What Birth Plan?

I don’t consider it a job. It’s truly a privilege and a honor. Lauralie has been more than amazing since day one. I’m beyond blessed to be her mother.

I read all the books and articles I could find. I was a first time mom and beyond excited. I was determined to breast feed as long as possible. I didn’t want her to use a pacifier and I wanted to give birth naturally. I know, I know, I was being over zealous. But I had a game plan because that was better than having no plan at all.

Lauralie was born September 13th. Just the week prior, we were preparing for a massive hurricane. I was praying that she would stay safely in the womb until after the storm. No one has time to be giving birth during a hurricane! Thankfully, she listened like the good girl that she is. 

I was induced and super excited. One of my best friends Becca drove me to the appointment and we scarfed down a pizza in her car in the hospital parking lot. I wasn’t nervous, just ready. We took funny videos and talked about how we had been waiting for this moment for 9 months. I was grateful to have her there and I wouldn’t have it any other way. She stayed with me until the dad to be was able to join me after work.

I had my playlist ready filled with Janet Jackson, Jlo, Missy Elliott and Tamia (among many others). I tried to remember the breathing techniques I saw online and I kept my focus on the end result..a happy and healthy baby girl.

It took 2 rounds of pills for the dilation to start. It was wild to say the least. It was a pain I never felt before, but it came in waves which I was OK with. The dad to be hated seeing me in pain, but he did a great job. I was appreciative  of his support and calmness.

I went with the “laughing gas” first. It took the edge off but not enough. My water broke but I was dilating slowly. I finally gave in to the epidural. Everyone handles pain differently and I think I have a high pain tolerance. But nothing can prepare you for birth. The epidural helped and once I started pushing, my baby girl arrived in about 10 minutes.

I kept telling myself as I was pushing that no one could control how fast or slow she comes except me! I wanted her out and in our arms, so I pushed with all my strength. She finally arrived and I couldn’t believe it. I joked that she looked like a little cute Asian baby. 

Although my birth plan didn’t go the way I planned, it didn’t matter. I’d like all moms to remember that. We can’t plan or control everything. As my good friend kept telling me “All that matters is that she’s here and healthy.” So don’t feel bad if you have a C Section or if you give birth naturally or if your birth plan changes. Our bodies are beautiful and are able to give life! Just bask in that for a moment. 

Toxic

Am I capable of being loved? Am I willing to accept someone’s words when they say “I love you”? Am I able to love someone? At this point, I’m unsure. When I was about eighteen, I thought I was in love and I accepted everything my boyfriend told me. 

The first time he struck me, I forgave him. He loved me and I knew I had a terrible temper. I knew it wasn’t right for him to put his hands on me, but I retaliated and did the same. That rationalized the situation in my head and made things “even”. I wasn’t a victim because if he hit me, then I’d hit him back. 

I wouldn’t sit in a corner and cry in defeat. I wouldn’t beg for him to stop. I wouldn’t run away looking for help. I wanted blood and I didn’t care what it took. Once I got to that level  of anger, it was hard to stop me. And he was even worse than I. 

He packed all of my clothes that were left after he cut up the others. He shredded my college books that I needed for class. He would get aggressive whenever I became irritated or annoyed with him. I’m fantastic at the silent treatment and looking back at it, I believe his physical aggression toward me was his way to get my attention back.

There were no apologies or promises after a fight. We would just stop. These fights would last for hours at a time. Once we were out of energy, we’d clean up. Sweep up the broken glass, throw away our broken belongings and damaged clothing and cleanse our bruised bodies. 

Sex would follow. Not angry sex, not make up sex. I can only describe it as sex reclaiming our control over one another. He loved me. The dreadful events that had just occurred over hours was in the past and we were rejoining forced as a couple. It was a toxic, vicious and dangerous cycle. 

At one period, I was at a very low point. I wasn’t happy with myself and I didn’t know what was next in life. We were constantly fighting and I finished my college courses. I was still unable to see my sisters at the time and my close friends were away at college.

He and I live in multiple apartments together. I filled every second of my days with him. We had some great times but the bad definitely outweighed the good. It seemed we were only civil when we smoked, because I was too zoned out to argue or care. 

One afternoon, we were arguing in the car and he stopped at a red light and head butt me in the face. He pulled over and dumped my purse all over the road and left. I ended up staying in a hotel with a complete stranger that wanted to “help” me. I had nothing to give and he gave me a bed to sleep in so I (unfortunately), gave the only thing I could. I was disgusted and secretly left the hotel after 2 days. 

I went back to the toxic relationship. We went to visit his father a few weeks later and we stayed the night. Of course we fought. I told him I was done with him and I left. I didn’t have a car, so I walked around all night until I felt it was a sensible hour to call someone. That sensible time didn’t come in my head. Instead he did. He drove the streets all night looking for me and I would turn a corner when I saw him coming. I’d sit at a bus stop for a while to blend in with others hoping he wouldn’t see me.

I finally gave in when he found me and tearfully promised me that things would change in that early morning hour. That we would be happy together and make plans for a future. That he loved me. That we would make goals and do whatever I wanted. That we wouldn’t fight and he would stop being selfish. The cycle continued. 

Fuck it. I don’t know who the hell she is but she isn’t me. She wasn’t me! But my biggest fear had come true. I was becoming my mother. She was me and I was her. I was depressed and angry and reckless. I had no fucks to give. I just knew something had to change one way or another.

He was at work. It was one of the worst nights we ever had. The fight was so bad I could barely walk. We fought and I remember sitting in the dark cold and alone. I was balling my eyes out and so lost. I eventually dozed off and I only know that because I woke up when I heard the door open. My heart dropped as I felt fear for the first time. Then he began punching me and kicking me. I’m not sure how long it took place. Unbeknownst to me, there was someone in the car waiting for him. I only know because that guy ended up coming in and tearing him off of me and telling him they had to go.

At some point that afternoon, I went to a neighbor’s house and begged him to help me. I had never met or seen him before. I was nervous  when I knocked on the door thinking that my ex would be back any moment. The neighbor helped me get my things, took me to lunch and took me to a relative’s home where I took residence. 

One night, my friend came over and we were having a girls night in. He was being his usual controlling self. Calling me non stop and seeking attention. He had calmed down a little since I had gotten the restraining order (although neither one of us abided by it). I noticed a few days before that he had been driving up and down the street non stop. It was normal. Just the week before, he had parked his car two houses down and sat on top of his car just watch me.  

I was in the driveway talking to my friend as she was getting ready to leave after our girls night in. He drove past us quickly and parked the car. The next thing I remember was him on top of me and my friend trying to get him off. That’s the last bloody nose I ever had. 

Ironically, I am a very private person. What made me end the cycle was the fact that he caught me off guard and had exhibited this behavior in front of my friend. We never fought in front of people. I was embarrassed that the conflict took place and having a witness there made it more real to me. I ended the cycle in that very moment. 

He didn’t love me. But that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of being loved or incapable of giving love. I had a misconstrued idea of what love was and that proved to be dangerous. When I was about eighteen I thought I was in love and I accepted everything my boyfriend told me. Then, I had to get away. 

Laura + lie = Lauralie

Lauralie is a beautiful name and it fits my daughter perfectly (when it’s pronounced properly). She’s 2 years old and she’s smart, polite and independent.  She’s a great listener and loves Disney World. She pulls my chair out first at dinner (I didn’t teach her that), she asks if I’m OK when we go over a speed bump on the road and she likes to tell everyone that my cell phone is “mommy’s phone”. If she doesn’t want to do something, she kindly says “no thank you” (which I take credit for).

We are currently in the potty training stage and she’s doing great. But what would I expect from a daughter who never used a pacifier? She’s full of energy and loves singing her ABC’s and nursery rhymes. Posing for photos is now added to her hobbies list which includes jumping, riding her bike, playing at the playground and pushing the cart around the grocery store (that may be hard to imagine, but it’s the cutest thing). I look at her everyday with love and admiration. 

As she’s getting older, I begin to wonder about her future as a “mixed” child, despite all of her great qualities listed above. How will she be treated at school by other children? Will she be comfortable in her skin? Will she tell her father or I if something inappropriate happens? Will she be judged or will she judge others? When she encounters racism, how will she handle it?

I am African American and her father is Irish. He grew up in a small town in upstate NY. Before me, he had never dated a black girl. Needless to say he learned a lot. Now he’s raising a mixed child, when  within his childhood there were hardly any minorities around. 

I’ve had white men tell me they I’m “pretty for a black girl” and that they can “make an exception” for me because I’m different from the “other” girls. Through my eyes, they just blatantly admitted to me that they’re racists. But instead of getting angry or walking away, I would choose to actually have a conversation with these men. 

In those moments, I felt that I had to be the spokesperson for my race. I’d let them tell me about their racists thoughts and stereotypes they believed were true. I’d respond with truth, examples in history and my honest opinion and experiences. I’d remind them that although they had these ignorant thoughts, they were still holding a conversation with me. 

I wonder how Lauralie will respond in these situations. I wonder what will go through her mind when she has to check a box that corresponds with her ethnicity. I wonder how she will react when someone points out her hair and skin are different from others and vice versa. Who will question her about her mother being so dark and her father being so fair skinned?

I know the world isn’t the nicest. I will teach my child to judge no one. I will make sure she knows her history both good and bad. And both sides of it (Black and White). I will educate her the best way I can in regards to street smarts, being aware of her surroundings and understating that unfortunately racism does exist.

“Lauralie’s Aunties” are a group of young women that are White and Spanish. We all have been close for years and they’ve loved Lauralie since she was conceived. Love is colorblind among us. I wish the world was too. 

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Mother…

If you asked me to describe her (her likes, dislikes, characteristics) I would be unable to. I honestly have no idea who she is and I’ve never known. 

I viewed her as weak and conforming when it came to men and I felt she allowed that to seep into motherhood. She didn’t stand up to the men in her life but felt the need to overpower me. In part I believe it was because she could see how strong I was as a person (despite my young age) and she was the complete opposite. It seemed she had a scued perception of me and never learned who I was or am. The tumultuous relationships she was in became and consumed her. And unfortunately I was there to see it all.

I literally could not take it anymore. I was 15 and over it. Of course my mother and I had gotten into another terrible pointless argument. She acted as if she was a dictator and any opinion given that was in contrast to hers was asinine. I’ve never sworn at her or called her out of her name. We had not gotten along since I was a toddler (and who knows if there’s any truth to that since I can’t recall). Our one sided fights were vicious and contributed to why we don’t have a relationship (among other things we’ll discuss later).

One may ask if I ever told my mother my  feelings in regards to seeing her in abusive relationships, being kept from my biological father (which we will address another time) and her treatment of me. And I’m proud to say I actually did. It was about 5 or 6 years ago now when things started getting serious between my ex and I. My ex was family man and still is. I admire that about him and I’m happy my daughter will be able to enjoy that with him and his side of the family. I was watching “Iyanla Changed My Life”and I was inspired to send my mother a message about my thoughts. It turned into a few lengthy messages.

All that I recall is her response was about 2 sentences long. Honestly, I was surprised that she responded at all. Needless to say, I didn’t bring it up after that.                                                                  I know I’m a strong willed, determined and straight forward person because I witnessed my mother be the opposite. At times I am too harsh and I’m fully aware and accepting of that. I just know that I don’t ever desire to be in the position I saw her in. Yet there was a point in my life where I was in a relationship that was  toxic and abusive on multiple levels. Once I left that relationship, I never looked back nor took shit from anyone regardless if I was intimate with them or not.

I don’t have a grudge against her, we just simply don’t have a relationship. I don’t blame her for anything because I am now an adult and a mother. She’s not a bad person. She’s just her.

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to be perfectly clear. Do not allow a spouse, friend, acquaintance  and or family member to put their hands on you or make you feel less worthy. Do not vie for someone’s attention. Do not feel that you are responsible for someone else’s happiness because you’re not. If some people put the energy that they put in others into themselves, then we’d have a world full of better people. 

If you asked me to describe her (her likes, dislikes, characteristics) I would be unable to. I honestly have no idea who she is and I’ve never known. 

My Marriage

May 7, 2016. I love the number 7 although I’m unsure why since I’ve never been lucky. Go to college, meet a nice guy, get married and have kids. That’s what society says you’re supposed to do and I believed it. I knew I was unhappy for years and he was aware I was having second thoughts for weeks leading up to the wedding. I actually just realized we were together for about 7 years while proofing this. But he swore he was happy (although I couldn’t understand how) and that he’d improve on things that I wasn’t happy with. He sent roses to my job a week before the wedding and we went from there.

There was never any infidelity on either end (as far as I know). Looking back at it, he just wasn’t MY person. He was and still is a great guy. He has a huge heart, he’s social, works hard and is an amazing father.

We would have arguments weekly until it came to a point where I’d barely speak to him or acknowledge him although we lived in the same household. I didn’t run to the door to greet him or get excited when he was around. There was no affection or fun when we were around each other (which he hated and he had the right to). That was completely unfair to him. I felt that my needs weren’t being met. I always had to remind him of things and repeat myself. I felt like I had to manage him. The spark was gone. He didn’t come home and tell me to get dresses because he wanted to take me out. I planned trips for us and we went through the motions. We were literally roommates.

 The only thing we had in common was drinking. That realization came to me while I was pregnant. I felt alone during the pregnancy. But knowing that I had a life growing inside of me, I truly wasn’t alone. Unfortunately, he and I  are no longer together. But we have Lauralie and she’s everything.

I  can remember when we went to Panera Bread for lunch one morning (as a married couple) and we didn’t say one word to each other besides placing our order. I knew that wasn’t how a relationship should be with anyone. But that was common for us. When I became pregnant the first time, I ended up having a miscarriage. It was a bad time for us before that incident took place and I had decided that I’d ask for a divorce once things died down. We had planned the pregnancy and I was invested in something that I never thought I would be invested in before. I figured I’d have the courage to ask for a divorce before the new year since that hadn’t worked out unfortunately. I figured I’d be able to work up the courage to ask for a divorce before the new year since the miscarriage occurred right after my birthday in November.

I learned I was pregnant again the week of New Year’s. As a result, I put my thoughts of separating to the side because I felt that was the right thing to do. I went through my lonely pregnancy with hopes that things would improve. They didn’t. We still argued and hardly talked. Despite everything, he was excited to be a father and I loved seeing him light up when he talked about it.  I knew he’d be a perfect father and a great influence.

Our amazing  daughter was born 9/13/2017. He is the best dad ever and I will always love him for that. Having her gave me the courage to ask to separate. I believed that it wouldn’t be fair for her to grow up in a household where her parents barely spoke to each other because we had nothing to say. It would not be fair for her to see her parents arguing more often that not. It would not be fair for her to see her parents unhappy, when everyone should be happy. I do believe that we are both great people. We just aren’t meant to be together. We are not the best version of ourselves when we are together. Without the marriage, she would not have been born because I never had a desire for children. Everything happens for a reason. Lauralie is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. So I am grateful for union on May 7, 2016 and I want to thank him for that.

Lost & Found

He knocked on my aunt & uncle’s door at 596 Paul Road. I was beyond nervous and that is an understatement. It had been over 13 years since I had seen him. I was less than 7 years old then. 

My most vivid memory was sitting in the car with him and Tupac and Dr Dre’s song “California” was playing. It was a sunny afternoon and we stopped at someone’s house (I can’t recall who or where), but my dad and I were talking and I was happy. We got along really well and he always called me his baby girl (when we reunited I became his baby girl and his little white girl).

I left my parents’ home on Yankee Court for good. The only pain I felt was leaving my twin sisters behind. It’s a pain I dealt with for years and thankfully it was finally resolved years later. My grandmother reached out and gave me my dad’s phone number. I couldn’t believe it! I had dreamed, prayed and fantasized about the day I’d reunite with him. I began to believe it would never happen. I didn’t know any of his family members and my mother made me swear to never speak his name. Although it had been so long, it never once crossed my mind that maybe he didn’t want to see me. That perhaps he had a new family and had forgotten about me.

When I called, he was working. Of course he was caught off guard. I recall asking him if he was Girard Rowe and he said yes. Then I told him I’m his daughter. He said he didn’t have one. His tone was skeptical. I told him my name and my mother’s name. He went silent for a moment and told me to hold on. He went somewhere more quiet and told me to repeat what I just said and I did. We made plans to reunite within the next week. And now that time had come.

I opened the door and realized we looked exactly alike. I don’t remember if I cried or if I hugged him. I was in shock that he was actually in front of me. He came inside and sat down with my aunt and I. He asked how I was and how my mother was. He said he carried a picture or her and I and told us happy birthday when the time came. He never married or had children. He still loved us both. I told him I had little sisters that I loved to pieces and that I was attending Monroe Community College. I also let him know that I had left Yankee Court for good which led my grandmother to give me his phone number.

We stayed in contact of course and it was decided that I would go live with him in the city. He lived alone and had a 2 bedroom apartment. It was there that I started the next chapter in my life. A suburban girl in the “city city” complete with corner stores and boys “on the block”. Instead of getting my eyebrows done at a salon, I went to the local barber that the whole hood loved and we developed a great relationship. He reminded me of an older T-Pain and he loved his job and his wife. I learned a lot during those years. Those years truly shaped me as a woman. And without reuniting with my father and going through these circumstances, I don’t know which direction my life would have gone in.

Card Reading

This past November I went and got my cards read while visiting New Orleans. It was something I always wanted to do and NOLA was the perfect place. The reader told me that my divorce would be finalized in the first half of the year. She also mentioned that I’d meet my soulmate in the year 2020 and he will be wealthy and speak multiple languages. The most intriguing thing she mentioned was that I’d come into money some how. 

Now let’s fast forward to January 2020. My little sisters (Destinee and Deziree) came to visit. As a Christmas gift, I took then to get their cards read by a woman that was highly referred to me by my coworkers. We went and my results were mind blowing! 

This reader told me I’ll be finalizing my divorce and that I’d meet my soulmate this year who will be wealthy. Sound familiar? She also mentioned that I’d have more children. Everyone the knows me knows that I don’t want anymore children, so my reaction was priceless. I relayed this to her and she told me to never say never and to have an open mind. 

So here I am, writing about my experiences and taking advice about writing this blog. It’s January 2020 and I’m very excited for this year. But I need to close one door before another can open. So my next step is to finalize my divorce and to consistently write for this blog. Only time will tell if these readings come to fruition, and I’ll do whatever I can to make that possible.

Online Dating

You either do it or you don’t. You’re either afraid or you’re addicted to it. I personally don’t have time or the desire to date. I have needs to be fulfilled and online dating is how I fulfill them. 

I don’t need your whole life story, I don’t  want to see you when the sun is up and my child doesn’t need a father (she has a great one already). I just need to be sure you’re not a serial killer, that you’re healthy and that you respect that fact that when I call you come (not the other way around). 

My most prideful job is being a mother and I spend as much time with Lauralie as I can (outside of working 50 hours a week). I’ve actually had a few successes with online dating. It works for me and my time constraints. My key is being open and honest from the beginning. I’m too old and too busy to “tell you what you want to hear”. And honestly I don’t care enough to put the energy in to do so. 

When you think you have feelings for me, then I have to go. If you’re unable to perform, then I have to go. If you want to see me when the sun is up then….you guessed it…I have to go. It was great knowing you though. Have a great night while I reload my apps!