minutes of my life.  I love the smiles Braylen gives me when she sees me in the mornings or the content face she has when she's asleep and holds my hands. In her own way, my sweet angel is telling me, "You are doing a good job!"

I've learned during this I can not allow anyone to question how I'm raising my child because "I'm doing a GOOD job!"  So when you see a mom in the hustle and bustle of your day, take the time to stop them and simply say, "You are doing a good job!"

Scripture: Nehemiah 6--- I'm doing a Good work
Song: I Feel Good by James Brown 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Oh What a Difference A Year Makes...................

"For this child we have prayed and the Lord granted me what we asked of Him." 1 Samuel 1:27

Today makes a year since the day I thought I lost everything. It was on September 25, 2015, when we were in the final days of the SC Annual Conference of the AME Church. If you recall the blog, We've Got to Get Out of Here, I was on the verge of a breakdown. (Click here to See Blog: We've Got to Get Out of Here) I literally felt like I was losing everything. This included but not limited to, my peace, my faith, my marriage, my sanity, and I even felt like I had lost me.

It was on this day the doctor had given us yet another "NO" letting us know we weren't pregnant from our last and final fertility treatment. It was on that day we were told our options for treatment were maxed out with three tries and we would have to go a more expensive route with only a 5% chance of it working.

Who knew that at this very moment when I felt like all was lost, He was literally stirring my womb and preparing it for Baby Braylen Jael?  Who knew that exactly three days later while on vacation we would conceive one of the most precious miracles ever? My husband often says, "If we lose everything, if we have Jesus we have enough to start all over again!"  And that's what we did! We prayed like never before and we rejoiced knowing that even if we never got pregnant, never bore any children of our own, if we had Jesus and each other we had enough to start all over again.

Today I rejoice! I rejoice knowing that even when I thought all was lost, God loved me so much that He began putting me back together again and in doing so, blessed my womb.

One year after falling apart God has put so many things back together again because of Baby Braylen. Through her, He has restored my faith where I have been able to transparently help hundreds of women who are going through difficulty expanding their family. He has made me fall in love with my husband all over again. I also see how family relationships are being restored and made stronger.

I recall, the day in which we shared with our Hopwell AME Church family, we were with child. One of the associate ministers, Rev. Brenda Blackstock prophesied to my inner man on that Sunday. Paraphrasing her, she explained how God in the Bible had to shut Hannah's womb not to punish her but she surmised that the Lord shut her womb to prepare her for the great Samuel who would be her son. (1 Samuel 1: 1-20). She prophetically spoke to my womb and the seed that lie there that this child would be great, a prophet, a strong carrier of the Word of God! I believe it!

So today I love on our baby girl even more! For this is the child we prayed for and God answered us! Her name is Braylen Jael... Jael is the heroine in the Bible who killed Sisera to deliver Israel from the troops of King Jabin. She is our heroine because she continues to show us the true meaning of love and faith!

Exactly a year after doctors gave us a no... we are smiling with our gift from God because He always has the final say!


Scripture: 1 Samuel 1:27
Song: Made A Way by Travis Green

"Made A Way"

You, made a way
Don't know how but you did it
Made a way
Standing here not knowing how we'll get through this test
But holding onto faith you know best
Nothing can catch you by surprise
You've got this figured out and you're watching us now
But when it looks as if we can't win
You wrap us in your arm and step in
And everything we need you supply
You got this in control
And now we know that

You made a way

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Postpartum What???

**Disclaimer: In my 'About Me' section of this blog I stated early on that I would be as transparent as I desired. I also noted that some people will say I reveal too much or I don't reveal enough about this journey. This post is very candid and transparent and I am writing in hopes that I continue to help others along the way.**

I had heard the phrase Postpartum Depression prior to conceiving. I had heard it several times on television, mommy books and forums but no one in my inner circle really talked about it. I thought Postpartum Depression (PPD) was used to describe women who cried all the time, who resented their babies or who sat in rooms with the blinds and curtains closed. So what I felt weeks after delivery was not Postpartum Depression.... at least that's what I thought.

I actually didn't know I had any symptoms of PPD until a few mommies who didn't know each other ask me the same questions. "How are you?" "Are you getting enough rest?" " Are you eating and taking care of yourself?" So I answered these questions...

"How are you?"----- I'm great!! I finally have the blessing that I've waited so long for. I'm really great!!!! My baby is beautiful and my husband is amazing! I'm good!

Are you getting enough rest? ---- I'm getting enough rest as expected. We were blessed that Baby Braylen began sleeping through the night at about 6 weeks of age so nights were not as tough as they were weeks 1-3.

Are you taking care of yourself?-- I had no answer. Am I taking care of myself?  This question hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized I wasn't taking care of me. Braylen was well taken care of. She was fed, bathed and dressed to the nines everyday. What happened to me? This is when I had to take a step back and reevaluate where I was.

At that very moment I felt like after June 28, 2016 at 1:25 a.m. my world stopped. I felt like I was put on pause while everyone else went on with their lives. My reality was everyone had options of what their days look like except me. My reality was I just got blessed with a newborn baby who needed and only wanted me for everything. I loved being around this sweet little girl and loved playing dress up with her everyday but I forgot about me. How do I get me back? Was it even necessary while I was on maternity leave? Did I really need yoga and meditation like I needed it before?  Who needs manis and pedis and days at the hair salon when you have the most gorgeous baby girl God blessed you with?! Me!! I needed it.

My form of PPD involved me resenting everyone who had a "normal" life and I didn't. I remember getting upset with my husband who was able to shower, lay out clothes and leave for work everyday. When my girls had busy schedules where they couldn't meet for breakfast nor brunch I remembered and longed for the days where I too had committee meetings, sorority functions and days sipping mimosas with my friends planning the next event we wanted to host. Going out and grabbing something to eat was an event. I had to pack an overnight back with all of Braylen's things and once I was dressed, face beat with makeup and ready to go out, her crying once put in her carseat made me really want to cancel the trip and grab my favorite lactation tea and cuddle with her with my feet propped up.

When I mentioned PPD to some of my girlfriends who had babies around the same time I did, and to my relief and sanity, they too were experiencing what I was feeling. We committed to sincerely being there for each other motivating each other to take time for ourselves.

After having a heart to heart talk with my husband I had to let him know exactly how I felt. I don't think he got it at first because he assumed since I was on maternity leave I could handle all that came with being a mom.  The fact was, I couldn't. I wanted to feel relevant beyond being Braylen's Mommy.  He realized it and made sure I felt important. He even hired a stylist to come to the house to doll me up as well took me to work with him one day to help with getting the church database completed. I felt like myself again.

So what did I do to make sure this mild case of PPD didn't get worst?  I had to remember what made me happy. Whether that meant not sleeping when she slept and taking a long hot bubble bath and eating a hot fudge sundae with a brownie. I did what made Deronda happy. I also invoked my creative side again. My husband and I own a Graphics and Designs firm, and I began thinking of creative things I could do with Legacy Tees ( This brought back so much joy and my clients were happy that we were back in business. I began working on Braylen Jael's tshirt line that she will be debuting in the Fall. I danced!! It felt good to dance and move again! Any chance I got, I danced. I began spending intentional time with Braylen. Intentional? Yes beyond nursing, changing diapers, getting her dressed or napping. I planned outfits so that we were dressed a like and coordinated. This ensured I got dressed beyond wearing yoga pants and a breast milk stained tshirt.  I read to her and made faces with her because I realized I would be headed back to work soon and I would truly miss these moments.

Taking care of Braylen has been the most joyous roller coaster I've ever been on. I'm beyond grateful to my sisters Gretchen Morgan, Tomekia Lennon, Ebony Webster Joy Stoney and my sister in luv Key Jenkins for being there morning, noon and night and not wanting anything from me but to be well to be able to take care of Braylen and be who I needed to be. You ladies are beyond amazing and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. A HUGE shout out to my Mother in Luv Lorraine J. Washington who babysat while I got my hair done and finds so much joy being with her granddaughter.

Why was I so transparent in this blog? There are so many women talking about it in their inner circles but no one is speaking up about it. Some women are dealing with severe cases of PPD and have no one to talk to.  I'm grateful that my mild case of PPD will be able to help someone along the way.

What's next now that I'm soooo happy?!!? lol. My goal is to find joy in every poopy diaper., satisfaction in every smile, happiness in each 3 am feeding and understanding when all seems to be out of control

Live, Breath Laugh

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What I Know For Sure

After giving birth on June, 28, 2016 a lot of attention has been placed on baby and how cute she is or how she is growing and even who she resembles most. Often times mom and dad fade to black and become nonexistent. However, Jarrett and I are thankful to those who have brought a meal, sat with Braylen so that we could nap, to our moms who cooked, cleaned, organized and were simply there.

In these eight weeks of parenthood, I have learned a lot about myself as well as parenting. I never knew I could be so strong and so weak at the same time. I know this sounds like an oxymoron but it's true. I'm convinced our baby is one of the sweetest babies ever. When she was first born (first 2 weeks of birth) the feedings every 2 hours were a beast. I even had an app that set an alarm to make sure Braylen didn't miss a feeding. (Let's say I deleted that app week 4) lol. The first 2 weeks of life broke us down only to build us up.

Here is What I know For Sure:

1) It's okay to Ask for Help
I thought I was SuperWoman until Miss Braylen came along. Even after she came along I felt like I still had to answer every phone call, respond to every email, do laundry as soon as I saw clothes in the hamper. I couldn't do it! It was virtually impossible. I had to tell my husband when I needed him most and to also let family and friends know when I needed them most. Be specific in what you want others to help you with i.e., wash dishes, load dishes in washer, bring over a meal, fold laundry.etc.

2) When Baby is born you become an overprotective Monster
Okay so maybe not quite a monster but a bear. lol. We never shared publicly with anyone other than family, but the first week of Braylen's life was spent in the doctor's office EVERY day. She had jaundice and every day we had to get her levels checked. She slept under a blue light for a week to get rid of the jaundice. We are very protective of our daughter because she is the gift that we prayed for. We don't want to risk her little body getting attacked with big germs.

3) Watch what you say to new parents
After only 2 hours of sleep with a baby whose sleep pattern is off, changing 88 diapers in 2 hours, or trying to put on the cutest outfit only to have her scream bloody murder, the last thing that a new parent needs is your cynical comments or slick comments concerning how they are raising their child. I was in a local baby store and Braylen was crying and I was attempting to soothe her and settle her. A lady walks up and said, "Awww what's wrong? Mommy doesn't know what she's doing?" I honestly could've punched her when she said it. Not only was it inappropriate but it was also very insensitive to a new mom.

4) Do What Works For You
Jarrett and I have worked out a schedule and a system that works for us. Whether it means one of us puts her to sleep while the other showers or not getting her dressed until we arrive to church on Sunday mornings. Every child is different and every parent chooses to parent their child the way in which they choose to. Hence the reason God gave that child to you. He knew you would raise that child the way He desired you to.

5) There is no such thing as too many pictures
Braylen has changed her look about 1,000 times since she was born. When she was born she looked like a round faced Asian baby with straight hair. Eight weeks later she looks like her mom with long fingers and toes and a head full of curly hair. I try to make sure I capture those moments as well as pictures with others. Shortly after she was born I took her to see my godmother/and childhood neighbor. Braylen brought her so much joy and I was certain to capture the moment. 5 days later she passed away. I'm so grateful I captured that moment with the two of them.

6) Nothing really matters
No matter what kind of day I'm having or what what my house looks like, everything seems irrelevant when I look at this sweet little girl's face. She makes our days so much brighter and I love the joy she brings to so many we come in contact with us.

Thank you so much to everyone who called, texted, visited or helped out in anyway. Here are a few pics....