When I was pregnant with Paloma, I waited until I was 20 weeks pregnant to reveal it to many of my friends and colleagues, and the world. I was scared that people would not support my decision to start a family while in graduate school, and I discovered that my fears were well founded.
The hardest thing about being pregnant with Paloma in the academy was that, few people congratulated me. In fact, most asked what I was going to do? Are you going to leave the program or take a semester off? For working class students, a leave is not feasible as this means a fountain of income would vanish, and like many families, we depend on two incomes.
All of these conversations, while seemingly benign construct your pregnancy in a negative light, a problem to solve as opposed to a joyous celebration. In addition to the negativity, surrounding me by well-meaning people, there were also more insidious assaults on my pregnancy. Questions about whether my pregnancy was planned or an accident and whether this pregnancy would jeopardize my ability to accomplish all of my aspirations. These barrage of comments and questions had cumulative damaging effects that created an environment that was hostile towards my pregnant body. Within a week of outing myself, I was in two car accidents, one that required an emergency room visit. I believe these accidents resulted from my mind being pushed into a negative mental state that put mine and my child’s well-being at risk.
At the same time that my pregnancy was met with hostility, I found immense support and inspiration though this online community. I constantly was able to connect with other working mothers, moms in academia, activist mamas, who showed me that it was possible to realize our dreams como mujeres and be mothers. That these identities were not mutually exclusive, but rather would become intimately intertwined as our children became the fuel driving us. Our children, became present in our places of work, in our organizing, and in our classrooms. This virtual community made the possibility of being a mama xingona in the day to day seem feasible. Looking at many of your photos, I witnessed mothers pulling the second and third shift. I saw candid photos of the morning routine, work, bedtime, and then on to grading, emailing, writing. It wasn’t glamorous, but it was somehow possible. I didn’t have to simply imagine I could do it, when I saw so many other moms struggling and making it happen. I received so much support as a pregnant plus sized expecting mother, from other mothers of size who assured me that despite what doctors assumed, Women of Color and Women of Size can have vaginal unmedicated births. I surprised many by proving I was more than capable of carrying and delivering Paloma in health and wellness.
With that being said, I want to announce that I’m expecting my second child!!! My baby is due on April 12th. I have kept and will continue to keep my second pregnancy a secret. While I feel it is necessary to keep this pregnancy a secret, I have recently started to feel very isolating. There is so much happening in my body that I can’t share. I am choosing to open up about my joyous secret here, because in this space I feel safe to be a whole human being. I feel as though this space has allowed for the creation of genuine relationships based on love and support. I want to share this wonderful and difficult journey I’m on as my little family expands.
Below is my first maternity photo taken by Jeff this past weekend.
La Chica Mas Fina