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Sisterhood

Strong Sense Of Identity And Style…


Today, I wanted to shed a ray of sunshine on Chenesai. If you remember, Chenesai was a guest blogger back in April. In her guest post, she told us about her budding Zimbabwean fashion business and her inspiring vision for the future.

In my eyes, she is a great example of a woman in Zimbabwe who is not letting their entrepreneurship spirit be stifled by everything that is going on around them.

I am someone that has made the conscious decision to wear some form of African print, so naturally I saw an alignment between myself and the Chenesai Brand. I was also very confident it would be a long-lasting relationship as we are both working mothers that not only work hard but play hard too.

And just like that, I became one of the Australian brand ambassadors for Chenesai.

This partnership has allowed me to experience the Chenesai Brand from start to finish. It was fascinating because I was literally riding shotgun as we created my own personalised designs. I was able to pick the pattern of my material, be part of the design process, and was kept in the loop as my designs came to life.

To start with I had four unique to me pieces made – which will be showcased in the coming weeks. I am excited about this opportunity to wear and support my fellow Zimbabwean woman who is doing everything she can not only to survive but to thrive in an economically hostile climate.

Should you be interested in having your own pieces created you can make contact with Chenesai here.

As I always say, you don’t have to worry about stale fashion being pushed onto you in-store and online when you can create something unique to you.

Support Small Businesses. Point Blank.

Turtle Neck – Target, Skirt – Chenesai, Ankle Boots – Sportsgirl.

IamTinashe

Sisterhood

United As Sisters.

Sister.
noun
a girl or woman who has the same parents as another person.
a girl or woman who treats you in the kind way that a sister would.
a woman who shares an interest with you, especially that of improving women’s rights.

It was just after 10pm on a Friday night and after having successfully put our little bambino to sleep I was just lounging watching some mind-numbing reality TV shows. You know the ones where they portray black women as being loud and obnoxious women who just shop, eat, drink then shout and fight. You know the ones.
Anyway, I was really relaxing when my phone started to vibrate indicating that a call was coming through. A call from my brother’s girlfriend.

Being a first generation immigrant late night phone calls are never a good thing. Often it’s bad news that this person has died, this person is about to die etc. So you can probably understand my hesitation to take the call.

No lie, I am notorious for screening calls – so as my phone flashed hubby was screaming to me “Pick it up, pick it up!”. As I watched the phone call go to voice mail curiosity suddenly got the better of me. I wondered what it was that she was calling me for – especially at that time of night.

Not sure what was going on I texted her, “Sorry, I missed your call – are you guys ok?” She responded, “We are fine – can you talk?”. As I finished reading the sentence, I could see that she was now trying to face time me. I panicked but still managed to accept the face time request. Not sure what she was going to say, I took the call in the other room.

As soon as I answered I heard a loud scream. I am like ah, Hello? She was on the other end of the phone literally losing her shit. My heart at this point was pretty much beating out of my chest – I wondered – Is she high? Is she drunk? What the hell is going on? With the ear piercing screams in the background I managed to utter, ‘talk to me, what going on”. She proceeds to yell, I AM ENGAGED!

I just about dropped to the floor with excitement. My brother sure knows how to surprise all of us – and what a wonderful surprise too. Once I gained composure I asked to see the ring (which was gorgeous) and wanted to know every detail of how my brother proposed (all so romantic). He did us proudly and I couldn’t help but laugh at myself for being such a wuss to pick up the phone call in the first place.

With that call, we welcomed another daughter into the family. I was buzzing with the news. They had been dating for ages and it was now all going to be official. Plus I have always wanted a sister and our man or lady above blessed us once more.

Which lead me to think about how she must be feeling about joining our family. I have heard horrible stories from women who are married and their in-laws treat them badly. From verbal, emotional and sometimes physical abuse. Members of the family boldly stating the chosen bride were not good enough for their son. Some daughter in laws has even had relatives attempt to sabotage things, by being difficult and rude just to frustrate the bride and cause issues in the marriage. No one wants to be that person reporting to the husband that your family did this to me, your family did that to me – I can completely understand that. In researching this blog post I feel so privileged that women from different backgrounds were able to feel so comfortable with me to really keep it real. No sugar coating.

After hearing horror stories from married women and very few kumbaya moments – I can never really understand why people would go to such great lengths to inflict pain and hurt to another person. Whatever happened to, as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them?

Whilst the bride/wife may not say anything to the in-laws it could all lead to a disastrous outcome. One where the relatives are the ones that can really lose out. People forget about the fruit of the loins that are to come from their son’s union. Worst case scenario may mean that the children only-only see his side of the family a handful of times, if at all – because of the mistreatment of the mother. Mother bear protecting her cubs. These are things people need to think about because ideally, the child should have the pleasure of knowing and experiencing both sides of their parents family.

This is something I never want my new sister in law to experience. We welcome her with open arms. In fact,= the traditional wedding is due to take place later this year. I know they both visit this site on the regular and probably reading this and thinking why is she putting our business out there – but I am so happy for them that I wanted to share the story.

I wanted to end this post with these words that I find myself coming back to time and time again, “The difference between an ordinary marriage and an extraordinary marriage is in giving just a little ‘extra’ every day, as often as possible, for as long as you both shall live.” – Fawn Weaver.

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Lifestyle, My Life, Observations, Sisterhood

Got Milk?

You are probably wondering where I got the above image from. Well, I simply googled, “black woman breastfeeding“. Some of the images that appeared were a little strange, others infuriating, but the chosen picture seemed to fit the bill – even if those nails are in desperate need for a manicure. For a brief minute I did consider using  a picture of myself breastfeeding, but that may have been a little awkward for all of us.

So yeah….here we are.

You know I have had this blog post sitting in my drafts section waiting for the right moment. Ironically being sleep deprived because of a demanding breastfeeding schedule has meant I haven’t been able to release the post. In my last post I shared my birth experience, so I guess the natural progression is to share my experience breastfeeding.

Prenatal

Before I had the baby I had made the decision that I was going to breastfeed. I made this decision because I knew breastfeeding extended beyond the nutritional benefits. With that in mind I was keen to learn as much as I could. I remember being about 30 plus weeks pregnant and  going to work one day and telling my colleagues, “I am going to be leaving early today because I am attending a breast feeding class in the afternoon“. My female colleagues who are already mothers looked on in amusement. One colleague who breast fed her child for a total period of one week commented, “Why would you want to breast feed? Its gross”. That was met with a cold glare from me. Another colleague simply said, ” You don’t have the baby yet, how are you going to breastfeed?“. I laughed and simply responded with, “At this rate if they have a class on how to push during labour – I will be going”. With that I silenced the critics.

Later that afternoon I was delayed leaving the office and got stuck in traffic. This meant that I arrived at the class late. When I arrived classroom I was given a caucasian dummy dolls so that we could learn and practise the correct breastfeeding technique – I am an African woman. Even though I half expected them to have dolls from different nationalities – I didn’t make a fuss.

The class was packed and I and had no choice but to sit in the front row. Unfortunately for me being at such close proximity to the teacher made me an easy target to demonstrate to the class. Picture this I was at the front of the class with a big white breast strapped over my clothes with velcro demonstrating breastfeeding with my caucasian dummy baby. It was very awkward yet amusing given my skin tone.  Laugh, because its funny. Anyway, all that aside I walked away with knowledge and confidence to breast feed my baby.

Postpartum

After childbirth, the first few days were hard. Like really hard. Harder than I imagined them to be. All I wanted to do was feed the baby, but it just wasn’t happening. I had sore breasts and nipples and a hungry baby. At that stage my body was only producing colostrum –  a nutrient-rich “pre-milk” or “practice milk.” My baby girl was not only hungry but irritated by the quantity or lack thereof colostrum. After everything I had been through to deliver the baby we didn’t want her to starve. We made the decision to feed her with formula, just to ensure she was full.

About four days after giving birth the milk really started free flowing much to my baby’s delight. I was relieved too as this was a rather stressful period for everyone – mum, dad and even the grandparents. Tell you what though, I learnt quickly that I needed to apply paw paw ointment on my nipples after each feed to reduce the pain and likelihood of them resembling a cheap vintage leather bag.

So what am I saying?

…Did I need to go to breastfeeding class? Probably not. With the baby in my arms it was instinctive, we both new what we had to do.

As I read through this post myself and see the written words it seems more real. Its true, I am really a mother. Lately, I question if things have happened or if it was a figment of my imagination. No I am not insane. Its an incredible feeling, holding her in my arms. I am getting hardly any sleep and even though I have post graduate qualifications and extensive work experience my new job description is to be a 24 hour personal assistant to a relentless boss who doesn’t pay well – my baby girl. You have to laugh because even with all that it’s only now that it’s sinking in – I repeat, I am someones mother.

Like any new mother with a new born its true – I could probably do with more sleep. The Louis Vuitton bags under my eyes can tell you that. Its almost like I am just going through the motions – survival mode.

One unexpected bonus has been the increased breast size. Lets just say, there has been many a selfie lingerie shoots for future reference.

A lot of my friends also had babies in 2015 and speaking to them has made me realise how lucky I am. Right now bub and I have a pretty good routine, we wake up twice through out the night for a breast feed and a nappy change. When I get out of bed to breastfeed, even if its an ungodly hour of 2am or something like – I cherish the moment, as this is our time to bond. Sounds cliche, but it truly is mother and daughter time.

I have been blessed to have an angel in my care who looks to be to guide them through life as their mother.

My name is Tinashe and I produce milk to feed my off spring. Whats your super power?

Fashion, Maternity, My Life

2015 Looking Back|Moving Forward to 2016…

Boom!

Just like that we are in the second week of 2016. We last had a conversation in 2015 so let me begin by wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Most of you are back at work, studies or whatever it is you do. I am on maternity leave doing the best job in the world – being a mother to our baby girl.

2015 was such a magical year for me, so I wanted to look back and reflect on the year that was. Better late than never right?

…lets get started.

I guess the first question to be answered is, how did it all begin?

Well, I remember it just it was yesterday. It was at the end of 2014 and I was sitting with family enjoying the last of the festive season and I declared, ‘this time next year things will be very different!’ I didn’t know how, but I knew that change was imminent. Below are some of the highlights of my 2015.

Relocation

In January  hubby and I relocated to the capital city of Australia, Canberra. Together we said goodbye to family and friends and started afresh in a brand new city. Just the two of us. This is the first time that we had to completely depend on each other in order for us to get settled. Think apartment hunting, furniture shopping, electricity set up, internet connection etc. Lets just say we got to know each other really really well real quick – understanding and appreciating our differences in order to function as a well oiled machine.

Engagement

In April we became engaged. At the time I was fighting a nasty cold that just wouldn’t go away. I was covered in Vix, had tissues close by because my nose was running faster that Hussain Bolt. A sight for sore eyes. When my hubby proposed it was a complete surprise as I thought it was just going to be our regular Friday date night. Long story short, I said YES! I mean this man had me the moment he said, “hello” all those years ago.

Pregnancy

I took one picture with hubby and everyone went crazy asking if I was expecting. I couldn’t understand it and was a little offended that people thought I looking fat. Chubbier than usual. It was the weekend we were letting our hair down at a festival and eating rubbish food and drinking sugary adult beverages that make you bloated. In the photo I was wearing a horizontally striped dress so that didn’t do me any favours. At the time I just laughed off the speculation and attributed it to being a food baby. Three weeks later I missed period. Long story short our baby girl was born 21st November 2015.

Traditional Wedding

“Dowry, Lobola, Roora” – the bride prize paid by a prospective husband.

In July we were traditionally married. I had been a witness to other traditional weddings – but it was an absolute pleasure to take part in the process as the bride. I got to not only see the process but also gain a deeper understanding of my culture. I am proud that we kept our culture alive even whilst still in diaspora.

From that day in July in eyes of our family and friends we are now man and wife. We are still yet to have our white wedding to legalise our marriage but we are in the process of arranging that. Stay tuned.

Glory be to God! That right there was a look back at 2015.

So whats in store for 2016?

Well I don’t believe in new years resolutions because its all a load of B.S. Time is man made, so the turn of the clock past midnight doesn’t automatically mean you can say, “new year, new me”. Personally I strive to constantly be working something that we will create the best version of myself. That being said I would like to share what I am working towards in 2016. It goes a little something like this:

  • Gotta have faith. I want to attend church at least once a month. If I can go to more services – GREAT!
  • Eat my salad, no dessert. Daily exercise is coming back in a big way. I have now had the baby, obtained clearance from my doctor and its time to loose the baby fat, slow and steady.
  • Knowledge is power.  I want to read more, more and more. Being on maternity leave I want to take advantage of this opportunity and read books that I have been eyeing off.
  • Cherishing God. Family. Hustle. In that order. Be the best daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend that I can be.

I spent most of 2015 pregnant and dressing the growing bump was one of the most exciting challenges I have ever faced. I get goosebumps thinking about it. I leave you with images of my five favourite maternity outfits of 2015.

I hope your 2016 is off to a flying start!

IamTinashe

Maternity, My Life, Sisterhood

My Birth Story – Let Go, Let God…

Hello?

It’s me.

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I was wondering if after all this time you would like to read this blog post to go over everthing.

They say time between posts is supposed to bring us closer. I find that hard to believe…. because I haven’t done much posting.

….Hello?

I have been procrastinating writing this post because my main focus has been on getting to know our new baby girl and adjusting to parenthood.

Our baby girl is growing fast and with a fast accumulating sleep debt its hard to believe that our baby is now over a month old – time flies when your a new parent.

That being said, I think its now time for me to share my birth story.

For those who have not had children, don’t let this post intimidate you. I am sharing my story to give you an insight on my birth story – knowledge, no matter how irrelevant it may seem to you at the time  – is power.

Pre-Labor

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I finished full time employment in week 38 of my pregnancy, so I had a solid two weeks at home – to nest. It will be fun they said. The first week was very difficult as I was suffering separation anxiety from work. Weird I know, most people would be thrilled to be at home, sleeping in, watching day time TV and relaxing. With me? Well you are dealing with someone who has worked in some capacity from the age of 14. I was missing the action – you know the hustle and bustle of corporate life. Most of all I missed the idea of getting up in the morning and getting dressed to the nines and going somewhere.  At home I cooked, cleaned and watched copious amounts of ratchet television.

By week two at home, I was willing the baby to come early (week 39) to cure the boredom. I kept myself busy by getting my hair done, massages, pedicures, wax appointments, creating a belly cast and brunch outings with friends.

None of  these activities quenched my thirst to be close to the work action, drama and politics.

The Labor

Two nights before I went into labor my husband became fearful that the baby was going to come. Why? I was cleaning everything, really getting in there – think pantry, fridge being cleaned from top to bottom, vacuuming and mopping daily etc. etc. – nesting as they say.

The night before going into labor I decided that I didn’t want to deliver the baby with the grey crotchet braids that had been installed a week earlier. I joked to hubby that knowing this baby, the night I undo my crotched braids, I will go into labor the next day. We laughed and laughed and laughed.

To my horror that is exactly what happened. With my hair in buns wrapped under a scarf as I slept. My water broke around 8am in the morning on Friday 20th November 2015.

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At the time, I really wasn’t sure if this was the real thing. I second guessed myself and was a little paranoid that I may have just peed myself. *eyes wide open in shock* Then I remembered the content covered in the prenatal classes and I knew it was real. Promptly I shook hubby who was dead to the world next to me to wake up. When he heard the news, he didn’t say a word – he simply jumped out of bed and ran to have a shower. I was a little bit in shock given the day we had been waiting for was finally here. My bags were already packed so I decided to have a shower and do my make up for the labor. Pain is no reason to not look your best.

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After getting ready, I decided to call the hospital to update them on my situation and to let them know that we were on our way. Contractions at this point were not painful nor were they that close to each other so the midwives advised that I stay at home until midday. That was still 3 hours away.

To pass the time along I tried to eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast – but the adrenaline was rushing through me and my appetite was gone. I managed to devour a whole bowl of fruit, but that was about it. That took about 30 mins.

With about two and half hours to go, I removed and stored the 3,000 plus photos on my Iphone so that I could take lots of pictures and videos during the birth process. I checked my hospital bag to make sure that everything I thought I would need was there.  I also spent some time watching the 24 hour news channel. Basically anything that would distract me from what was ahead of me.

As I was lounging on the couch I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Its only then that I realised that I was still wearing a scarf on my heard, hair in buns underneath. A mild panic came over me as I made my way to my hair suitcase. Yes my hair suitcase! I went there looking for a lace front wig that could pass as my own hair. I settled for a curly bob – figured that would be suitable to meet my new born baby. Truth be told I just needed something….anything.

imageIt was around half past 12 that we headed out the door on our way to the hospital. On the way to the hospital, I convinced hubby to stop by McDonalds so that I could eat my last ever Big Mac burger before the arrival of our baby girl.  After devouring the burger and fries in the hospital car park we arrived at the birth centre. Its there that we filled out the paperwork, were allocated to our birth suite and got ourselves settled. It was now around 2pm and the contractions were starting to make their presence felt.

It felt like I blinked and 8 hours had passed. The contractions were looking me right in the eye and testing my limits.

I guess my mum was a little nervous given the time passed and at around 10pm my mother arrived from interstate for some moral support.  It had now been 14 hours since labor started and I wa still at it.

The contractions were now coming thick and fast, yet I perservered.  For those who are yet to experience labor contractions the best way to describe it is like this – its like being kicked in the back by a dinosaur then having an elephant trample your stomach. No exaggeration.

I was in labor for a total of 26 hours and at the 18th hour I requested some epidural – at this point I was beyond exhausted and just didn’t have the energy to endure the pain. The application of the epidural was not only uncomfortable it was painful too – but with the epidural I managed to have some composure and get some much needed rest in between contractions.

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In the early hours of the morning our baby girl had some bowel movement and was now facing head up, making the delivery complicated. It’s at this point the doctor and midwife made the decision that I would have an emergency C- section. This was not something I was looking forward to. I was absolutely shattered as I thought I would be able to give birth naturally – especially after a 26 hour effort.

The thought of having surgery, let alone the healing process had tears streaming down my face. Up until now I had never been in a hospital let alone had an operation – so to say I was scared was an understatement.

As the doctor assembled the theatre team, I lay in the birth suite not saying much, looking at the ceiling basically throwing myself a pity party. Hubby was beside himself didn’t really know what to say or to do to console me. Its only my mum who simply stated, “you better snap out of it, if they don’t operate it puts the baby’s life and your life at risk“.  This was the sound of reason I needed. As those words marinated in my mind The pity party came to an abrupt end and I plucked up the courage and strength to face whatever came my way.

The Cesarean

As they wheeled my bed into theatre I remember counting the lights above me. Call it a coping mechanism, maybe even a way to fight back tears. When I arrived in the theatre I was surprised by the number of people that were there (at least 18 people) and the high level of lighting in the room. A heaven for those wanting to take selfies with optimum lighting. Had it been a difference circumstance I would have been thrilled to be here – snapping away.

One thing that I thought was really sweet was that each of the 18 people in the theater came and introduced themselves to me and let me know what they would be doing in the process. I guess as a form of distraction and reassurance that I was in good hands.

Our baby girl Tasima Ariah Sigauke arrived into the world on Saturday, November 21st 2015 at 9:19am weighing 3.25 kilos. Hubby was by my side through out the whole process literally holding my hand.

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Seeing her for the first time, I was in oar. I could not believe that I created her and she came out of me. Weirdly I thought I would have cried tears of happiness and relief, but I didn’t. I just stared. It was like an out of body experience. Even though I was laying in the theater room it was the best day of my life.

I had worked myself up so much about the operation but to my surprise the C- section was completed within minutes. I was cut open, the baby was retrieved and I sewn back up in 17 mins. I was conscious yet sedated from the waist down through out the whole process. To describe a c-section I would say its like when you have a big handbag and are rummaging at the bottom of the bag to find something. Your body is the bag and you are the one being rummaged.

Discharge

I was discharged from the hospital the following Monday after a three day stay in hospital. Recovering from a c- section was challenging with a new born demanding attention, but I was lucky to have my mum and my husband who were by my side every step of the way. Thankfully I have healed from the c- section and have gained my independence once more.

At times I am sleep deprived but my days are now filled doing the best job in the world – being a mother to Tasima and watching her grow and discover the world.

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I debated about writing this post given that its such a personal experience but I hope my reflection and experience somehow inspires some of you to NOT fear the birthing process, and instead embrace it.

At this moment I would like to thank the doctors, midwives and nurses from Canberra Centenary Hospital for Women and Children for their exceptional care.

To my husband and mother, you are the wind beneath my wings.

Lets start preparing for baby number two!  🙂

IamTinashe xoxo

Fashion, Maternity, My Life

The Butterfly Effect…

I am in the last few weeks of being pregnant. How time flies right? I mean it could be worse – an elephant is pregnant for about 22 months.

Over the nine months that have passed I have gotten used to dressing my bump and carrying it around. As my pregnancy comes to an end I think I am going to miss my baby bump.

At the same time I am looking forward to delivering the baby because I feel some what trapped. I have stopped work, travelling interstate or overseas is a no no, just left with the surroundings around me. This is all because I could deliver literally at any moment and need to be in close proximity to the hospital – yikes!

Each day I find myself thinking about how things are going to be once she is here. What will labour be like? What will she look like? What kind of personality will she have? How will our lives change? Will we cope? So on and so on. Its all so unknown and for a control freak like me you can imagine how I am feeling.

No longer will I be a daughter, sister and wife – I will be taking on the additional title and responsibility of being someone’s mama. I am scared, anxious and excited – all at the same damn time.

Well my mama resume isn’t completely blank – laugh if you want to but in the past I have been a mother to fur babies and I loved them to bits. None of those animals under my care were ever unkept, malnutritioned let alone died in my care. I know, I know, its hardly comparable experience but it should count for something.

Being a mother to a human being that was created and formed inside of me well it comes with its own special responsibilities. Ideally I want to raise a law abiding citizen that positively contributes to society.

The stakes are high though because if we get it wrong as a parent we could have a drug addicted child who sells their body for cash to supply their habit or worse still a career criminal – who spends their life in and out of jail.

No judgement to those that have walked that walk and gotten their life back on track.

My imagination is pretty out there  – so yes the above is dramatic and definitely worst case scenario for any parent.

Parenting can be hard. I have heard it can be exhausting, terrifying, confusing and heartbreaking. It changes your body, your priorities, and  your financial situation.

Even with all that, I still think will be the best job in the world!

Necklace – Lovisa, Jumpsuit – Asos, Heels – Witnner