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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?

Lifestyle, My Life, Observations

Beyond Reasonable Doubt…

As soon I was legally able to get a job I went for it – I was fifteen. With a one page resume that only really had my name, address and school grades I put my best foot forward to potential employers – who now that I think of it would have loved some cheap labour. I accepted the fact that my limited work experience meant I would start from the bottom.  This didn’t worry me because it has always been important for me to be Miss independent, Miss self-sufficient – thats my mantra.

Reality is setting in. I am now days away from finishing up my full time job and morphing into a lady of leisure whilst I await the arrival of our little princess. Being a lady of pleasure is some what scary to me – what will I do with myself? I am not good at relaxing, you know doing nothing. Women around me have been encouraging me to enjoy the nesting time.

At the same time its is also very exciting. I will be temporarily unemployed, going were the wind takes me and my bub. Mixed emotions, I know.

Women who have been in my “swollen feet” state say to me it will be the last time I will enjoy gallivanting, lounging, shopping, sleeping, let along peeing alone – for a little while.

I am writing this post because I wanted to share a recent experience with you. To give some context to the conversation, in Australia when you have a baby you are provided with parental leave pay for roughly about six months. In order to receive the payment you need to go to a government agency to sign up.

Monday morning, I made the decision to be at the government agency bright and early so that I could head to the office straight after. I waited in line so that I could check in ready to see the Customer Service Officer (CSO). This was the first time that I had ever entered such a government agency that is renowned for providing income benefits for individuals who are down and out or going a rough patch. I was greeted by a man who whilst friendly enough appeared slightly odd. Our conversation transcript is shown below

CSO – How can I help you today?

IamTinashe – I am here to register myself for the paid parental leave initiative.

CSO – What is your government registry number?

IamTinashe – I don’t have one…

The CSO looks up from the screen, blinks twice and asks

CSO – Are you sure?

I was a little taken aback but responded with a firm

IamTinashe  – Yes

CSO – What is your date of birth, first and last name?

Interested to see where this was going I provide him with my details. He proceeds go input them into the system. In complete shock he looks up and says..

CSO – My gosh! Your over 30 and you have never been on any benefits! Have a seat someone will be right with you. 

I didn’t say anything just simply walked away and proceeded to sit down. A lot of thoughts were going through my mind. The main one was – stereotype much? So because I am a African pregnant woman signing up for paid parental leave – surely this can’t be the first time that I had received government benefits.

….right.

Its times like this that my race is highlighted or stereotypes apply. I see it, but I refuse to let it bother me. Infact it fuels me. I know what they are probably expecting based on their own prejudices – but I am ready, willing and eager to exceed their expectations.

You know, really blow their minds.

…drops mic walks off the stage.

Dress – ASOS, Shoes – Wittner

 

Fashion, My Life, Observations

You Don’t Want To Catch A Brick…

When you see me with my hair up it means one of two things.

One: I am busy, completely booked and have no time to have my hair down or rubbing against my back.

Two: I have had my hairstyle for a few weeks and I am getting over it. Craving something new.

Even though I did the big chop and am going through the natural hair journey, blah blah blah….yawn.

Lord knows I love to have my hair braided. It reduces the time it takes for me leave the house.

The only drawback to having your hair braided is removing the braids – I hate that. Hate is a strong word, but I truly mean it in this context.

In a true act of desperation I sent the following to my friends:

Dear cherished friends,

You are cordially invited to attend my braid removal party.

When – anytime that YOU are available

Where – Canberra, Australia

As part of the braid removal celebrations entertainment, dinner and drinks will be provided. 

Please RSVP at your earliest convenience.

IamTinashe

Days passed and no one responded. I thought to myself, “what is wrong with these people?”. We even exchanged many other texts but no one brought up the ‘braid hair removal party”. The height of rudeness.

Before I convinced myself to shave my hair once more or spiralled into a pity party for one, I thought to myself if I had received the above invite what would I do? Well for starters I would think the heffer who sent the invite was mad. Although I would definitely not attend, I would still send a response along the lines of ‘hell to the NO!”.

Awkwardly, I did follow up with the invitees – couldn’t help myself  – they all thought I was joking and the message didn’t need a response. The lies they tell!

Long story short I will be spending the weekend undoing my hair, by my damn self – maybe the people invited will read this post, feel pity for me and drag their bum to my house and come help me.

…some wishful thinking.

Nerd Glasses – SportsGirl, Stripe Dress – Target, Leopard Boots – Witchery

Fashion, Maternity Advice, My Life, Observations

Face By M.A.C. Body By Jesus….

I recently had a friend who is trim taut and terrific ask me – What is it like to pregnant? Do you feel invincible? Have you had any weird cravings? Do you hate everyone?

All very interesting questions. Whilst I was flattered she asked me – I didn’t quite know how to answer the questions. This is my first child, hardly a veteran. I didn’t want it to sound like amateur hour.

To be perfectly honest though, now that I am pregnant I find it funny how people who have never been pregnant have these preconceived notions of what its like to be pregnant. All from movies they have seen, books they have read and an experience they had with a sister, friend or distant relative. I guess if you have never been through it before or are a man – its hard to truly imagine let alone understand what its like to be pregnant.

Pregnancy is a lot of things.

Its the gift of creating life – a miracle. You find yourself just about bursting into tears at the thought of carrying that life within you body for nine months whilst you nurture it, feel it grow. Its by far the most incredible thing I have done in my life and I am beyond excited to meet this little person that my husband and I have created.

Pregnancy can also be scary, dramatic and down right weird.

You get  hands on experience with your body as it accommodates this growing lodger inside you.  You will surprise yourself. Think constipation, wind (no matter how much of a lady you are – all bets are off), swollen feet (baby elephant) , sleepless nights (its 3am someone decides to have a kicking party inside you), backaches (comes with the territory),  you will at some point need to be pushed off the bed and pulled off the couch (true story), hair grows everywhere, I mean everywhere (you feel like wolverine) – these are some of the more interesting experiences  – some of the things you don’t and won’t expect or want to know – but its all part of the joy of entering motherhood.

This has been my experience thus far. Veterans of the pregnancy game – feel free to chip in.

 Dress – Temt, Pumps – Wittner.

 

 

Fashion, Maternity, Observations, Sisterhood, Style

No Shade…

I am not scared about becoming a mother. I am more terrified of bringing my child into this world.

What I see on television, read in newspapers, blogs and social media makes me question whether society as a whole has really embraced each other’s differences.

What you are about to read is just a small glimpse of the scenarios that I have encountered as a woman of colour here in Australia.
Continue Reading…

Fashion, Maternity, My Life, Observations, Style

Be You And The World Will Adjust…

Before I got pregnant I had a lot of friends telling me about the horrible maternity clothes they wore over and over and wanted to burn after they delivered.

That’s enough to put the fear of God into any pregnant woman.

So far i have been pretty lucky to still be wearing my regular clothes with a few maternity clothes added in the mix.

…but i have to admit from the research I have conducted some of the maternity clothes are just plain hideous and or quite over priced – not really sure what that is about.

To date i have learnt that what i wore last week, pretty much won’t fit me the following week. I have also learnt not get into my feelings about this  – I am growing a human inside of me for gods sake!

My goal throughout my pregnancy is to enjoy the experience, embrace my changing body and to still look fly at all stages of my pregnancy.

True Story.

Dress – Temt, Black Pumps – Wittner