What If

Today two cars drove by my children’s daycare. Inside those two cars were men, kids really, with guns. They were shooting at each other. One of these kids is wanted in a murder that happened a few months ago. As they sped past my children’s daycare, the teachers thought they were hearing fireworks.

I was unaware. I was wrapping up a work meeting.

My daughter’s classroom faces the road. There are cribs near the windows. There were babies sleeping and cooing and playing while a rolling shootout passed their classroom.

My son’s class was gearing up for their weekly visit from the ice cream truck. Every Thursday afternoon, an ice cream truck comes to his school and his classmates line up to go outside and order a treat.

I’m sitting at home now, my daughter sleeping heavily on my chest while I listen to my husband and son laughing and being silly in the living room.

I’m a worrier. I am constantly playing out worse case scenarios in my mind. The details are vivid, not real, but vivid enough to take my breath away. 

I’m imaging the worst. My heart is racing and my eyes are burning as I fight back tears. The sound of my daughter’s soft breathing is echoing through my ears and I am grateful for each breath.

It didn’t happen today. It could have happened today. The guns. The bullets. They wizzed by my life today and I had no idea.

My babies are home safe. For that I am grateful. Today, the what if remains a what if. But, it’s a heavy one. 

Am I being over dramatic? Perhaps. But, in the world we live in, or rather, the America we live in, gun violence steals too many young lives every day. Too many mothers won’t ever hear their babies soft breathing or loud giggles.

Today, I am lucky, but, I am also terrified because it can happen. It does happen.

 

We Should All Care

I should know better. The reality of who we’ve been and who we’ve become shouldn’t be a surprise. But it’s hard to comprehend how anyone could see the images of these children and hear their cries and not feel compassion. As a mother I would do anything to keep my children safe, including leaving my home land in hopes of finding a safe place where my children could have a brighter future.

My children will likely never know the poverty these countries know. They won’t know the violence or the despair. Their bellies are full. Their homes are safe. They are privileged. I am privileged.

The horror these families face is a reality I’ll never know. But that doesn’t mean I can pretend it doesn’t exist. Quite the opposite. My heart and conscience demand that I don’t ignore it.

If you’re capable of justifying the actions of this administration, look deep inside your heart and soul and imagine for a moment what they lived through.

War.

Starvation.

Gang violence.

Rape.

Abductions.

Sex and human trafficking.

Thousand mile journeys with no real promises.

Unimaginable despair.

Murder.

If your child faced this future, what would you do? Would you do everything in your power to ensure your life was not their future? Would you run towards the only light on? Would America be that beacon of hope you so desperately need?

Now, imagine that you finally made it. A future was possible. You pull your baby in tight, hug them, kiss their cheek and just as you go to whisper, “we’re safe, you’re safe,” a stranger rips your child from your arms and arrests you. Your hands cuffed. Your child is screaming and crying for you. Their tiny, helpless body trembles with uncontrollable sobs. You cannot hold them. You cannot comfort them. They are taken further and further away from you, their tears and cries for “Mommy, Mommy!” echo in your ears. But, they’re gone now. You close your eyes and see their tiny dirt covered face streaming with tears.

That may be the last image of your child. You may never see them again. You may never hold them again.

Put yourself in that mother’s place as you tuck your safe, fed and healthy child into bed tonight. Feel that mother’s anguish as you shut the door to their dark, but clean and decorated bedroom. Go sit in your comfortable bed and know that you have peace of mind that your child is safe. Close your eyes and picture your sweet child as you last saw them – laughing and playing. 

You are privileged. You are more than privileged.

Can you still justify the forced separation of families? Can you still look at these mothers and fathers with disdain and disgust?

If you can and if you still don’t understand the inhumanity in all of this, I don’t know what else to say.

If They Knew

I love my life – my husband, my children, our home, my career and my family. Every single day I work to remember this and to not take it for granted. But, every single day I fight the fear and inner voice that tells me they would be better off without me, that their lives would be easier without dealing with the burden of me.

It happens in the middle of the night. It happens driving to work. It happens sitting in meetings. It happens at the dinner table. It happens as I am holding my babies. My mind slips away from reality and dives head first into every negative thought and feeling I have towards myself – I am not worthy of my husband or his love, my children need a mother that is stronger/better/nicer than me, I don’t do enough for them, I am not enough for them, my husband has to work too hard to love me, maybe none of them actually love me, am I good enough for anyone to love, I don’t even deserve any of their love or anyone else’s love for that matter. The voice nags and nags, it pulls me deeper into the void and further away from the world around me. It’s suffocating. As I feel it dragging me deeper and deeper, I push away the people that could pull me to safety- if they knew I had these thoughts, would they think less of me? Would they validate the voice? Would they see me differently? I can’t let the weakness show. I can’t let them see this side of me because it will make all of my fears a reality. They’ll know I am a fraud. They’ll know I don’t deserve them.

So, I withdraw. I pull away from people. I stop doing the things that make me happy. I shut down. Sometimes I go online and start deleting posts and stories I’ve shared. I start erasing my life and disengaging. After all, I’m not worth their time, love or affection anyway.

I don’t know where these thoughts come from. What I do know is that when they start talking, they flood my entire body. The vast emptiness and desperation attacks me and touches every last inch of me. It’s all consuming. It’s almost like walking outside in 100 degree weather with 90% humidity. I can’t breathe. I can barely walk. I am  drudging through quick sand and desperately searching for solid ground, but can’t find the energy to push forward.

I don’t routinely fantasize about death or seriously consider actions towards it, but there are days and weeks where I can understand and relate to the thought process that leads someone to that decision. I’ve also thought about the ways it could be done, which would be the least messy or painful. My thoughts have teetered in that dark tunnel and my inner monologue has wrestled with the words as I’ve slid further and further into the rabbit hole of depression. I’ve felt the darkness and the emptiness strangling me. I don’t know what it is that pulls me back or keeps me from diving into the bleakness. Something keeps saving me from myself.

I’d love to tell you that it’s my love for my children and family. Or that it’s some super power within me. More likely it is another form of fear. The fear of the unknown or the fear of nothingness. Perhaps my fear of not knowing is stronger than my fear of not being enough or worthy of the life I love. Maybe it’s because there is occasionally a break in the darkness and I can scream at the voice to shut up. I can’t silence it, but I can drown it out with loud music and distractions. She’s always there though. She always reminds me that maybe, just maybe, their lives would be easier if I weren’t there to bother them.

I’ve never talked to anyone about these feelings, and, until now, I’ve never written them down or put them out there. It’s hard being vulnerable and open. And as much as I share about my life on social media, I never share the full story. But, the more we talk about depression and suicide, the more we remove the stigma around mental health.

If, like me, you’ve felt yourself slipping into the dark tunnel of depression and have had thoughts of suicide, please call 1-800-273-8255. Talk to someone. There is no shame in feeling this way and there is no shame is seeking help. You are not alone. I am not alone.

We are the Bullies

Growing up I was on both the giving and receiving end of bullying. I was guilty of following the pack and not standing up for kids, but there were times I did. There were times I was on the other side of the pack and was picked on and bullied. Back then (way back in the 80s and 90s) my mom always encouraged me to not only be the bigger person but to also embrace the emotions that came from being bullied. I was reassured that it was okay to cry and it was okay to empathize and feel others’ pain. She reassured both my brother and I that our sensitivity to and respect of not only our feelings but those of others’ was and is a good thing.

Today’s kids aren’t taught this. They are told that feelings are a weakness and that caring for others’ feelings is being a snowflake. If they are bullied or picked on, they are told to suck it up and toughen up.

We mock safe spaces.
We mock empathy.
We mock feelings.
We mock emotions.
We mock sensitivity.
We mock kids who speak up.
We mock those who are different from us.
We mock those that are bullied.
We mock their tears.

We are the bullies.

By teaching our children that showing feelings or compassion is bad, we are creating a society of emotionless and apathetic citizens. And we wonder why we are quickly becoming the nation of school shootings. We wonder how a bully like Donald Trump was elected president. We wonder how bullies become the talking heads on extremist media.

We are teaching our children that feelings do not matter and to just suck it up. We are accepting the behavior of the bullies and punishing the bullied. How messed up and backwards is this?

People aren’t “snowflakes” or “cucks” because they respect the feelings of others and acknowledge their own feelings. These are both characteristics of strong people and the very characteristics we should be looking for in our leaders. We need to embrace our feelings and we need to show and feel empathy towards others. We need to teach more than tolerance and instead focus on acceptance and compassion. We need to welcome emotions. We need to welcome differences.

If we want to change the direction we are heading, we have to stop this whole attitude of “suck it up” when it comes to kids that are bullied and we need to address the real problem of bullying – both in our schools and among our politicians and adults. The internet gives bullies a safe space to hide behind their words and we all feel more emboldened behind the keyboard. But we aren’t gaining anything from this and the only thing that we accomplish is digging deeper divisions.

Mom Guilt, Let it Go

Becoming a mom has been the most rewarding, challenging and changing thing I have ever done. But, it’s also unleashed a whole new meaning for “guilt.” Anyone else struggle with #MomGuilt?

Yesterday marked my third official Mother’s Day and my first as a mama trying to balance and juggle two little ones. In a week, I’ll be adding my job back into the mix. With this, double the working mom guilt.

The guilt that comes with the feeling of dread every time the phone rings during your work day, and the immediate feeling that follows that dread. You know, the guilty feeling because you dreaded your babies needing you in the middle of a work day. This guilt is then followed by more guilt as you hang your head and sulk into your boss’s office to tell them you need to leave. The guilt and anger you feel as you sit in your annual review and your boss tells you that your sick kid is a problem and suggests you find someone else to care for him when he’s sick (yes, this actually happened). Or worse, the guilt you feel as you call your husband because your workday won’t permit you time away.

Then there’s the guilt you feel at home. The guilt when you’re so tired and just want a moment without being needed or touched, but that is all your child wants. The guilt as you try to use the bathroom in peace and your toddler beats on the locked door because the miss you. The guilt when you lose your shit because literally nothing is going your way. The guilt when you say something out of frustration that you didn’t mean to say. The guilt when you miss the time you used to have to yourself.

I could go on for days listing out everything I’ve done as a mother that’s filled me with guilt. Every day seems to present a new opportunity for guilt. 

This Mother’s Day give yourself the gift of acceptance and forgiveness. And, if you’re not a mother, let one you know, love or work with that you’ve got her back. Support mothers whether they work in or out of the home.

Mommy Can’t

For the past few weeks it seems every sentence I speak to my son starts with “I’m sorry, Mommy can’t.” Mommy can’t lay down with you because I have to feed your sister. Mommy can’t play right now because your sister needs me. Mommy can’t read to you because you sister … you get the idea. My husband has uttered this phrase more times than I can count as well.

But, this weekend I decided to banish that phrase. Why? Because it devalues my son’s needs and makes him feel second best, which he is not. His behavior shift has told me what his words cannot, that he is feeling left out and is missing some attention and affection. Well, that and we are on the verge of the threenagers.

Yes, there are times AB needs me and I cannot be with him, but I have to find a better way to express this to my almost three year old son. A way that reminds him that he is important and loved. More importantly, in a way that reassures him that I am still his mommy and he is still my child.

Instead of telling him “I can’t,” I have started to ask if I can do whatever in a few minutes. Or I ask him if he wants to help Mommy. I’ve also started making sure I make and actually take the time to spend with him. Now, Daddy helps him get ready for bed while I feed his sister and get her ready for bed. Then, we switch and I go in and read to him and lay with him while he falls asleep. If he wants to play while I am feeding his sister, I suggest activities that allow me to multitask – Play-Doh or coloring at the table so I can still nurse AB while J and I play.

It’s not perfect and neither am I, but we are still learning how to be a family of four and he is still learning how to share his mommy and daddy. We’ll never get it right 100% of the time, but I am working to be more aware of the times we get it wrong so we can adjust. Up next? Learning how to put my phone down.

Baby Girl’s Arrival

Stubborn. Unpredictable. These two words describe AB (Baby Girl) to a T. They also perfectly describe her birth.

At our 35 week appointment, AB was head down and in the ideal birth position. A week later, she flipped breech. The ultrasound tech casually asked if we were having a c-section and I felt my heart sink. A c-section? No, we weren’t having a c-section and we hadn’t even talked about one. After my son’s birth, I’d just assumed that we’d be having another vaginal birth. My only hope was that she baked a bit longer … and to avoid pitocin. Now those seemed like minor requests.

We started talking to our doctor about what options we had and we all agreed to try for an external cephalic version, ECV, to try and flip her. We scheduled it for the Saturday I hit 37 weeks. Then my son got the flu and strep and we rescheduled for the next Saturday. If you aren’t familiar with an ECV, it is a procedure where the OB attempts to manually flip the baby head down by pressing on mama’s belly. The risks to mama and baby are low, but include inducing labor, rupturing waters, placenta abruption and stress for baby. All of these risks are very, very low, so for us, it was worth a shot.

Unfortunately, after twelve hours in the hospital, a failed ECV attempt and a few hours of intense contractions later, we left with AB still breech and a c-section scheduled for the next Monday, when I’d have been 39+2. I started researching everything I could on c-sections – the procedure, recovery, possible complications, etc. I also began researching tubal ligations. We’ve always known we were done at two and if we wanted another, we’d consider adoption. Since I was going in for a c-section and they’d be there anyway, this was the best birth control option for us … nothing quite like being told you are getting too old for the pill and were at a great risk of clots and other negative side effects.

So, we made arrangements for my mother to come up on Sunday and be with the soon-to-be big brother while Dad and I headed in to welcome his baby sister.

Then little miss unpredictable decided to take our predictable, planned c-section and flip it on its head (ironically, she still refused to flip on her head). At our 38 week appointment on Wednesday, February 21, we had a biophysical profile (BPP) scheduled (another perk of being advanced maternal age). That morning, she’d been a little more subdued than normal and didn’t dance around after my morning latte as normal. This wasn’t completely out of the ordinary at this stage, she was running out of room.

During a BPP, they watch for baby to show signs of practice breathing and baby has to move three times during the 30 minute scan. In our prior BPPs, she’d waited until the last minute to start moving, so we were expecting a similar result during this scan. But, she didn’t. Her practice breathing was great, but her movements were not and she failed with a 4/8. At this point, I asked if we’d be heading for a non-stress test.

The tech didn’t even look up from the screen when she said, “No, delivery.” I blinked. Excuse me? No, we have this scheduled for Monday – today was Wednesday. Our son was at daycare and I’d literally just text my mother that my cervix was still cooperating and not progressing. “Looks like we are set for Monday!” I’d said.

The tech left the room and five very long minutes later the OB on call came in and told us to head to the hospital – either my husband was taking me or they were calling an ambulance. My brain tried to process this news while also trying to problem solve what we were going to do to get my mother here, get her my car (she drives a Miata, not exactly carseat friendly) and get my son from daycare. My poor husband is just staring at me in disbelief as I am asking the OB if we have time to take my car home. No, she said, you have to leave now.

Now. Ok. Shit was getting real at this point and I knew we’d be welcoming baby soon.

We got to the hospital a bit before 10am and scheduled the c-section for 3:30 that afternoon – 8 hours after my latte (I guess the nonfat milk counts as food). We’d hoped to have a family-centered c-section that would allow us to have immediate skin-to-skin with the baby, delayed cord clamping and a few other benefits that are standard during a vaginal delivery. Unfortunately, the nurse that does the family-centered c-sections ended her shift at 3pm, so we just missed the window. Damn latte. (I still love you Starbucks.)

At 4:24pm AB was born via a mostly planned c-section and she was a sturdy 7 pounds 4 ounces and 19.5 inches. The moment they held her up in the little viewing window was a moment I will never forget. It wasn’t the same as the moment they laid my son on my chest, but the heart-stopping, life-changing moment was just as powerful and overwhelming. It took a few minutes to get her color to maintain, but when I finally felt the weight of her in my arms, how she was welcomed into the world no longer mattered.

As much as I’d dreaded the c-section, it wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t the birth I’d hoped for. Going into this pregnancy, my birth plan consisted of the following and having a c-section allowed me to achieve each goal:

  • Avoid pitocin
  • Don’t be a bitch to the nurses
  • Get an epidural

Recovery from the c-section was dramatically different from my vaginal delivery with my son. It’s been difficult to not be able to pick up my son or drive or get out of bed. But, two weeks post delivery, I am slowly getting back to normal.

Big brother is over the moon and is loving having a baby sister, but he refuses to hold her. Every day he comes home from daycare he asks where she is and then gives her a kiss on her head. It’s been amazing to finally have AB here and to see our toddler embrace his role as Big Brother. He’s also been very patient and sweet as I have recovered. He is intrigued by breastfeeding and how his sister is “eating you Mama” or how the breast pump works, “you have milk like a cow?”

Our little family feels complete and while we’re missing those precious hours of sleep.

We Own Our Own Consent

Consent.
noun
1.permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.
“no change may be made without the consent of all the partners”

verb
1.give permission for something to happen.
“he consented to a search by a detective”

It is a simple word with a seemingly simple definition. Or, at least it is at first glance. Perhaps I should say by definition the word and it’s meaning are pretty basic and should be easy to comprehend. However, in practice, this word is quite confusing and difficult to comprehend. Why? I am sure there are many reasons and depending on the situation in which consent is required, different interpretations of “yes” or “no” allow for some confusion – especially when no verbal answer is given.

This is often the case when it comes to sex. The heat of the moment doesn’t always give way to the simple question of “do you want to have sex?” Our senses are jumbled and our actions often take control and we don’t get the words out. In other words, we rely on nonverbal communication to convey consent. The problem with this? Not every one interprets nonverbal communication or cues the same way.

Another reason? Perhaps this is where I will lose some of you. When it comes to sex and relationships and especially sexual desires, women have often been taught to let the man lead. Let him call you first. Let him ask you out. Let him plan the date. Let him pay. Let him make the first move. Don’t be the one to initiate. Don’t speak up about your sexuality. Don’t embrace your desires and wants. Be ashamed of wanting sex. Be timid. Let him take charge. Don’t be a slut. Ugh. Just typing that gives me the heebie jeebies.

This is damaging in so many ways, but I am going to focus on the question and issue of consent.

It is so important that we shift this way of thinking and encourage women and girls to embrace their sexuality and to not be afraid to speak up when it comes to their needs and wants. We’ve been silent for far too long. And, I may be wrong here, but I believe that most men want us to speak up. They don’t want to be the reason we have bad sex or bad dates. Contrary to what society wants us to believe, most men want their partners to enjoy sex and intimacy. They want to know when their moves aren’t working or their kisses are sloppy or when their partner doesn’t want any of that. (Unrelated to the topic of consent … for the love of all women, please stop  faking orgasms, women).

We, as women, are responsible for our own consent. We own that communication – no one else can or should. We cannot hide behind centuries of relationship “rules” or norms. Men aren’t the sold owners of sexuality. They also aren’t mind readers. They, like us, get caught up in the heat of the moment and they often don’t speak the same nonverbal language we do. Expecting them to only blurs the lines of consent even further.

I want both my daughter and my son, to be proud of who they are and I want them both to be empowered to speak up with it comes to their bodies. While it is often uncomfortable to even think about my children in their future relationships, I hope that I can instill in them the confidence to speak for themselves and to express their desires and needs.

Over the last week, I have had this conversation more times than I would like to … I am not going to mention the story that has sparked these conversations because, while it inspired the dialogue, it is not productive to link it to this particular conversation. Yes her story is important and yes her voice matters, but we need to have this dialogue without the potential implications of victim blaming or shaming (neither of which is my intent).

In these conversations, some have felt that the burden of consent and interpretation of said consent rests on the shoulders of the man involved. This is not even remotely true. As I said above, women own their own consent – allowing a man to own this doesn’t change our norms or attitudes and it opens the door for even further exploitation of women. If we continue to encourage women to be timid about sex, we cannot change the norms or the conversation and we don’t make progress.

Do men play a role in consent? Absolutely. It is their responsibility to receive and appropriately respond to their partner when consent is given or not given. But, if our partners are not responding to our consent, or lack thereof, the way we need them to, it is our responsibility to reassert our position and speak up. Men should also play an active role in the two-way communication of consent. If you, as a man, are confused by a nonverbal cue, ask for direct consent or clarification. Stop what you are doing and ask. Engage in conversations about consent and listen. Actually, just listening is a great first step. Take the time to listen to the women in your life, especially your partner(s). Pay attention.

Feminism is not about women overpowering men or taking revenge on all men for the shit and sins of the past. Feminism is about equality and equal access and ensuring all women have the same opportunities, access and treatment as their male counterparts. We cannot use feminism to blame men for our own mistakes and it goes against every fiber of feminism to expect men to take control of the conversation around our consent. This is a conversation that we must own and lead and initiate.

We own our own consent. Period.

A few friendly reminders about the basics of consent – I don’t speak for all women, just myself, but there are some basic norms that cannot be shouted loud enough.

When it comes to sex, consent is not given when:

  • We wear a revealing outfit
  • We accept an invitation to your home
  • We drink too much
  • We wear makeup
  • We shave our legs
  • We let you pay for dinner
  • We say yes to a date

 

Changes & Challenges

My entire career has been spent in restaurant marketing – even during and before college, I worked in restaurants. It is an industry that I know well , am passionate about and also one that I am comfortable in. The experiences I had before college allowed me to accelerate my professional career and catch up to my peers, despite having a 6 year gap between high school and college. In a way, the restaurant industry is home – I am confident in my ability and my knowledge and I have been able to take this into a variety of different marketing roles and restaurant settings – family dining, restaurant and bar, casual dining and fast casual. Although each of these have their unique challenges, I have always been able to transfer my experience in one to the next as I have grown in my career.

More than once I’ve toyed with the idea of leaving the restaurant industry, but my background often made it difficult to get past the gatekeepers of other industries. My resume is pretty set in the restaurant space and I’ve been fortunate to live in a city that serves as home base for multiple restaurant brands. I’ve always known that I wanted more and that I had a strong desire to expand beyond food. I just haven’t found an opportunity that fit what I was looking for and that was open to working with me as I took that big leap.

But, in less than two weeks I am taking all of that experience and background and entering completely new industry, and in some way a new field. I am equal parts excited and terrified.

I am excited to learn and to grow, but also to be able to test my comfort level and jump out of the zone that’s been my bread and butter. The opportunity to meet a completely new group of people that will help mentor and mold my future is also beyond exciting. There is so much to learn and I am looking forward to seeing what I can do and how I can bring my experience and knowledge to a new team.

But, it is terrifying. Can I be successful in an area outside restaurant marketing? Will I be able to transition out of the industry that has been my entire world for so long? Can this old dog learn new tricks? Can I do it?

I suppose those are all more self-doubts than fears, but one often seeps into the other. As I head into my final few days in my current position, I am working to silence the fears and the doubts by focusing on the exciting changes that lie ahead. It’s easy to let your fear dominate my inner monologues, but thankfully the excitement of a new challenge is helping to drown out the voices of doubt.

One thing I know for sure is that this opportunity is coming at a major time of transition in my life as our family grows and that is also a little bit scary. But for us and me, the timing is also perfect because I am already in a mindset that is ready to embrace the change and the challenge.

Keep You Safe

Some nights, I feel your tiny 7 ounce body tossing and turning as I toss and turn and try to fall asleep. Your big brother tosses and turns too – and even flips sometimes. Your dad sleeps like a log and doesn’t move (unless he has a dream I am falling off the cliff known as our bed and he must jump at at two am to “save me”).

Often as I lie in the darkness and try to feel every movement, I wonder what you look like or who you’ll be.

This week, I wondered if I could keep you in my womb forever, or at least until the world is a safer and saner place. It seems every time I turn on the news another mother is saying goodbye to her child that was lost in a senseless act of violence. I’ve always known our world and our country can be scary places and that danger exists, but this week that danger seems more real than normal.

Two weeks ago, a gunman opened fire in a church less than two miles from our home. This week, another gunman opened fire on 22,000 people listening to music. I read about these tragedies almost daily, but until recently, I’ve never personally known anyone impacted by them.

Every time I feel you bump around inside my belly, I am reminded that my one job is to protect you and keep you safe. My body nourishes you and helps you grow so that one day soon you’ll be ready to make your grand entrance.

That day terrifies me.
That day I will no longer be the one solely in control on your security.
That day you will become vulnerable to a world that seems to value your life less and less every day.
That day you will begin to see the evil that exists; sure it may be years before you comprehend or understand.
That day I will no longer just have to keep you safe inside the security of my body, but I will have to keep you safe from outside forces too.

I fear that no matter what I do, it will not be enough. The mothers that lost their babies in Las Vegas did everything to keep them safe, but one man took that from them. He stole those lives and gutted families. And he did it in less than the time it takes most of us to get out of bed in the morning.

I so desperately want to shield you and your brother from this and to keep you safe from every evil thought or action. But, the reality is I can’t.

I want to keep you safe and the only way I know how to do that is to continue to love and nourish you as you prepare to make your entrance. Once you are here, my job continues and I will fight with every breath I have to keep you safe.