Mother’s Day: Miscarriage, Loss of a child, and Infertility

Again I say that Mother’s Day doesn’t always bring these cookie cutter images that television and marketing companies want you to believe. It’s a place of grief for so many women and men all around the world.

When a woman conceives or attempts to conceive, there’s very little ways to do it without your heart becoming attached. With that in mind there are large amounts of women who mourn the day because it’s a reminder of what they desire (d) and can’t have. It’s a place of pain that can’t be measured. With all of the cards, flowers, and joy that should be given to women I want to recognize the women who aren’t in the celebratory spirit.

Are you pregnant?

It’s down right rude to ask a woman of whom you do not share an intimate space if or when she is ready to conceive. That conversation needs to be when and if she is ready to ever have it. Our culture has no boundaries on other women and their uteruses. It needs to be reminded that some women endure a heartache that they haven’t or may never be able to share. Asking her when and if, may inflict a level of pain that she may want to keep private.

Infertility

She may also have suffered a miscarriage and those wounds no matter how long ago it may have been are always fresh and sometimes gets reopen on days like Mother’s Day. You mourn all over again what your child would be and it’s hard. It’s debilitating to have to keep reliving the pain. We need to do a better job of acknowledging this and being sensitive. Your comments matter. Saying things like “just try again” or “it will happen in its time” may not always be received well. There are women that no matter what just can’t hold life and it’s the one thing that we all feel is reserved for women to “naturally” do yet it doesn’t always come so easily!

Miscarriage

Hearing your baby’s heartbeat is the most scared part of pregnancy. It doesn’t matter if you’re high risk or not; anytime you’re able to hear it, you hold that sound dear to your heart. There are many women who may or may not initially wanted to be a mother but once life has entered inside of you, a real mom will want to protect that life. Not hearing your child’s heartbeat is one of the most devastating events a woman can experience. It signals that even through no fault of your own, life has stopped. The process following that silence is grueling. We don’t speak about what a woman goes through emotionally, mentally, or physically but it’s life changing. It’s real and it can cut a woman to her core.

Loss of a Child

There are women who unfortunately either through miscarriage, still birth, death of a child or late pregnancy miscarriage experience the greatest loss known. Not knowing how to deal with those feelings have sent many women into a tailspin. It takes love, patience, sometimes medication, therapy and some of the most amazing support systems to get through. Outsiders are the first to put a time stamp on this level of grief when it’s no one’s time frame to control. You will forever remember and never forget.

Regardless of where you as a woman or the woman in your life fits, please understand that these are delicate topics that deserve reference during this time. Please be patient with yourself if you fit the above categories. Know that even if you feel you should be passed a point in your healing that healing is up and down and constant. Some days are better than others. If you need help it’s okay to receive it. If you’re struggling it’s okay as well. You don’t have to have it altogether. Just know that I for one understand! I sent you love! I send you peace!

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On the Move: Crunchik’n Style

Shout out to #travelwithchefcherryl and the brunch buddies as we take you behind the scenes to local eateries. Again as a lifestyle blogger you are going to want to know the places to either get out, have new places to grab food with bae, your girls or even the fam bam. I enjoy getting around Philadelphia and yesterday’s spot was brought to us to by Crunchik’n.

Tuna bowl served with rice, lettuce, salsa, Japchae noodles and a dumpling

Crunchik’n is a Korean flare restaurant. It’s amazing food at great prices that is made fresh to order and it tastes amazing. From their homemade dumplings to their marinated sauces each bite is special. We caught up with Jen who is part owner with her father, John Choi. She stressed that the goal was to make quality food that was made on the premises and that the sauces made was fermented and marinated to give the meat their fresh, unique taste. I think they hit a slam dunk. The selections are so good that even if you didn’t want to sit and eat you could order their half or whole chicken cut up and make dinner at home special too. Oh and if you’re wondering they are on Caviar for delivery as well.

Kimchi cheese fries

Since I’m vegan let me tell you that they had amazing vegetarian dishes that I was able to veganize. I didn’t leave hungry in the least bit. My suggestion is that this is a causal dining experience, good for all types since although they don’t have a specific kids menu, kids of all ages would love the chicken and other offerings. We even had some kids along and I heard a few to all ask for seconds. This is a great spot to gather friends as well or makes a causal date night or date day location.

Beef and vegetarian taco I personally had the vegetarian and it was amazing to keep it vegan I had mine without the sour cream and it was still full of flavor

Crunchik’n has been open for a little over a month. This means you need to get in and show them a little love. For new guests who go you will also receive a gift! Who doesn’t love gifts?

Beef dumplings on the right and the veggie dumplings on the left was made with kale and spinach. The veggie dumplings were super good!

So if you love Korean style food that is fresh, high quality, and served by awesome accommodating staff, make sure you add Crunchik’n to the top of your lists of go tos. You will not be disappointed!!!

Korean fried chicken can come in 8 house-made marinated sauces

They serve tacos, rice bowls, sandwiches, dumplings, Korean fried chicken and even small bites! What’s not to love?!

Spicy pork melt sandwich

The drinks are good too!! They have arrangements from Bubble Teas to fresh Sparkling Ade…

Strawberry lemonade and grapefruit

Mango and Matcha Green Bubble Tea

One last thing:

Crunch Balls which comes with either rice or potato and either beef or vegetarian

The hours are as follows:

Take a Break

I love my family. I really do. Today I had to take a break. I have them spoiled and they know that I will make them a huge breakfast every weekend without hesitation. However today when they came in and wanted more emotional support than I had filled in my own tank, I said no!

No means I need a break. That means go grab some cereal until I can gather myself. That means no I can’t manage your emotions until I manage mine. No I can’t figure out all of your needs right off the bat. No means I still love you. No means I will be back in working order after a small break. No I won’t just jump up and act like nothing is wrong. No I won’t just accommodate you until I have some time for prayer and calm.

I will be back after I gather my thoughts, get a shower, plan my day, or simply sit in quiet. I’m simply taking a much needed break!

Communication is great. A few years ago I might have went off to get a break but today, nope! I know what I need and finally realized how important it is to take it. Self-care is not just a Sunday thing but a daily thing. It’s a moment by moment release so I can live my best life. The pancakes can wait. The kids are old enough to manage. My husband is fine. This break is everything!

Surviving R. Kelly; My Thoughts

Let’s cut to the chase on this. There is so much to unravel! These are my thoughts:

R. Kelly is a sick. He really is. There is zero doubt about that. No excuses!! No bull. It is what it is. He was molested himself as a child and that’s so super unfortunate. However he then inflicted pain on others. He doesn’t get to get a pass for his sexual misconduct that had been brewing for years. There comes a point when you even in your pain still have to take responsibility for your actions.

Aaliyah

First of all my heart goes out to her. She is a victim. There are a lot of boys let alone men with money and influence that manipulate girls and women all the time. It’s wrong. So it’s not far fetched that she too was manipulated. My anger resides with R. Kelly being an adult. He knew better. I’ve heard theories that he was sick in the mind due to his own abuse endured but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t aware of what he was doing was wrong. The mere cover up of her age means he knew better from a legal standpoint.

My second place of anger is with Aaliyah’s parents. I’ve read the statement about them stating that they were with her and that at no time had she been alone with R. Kelly! However they weren’t there when she got married. The documents were forged and I get that. What I’m saying is there had to be a financial gain for them to allow their daughter to have this “best friend” in R Kelly who was grown. My child is monitored on friends her age let alone my husband would lose his mind if he found out there was a grown man who was her best friend hanging around her. What in the actual world could you have in common with a child?

I hope every parent put yourself in the place of Aaliyah and the other parents of children who were assaulted that you take a firm against such behaviors. I pray that you don’t have to be known as someone didn’t have your children’s best interest at heart!

The ideal that Aaliyah was wise beyond her years or that she was fast or that she was pretty much the reason why she was groomed towards this is completely out of pocket. Aaliyah was a child and her parents failed her and R. Kelly was WRONG!!!!!!!! He was and is disgusting and it’s disgraceful!!

I get you don’t want to speak ill of the dead so since she’s not here it would be in their best interest to rely on a Non disclosures or that $100 they or she was given for her silence. It doesn’t change the marriage being done. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again he married her to sleep with her without others having a legal issue. Anything done that is based on a lie wouldn’t last. Yes it was annulled. I do understand that but what type of relationship could I have with a man who took my daughter to marry her and hence sleep with her even if I wanted to maintain that I was a loving and doting mother?! Even if I wanted to distance myself and make myself be a victim I would want to protect her and therefore would not cover for him. I would be attempting until his dying day to end him. I pray I never allow my daughters to be compromised and I pray that my daughters never feel the need to be tempted to succumb to anything in any realm such as this!!

Family Ain’t……

His family and friends who knew and now are speaking up about this all should be locked up. They all NOW claim how horrible they feel. They feel so bad but did the checks dry up? When benefits did you receive that would okay seeing girls that could very well be the same age of kids you should have been protecting. All of them don’t get how self incriminating it is for them to place themselves in these circles with him and want to push blame on him alone not seeing how complacent they are and were and how they too have a large responsibility to the victims of whom they thought very little of. All of the adults that knew and can recall such details failed each child they came in contact with and knew of R. Kelly’s mess as it unfolded!

Multiple Tapes

We know about the infamous tape where R. Kelly and I’ll use the legal “allegedly” filmed himself doing down right things to this child but the parts that stuck out to me are as follows:

The back up singer knew and saw him “allegedly” sleep with Aaliyah at age 15 but is crying and upset about him in the tape with Sparkle’s niece who was 14. My question is does she feel this pain now or was she feeling that at the time?! I really want to know because I catch you in the act once I wouldn’t be shocked seeing it again. I would be mad but not shocked!

Separate the man from the artist

R. Kelly had been known to tape his encounters, there are more than the infamous tape out! I’m sure there were more than just the children they were discussed on this series. This is why I don’t get why people don’t believe that he really is the man he is being painted to be. The ideal that you can separate the man from the artist….

How can we separate this musical genius from the fact that he literally has a network of enablers that literally helped him to abuse kids. Like are these people void of care? The ones that have kids scare me the most. Like watching this has reaffirmed my ability to make sure that I don’t allow my kids to be groomed like this. Despite the fact that he was so influential, others like him are in our very own communities. They say the things that young people want to hear. They scare them into silence. They abuse them into fear. It’s scary. I’ve been teaching my kids good and bad touch since before they could barely talk. The thought that I could know my children were sexually abused but sit with the abuser of my kids for any reason is overwhelming.

Am I supposed to be like well it ain’t my kids, let’s step in the name of love?! That’s basically what it sounds like. Let’s just keep the party going cause it’s unfortunate that kids that don’t belong to me went through horrible things but it ain’t my issue. If I read a story online I get moved. Kids should be off limits. Kids should be protected and I for one stopped listening to him and stopping the playing of his music around my family. My choice but to keep money flowing into R. Kelly’s pockets as he continues to “allegedly” imprison and groom women (who knows if they are underage or not) would be misguided for me as a woman! What am I doing at a concert as he parades knowing he likes young girls?! Aaliyah was not fluke. Aaliyah wasn’t this special child that he just bonded with. She on her own outside of him was phenomenal but the relationship of Aaliyah wasn’t isolated. R. Kelly doesn’t see anything wrong with having sex with children.

There are way too similar allegations for me to pull a Stevie Wonder. If there is smoke there is fire. I personally am disgusted by the whole documentary thus far.

R. Kelly is like the predator that you know but people tell you he’s not as bad as he seems. It’s like a group of people with evidence of abuse and documentation of abuse but we have to support him and for what? Music. As iconic as his music has been, he is equally flawed. He is problematic. He is an abuser. He is a manipulator. It’s disgusting!

I think the more you know you bear the responsibility of walking in life better. Having R. Kelly the musician’s craft block out years of abuse toward women as a woman myself and definitely as a mom isn’t a price I’m willing to pay. The fact that most of the forgiving fans have been women worries me. Do women lie about such things? Yes. Is everyone telling the same lie? I highly doubt it and I believe them. Not everyone is telling the same lie. Some of these women have been attempting to speak up way before Lifetime produced this series.

So there is a lot to unload. These are my raw feelings. This is how I feel. It’s hurtful as a woman to watch this. It’s almost triggering. It was difficult and is difficult to watch. It’s hard and I made triple certain that none one of my kids were up as I watched this. Although I talk to them for their age to prevent as much as I can with the help of God no way would I allow them to hear that a grown man made kids do the things that R. Kelly is being accused of. I’m grown and it was hard to hear that some of the very beloved songs actually meant more than we imagined. It’s hard! As more men are being held accountable, I pray that even if R. Kelly feels or felt like he is getting away that karma steps up and does her thing.

I hope you make your own decisions if you have an opportunity to catch the series. My opinion is not to make you believe what I believe. Personal choices on whether or not to support R. Kelly, is just that, personal.

There are countless women and men to be honest watching this and having this all hit is a lot! A lot of the stories we knew about. R Kelly has been accused since I can remember. He has been known to mess with young girls. But seeing the lengths that not only he took to cover it is jaw dropping. To see the network unfold in how he would have his own wife in the house suffering abuse while still continuing his life is crazy.

Here is a clip from the Boondocks that pretty much had it right (I do not own rights to this episode; trigger for strong offensive language):

R Kelly Boondocks Trial

To victims of abuse especially sexual abuse who have never told their story and need support, or even the ones who find themselves triggered:

Christmas Fun: Story time with the Polar Express

So not bad for a Friday night but we decided to go to the Barnes and Nobles story time of the Polar Express reading by Chris Van Allsburg for the 30th celebration!!

The reading included hot chocolate and cookies and Christmas carols. It was an amazing time.

The kids enjoyed wearing their pajamas outside the house!!! I enjoyed the fact that there’s no place I would love to be than in my favorite store of Barnes and Nobles.

We ended our night with you guessed it purchasing books!

Take some time to Google free events in your area especially around the holidays. You will be amazed of the fun you can have!!

Breakfast with Santa: Legoland Discovery Center

Every year we do at least one Breakfast with Santa but this year we decided to do it at Legoland Discovery Center in Plymouth Meeting, PA.

One of the benefits of having a season pass to Legoland is getting invited to exclude events. This event was free to Legoland Discovery Yearly pass. We were invited for a continental breakfast with Lego Santa himself. Once there breakfast was already ready. The kids and adults were able to help themselves. The guest of honor made his way over and gave our letters so that the kids could write a letter to Santa! Not to mention full access to the play center before regular opening hours. That in itself is a major win!

Even though it was our first year at the event it definitely will not be our last. The kids had a great time making a morning of fun and the adults were able to relax knowing the children are in a secure fun atmosphere. Plus anything with coffee sign me up!! If you’re in the area and looking for a place for your children to have fun in all year would consider coming to Legoland Discovery! We bought the year pass due to wanting to have an option for the Winter months as well as rainy days like today.

There is a huge jungle gym, snack center, active places to build LEGO projects of all kinds, mini 3D movies, laser zone, and of course a live action Lego man that comes out several times to take pictures with everyone all year long. One of the best parts is the interactive ride for the family of all ages to enjoy!

So I would certainly give my stamp of approval for Legoland Discovery Center! It’s a must try if you’re in the area!!

Who doesn’t love festive events? Certainly my family loves them!! Here’s to getting into the full swing of holiday events and things to do! Also if you have a family of multiple kids gift cards to LEGOLAND make a great group gift as well!! This way instead of more toys you give the gift of an outing!! That is the gift that keep on giving!!

Ask Toi: How do I handle my ex-husband when I’ve asked him to clean his home before the kids come for their visits?

Back story for my readers is they have a custody order to split time. It’s been working. The problem is the kids are old enough to verbally state that not only is the home unclean but its more or less on the hoarding side. There are bugs running around and the kids no longer want to visit until he cleans. She the wife has asked him to clean it up and he the father has suggested that its his house and the kids must still come over.

My answer is simple:

If simple communication between you and your ex-husband isn’t working, you must get the courts involved. Here are my rules when it comes to houses.

One if you are a dirty person it should only affect you. When there are children involved every house may have some clutter. It’s not okay to have so much clutter and dirt and bugs running around. That is a health issue. Now I am not going to act all holier than thou and act like I have never in my life seen a roach or two, but the way the house is being described its unfit. If its unfit the kids shouldn’t have to come and visit in that mess. He needs to clean up his act. His kids well being is and should be the most important thing to both of them. It is his space to do as he pleases. He can’t have children in an unclean home. She should go and file an emergency junction to have a court appointed person go and do a welfare check of the home and if it deemed nasty and unfit he needs to clean it and have it checked before the kids can come over. Simple and plain. As a parent you shouldn’t have to have the courts in-between this. His kids have expressed their concerns to their father and his response to his children are, you are going to be in here however I have it. Wrong answer. I couldn’t imagine my children telling me they were in an unfit home and not speak up and try to work it out only to hear my ex husband say this is his space. I am going to side eye him quick! This is simply unacceptable behavior and response. 

Now before everyone get in their feelings. I see a few things to look at. Was he always this unclean?  Could it be that as wife was able to manage that home they once shared?  If he is going through some depressive state and is unable to see this as an issue, this needs to be evaluated. If not having your children come and visit you doesn’t prompt this man to clean, the children are the only concern.  It needs to be cleaned sooner or later. I don’t get how people think any human can operate with that much clutter and uncleanliness around them. Momma go and get this fixed asap! One of the worst things about co-parenting is learning boundaries and coming together for the sake of the children. It’s important to remember that if you have a child with someone you are bonded for life. Even if your marriage doesn’t last, you will forever be in some form of commitment to the children and the other parent. Keeping communication and a warm heart to speak when things aren’t okay is necessary to make sure that the child gets as much as they can from both parents!