Tara Watts (32), Nylah (8), Tayt (5), and Leevy (2)
Tara shares -
“I experienced a miscarriage with my second pregnancy. I was carrying identical twin boys and my son Tayt’s twin stopped growing in utero. I had a close family member respond to the death of my child who commented over the phone that at least I had one baby left plus maybe its for the best because how could I handle having twins and three year old all at the same time. Because of that specific experience, as well as, other less empathetic support from family members, I didn't realize until typing for this project that I am actually a mom who experienced a miscarriage. I, Tara, had a baby that died inside of me. For the first time since I miscarried I actually broke down and mourned the loss of my baby. Crazy that I finally had that moment 6 years after my loss happened. Its challenging to find a safe space to have the conversation with someone regarding pregnancy loss and birth within the same gestational period.
Being able to carry babies despite a very real loss has made me realize how badass and valuable I am. The fact that I was able to conceive, house, vaginally deliver and extended breastfeed my children is a real blessing and for that I am so grateful for this body of mine. Going through the process of motherhood has really shown me how beautiful my body is. I have more curves than ever before, I've gained weight and filled out a tiny bit more, I’ve got stretch marks that appeared only 2 weeks before delivering my first, and my breasts are more loose than they were before. Despite all of what some may see as a negative, when I look in the mirror I feel sexy, powerful and radiant. I made a choice to love every inch of myself because my children needed to see that what ones thinks and feels of themselves matters more than the opinions of society.
Being a black woman with black children watching my every move, I had to show em that having melanated skin was stunning, wide hips were powerful, kinky hair was gravity defying and therefore magical. I love myself more now than ever before because of my children. I have seen the affects of moms being extremely insecure about their bodies in front of their young children and in turn their children have also taken up those same emotional insecurities pertaining to their body. I didn't want to be the one to plant those insecure seeds into my children.
My mother had two cesarean births 19 years apart. She was never given the opportunity to attempt birthing myself or younger sister naturally and vaginally. The excuse given was of her being "5 foot and having a small pelvic area". I saw from early on, in many examples, that the medical industry was not here to support black women and so I had to educate myself extensively on how to have the birth and care that I wanted and deserved. I knew that my birth experience would directly affect my postpartum experience. I decided to take the midwifery route with all 3 of my children because I would have a higher outcome of having the emotional, and physical support that I wanted.
My 1st midwife experience was so positive that I decided every baby I birthed onward would be delivered at home. With all of my pregnancies I gained about 20 lbs each and lost the baby weight within a week of delivery. I loved how I looked while pregnant but pregnancy causes me to be extremely sick from dangerously low iron, multiple fainting spells, weight loss some months as appose to gaining and having to force myself to eat because the heightened sense of smell and taste made everything under the sun unappealing to eat. Try eating something you have no desire too because its smells, looks and tastes nasty!
I was worried about postpartum depression affecting me and therefore did all I could to help ease into the transition from pregnancy to motherhood as well as moving from one child to two and then from two to three. Having my first was an easier transition as my children’s father and I were still together at that point so the support was 100% there. Moving from one to two was a challenge because I was now a single mother. It was a real challenge tending to a toddler and exclusively breastfeeding an underweight newborn on demand as well as then pumping and supplementing with your my own breast milk to ensure he was fattening up. I’m grateful that after two months he had doubled in birth weight.
With my third It was a challenge adjusting as a single parent of three because again the relationship between my children’s father and I had dissolved in absolutely horrible ways. I was dealing with abandonment, betrayal, broken heartedness, and anger. I was on bed rest when the relationship ended and then I birthed almost six weeks early. Juggling taking my 5 year old to and from school, entertaining a clingy 2 year old and again exclusively breastfeeding a premature baby with colic on demand was brutal. I was so down and depressed at my situation and the events that took place when my relationship dissolved that I literally had to separate my days into morning and afternoon just to get by. I couldn't think about next week, tomorrow, or even that night. I’m grateful though that I had more emotionally supportive circle who helped me to be mentally tough during this transition and realize that what others may have done didn't define who I was or what I deserved.
I was able to get to a better place mentally after about four months postpartum. I changed my focus, instead of being stuck on what my ex-partner did and how the relationship dissolved, I focused on my children instead. To make sure I laughed with my kids at least once in the morning and once at night as well as to build fun memories with them so that they didn’t associate their childhood with their mother remaining depressed and angry.
With the more children I had, the more confident I became when it pertained to my children’s health. I saw the effect of liquid gold and I knew for me that breastfeeding was the only choice for my kids as well as maintaining holistic practices. I also knew that my body provided all my children needed in regards to keeping them immune. Vaccinations were an absolute hell no for me as well as formula too. The ingredients in both showed me that this was not a healthy choice for my children if I wanted them to remain healthy. I remember going to the doctor for well baby check ups with my second and the doctor would always rave at how well my children were thriving. That was a defining moment for me during my postpartum because even though my doctor knew my stance on not vaccinating, he was always in awe and would praise me on how well they were thriving and how advanced they were performing. That uplifted and encouraged me because it showed me that I was on the right track and all it took was for me to believe in myself and capabilities as their mother. because I knew my children were thriving because of what my body was providing them and if I could see with my own eyes that my research and natural practices were working for my family.
I chose to participate in this event because why not? I belong here. Women of color belong here. Single mothers belong here. Moms who have experienced loss and birth within the same pregnancy belong here. If we want to see ourselves in new spaces, we must take the necessary steps to bring change. This movement is inclusive to all women and I love and respect that.”