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    Mothers Affected By Racism

    Mothers Affected By Racism

    With so much tragedy going on in the world right now, I asked people on social media if they have ever been racial profiled or experienced racism in anyway. The following stories are from real mothers. Thank you all for being brave and sharing some of your most painful memories. We not only need to hear stories like this, we need to listen so we can learn and truly understand the disgusting affects of racism. If you would like to share a personal experience, leave a comment below.

    Stay well, stay safe. May justice be served, and may peace be on the horizon. - Kristin, owner + creator of Free the Mother

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    "I just ended a 20 year friendship this weekend. She is white. I posted a quote from MLK she felt was offensive. She told me multiple times I’m Latina & I’m not a part of the white race. But also because I’m not black I am just as responsible as white people. I was simply pointing out Black people are tired of not being heard and stood up for. I’m very sad about it. I didn’t realize she looked down on me because of my skin. My husband is white. He wasn’t offended. I think she was blinded to her own racism and unwilling to take a look in the mirror." - Kristen

    Here is the MLK quote Kristen is referring to: "…America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.

    And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met.

    And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.

    And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention." MLK c.1967

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    "I'm mixed with black and white, so I guess I still count. Anyway, I was working a job in a small local craft store. Things were going well, even though the owner always seemed a little sketchy on me for whatever reason. One night I was closing up shop, and she pulls me over and says that the company is going in a different direction and they no longer needed my services. It turns out she thought I was stealing from her store even though I would legit make a purchase at least 3 or 4 times a week and I worked my butt off for her. I was heartbroken. It was the first job I had after leaving my fiancé and moving out with our son. I guess it isn't BLATANT racism but I knew her motives were racially charged. It was an odd thing to experience. I'll never forget it." - Taylor

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    "When I was in middle school I looked like I was mixed and got picked on and someone even asked my sister if she claimed me because I was 'mixed.' I’m as white as a ghost now that I’m an adult and I have mixed children, part Mexican. Those kids can kiss my ass." - Victoria

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    "I’m a white presenting minority - Egyptian. I do not pretend to know the pain BIPOC feel daily. Being judged solely for their skin colour. I do know what it’s like to hear horrible words said about your heritage and racial slurs being whispered. I have been called many things including a bastard half-breed and a terrorist. I have heard people talk about how middle easterners are a plague, even my family. People tell me to not take things too personally, that it’s not always meant for me because 'you are pale'. I am paler than milk, but that’s because I stay inside, I become very dark, and very ethnic looking with minimal sun exposure. I learned from an early age to blend in: I plucked my eyebrows, got highlights. I learned who my allies were and where I could be honest about my heritage, and I learned where I needed to hide it.

    I went to 6 schools before 7th grade, because school officials perpetuated and turned a blind eye to racism. After September 11th, classmates threw rocks at my home and said my dad was a terrorist. (I lived in Denmark - I can’t imagine how it was for people in the states).

    I’m white presenting and I have lived a lot of my life in fear because of my race. I can’t even imagine what people of color go through! Racism is very real - white people need to own their privilege and help fight this! I want my kids to grow up proud of their heritage. I’m tired of fearing that anyone find out where their grandfather is from. I don’t want them to feel the shame and the urge to hide a part of them. I want their friends of all colors to feel safe!

    I want people to condemn, fight and call out racism. Don’t excuse it, don’t play it down and don’t ignore it. I want everyone I know to make racists feel bad around them, make it known that you as a person will not tolerate that behavior in your space. Be it online or face to face. Silence is compliance, and not speaking up in fear of offending a few racists, is offending the rest of us affected by it. Do better! Educate yourself! And never put it on the wronged group to tell you to do the right thing. BIPOC are already fighting, they shouldn’t have to carry their allies as well." - Lilly

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    "All the time, girl. All the time." - Nadia

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    "My oldest son Riddle (6) is biracial. Black/White. A couple days in the sun and he’s the colour of espresso with cream, without sun he is the colour of a caramel latte. Just black enough for people to give that squinty look when trying to 'guess' the race of a child. My middle son, and youngest and only daughter are not. You know how every thing looks a little too bright when it first snows? That’s the skin-tone of River(4) and Jupiter (2). They look like twins to be honest. There a lot of times I could think of to post here but the most recent and one that still stings was our shopping trip to get groceries it’s the first time we’ve been out as a family in forever. At the checkout lane, Riddle and River were 'arguing' over some toys before the register and Riddle being the big brother kept taking them out of River’s hands and putting them back. River was getting frustrated as four year olds do; when a 'nice kind lady' came up and grabbed Riddle by the arm and put herself between my children. Blocking Riddle from his brother while still holding his arm leaned down to River and asks 'Is this little boy bothering you? I’ll go find his parents you just stay here where it’s safe with your mommy.' Words were exchanged. And I just grabbed all of my children and left. Left the groceries and that hateful woman in the aisle. With River tightly holding Riddle and trying to get him to stop crying and saying 'It’s okay, you’re the best brother, I love you for your bear hugs and you’re my hero.' I will never forget the look of fear and confusion on my son’s face. And this is why we march amongst many other reasons." - Brianna

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    "When I was growing up we moved a lot for my dads work (construction). I was raised in Wisconsin and Florida mainly both very diverse places. Then as a teenager we moved to rural West Virginia. I'm Native American, dark features, high cheekbones, fair skin in the winter dark in the summer. My mom and sister are very pale, blue eyes, reddish hair. I was mercilessly teased about being adopted. Then when we moved to WV I was called half breed, savage, had people asking if I spoke English, telling me to go back to my country. One of my neighbors had a pool and her parents said "no halfbreeds allowed" when she asked if I could come swim. The Secretary at the middle school called my mom and told her I had to either take my braids out (box braids) or leave the school until they were gone. My mom told her if she said anything else about my hair or race she'd be contacting a lawyer. I still live here and thankfully things have gotten better however my own children were the victims of a hate crime on the school bus when they were in 5th and 3rd grade my daughters are white passing but in reality they are black/white from their dad and native American from me." - Ashleigh

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    "A brother and sister (8 and 9 years old) who rode their bus called my daughters the 'N' word and proceeded to pour lighter fluid on them. My youngest had a broken wrist at the time and the lighter fluid got inside the cast. They defended themselves and while getting off the bus told the bus driver what happened. He told them he didn't see anything. I went ballistic and called the school. The driver was fired as it was clear on the video that the brother and sister had instigated and launched into a racial attack. They were expelled from the bus for the rest of their time at that school. They also weren't allowed within 200ft of my kids. The principal and teachers were amazing and even the counselor checked in on my girls on a weekly basis to make sure they weren't having long term mental health impacts from this. I 100% believe hate is a learned behavior. Later on it came out that the brother and sister were being abused/neglected at home. They were living in a single wide trailer with their dad and step mom and 8 other siblings...yes 10 kids. They had no vehicle. They left a 2 year old home alone for 10 hours with no food or supervision. The home was full of animal waste and trash. A neighbor heard crying all day and called for a welfare check. Needless to say the children and thankfully animals were removed and placed in a safer and stable environment. I've continued to educate my girls on racial injustice and they are 11 and 13 now and teach classmates and even some adults about racial attacks, micro aggressions, and systematic racism. I am proud of my strong beautiful mixed babies and have lots of hope for the next generation!" - Ashleigh

    To the Mom Who Refuses Help: Stop It

    To the Mom Who Refuses Help: Stop It

    For my entire life, I HATED asking for help. I used to think asking for help was a sign of weakness. I always told myself I never needed anyone for anything. I wanted people to think I knew how to do everything.

    In school, when my teachers would ask "does anyone have any questions," I wanted to raise my hand so bad and say "ME!" But I never did. Why? Maybe I didn't want to seem "dumb" or "helpless." Maybe I didn't want to be a burden to anyone. Perhaps that stems from being a child in a broken home. I should ask my therapist. Oh wait, I don't have one. Because I never thought I needed it.

    Whatever the case was, I would ask myself: Am I physically able? Sure. Am I mentally able...perhaps. But these are not the questions I needed to ask myself. The question is do I HAVE to do this without help?

    I took this stubbornness with me into motherhood. My daughter was the first grandchild on both sides of the family. Needless to say, she was a pretty big deal. The second she was born, our family swarmed us with love and offered to help in anyway they could. Did I take it? Not really. Besides me being a super protective first time mom, I didn't think I needed help. I thought being overly exhausted and emotionally drained was all part of the deal. I was a new mom, I was supposed to feel like a zombie, right? Maybe, but perhaps it wouldn't have been as bad as it was if I had just let my mom babysit for two hours while I took a nap. But here is another problem...

    I have control issues. So much so that I couldn't even trust my loved ones enough to help me. The only person I let help is my husband and even then I couldn't help but stress a little bit. It's not him, it's me. Probably another issue I should discuss with a therapist...

    We've all heard the saying "it takes a village," right? That saying used to annoy me. Maybe I'm slightly bitter because 99% of my family lives 4+ hours away. Thankfully, my mother-in-law recently retired. So she has a lot more time to travel and visit. Which means help has become more available. Have I taken it...YES!

    If someone is offering to help you, don't overlook it. They are offering because they want to help. So take it, please. Do it for yourself. Your mental health. Do it for your children. Let them see you accept help. You would want them to ask for help, wouldn't you? Show them it is normal and apart of life. Show them it is necessary for growth. Trust me, they won't think you are "weak" or "less than" for letting a babysitter watch them for a few hours while you go out to dinner with your husband. So yes, it DOES take a village.

    Same goes for work + business. This shop means the world to me. It's like another part of my body, my soul. It's like another child. I am so protective over it, that since starting in 2018, I have been afraid to ask for help. About eight months ago, I started feeling overwhelmed. I started thinking about hiring an assistant. Someone to help me package orders, or someone to help with customer service. But the fear of having someone come in and mess something up terrified me. So I kept telling myself I didn't need anyone. I got this far without help, why start now? Well let me tell you why...

    Without help, this is as far as you're going to get. Think about it. Does Beyoncé write, produce, record her own music and watch her kids at the same time? No, she has a team help her. Does Kylie Jenner run her businesses by herself? Hell no, that girl has an endless sea of people helping her. What I'm trying to say is, YOU can only do so much. There are only 24 hours in a day. If you want your business to continue growing, ask for help. Hire an assistant. Almost two years into this business, I finally hired some help and it's been one the best decisions I've ever made.

    It feels like there is more oxygen in the air. I don't have 100% of the weight on my shoulders. Letting go of control a little bit means I get to spend more time with my growing family. Kids are only little for a short period of time. I don't want to miss out on those special moments. Unfortunately, we can't get them back.

    Same goes for your relationship with your partner. Letting people help care for my daughter once in a while means more alone time with my husband. Which is beneficial for our marriage, as well as our daughter. So if the opportunity to have a date night comes around, TAKE IT GIRL. 

    Bottom line is, we all need help. I have come to the conclusion that I need to accept help when offered. Life doesn't have to be so hard. And hey, maybe if you raise your hand, you'll end up learning a thing or two.

    I don't care who you are, or what you THINK you can handle, you need help. And I say that in the most loving way.

    If Wonder Woman can ask for help, so can you my friend.

    As for seeing a therapist, that is on my 2020 goal list. Stay tuned.

    -Kristin Blyth, owner + creator of Free the Mother

    Why Your Second Pregnancy Is Different Than Your First

    Why Your Second Pregnancy Is Different Than Your First

    *Before we get started, let me apologize now for any misspelled words, grammar mistakes and unfinished thoughts. Pregnancy brain is in full swing. I wake up every day thinking its Monday*

    Once I knew I was ready to have another baby, I couldn't WAIT to be pregnant again. I wanted the bump. I wanted to feel the kicks. But more importantly, I wanted another child to love. Now that I am 22 weeks pregnant with baby #2, here's the scoop on what it's really like...

     

    IT'S NOTHING LIKE YOUR FIRST PREGNANCY

    Everything was a surprise the first time. Everything you experienced and felt was new. More importantly, you had NO idea what was to come...Ignorance is indeed bliss. 

    My first pregnancy was pretty easy going. I had your typical symptoms, cravings, mood swings, round ligament pain, decreased sex drive, etc. However, my skin was AMAZING. This time around, it's a nightmare. No amount of skin care products can fix this mess.

    Is it just me, or are you in more pain during your second pregnancy? Cause damn, my pelvis HURTS. Yes, it hurt the first time too. But I felt pain much earlier on this time around. My doctor said it is because our ligaments are already stretched out, so we feel things much earlier this time than with the first. So that's cool...

     

    YOU SOMETIMES FORGET YOU'RE PREGNANT

    Why? Because this time, you are chasing another child around. In my case, I have a two year old. She is constantly on the move. I'm so busy taking care of her, that sometimes I forget I'm pregnant till I feel a kick or a sharp pain. At least it's a reminder that I should probably sit down for a bit...

    Also, what's a bump date? Bumpies (aka selfies of your bump) are less frequent this time around. See above paragraph about wild toddler for details. 

     

    YOU ARE MORE EMOTIONAL THAN EVER BEFORE

    I tear up every. single. time. someone mentions my daughter no longer being an only child. The fact that we only have 120 days left of it being just her and I, it makes every second with her that much more special. 

    I worry she will be jealous, or angry at us for having another baby. I don't want her to think I love her less now that we are taking care of a child other than her. The thought of it tears me up inside. I want her to always know how much I love her, and how special she is. She is the one that made me a mother after all...okay let me stop before my keyboard short circuits from my tears.

     

    FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN

    What's it like being a mom of two? Asking for a friend...just kidding, I'm asking for me. 

    I have NO idea what it will be like having two little ones running around. I'm afraid I won't be able to handle it. I'm afraid of losing the little bit of sanity I have left. Will I ever sleep again? Will I be able to breastfeed like last time, or will I face challenges? Will labor be worse than last time? Will the delivery go smoothly? Will I end up with PPD? 

     

    At the end of the day, who knows if this will be the last pregnancy I ever experience. If so, I am soaking up every second of it, good and bad. And I am beyond grateful I get to bring another beautiful baby into the world. 

    To those that are currently pregnant, I wish you a smooth 9 months and and even smoother labor and delivery!

     

    -Kristin Blyth, owner + creator of Free the Mother®

    Should We Have Another Baby?

    Should We Have Another Baby?

    Since I can remember, I always wanted multiple children. Having one never seemed enough. My daughter is 18 months old. Lately, I've been asking myself [and my husband], "When should we have another baby?" Both of us are stumped. We want more kids, but when is the "right time?" I know, I know, there's no such thing. 

    I want to be pregnant, but I haven't lost all the baby weight from last time. I want my daughter to have a sibling, but I don't want her to think I love her less. I want another newborn, but I don't want to be sleep deprived. I want another child, but we haven't bought a house yet. If we wait too long, they'll be too far apart in age. If we get pregnant now, they may be too close in age--It's an ongoing battle in my head.

    Then I question everything, as a mother does: Is my body physically ready to give birth again? Is my mental state ready for the anxiety that you feel during pregnancy? Am I emotionally ready to give my heart to another little human? Do I even have anymore love to give? What if this time something goes wrong? Or what if I can't handle two kids at once? 

    I think when my head and my heart are on the same page, I'll know what to do. For now, I'm going to love on my little girl while she is my only little girl.

    -Kristin, owner + creator of Free the Mother

    When did YOU know it was the right time to have another baby? Let me know in the comments. 

     

    As Seen On TV...

    Have you ever found yourself watching a tv show and saying, “OMG that could never happen to me, you only see that on TV”... Well, early morning on January 9th, I was proved completely wrong...

    I’m going to go back a little to give you an idea how things got crazy so quick. On Monday morning, I went to my regular maternity check up, my doctor had already told me I had to go to the hospital that Wednesday night to get induced, which I was okay with because I was induced with my oldest because I had gestational diabetes. I got hooked to the machine for my NST like I had been doing every Monday for the last three weeks. I was having contractions but at this point I have been having them for like a week and they told me I wasn’t in labor yet. They also checked my cervix and I was 3 cm dilated and that instead of going to the hospital Wednesday night, I had to go in Thursday morning to start the Pitocin.

    So at this point, everything seemed normal and everything was set up for Thursday. I went on with my day. I went to bed at my regular time since I had to go to work the next day, it was going to be my last day before maternity leave. Around 12:18am I woke up with strong contractions, this is when things got CRAZY.

    I woke up my boyfriend and told him we needed to go to the hospital because the contractions were too close to each other and painful. I started to get ready and called my mom to let her know I was dropping off Evanna because we were going to the hospital. I started to get a bag and lunch bag ready for her so she could go to daycare later that day. Then, my boyfriend remembered he needed to get gas, so I told him to go while I finished packing. At this point contractions were getting even closer and stronger. I felt a big urge to go pee, so I go to the bathroom and realized I was bleeding a lot...BIG FREAK OUT MOMENT. I thought something bad had happened to the baby. I decided to get in the shower (socks and shirt still on so I wouldn’t make the bathroom look like a crime scene).

    By the time my boyfriend got back I could feel the baby pushing out. Poor thing was all freak out, he said “what are you doing we need to go” and I told him I couldn’t move and that the baby was coming and that he needed to call my mom and tell her to come get my little girl. At that moment, I got the biggest contraction yet and even though I tried to hold it, his head was out. I could feel his hair but I couldn’t see if his face and he wasn’t crying. I told my boyfriend to call 911. I was already in supermom mode, there was no stopping this and I was going to deliver my baby in the shower. Another big contraction came and I pushed as hard as I could instead of holding it like the last time. And there he was, I caught him with my hands and asked my boyfriend to get me some towels because I was all wet and freezing. At this point, the ambulance still hadn’t gotten to my house. My boyfriend was still on the phone with 911, the baby wasn’t crying yet and I wasn’t sure if he was breathing or not. I decided to try to clean his mouth and nose to make sure there was nothing preventing him from breathing. 911 told my boyfriend to lay him down flat to see if he would cry so I laid him down and he cried a little so that was a huge relief. They also told him to tie the umbilical cord with a shoe lace, which he did, the poor thing was all shaky. Then finally 911 responders came in and started the whole process to get us to the hospital.

    So this is my story on how I gave birth to a beautiful 8lbs 3oz baby boy all within an hour from when I started feeling my contractions. And now for sure I will think before I watch something crazy on TV and say this kind of things only happens on TV LOL.

    -Maryana Rois, @mary_jumbles