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Studies Say Latina Moms Struggle With Pregnancies In Ways That Are Unique To Themselves In Early Stages

By Diana R. Diaz

Welcome to motherhood! Whether you had a difficult pregnancy and delivery or not, you’ve officially crossed over into undeniably the best and hardest years of your life. As a mother myself (of boy-girl twins), I can tell you with all certainty, that nothing, I mean nothing, no book, no blog, no video, can adequately prepare you to ‘do motherhood’ the right way. Simply stated, there is no right way. Our bodies are different, our tolerance levels are different. 

I had a beautiful pregnancy and delivery but struggled tremendously in the weeks and months that followed. Sleep deprivation was harsh and my postpartum depression was oh-so-real. Most of which was triggered by the cultural pressure I felt to breastfeed when my body simply couldn’t. Inevitably I felt like a failure. Truth is, I tried. I tried a lot.  But with every attempt, I felt my mental and physical state take a toll for the worse. It led me into a very dark and lonely place. I share all about it in this video.  In retrospect, I realize that it didn’t have to be this extreme. And while there’s definitely no book with all the magic answers, here are my 3 Survival Tips for New Latina Moms to help you better cope with the unexpected twists and turns of early motherhood. 

1. Don’t Compare Yourself 

zianiarubi/ Instagram

Chances are, you’re exhausted, overwhelmed and quite vulnerable. And since this is your first time having a baby, you have no real measure or point of reference on how early motherhood ‘should’ be. With all this said, it can be easy to fall victim to the comparison game. You might’ve heard that your prima breastfed like a champ; that your tia used a specific baby formula that she swore by; or that your friend willingly and excitedly took 5 years off work to thrive as a stay at home mom. With the constant influx of information, you have to pause and remind yourself that your experiences are unique. As a new mom, you must harness the little energy you have and channel in the areas in your life that really need it. This way, your wellness remains a consistent priority. So next time, instead of thinking of how ‘fulana’ did something a certain way; pause and redirect your thoughts to: 

“Have I taken a shower today?” 

“Have I taken a few whole deep breaths today?”

“Have I looked in the mirror and told myself, wow good job today?” 

2. Breastfeed or Not – YOU Decide 

olaiasusperregi / Instagram

Listen, this isn’t easy. I personally wanted to breastfeed and dreamed of it being such a beautiful and painless experience. I went to all the classes and told myself, I will be like that woman smiling while simultaneously breastfeeding her newborn twins in the cover of a motherhood magazine. None of which actually happened because I soon learned I had hyper-sensitive nipples which made breastfeeding feel like death. Family and friends would kindly but firmly insist I keep trying. As a result, I fell into a feeling of deep sorrow. Ladies, don’t do this. YOU know your body better than anyone. If you are in unruly pain and you know in your gut that your attempts to breastfeed is deteriorating your mental and physical health, please listen to your body, even if it goes against what your mom, suegra or partner may think. Conversely, if you want to breastfeed and feel pressured to stop when you really don’t want to, listen to your gut. It’s important to note that all new moms struggle with breastfeeding. Some moms are total naturals. Other moms struggle a little in the beginning and soon get the hang of it. There are also a number of resources to help with breastfeeding and maternal wellness. My point isn’t to discourage breastfeeding, my point is to encourage self-awareness. 

3. Prioritize Self-Care

In the early months of motherhood, it’s easy to forget to think about yourself, or spending time away from your baby. For some, especially those part of the Latinx culture, this can feel like an absolute “sin”. Regardless, prioritizing self-care is vital to maintaining your mental and physical health. Self-care means different things to different people. Here are some easy ways you can prioritize self-care during early motherhood: 

  • Have a help plan. Yes, this means you should ask for help! Identify 2-3 friends and/or family members that can come and alternate once a week to help you with cleaning, cooking or babysitting while you do some self-care (not to be confused with friends and family that visit to meet the baby). 
  • If you can, hire help to clean and/or cook 
  • Take an extra-long hot shower with your favorite music on full blast 
  • Gym or yoga session once a week
  • Go for a long walk around the block with or without the baby
  • Go for a fast-food run and eat it in your car 
  • Sleep – preferably in a separate room or at a nearby friend’s house 
  • Say no to what doesn’t feel right in your gut 
  • Watch a feel-good movie 
  • Enjoy a pedicure or an actual body massage 
  • A quick drive to your favorite coffee place 

*shout out to my RAWW IG community for sharing their early motherhood self-care activities. 

Follow us on IG at @therawwnetwork 

Video of Boy With Down’s Syndrome Hugging an Autistic Boy Goes Viral

Things That Matter

Video of Boy With Down’s Syndrome Hugging an Autistic Boy Goes Viral

videohub / Twitter

It may not be obvious to everyone due to misrepresentation in the media, but according to the World Health Organization, there are more than 1 billion people in the world who have some form of disability. That statistic corresponds to about 15% of the world’s population, which means that a large chunk of people on the planet are not adequately or accurately represented when it comes to the media. Thankfully, there’s been a recent uptick in activism aimed at shining a light on positive stories that center around folks with disabilities. As these movements are quick to point out, there is no one way to be disabled, and not all stories of folks’ with disabilities are sad or depressing.

This point couldn’t be illustrated any clearer than by the video that the Spanish Language Facebook page Jalisco Oculto shared on Friday. The touching video of two young Mexican students interacting with each other quickly made waves, but not for the usual shocking or click-baity content. What made this video different from the usual internet distractions was that these boys both had special needs. According to the video description, one boy had Down syndrome while the other had Autism. The video’s caption reads: “A Down syndrome boy with a huge heart comforts his autistic classmate in his own way”. 

The video quickly struck a chord with people, especially those who have family members with special needs. 

The video first shows the boy with Down’s syndrome playfully waving his hand in front of his autistic classmate’s face. The classmate’s face visibly expresses emotion and, in response, the boy with Down’s syndrome leans in and wraps an arm around him, giving the boy a hug. The autistic boy appears to become more emotional and leans into him, his emotions seeming to grow on his face. The boy with Down’s syndrome simply hugs him harder, at one point rubbing and patting his back and appearing to wipe away his friend’s tears. After they break the hug, the boy with Down’s syndrome continues to try and cheer him up, holding up both of his friend’s hands playfully, seeming to urge him to dance. 

The video became an almost instant phenomenon, wracking up 140,000 likes, almost 10,000 comments, and over 450,000 shares. Quickly, the video was shared to other social media platform like Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram, veritably taking the internet by storm. 

On each platform, people flooded the comment sections with stories of the empathy and kindness that their loved ones with special needs have shown them. One Twitter user wrote: “This child remind us that love is instinct and love is innate and that hate is taught”. 

The video seemed to resonate with people because of the unexpected friendship between these two boys. 

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every 700 babies is born with Down’s syndrome in the United States. Additionally, the CDC estimates that one in 68 children in the U.S. have autism. Needless to say, this means that children with special needs aren’t “unusual” in any way–they are part of our community like any other child. 

The internet’s strong reaction to this video is proof that the world craves wholesome and uplifting stories. 

While the news inundates us with stories of horror and tragedy, it is videos like this one that show us a lesson we all need to acknowledge: that empathy and love surround us all, even if we don’t see it all the time. 

This woman made an astute observation about the high emotional intelligence of children with Down syndrome

Believe it or not, many of us have family members with disabilities. Many of us are disabled ourselves.

This person explains how mixed special needs classrooms can benefit all students 

There is no need to segregate students with special needs, like some schools have trended towards doing. As Ari Ne’eman of The Autistic Self Advocacy Network states,”Segregated schools lead to segregated societies. Inclusive schools give us the opportunity for inclusive societies”.

This person expressed his gratitude for having children with special needs in his life. 

As we mentioned before, not all stories of those with disabilities are stories of sadness and tragedy. Many are stories of love, kindness, and learning.

This woman expressed her admiration for the Mexican school that encourages behavior like this.

One could argue that this video went so viral because it showed the world behavior that we’re not shown very often. It would benefit all of us to act like the boys in this video and and express selfless empathy for no reason at all. 

How Is It 2019 And We Have Dads That Are Still Obsessed With Their Daughter’s Hymens?

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How Is It 2019 And We Have Dads That Are Still Obsessed With Their Daughter’s Hymens?

Last week rapper T.I. made headlines when he revealed his particularly disturbing brand of parenting. As the rapper detailed on the “Ladies Like Us” podcast, , the rapper boasted about keeping his 18-year-old daughter “pure” and said that he does so by accompanying her to her yearly gynecologist appoints. As if the whole interview couldn’t have gotten worse, T.I. proved his ignorance by saying that, despite all of the doctors in the world that says that the absence of a hymen does not provide viable of proof a woman’s sexual activity, he makes the doctor report on its status.

Of course, it didn’t take long for the sane people of the world to express their complete disgust and outrage over the statements. Users on Twitter and sexual assault experts were quick to slam the rapper for perpetuating toxic masculinity and shame amongst young women for their sexuality and bodies. The “Ladies Like Us” hosts even took down the original interview with T.I. in which he asserted that  “I will say, as of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact” and health experts were quick to admonish the rapper for feeding into myths that are untrue and have greatly affected the lives of young girls and woman across the globe. After all, last year in October, the UN Human Rights, UN Women and World Health  Organization stated that virginity testing is a major cause for violence against women. 

For a better understanding of the dangerous effects of misunderstanding hymens, we broke down some facts. 

The Purpose Of The Hymen

When it comes to our understanding of hymens, it’s not uncommon for our first understandings of it to be linked to virginity and purity. We often are taught that “cherry’s get popped” or more blatantly that hymens are “broken” during first sexual encounters.  The truth, however, is that by the time most women have sex for the first time, their hymens have already stretched or torn as a result of different activities including the use of tampons, menstrual cups, physical activity (including gymnastics and horseback riding) or pelvic exams. 

According to Healthline, “Most females are born with a hymen. A hymen is a thin membrane that stretches across the vagina. It generally has a ring-like appearance with a small opening.” What’s more, the site explains that “there’s no real medical purpose for the hymen, although some think it may have evolved over time to help protect the vagina from infection.”

What we know about the myth that says the presence of a hymen equals a virgin

So, now that you know that the absence of a hymen does not necessarily mean that someone is a virgin, it’s time to dig into who started the rumor.  According to a recent article by Bustle, “It’s not entirely clear how or where the myth started originally…There are loose references describing the hymen as a cherry dating back as far as the 16th century…In more recent jargon the phrase appears to have come about in the 19th century based on the notion that a woman was ‘ripe for the picking’ if she was a virgin.Regardless of how it started, this myth of breaking the hymen or ‘popping the cherry’ persists due to a lack of understanding of the female anatomy and an ongoing lack of education about female sexual health and wellbeing.”

The dangers of virginity obsession 

When T.I. told the world about how he violates his daughter’s privacy by inserting himself into her sex life and making her take exams where are virginity is reported back to him, he put her in danger. For once, the idea that he felt he had a right to be privy to what she does with her body gives an impression to others that they have the right to her body as well. What’s more it feeds into “purity culture” which only generates toxic mindsets and situations for women and sexual assault survivors. In a 2013 interview about her kidnapping, survivor Elizabeth Smart who was kidnapped at 14 years old in 2002, said that she felt worthless after she’d been raped by her kidnapper for the first time. “I think it goes even beyond fear, for so many children, especially in sex trafficking. It’s feelings of self-worth. It’s feeling like, ‘Who would ever want me now? I’m worthless,'” Smart explained in a speech. “That is what it was for me the first time I was raped. I was raised in a very religious household, one that taught that sex was something special that only happened between a husband and a wife who loved each other. And that’s how I’d been raised, that’s what I’d always been determined to follow: that when I got married, then and only then would I engage in sex. After that first rape, I felt crushed. Who could want me now? I felt so dirty and so filthy. I understand so easily all too well why someone wouldn’t run because of that alone.”

Of course, Smart’s case is an extreme example of the effects of purity culture and clinging to hymens proof of virginity but the truth is that we have to stop policing women’s bodies and how they choose, and when they choose to have sex. It’s no one’s business but their own.