🎃Happy Halloween

🎃Happy Halloween

I hope you all enjoyed your day! New blog coming Thursday! ✌🏾

📸Halloween Photo Dump! It was Mj’s first Halloween! We enjoyed ourselves! Didn’t even have to leave the neighborhood because everyone did such a good job for the kids! #happyhalloween #photodump #familyiseverything

My beautiful family 💕
-Toni💕

A Birth, and a Rebirth

Before our last baby was born on August 17, 2021, I had already felt like I was completely dead inside. Besides his kicks and punches, I had become this empty shell of a person. Carrying a life is a blessing, but people forget all that comes along with it. I struggled mentally & physically. I dealt with excruciating pelvic pains, nausea, vomiting, & depression worse than ever before. Depression made it hard to get out of bed, smile, or even enjoy life at all. Physical pains made it impossible to see the end because some days I couldn’t even walk due to my pelvic pains. 

When it was finally time to deliver our newest blessing I was ecstatic to get it over with! Although I knew birthing him would be the hardest part, I was just ready to heal and start my postpartum journey! My entire birthing experience started wrong. The hospital gave me the wrong time to be there, my scheduled surgery started late, & I felt rushed & full of anxiety because things were not going as I originally planned and that caused me unwanted stress. 

The doctors and nurses that attended and assisted with my surgery were amazing, but the overall experience was painful. The spinal tap was not too bad, but unfortunately, I am starting to have after-effects. The first day was challenging because I had scar tissue from my three previous cesareans that made it more complicated for the surgeon to reach our son. The whole time I laid on the operating table I kept telling myself this too shall pass, pain doesn’t last forever, & trouble doesn’t last always. I did a lot of positive self-talk during surgery and in my post-recovery room. Although I was in pain, I would look over at my newest blessing and just smile. I naturally loved him and wanted to care for him no matter how I felt, so I breastfed through the pain and enjoyed just watching him breathe!

After getting through the first day I thought the second day would be a breeze & boy was I wrong! On the second day after my surgery, I was close to death. I had not had much sleep & the pain was keeping me up so although I usually decline narcotics, I accepted Percocet for pain instead of Motrin. I dozed off immediately after taking the Percocet, and I woke up to a nightmare. I was having an allergic reaction to the Percocet. My throat was closing, my body welted up, my breathing became labored, I was itching all over my body, and no one knew or understood what was happening until I remembered the last time I experienced this was when I had Anaphylactic shock from

Mushrooms. I told the doctors and nurses who had all piled in my room. The crazy thing about the entire situation is the one thing I needed the hospital did not carry… I needed an epi-pen and they did not have them.

During the entire anaphylactic shock experience, I kept looking at my newborn baby who was only a foot away. All I could think of was losing my life before ever being his mother. Believe it or not, maternal deaths of black women are extremely high right now and I thought I was about to be a part of the statistics. I thank God that I was given another chance to live. A nurse was working that afternoon that recognized what I was experiencing and jumped in to take charge, which saved my life. 

On the third day, I felt a lot better than the second day and I was just ready to go home. I felt my home would be the safest place for me considering my experience at the hospital. I was welcomed home by my mother who has been the biggest blessing in my life during my pregnancy and now. Being home did not bring on some magical healing because I was still experiencing a lot of pain from my incision area. Being home only made me feel safer than being at the hospital.  Our other three children were so excited to meet their baby brother & I felt good knowing that I was the creator of all this greatness 💕

Resting in the comfort of my home has been the best part so far. A cesarean birth is a serious procedure, and no matter where the healing process takes place, it will be a challenge physically & mentally. If I could give myself some advice for day three of healing from a cesearan it would be to walk as much as possible for the swelling, stay hydrated, & go at your own pace. There is no specific timeframe of when you may feel better after a c-section. Everyone’s situation and all bodies are different so it’s not a definite answer to the healing time. Just take any postpartum journey slow & at your own pace. 

I can say from my personal experience that I started to feel some relief by the third week. During the third week, I was able to be more independent and hands-on with my other children as well. It’s now week four of my postpartum journey and I’ve cooked my first meal, vacuumed, drove to Starbucks, & made the bed! Those tasks seem small, but they are hard tasks when you barely have core strength! I feel like I could do more, but my doctor still has me restricted as of now. 

My entire pregnancy and postpartum has been challenging. For me, this postpartum journey will be a rebirth of someone greater than I was before. I’m not focused on weight loss, snapping back, being perfect, or unrealistic expectations. I am focused on the healing of my mind, body, and  spirit so I do not allow postpartum depression, anxiety, and stressors of life to hold me back. I want to heal and grow from this experience! It is my experience that tough situations, build tough people. 

I already feel different inside & I am not the woman I was before I gave birth to our final baby. I see things differently, I’m thinking differently, & even responding differently about certain situations. Having a major surgery, a new baby, & 3 other children has been one of the most challenging times in my life so far. Luckily I have my husband who has supported me through breastfeeding,  physical support, & emotional support. My husband has been so selfless & it feels good to know that the man I chose to marry is the epitome of “for better or worse”! A supportive partner or support person through postpartum is major! 

I have also been blessed during the postpartum process to have my mother here for moral support. If you have been following my blog from the start or for a while then you are aware that our relationship has been like that of a butterfly, we have been through many different phases but we have grown into something so beautiful. My mom has encouraged me, loved me unconditionally, and sacrificed her everyday schedule for me! I’ll forever be appreciative of her.

As the days continue to go by I think about what I could have done differently before the arrival of our son to make this postpartum journey easier and there is no clear-cut answer. I would suggest any mom before birth to prepare meals, have a set schedule for other children, ensure to have a stockpile of everything needed for the baby & yourself, & home in advance. 

One part of the journey that is bitter-sweet is breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has been challenging but worth it for our son! Although I’ve had sore nipples, sleepless nights, & hours of pumping since his birth I know it’s worth it for his health. The pandemic has had me on edge, but having a baby during a pandemic is even more stressful & the antibodies in my breastmilk motivates me to continue my breastfeeding journey. If you are a mom that has decided to breastfeed I would say make sure you have a supportive partner or support person in general because it can be discouraging in the beginning. 

Postpartum journey is just that ….a journey! A journey of ups and downs and highs and lows. A journey of painful days, happy days, sad days, or days you may not even remember! The journey has been worth every second because I am watching myself evolve slowly into a healed woman, with no regrets! Life is about lessons and I have received some clarifying and life-changing lessons since the start of this pandemic and especially during my pregnancy. It has almost been a year since The Pearl Blog was created and it feels good to say the woman I was when I started The Pearl Blog was nowhere near this confident, healed, matured, focused, & motivated to just be better! 

If you are pregnant, a mom or a person just going through life challenges remember “this too shall pass”! Most things in life are temporary, just get your lessons and evolve from whatever challenges you go through. Challenges are meant to make you resilient, and resiliency makes you more equipped to handle future challenges!  So keep healing & keep growing through life! 

-💕Toni 

Siblings…Let us Speak on it!

Siblings…Let us Speak on it!

Did you know that siblings are more liking to have a closer bond or better relationship with a friend outside of their genetic makeup, than their own sibling(s) that they were raised up with?  Sibling rivalries or sibling estrangement was something I never knew much about growing up because in my household my mother was certain to keep us all close. My family often gathered on Sundays, participated in family gatherings or game nights, & we were more together than we were apart. Between my oldest two siblings and I there are 14-15 years between us, my middle sibling is 5 years older than I am, and my sibling after me is only a 1 year younger. Since there are different age groups amongst my siblings and I it led to some siblings being close and others being estranged. My siblings and I were raised by a single mother, and all five of us have our own perspectives, but I would like to share with you today my perspective in hopes of helping others heal their relationships or decipher it is time to heal within and end the sibling relationship permanently.

It starts with the parent(s):

Our mother was and still is a phenomenal woman. My mother was married young and divorced young, so she raised all five of her children with little help from the fathers. During our upbringing, our mother was like a super woman in my eyes. I remember her waking up early and returning home late, but we never lacked our true needs. Being a single mother led to our mother not being always being present which led to children in the household experiencing different traumas that she was unaware of, children feeling emotionally abandoned or not heard, and children not having enough guidance. In my own opinion, my mother did not have favorites, but she was aware that certain siblings needed her more than others. In our situation my older sibling and younger sibling needed more attention. I often felt like I was not heard and my cries for help went unnoticed.

As we grew up and the older siblings where out of the home and the younger ones were headed out the nest, is when the dynamics shifted drastically. Those children who gathered on Sundays, who was tight knitted, & never too far away; all became estranged. Although some siblings had been closer than others, there were still unsaid feelings, unspoken traumas, & resentment among the siblings that was never spoken about. Unspoken feelings are major in our family dynamic and it caused estrangement that could possibly be avoided. After all the siblings were grown, our only connect was our mother. I believe it was and still is hard for our mother to be in the middle of disagreements or broken relationships. Our mother was unaware that see caused more strain when she spoke to one sibling about the other, or when she told private conversations to one sibling that the other did not give her permission to share. Being in the middle was our mother new position, and that caused a rift between her and different siblings as well. It was not until recently that our mother decided to stay out of the conflicts, but the damage and lack of trust among each other had already started. As a parent with multiple children myself I have learned not to favor one child over the other, listen to all children’s point of view, and not place the children against one another. How siblings will co-exist, treat one another, or turnout as adults can be affected if there is a parent(s) not able to guide the children properly. I do not believe it was my mothers’ intentions to cause a breakdown in the sibling relationships, but I know the one thing that she could have done differently to change certain outcomes is “give all siblings the same support, love, & attention”. If she were able to find the medium between all the children needs the strain on the relationships could have been different.

Why is it hard to forgive a sibling?

I have found that it is harder to forgive a sibling for causing hurt than it is to forgive a friend or someone else. Forgiveness is hard! To be able to accept that someone has violated your trust, betrayed you in some way, or caused you any type of pain can be a major thing to accept. When family is involved, I believe most of the time you expect more. Personally, I expect my sibling to be someone I can depend on, confide in, and trust no matter what. What I have learned with life experiences is that family members can hurt you more than a stranger ever would. Sibling betrayal is different than friendship betrayal for me because I have always held my siblings at higher standards. With the age differences I have always looked up to my older siblings and expected nothing from them but guidance, protection, & love. Should siblings disagree? Sure, that is unavoidable; no family get along all the time. Disagreeing in a respectful manner should be a new trend. Instead of disagreeing respectfully, hurtful words that cannot be taken back are said and actions occur that may never be forgotten. The hard part about forgiving a simply is trying to erase all that has been said or done. The saying that “words do not hurt” is absolutely wrong, because hurtful words said today can replay in the other individual head ten years from now. I still have not forgotten hurtful words or actions done to me by certain siblings, and I am sure there are some hurtful actions and words that my siblings are struggling to forgive me for. So how do you handle a disagreement with a sibling that you feel does not deserve forgiveness? Forgiveness is a trait that must be practiced, and it is not possible to forgive someone overnight. What I have tried with my siblings is to look at them as only humans and know that neither of us are perfect. Also, I remind myself that we all have an inner child in us that is hurt, and sometimes behaviors are only a response to the inner child. It is easier to forgive if you recognize the other person as someone like you, and I have done that. The issue with forgiving your sibling is the fear of the same issues or behaviors replaying…Which leads to the question of when should you completely cut off your sibling after forgiving them and attempting to rebuild the relationship multiple times?

Should you completely cut off your sibling after forgiving them multiple times:

Sara Eckel stated in a article for Psychology Today that “Contrary to the conventional wisdom, refusing to forgive or have further contact with an unrepentant, abusive relative is therapeutic. ” The above statement is simply saying that even though society says you should forgive your sibling for repetitively hurting you, refusing contact with a person who shows no remorse for their actions is actually healing! There comes a point in all relationships when you may have to cut all ties and move forward in life for your own mental health. Holding on to someone who hurts you simply because they are family is detrimental to your mind, body, and soul. I love all my siblings, but there are different relationships with each of them. I have disagreed with all of them at some point in our lives, but I determine who I allow in my space by their behaviors. There are siblings I speak with at lease once a week, there are some I speak to once a month, and there may be times when I do not speak to one for 6-12 months simply because I interact with my siblings based off their behavior towards me. Being genetically related to someone does not give them a pass to use you, disrespect you, or cause you mentally, emotional, or physical harm. Once someone or something becomes harmful to your health it is then time to walk away completely. Choosing to remain in any type of unhealthy relationship means that you are not placing YOURSELF first. Do not feel guilty for cutting off an unhealthy family member, do not allow others to convince you this person will change, & handle the situation in the way that best benefits you. Removing an individual from your life due to their harmful behaviors towards you does not make you a terrible person. Blood is thicker than water is literally just a saying. I have had strangers treat me better than some people who are genetically related to me. I have been friends with someone 5 years that supported, loved, and respected me more than someone I have shared a womb with. Remember this quote by Paulo Coelho “How people treat other people is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves.” There is nothing you can do to better a relationship with your sibling besides do your part. After you have done all you can, walk away knowing you tried, and their actions has nothing to do with you.

 

Recommended blogs & resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/199907/must-you-forgive

https://www.rd.com/article/adult-sibling-estrangement/

https://atomic-temporary-184816857.wpcomstaging.com/2020/12/08/the-inability-to-move-on/

 

 

Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace….

If I was given a $1.00 for every time I was asked “How did you move on with kids?” “Were you scared?” “How do you co-parent with a new partner involved?”. First let me state this, when I said vows and became a wife, I never thought it would lead to a divorce. I filed for divorce because I knew the relationship was no longer healthy & I knew it would not improve. Filing the divorce was the easy part, but once it was complete, I kept thinking I would be single forever because who would love me with children! I thought every single negative thought you can imagine. I also felt very ashamed because my marriage had failed.

When I met my current partner, it was random & believe it or not I did everything in my power to run this man off, just to see if he could stay through ups & downs. The fact that he seen me & my children as a “packaged deal “was how he stole my heart. My partner never tried to replace their dad, he never stepped on the other parent toes, & he always kept it respectful because he only wanted to see me & the children happy!

Love after divorce is the hardest because learning to trust, being open for love, & accepting that even this new relationship could also fail was not easy! The uncertainty is the scariest feeling in this world. The uncertainty and the emotional/mental health of my children was a major concern. I did not want my children to feel like me having a new partner, means that their dad was replaced. I was scared to trust my own judgment. I stepped out on faith & decided to give love another try, and I can now say it was the BEST DECISION of my life!

In the beginning it was uncomfortable because I had never done this before, and I did not know if I should introduce my ex-husband and my new partner or if I should just let things flow. My ex-husband moved on quickly after the divorce, and he never properly introduced me to his new partner & because she was the mistress while we were married it was already an understanding that her & I would not be interacting. But I felt the need to have the two of them met each other. Now that I have more experience, I would say your ex and new partner meeting is not a necessity for a healthy co-parenting relationship, especially if the divorce between you and your ex ended with hostility. I learned that keeping everything between my ex-husband and myself was easier than involving all parties. There was less conflict when only my ex-husband and I communicated about the children.

Although my partner was an active parenting partner for the children & the children were with us 90% of the time, my partner still never crossed any boundaries with the kid’s dad. My ex was hostile and often rude about my new partner being so involved with our children. My ex often spoke badly about my new partner and his new partner was often rude & disrespectful towards me. It was not easy navigating all these different people, and trying to keep the kids unaware and happy. Trying to keep everyone peace and all parties on the same page became way too much work. We even tried combining a birthday celebration by going to a movie as a “blended family” & we tried to show the kids we could be “blended” but that was not realistic because of the hostility & anger that was still in place due to how the marriage ended. We would do good for a few months, and them BOOM there was drama again.

So my new partner and I came up with the perfect solution on how to co-parent when there is a new partner/role model involved. For us we only cared about the welling-being of the children. We wanted the children to know that they have two homes, two new extra supporters, & they can love us all because we all love them. The goal was to not place any aggression, pressure, or any form of negativity around the kids. So, we started to simply follow the custody agreement to the T. We did everything legally right, and if there were any issues, we handled them through the courts. We stopped all unnecessary conversations and only spoke when it was necessary to speak about the kids. My partner and I decided that emailing was the best form of communication because it can be traced, and the co-parenting with my ex started to become more peaceful. The children seem to be enjoying the peace, and it is simpler for them and us. When I divorced and then moved on, I had this tv image of us all being “blended” and on family vacations together and having holidays together like Mashonda & Alicia Keys have done with Swizz Beats and their children. But the reality is… All divorces & co-parenting situations will not end in peaches and cream. It is important to know that your situation will be different from mines, and the next person. My only suggestion is that you focus on what is best for your kids, yourself, and the new person you love. Do not allow the other parties to control your life. “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” —Dalai Lama. There is light at the end of the tunnel, & there is sunshine after the storm!

If this blog has helped you, please subscribe and comment your thoughts and opinions below! ❤

“Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” —Dalai Lama.

 

A high conflict divorce is where marriage ends, and war begins…

A high conflict divorce is where marriage ends, and war begins…

To those who have experienced divorce/breakup with kids we all know how difficult it can be once you have decided to part ways from someone whom you have built a life with and have created children. It can be emotionally draining, stressful, & full of high conflict for the adults. Imagine what it does to kids?

Being a divorcee, I know how hard it can be to divorce, and the after math of it all. In the beginning of the process it can be so intimidating and heart-breaking because you do not know what to expect. This week on Majorie Blog I will be discussing the 5 most important things that has helped me co-parent after a high-conflict divorce. If you are not sure what a high-conflict divorce is I will sum it up.. A high conflict divorce is where marriage ends, and war begins…

For me I felt as if I was going to war, but I will let you know now co-parenting after a high-conflict divorce does not have to be war for you or your children. There is some peace, and although there will be bumps in the road, and may be some days when you feel defeated, if you follow the following tips I promise you co-parenting will not be a war, instead it will be peace for yourself & all children involved.

When I first got divorced, I focused a lot on what was done to me, how I was abused, mistreated, and hurt throughout the years. I focused too much on the pain I endured from the marriage and I did not realize the major changes and hurt the divorce was causing my kids. So that is where my first tip of advice stem from.

1. If you are hurting because of a bad divorce then please seek counseling for you, but no matter what the other parent does to push your buttons or make your life miserable, ALWAYS put the well-being and happiness of your kids first. Putting the kids well-being first allows you to heal just from seeing the happiness in them. Seeing my children happy is what helped me to ignore and disengage from a lot of unnecessary drama.

There will be occasions where something may take place that is negatively affecting the children, or there may be situations where the other parent is acting against what you feel is the best interest of your children. In my case the other parent was often in and out of jail, and was an addict, and disciplined in a way I felt was too harsh. In these cases, it is best to seek legal advice & handle your situation through the court system, but NEVER ever interrogate your children about the other parent & make them feel stuck in the middle.

2. Do your very best to not put the children in the middle of adult drama, adult drama can make the kids feel like they have to choose a side or make them feel like the situation is their fault. The more you can hide from your children, the better.

Co-parenting consist of co-existing with another person with whom you are no longer with. Co-existing could be phone-calls, drop-offs/pick-ups, or events where the children are involved and both parents are required to be in attendance. There will be occasions that require you and your ex to be present for the sake of your children. I suggest making these times as simple as possible and this leads to tip #3.

3. Always attempt and make every effort to work together for the best interest of the children. When you are present with you ex, always make sure there is no inappropriate behavior displayed while the children are present. Children pick up on behaviors, and energy of adults. So work together and be an example for them!

When relationships end, there are occurrences where it ended on really bad terms and you may genuinely dislike the person you have to co-parent with. The person I co-parent with was a serial cheater, and abusive so of course there was animosity and hate towards the other parent in the beginning. I really did not want to co-parent with him, and I did not want to share my children with such a person. I had to realize that I chose this person to procreate with and now I must deal with them and accept the choices and decisions I made that led to this. In doing this there were times when certain things were said about the other parent and the kids would ask questions or want to know the whys? The biggest things I learned is that the kids will not remain kids forever…let the kids determine who the other parent is without your opinions of that parent. Children are big on energy and actions. Let them decide!

4. Do not speak badly about the other parent while the children are present. The children will resent you, and the children will be upset because they love both parents. They are not aware of what happened between daddy & mommy. Even if they are aware, stay neutral and let them figure it out. If they need further understanding a neutral party/ therapist may be a good option. Whatever you decide bad-mouthing the other parent is not the answer.

My final and most important tool that helped me was disengaging. My divorce was high-conflict and there was a lot of disagreeing and I felt like I was treated so badly, and I felt like although we were divorce there was still tension, disrespect, yelling, anger towards me, controlling behavior, verbal & mental abuse, and I would always try to combat back and forth with my ex until I realized silence is the best medicine for a high-conflict ex. I only speak to my ex when it is ABSOLUTELY necessary. I understand now that I divorced some one who may never change for the better, but I am not in control of anyone but “MYSELF” when I realized that I am not responsible for my ex behavior toward me, I changed and I THRIVED for the better of myself & my kids.

5. DISENGAGE…If your ex is someone that like conflict and enjoys making your life hard…I suggest you disengage. Disengaging is one of the easiest ways to end conflict because the other person needs someone to engage with them in order to keep the conflict going. Remember you are no longer with him/her so there is no need to argue or prove yourself to them. Remain silent for your peace and your children peace.

I am not a therapist or professional, but I have experienced a high-conflict divorce and high-conflict co-parenting until I changed the narrative for myself and my children. I have used all the tips I gave, and they have worked for me. Divorce does not have to destroy you or your peace of mind. When you realize that war with your ex, is like war with your children it will make you look at co-parenting so differently. Before you can mentally be okay it is important to know you are not alone in this. People divorce every day, and co-parenting does not have to be toxic. You are only in control of you! Never allow another person to live rent free in your brain!

No more APOLOGIES……

I am a WOMAN, one of the most unappreciated on this planet. The WOMAN should be the most appreciated asset on this planet. Being a WOMAN has been one of my best attributes. I have found strength, courage, and growth in my WOMANHOOD.The hardest part about Womanhood for me is repeatedly being mistreated, misguided, misjudged, and misunderstood. Because you are a woman, you are supposed to be strong…and you are expected to accept mistreatment and forgive. As a woman you are expected to accept the judgement placed on you, or explain why this or that??? As a woman you have to set the standards.

I have decided I am done setting the standards for society, and will only be setting the standards for me. I do not want this post to seem like an anti-man post, because “You do not have to be anti-man to be PRO-WOMAN” _Jane Galvin Lewis. I uplift men, and I know there is a great appreciation for a “good man”! I just want to set the record straight that as a woman.. Yes I am forgiving, but I am tired of forgiving for the same behavior with no change in others who are mistreating me, Yes I am loving, but I am tired of giving unconditional love to those who are not worthy. Yes, I am a lady, but I have the RIGHT to be a BITCH when I am constantly mistreated, misguided, misjudged, and misunderstood.

I have a birthday coming up, and I have decided this will be my unapologetic year. I will UNapologetically be free and will no longer care if my actions are misunderstood. I will go and do as I please and not care about the comments or thoughts of my peers. I have to live for me. Being UNapologetically free includes showing off all my curves and stretch marks, whenever I feel like it. It means looking at and admiring another beautiful woman without being labeled. It means going away alone and enjoying myself. It means getting a sitter, and just disappearing for a day or 2 with no phone calls coming in or going out. It means expressing how I am feeling, and not taking people bullshit anymore, and it also means walking away from all relationships that no longer serves me.

While being a unapologetic woman I will not apologize anymore for who I am. I am a WOMAN that loves other beautiful women, I am a Woman that loves attractive men, I am a woman that is PRO-Green, I am a woman that loves all of ME, I am a sexual being, and will not be SLUT shamed because I get just as horny as a man. I am a WOMAN that is comfortable in ME. I KNOW that I am different and I am nothing like those around me. I enjoy quiet alone time, I do not like long phone conversations, I like being in my natural state with no makeup, no weave, or additives.

I am simply and undeniably a WOMAN!

I want to encourage all WOMEN to be you! Do not allow judgement, or anything to stop you from going with your hearts desires. Some people will not like me much anymore because unlike this picture I took in my living room… I am about to come up out of the SHADOWS, and I am about to be THE UNAPOLOGETIC WOMAN I always wanted to be.

ThePearlBlog