Candy is delighted to be collaborating with Coleen Mensa, Lawyer, mum-to-be and founder of online platform Dear Black Mum. In a two part guest series Coleen will be sharing her motherhood journey and why she’ll be speaking out for equality louder than ever over Black History Month and beyond. In part two, Coleen reflects on the amplification of Black voices within the motherhood community and how she is balancing involvement in Black History Month activity with her third trimester…
We are now just over half way through Black History Month and what a month it has been already! This year we have seen the amplification of Black voices concerning an array of political issues. From the Black Lives Matters protests to the End SARS Movement which condemns police brutality in Nigeria, there has never been a more important time to stand up for justice and equality.
As mentioned in the last blog post, I made the decision to continue to be actively involved in activities taking place this month despite being pregnant. Thus far, I have sat on four panels, delivered two key note talks and I am currently writing an article focused on Black History.
As I head closer to my due date (just over 3 weeks to go, eek!), I can definitely feel my body changing. From lightening crotch and back aches to my sciatic nerves arbitrarily playing up, it’s safe to say my body is going through it.
The one thing that has remained consistent during my pregnancy has been the sudden energy spikes and lulls. As such, I had already anticipated this and knew I would have to take this into consideration over the course of this month.
Due to Coronavirus, all of the events which I have been booked to talk at are now virtual. Whilst there are cons to this, I have been able to benefit from this change immensely. Believe it or not, the act of commuting to a destination exerts a lot of energy, so I have loved the ability to participate at events from my dining room table- can you spot the iCandy Peach Designer Collection Cerium all ready for baby’s arrival?!
Did I expect the month so far to be challenging? Yes. Did I expect myself to be able to handle it? Absolutely. For me it’s been a process of accessing parts of me that were dormant and bringing them out. While my baby has been growing inside of me, one could say that maybe I too have been growing as a person. What an incredible experience.
To kickstart Black History Month, I launched ‘Meet the DBM Community’ over on the Dear Black Mum Instagram page. I wanted to further amplify Black voices within our community and more specifically the criminally unheard voice of the Black mother. Every Friday I share an aspect of mothering through the personal lens of written testimonies from a selected mum in the growing community. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Many mothers and mother-to- be have been able to trust a face they recognise and relate to some of the stories.
Among obvious things, maintaining a healthy balance was my main objective in the midst of all of my commitments. Here are three things that I have put into practice to help me achieve this:
Having a schedule of tasks for the day is something I pretty much cannot live without. In short it helps me to be proactive rather than reactive. Believe it or not, baby brain is very real and so I often find my brain giving me the silent treatment!
I schedule absolutely everything, including my naps and light exercise. As a rule of thumb, I ensure there are no more than two key tasks for the day. This ensures that I do not overdo it yet keep a positive feeling of achievement at the end of each day.
A visual aid of my daily goals also allows me to assess whether I am taking too much on. Admittedly there have been times where I have, so in turn I pulled back. I do not apply too much pressure to myself and if I have to move a few appointments, I absolutely do just that. Sometimes saying no to things, is saying yes to your body.
- HEALTHY EATING
As you can imagine, eating foods that promote good health is vital when one is pregnant. Such foods include ones that are rich in calcium (and other essential vitamins and minerals) that are found in most fruits and veggies. Eating foods that do not contain too much fat and are protein rich have been a win also.
The topic of diet can be a rabbit hole, and people do eat different things for different reasons. In short, for me it’s been about listening to my body and eating accordingly. Alcohol and caffeine have been a big no no for obvious reasons, but I also steered clear of fizzy drinks due to the extremely high levels of sugar.
I have found that regular healthy meals often sustain my energy for long periods of time. Armed with this knowledge, I ensure that especially on the days where I require energy to deliver talks, I eat balanced meals.
Having said this, it is very easy to slip into the habit of giving into pregnancy cravings which are not always so healthy. Once my commitments for the day is all over and done with, I *may* pig out on some not so healthy meals – remember I said the key word here is balance!
- REST and SELF CARE
In hindsight, this may have needed to have been the first on the list, as it’s super important to me.
Although I am on maternity leave, I have the propensity to work until my body tells me to stop. Of course, this is not the best approach to take when one is pregnant. Therefore, I get ahead of my body crashing and ensure I rest, as much as I need to, for however long I need too. Guilt free of course.
I have also dedicated every Saturday to my self care days. This entails everything from simply playing my favourite playlists, and spending hours getting lost in a book to indulgent facials. I am currently having my bathroom renovated so soon I will be able to add long baths to the list.