Mama Bear

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by Veronica

So, it’s almost go time.  Baby has been cooking for nearly 40 weeks, and ready or not, she is coming.  These final weeks have been filled with anticipation, preparation, and so much love and support from those that care for me.  I can officially say I am nesting.  With preparing her room, my home, washing clothes, and installing car seats, all my energy has been centered on making sure that her arrival will be a smooth transition for her and I.  This time has also sparked other feelings.  A heightened sense of protecting this seed is slowly emerging, and despite all my pre-pregnancy constructs, the claws are coming out!

The mama bear syndrome is the instinctual beast that is released on anything that is perceived to attack or challenge a mama’s dominance or her offspring. In other words, DON’T COME FOR ME (or my baby) UNLESS WE SEND FOR YOU.  Being a new mommy in my mid-thirties has afforded me the opportunity of seeing many mommies come before me.  So, I know a mama bear when I see it.  Believe it or not, I had an open opinion of disdain for Mama Bears.  I can remember going to visit Bestie Nikki’s little ones as infants, and literally being put on a timer in terms of holding them! She’d sit less then 5 feet away, and just wait.  Then, after what felt like only 10 minutes, she’d say, “ok, I’ll take her now”.  I’d give her so much slack about it…in a loving, Bestie kinda way, of course!  And she could care less.  She was going to show me who was boss!  Then, I couldn’t grasp the need for protecting her cubs from even the closest of people.  I couldn’t understand how or why she went so hard for them.  Then,  didn’t fully get it…but now I do.  I’ve have to just admit it.

My name is Veronica…and I am a Mama Bear.

My little one isn’t even earth side yet, and I already feel a strong urge to protect her from ANYONE with even the potential of harming her.  I can see my claw marks showing up everywhere.  I am really trying to be remain calm, collected, and aware that I am not the first person to have a baby, and my baby is not the second coming of Christ.  I, however, understand now how a Mama Bear is created.  Pregnancy, rather it be easy or difficult, is an emotional roller coaster and a huge physical sacrifice.  You gain weight, you can’t drink, and you make substantial adjustments to ensure a tiny life is sustained and successfully enters the world.  Ain’t nobody changing their life for 40 weeks, laboring for hours, and pushing a watermelon out of a lemon to just “go with the flow”.  That tiny life is EVERYTHING to that mama.  She is going to move heaven and earth to make sure that child is happy, healthy, safe, and sound.  If that means she obstructs your feelings or your agenda, so be it.

They say recognizing something is the first step to recovery, so I am trying to keep a few things in mind as I continue on this journey.

  • Get a second opinion – The village has helped tremendously.  They help me decipher between moments where I might be over-reacting and moments when my attack is appropriate and warranted.  They’ve allowed me to vent…sometimes you just need to get it out. 

  • Lead with Love – In most situations, it’s not what you do but how you do it.  In the same way that parenting will require patience and understanding, maneuvering relationships surrounding me need patience and understanding.  Its a transition for everyone, not just me.  Generally, people just want to help, and regardless of the current feeling…the help is needed.

  • Do you – Motherhood is just one of life’s many journeys.  It is a learning and ever evolving process filled with lessons and blessings.  Mistakes will happen…so what!  Those that love and care for you will understand.  Savor every moment.  Be fully present.  Be fully you!

So when you come and visit my little love, and I am meeting you at the door with hand sanitizer and a live-in doctor to test you and administer a flu and whooping cough shot, smile, comply, and know that I just want the very BEST for my little girl!

Are you a mama bear? What are your stories?  I’d love to hear!

Love Without Fear,

Veronica

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#ProtectYourPeace

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#ProtectYourPeace

By Veronica

 

Lately, I have experienced many moments where I am completely in tuned with the energy around me.  I have been in many situations where I could completely feel the tinges of negative energy.  It’s so amazing.  I am not certain if its the effects of the growing life in my womb or a heightened awareness caused by increased hormones, but more and more I have had to be mindful of the energy around me. 

In the past, I have struggled with people pleasing.  Knowing that the energy around me is contaminated with the other person's self-absorbed and even malicious intent, I continued to welcome their presence in my space.  I listened to their words, and ignored their actions.  Each time, I'd continuously come out on the short end of the stick.  Each time, I felt greatly depleted, less confident, and less capable.  I gave them my gifts, my voice, my time, my encouragement, and was left feeling lower than when I entered. 

Recently, I watched the clip inserted above from my Aunt (in my head), Oprah Winfrey, again, and it shook me to my core.  Although I’d seen the video several times before through many repostings, this time was life altering for me.  I literally replayed the video several times, finding so many relevant and meaningful points.  I decided to breakdown this brief video into a couple mini life lessons that I unknowing have started doing and will boldly continue to practice. 

Veronica (and baby) for BestiesandBrunch.com

Veronica (and baby) for BestiesandBrunch.com

Auntie O says “I realized (the energy) was not supportive of who I want to be in the world”.  The realizing is essential.  For a long time, I thought the “who am I, and what I want to be” answer was such a complicated one, but it really isn’t.  I know who I am, my talents, and my likes/dislikes.  I know the person I want to become.  What I wasn’t doing was standing firmly in the truths of those answers.  Last week, Nikki wrote a phenomenal post about leaving your humble at the door.  To her point, I’ll add that boldly standing in your glow gets you to your goals.  Moreover, it can literally save your life.  Some people are only out to get what they can get, and being on some meek shit will literally take you out.  Stand firm.

2.  Engage Defensively.  When I learned to drive, my instructor would say, “drive defensively”, meaning that I was responsible for my own actions and the actions of other drivers. Auntie says “I recognized there are people that are not going to take responsibility for their energy, so I now have to take responsibility for the energy I allow in my space”.  Wheeewww!! BAY BEE!!  Besties, when I tell you I shouted so loud!  Not all people are as reflective and mindful of the consequences of their energy as you are.  Some folks are out here living real foul….wrecking lives, and taking names...with no regard!  Some people are truly smoke and mirrors, perpetrating themselves as caring individuals when they are only out for themselves.  You have to be your own shield, protecting your energy by any means necessary.

3. Trees Must Be Pruned in Order to Grow.  There are some people that must be cut, so that you can continue.  She says “you cannot continue to move forward in your life, if you are surrounded by energy that brings you down”.  This statement instantly centers me.  If your energy is not conducive to who I am and where I’m going, you’ve got to go.  In other words, its not you…its me! Bye Felicia!

Being of sound body, mind, and spirit is necessary to maintain the life you have and achieve the life you want!  Don’t allow someone else’s agenda to infringe on your peace.  Understand that who you are and what you want to be is of great importance.  You are the gift!  You deserve to be nurtured and empowered.  If there is energy that is not encouraging of that, it’s your responsibility to remove it!

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Love Without Fear,

Veronica

What are your take-aways from this Oprah quote?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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Beauty: How I Survive Bathing With Strangers

6am.

Wakeup.

Throw clothes on.

Grab spa bag.

Grab yogurt, granola and fruit.

Brew tea... to-go.

Grab mala beads.

Drive to the Korean Spa.

This is my "me time" routine. It typically falls on a Sunday when everyone is still sleeping. I discovered the Korean Spa while chatting with a friend who is a regular. She told me how awesome and relaxing it was, so I said I had to try it out!  She said "you should... but if you are not comfortable being around a bunch of women in your birthday suite, you will be after!"

I'm not too modest about nudity. I mean, we have the same parts just on different bodies... no biggie! I was just nervous about the bath part. I mean, what is that like? Am I getting sud-sy and close with a random stranger? Is this random person going to ask me to wash her back, or some other craziness? No! None of that! Let me paint the picture:

- As soon as you walk into most Korean Spas, you pre-pay for your stay. You can stay up to 24 hrs with your admission. They give you a locker key with a water-proof scan-able tag to scan when purchasing services, products, food etc.

- You then walk to the gender separated locker room where they provide you a uniform of t-shirt and shorts to put on when you are ready to head to the common areas.

- After getting into your birthday suite, you head to the wet spa. Here, you take a shower upon entering. They provide shower gel, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste.

- Once you have showered, you can enter one of 4 temperature whirlpools. There is also a wet Sauna for you to experience as well.

- If you choose, you can opt to jump right into your uniform to relax in the mixed gender dry Saunas and shower after.

Needless to say, I feel so relaxed when I leave that I am convinced my body is made of jello! If this sounds like something you would like to try, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Go early

- For some of my besties that are “germaphobes”, I always tell them to get there by 6am. Though they are open 24hrs/day, they clean all tubs between 2am and 6am. Getting there at 6am will ensure you are the 1st (and possibly the only) booty in the bath! It is also less crowded, so if you are really trying to relax, there will likely be no distractions.

2. Bring your own products

- I love a good mask, and since I practically live on airplanes, I can never have enough hydration. With that said, I have my hydrating body wash, 3 different hydrating masks and my body creams.  Between saunas, I rinse and reapply my different masks. And after my sauna time, I make sure I use my full skin care/body care regimen to keep my skin hydrated, soft and youthful looking.

3. Get a body scrub

- G... homey... dude! When I tell you this is a must! O...M...G! The sweetest lady will scrub your WHOLE body down! Like errrrrrrrry-thang! You will thank me later!

4. Relax

- This is the most important of all of the tips! I make sure I bring my mala beads to meditate and clear my mind.

The Korean Spa is the place I love to go to have a little me time and clear my mind. Where do you go and what do you do for your me time? Let me know in the comments below :)

Mommy Goals

Mommy Goals

By Veronica

It has been a while since I’ve sat down to write.  So much life has happened, so many surprise turns and twists.  I remember writing about the Power of Words.  But I never could have expected the Universe to respond in this way.  I always knew I wanted to be a mother.  What I didn’t know is babies come in their own time.  Nonetheless here I stand, half way into my Year Without Fear, expecting a baby girl.  If that ain’t a testimony, I don’t know what is! 

Yesterday, I made 20 weeks pregnant.  That’s the halfway mark (for those not hip to the ins and outs of pregnancy life).  While the first half was a breeze physically, the emotional journey was completely different.  I spent so much time questioning.  Why me?  Why now?  I spent so much time worrying.  What will people think?  How can I afford this?  I spent so much time mourning.  Mourning relationships failed.  Mourning for so many things left undone.  I spent so much time falling into old habits of self-doubt and trying to appease others.  I felt such guilt because at the end of the day, I asked for her, and, although it didn’t come packaged how I wanted, here is my shot.  My opportunity to have my life forever changed for the better, and I was wasting it.  In the midst of this emotional world wind, there was and is a question constantly looming, “what example do you want to set for her?”  What kind of parent do I want to be?

This little life, so innocent and deserving of all this world has to offer.  For reasons I don’t understand now, she entrusted flawed me, to be her mommy.  What a gift! Now is her time and mine to relish in the joys of her amazing creation and growth.  Now is our moment to bask in the beauty of this crazy ride called motherhood.  So, as a spin on one of my favorite post Squad Goals, I am spending the second half of pregnancy focusing on Mommy Goals.

  • Goal #1: Lead with Love

    In reflecting on all the mommy models that have come before me, love is always at the core.  At the beginning of trust, discipline, or growth is love.  Everyday, every decision, every word will be led in love.  In our days together, love will be our legacy. 

  • Goal #2: Be and Show

    Motherhood, while still very new to me, is growing me in ways I’ve needed to grow a long time ago.  It’s changing my decisions, my actions, all for the better.  In thinking about the woman I want her to become, I have to be that woman.  I have to show her beauty, empowerment, love, and forgiveness.  The way to be the best parent is to be the best person.

  • Goal #3: Mistakes Happen

Learning is messy.  I won’t be perfect, nor should I be, this is my first time!  But more important than every decision being the “right one”, is the commitment to try and try again.  When mistakes happen, and they will, I will share openly, apologize freely, and move forward.  I will openly share my story, so that she sees how imperfections are a necessary part of the journey. 

  • Goal #4: I am Her Guide, not Her Guard

Everyday I commit to always remembering that she is her own person.  While I will always hold and cherish our moments, I won’t hinder her from exploring this great world.  Such an important part of ensuring that she has a full life is helping her believe in herself.  I will offer her my world, but more importantly I will listen to her desires.  I will value her voice, keeping in mind that part of parenting is empowering her to show her gifts and be the person she chooses.

As I type these words, tears welling in my eyes, I am so amazed by this little life.  Still in the womb, she is shifting my life and the lives of others.  I look forward to meeting her, and feel so very blessed that she chose me.  While I don’t have all the answers, and will surely not get it all right, she will always get my best.  I don’t know that I am fully prepared for the love I will feel for her, but I look forward to sharing in her journey.  The best is yet to come!  See you in 20 weeks, sweet baby girl!

Love Without Fear,

Veronica

Any words of wisdom for a new mommy?  I would love to hear your thoughts!