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Babymamahood is a mother and daughter led project, founded on the ancestral science of our abuelitas y elders. It is a living space where we share how we thrive in Babylon (the hood) . We honor all the elemental forces that have allowed us to learn this very simple healing practice and we thank all our ancestors and relations who continue to bless and support this work. Our goal is to inspire and to help sustain the lives of mamas and babies everywhere.

Based in Oakland, CA.

Zion and Juju create potions to love on sadness and recovery. 


Reflections on worth, travel, & Motherhood: My recent trip to the daughterland, Dominican Republic

I took this trip at the end of July - early August 2014 

 

Several months before the flood happened in our building, I was asked to go to the Dominican Republic & Haiti for an anthropology poetry project. I immediately said yes and made my summer work & mama arrangements around this trip. After this homeless ordeal, I had to question whether or not I should go. Am I worth that trip in these times of not-knowing? Would it be irresponsible of me if I didn’t get my ticket refunded & try to focus on getting out of the shelter?

Confession.

I have worth issues. From time to time, I feel like I do not deserve the blessings that have come & are coming my way… It is a confusing notion because I am humbled by the grace of the universe, but I am also afraid of it. 

When I don’t trust the process of life, I think that all the bad things that have happened to me is because I deserved it. I created it. In my gut, that makes more sense than when the good comes. It is unsettling; the good feels fake, forced, & inauthentic. It feels more like luck than majesty. It feels more like divine intervention than mastery. In short, I come into moments where I do not value the journey I am on. I question & judge myself & see the shortcomings as an excuse to belittle my creations. So, because I didn’t have my life together, I didn’t deserve to go to the DR & Haiti.

I tried to let the shelter let me keep my belongings & I would return after the trip. I brought in a letter of volunteerism from the school & my travel itinerary. I was told that they would not hold my belongings & that if I left, my case would be closed & I would have to start the shelter process all over again. I was already exhausted from moving into the shelter, packing all of our belongings out of the condemned building, traveling to Zi’s dance school—which was over an hour each way, & having to draw blood, pee, find work, & permanent housing for shelter compliance. 

When I decided not to go, I became instantly depressed. I couldn’t stop crying. That “no” from the shelter made me cry the whole bus ride from White Plains to Yonkers. I felt sad just off the IDEA of not going to the DR.

I had to go. I would go into depression. I was already sad because I was in the shelter. Now, I was sad because if I left, I would return back to square one... With much deliberation with my fam, god, & self, I learned I needed to be committed & flexible with my goals. I wanted this. I conjured it. Yes, the circumstance may have changed, but my dream hadn’t. 

The anxiety I felt was based on the limiting idea that traveling isn’t for everybody. That my desire to create, travel, & work is not for a homeless, poor, babymama. Traveling is a luxury. I knew that bringing Zi wouldn’t be cost effective or work effective. She was also in the middle of dance camp. I couldn't leave her with my mom because she hadn't secured housing either.

I went further & further into the many reasons why DR couldn’t happen. I went further & further into why I didn't deserve to go. Even when I said fuck it, I am going, the sadness lifted, but I still had all these negative beliefs. I told my parents of my decision & they thought that I should cancel the trip. They see traveling as a luxury & they are always on survival mode. They couldn't understand why I should go to Kiskeya (the DR & Haiti) for a poetry project on migration. It seemed unimportant to them. 

If it wasn't for my closet friends, I would not have gone. Beforehand, I thought about what would happen to Zi while I was gone, who would take care of her, but once I made the decision to go, free child care appeared. Moving hands also appeared. I noticed that the idea of going made me feel better & the universe starting to conspire for me. I got everything that I needed for the weeks that I would be gone.

I am glad that I allowed myself to trust. It is still something that I actively practice everyday. My worth is constantly being questioned. It is a byproduct of being a brown, black, woman, mother in this country. My doomsday thoughts are ones I have to consciously cancel on a daily basis.  

I don't know how this journey is going to take me. However, I know where I want to go & the uncertainty doesn't have to kill me. I let go & went & I am glad I did. The benefits outweighed the risks. I met so many people & got to spend almost three weeks with my sista, Mo. I got time to think & reprieve from this whole homelessness ordeal. I got to reconnect with nature. A familiar stranger that always knows how to give.

I had an amazing time. I rested. I worked on my resume. Wrote poetry in Spanish for the first time. I met a lot of different people from different walks of life. I interviewed. We conversed. I saw my father's family for the second time. I ate well. Cried well. & came back safe without the Chikungunya.  

Here are some pics from the trip:

 Interviewing on the ground. Lauraciely's explains her experience as a Dominican in relationship to hair, identity, & growing up in a border town with Haitians. 

Interviewing on the ground. Lauraciely's explains her experience as a Dominican in relationship to hair, identity, & growing up in a border town with Haitians. 

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 Mo gets a history lesson in La   Restauración, a historical town where Dominicans fought for their independence.   

Mo gets a history lesson in La  Restauración, a historical town where Dominicans fought for their independence.  

 A Haitian family talks about their migration experience to &  in the Dominican Republic. 

A Haitian family talks about their migration experience to &  in the Dominican Republic. 

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To find out more about this particular leg of the project, visit my sista's site: These Lovely, Traveling Poems.

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The Night Before the First Day of School - Photo Journey

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