Introduction

When I first found out I was expecting a child (and I mean the moment I picked up the Clear Blue test and saw the bold type reading PREGNANT), I really had no solid expectations of what pregnancy or motherhood would be like. I kept having images of myself bent over a toilet bowl for two hours a day, with swollen feet, a large nose and stretch marks that would make me hate my child for years to come. I was approximately seven or eight weeks pregnant when we confirmed the test at the doctor, and had already made up my mind that I was keeping it. Facing opposition from my mother and grandmother, who thought I would fall into the unfortunate stereotype-laden trap of “baby momma” that so many of my peers had become prey to, I resolved that at 22 years old with a full-time job, a college degree and some sense, I would be fine.

My boyfriend, who had received confirmation of his first postgraduate full-time job no more than a week or two before we found out, had hugged me tightly when I called him into the bathroom and said, “It’s OK. We’ve got this.” At this point in our lives, neither one of us was “ready” for a child, as so many people loved to point out, but we were also not “ready” to quickly dash away the promise of life, the opportunity to take part in something greater than ourselves. There were questions of where we would live, how we would support a child, whether or not we planned to marry, and in the midst of it all, almost no one took the time to consider that we were actually excited to welcome this hodgepodge of our DNA.

As I barfed my way through the end of my first trimester and became more in tune with the idea that a life was growing inside of me, communication between my mother and me had become almost nil. She was unwilling to surrender her opinion and I would not succumb to her insistence that I abort. One day, I came home to my grandmother sitting on her bed with a notebook at her feet. She told me to open it up and read what she had written in the back, which I discovered was a list of words, emotions she had experienced when considering my “predicament.” At the very top was Disappointment, my least favorite emotion, because it was something I strove to never inflict upon my family. As a Golden Child of sorts, I had always been looked upon as an example for my younger cousins to follow; I had my head on straight and was going places, so disappointment should never have been a stop on my agenda. Under disappointment were Fear, Puzzlement, Anger, Hurt – I almost stopped myself from reading until I noticed the words becoming increasingly more positive – Understanding, Compassion, Support, and at the bottom in bold, large letters UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

Mother to four, grandmother to nine and wife of a West Indian man who knew not the meaning of loyalty or selflessness, Mee-Ma (as we sometimes called her) is a woman of strength beyond measure, whose sharp tongue and sarcasm might shock the tame-hearted. My grandmother always has a bit of dry humor and a smartass remark, which is probably where I get it from, and never hesitates to speak her mind. When my mother delivered me at 18 years old, Mee-Ma was the first person the doctor handed me to, and she’s held me ever since. I’ve spent my years living with her, laughing with her, and loving her to no end, even when she kicked me out for being fast with boys and sent me to be with my mother, whom I couldn’t stand during my teens. My mother told my grandmother before I could about my pregnancy, which I loathed her for at the moment, but as I’ve matured and taken on their forms more and more every day, I’ve come to realize that she did so because she didn’t know where else to turn. As I said, my mother had me at 18 for a man who didn’t have the capacity to be a good father and mate because of his personal demons. She had been a rebel (and still is), and came to find out that her mother was her ally, not her enemy as she claimed her place among the birthing kind. Mee-Ma guided her through every ache and pain, every trouble that came with raising a girl child to be strong, intelligent and self-confident, unafraid to face the world on her own. In her own way, my grandmother was ushering me into this special club of women, for those of us who were destined to pick flowers from our mother’s gardens and take them to plant in our own.

Now in my eighth month of pregnancy, as my back aches more and fatigue settles in like dust in a house with no one who loves it enough to mess it up, I am slowly coming to terms that even without my 6-9 pound wonder to cradle in my arms and smother with kisses his father wishes were for him, I am a mother. I am preparing to take on the most important role of my life, one that has no prepared scripts, no style guide to reference, and no “track changes” button like on Microsoft Word to see where I messed up. Proofreading and copyediting are my trades by day and since I am a Virgo, I have a tendency to be exacting, practical and compulsive about having things just so. Most people who read my facebook and twitter updates know how much of a stickler I am for correct spelling and grammar (even on social networking sites), and I wonder how this will translate when Mekhi finally arrives. Will I correct him if he says ain’t? Will I ask him to write me book reports the way I used to do for my mother at 5 years old, when I was reading better than some second graders? How will I react the first time he laughs or makes me angry? Will he love me enough?

A coworker sent me this poem in an e-mail when she found out I was expecting:

May God grant you always: a sunbeam to warm you; a moonbeam to charm you; a sheltering angel so nothing can harm you; laughter to cheer you; faithful friends near you; and whenever you pray, heaven to hear you. I look at this next to my desk every day and hope that when he does come, the universe will answer my prayers.

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Katie
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 17:48:10

    beautiful! literally, made me tear up just a little. i’m already a fan 🙂

    Reply

  2. JoJo
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 17:49:29

    Being the first to comment on your blog! I love it! I felt so moved. you are such a great person , friend and now you are going to the best mom ever.
    My dad used to make me do my times table while he on the toilet , and wake me up at 12 am on school nights to make me re-do homework that was not correct. Even though I hated it, I learned alot. So you do what you have to do, so Kai can be the best!

    Reply

  3. Shaunice
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 17:54:10

    I love it Danielle! I cannot wait to read more! =)

    Reply

  4. Nadege
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 14:06:06

    I didnt really know what to expect when you said that you were going to blog about your coming into motherhood. With this being the first blog, I must say that I very much appreciate you taking the time to honest and real with us. I loved it and look forward to see motherhood and all that it has to offer through your eyes.

    Reply

  5. @RickSuRReaL
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 14:08:08

    LoL @ wishes they were his.. I guess I’ll continue to wish on :/
    I still think about that good ole Clear Blue® I didn’t know what to feel, or say. I also think about your mother, and how she was anti Mekhi… Now she can’t wait for “Bruce” or whatever she calls him to get here.
    People ask me that “Are you ready” question all the time. My answer remains the same… NO. I am not ready, how can I prepare for something I know nothing about? However, I am more than willing..
    Danicky Inc.

    Reply

  6. MEL MEL
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 14:18:18

    Perfectly honest. I usually don’t like blogs but I know you have a talent. Also you are kinda living my life with different circumstances..new mommies. Cant wait to go for a walk in the park with our little boys.

    Reply

  7. T Lloyd
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 16:01:10

    Oh Danielle. I had to use your whole name because I meant it. Lol. Since freshmen year, I’ve always felt we were similar, same majors, I’m a Leo, you’re a Virgo (probably the closest zodiac signs) and we’re West Indian. I say all this to say, that even at your most vulnerable, please know that you are the STRONGEST YOU WILL EVER BE. Pregnancy and motherhood are selfless acts that are filled with reservations, fear and countless “WTF” moments. But what I’ve learned (from my own overdue, went into labor twice, no epidural, spit up in my mouth bundle of joy) is that whoever hated me for it honestly does not matter. People who truly love you for the woman you are will genuinely love you as the mother you have become. For those who don’t, you have bigger things to attend to, so they need not waste your time or Khi’s. God Bless your journey. The one piece of advice I can say (and I hate giving advice because I hate receiving it) but this might be good…ENJOY YOUR PREGNANCY, ENJOY EVERYTHING ABOUT IT. THIS IS YOUR TIME, YOUR MOMENT, OWN IT AND LOVE IT. Besides, it only gets better.

    Reply

  8. LaVonne
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 18:25:37

    It made me tear a little very moving…I smell book soon..Congrats again!!!

    Reply

  9. Lizzi Bee
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 19:40:52

    Dananji…

    There are two things I want to tell you honestly.
    1. I am now 100% sure that you are the best writer that I know. Maybe one day when you get bored (ha!) you can write me a book of your poems, clever concepts and moving thoughts?
    2. You’ve got all the pieces… You’ll be a great Mom because you’re a great friend and a great person. Your son will need guidance and instruction for only a portion of his life; but for its entirety, he will need a good friend. You’re so fun and wise he’s gonna be a LUCKY boy (So is his Dad to have you.)
    I hope that some of my confidence in you rubs off when you’re feeling unsure, I’m ALWAYS here when you need me.
    LOVE YA!

    ~Your neighbor in spirit 😉

    Reply

  10. TK
    Apr 01, 2010 @ 10:02:09

    Pinks, your blog made me cry Those first five words your grandmother wrote were some of the same words my mother used to describe how she felt about me in the moment! Your words took me back to a place I never wanted to go again. You made me think about things I try so hard to forget (though they are unforgettable). You blog is great and I will continue to read faithfully.

    Reply

  11. LaNeshe
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 17:17:22

    This is so beautifuly written and beautiful!

    Reply

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