Full Body Glow

Issue No. 4: Black Maternal Health
Words - Mama Tree (Troi Lauren)
Photography - Linette Kielinski


My pregnant self immediately became my favorite version of me. I felt so majestic and sexy in my natural form that almost nothing could bend my confidence, except for the lack of loving and attention I was receiving from my partner. That left me perplexed and brought up many insecurities that I had to overcome daily, because all in all I was in rare form and loving every moment of it. The slight rise in sickness, fatigue, and appetite was no contest for the full body glow that was me. I was glowing from the inside out, and I was nothing but proud. I found all kinds of ways to immortalize that figure. I snapped millions of selfies and sent them to loved ones, sketched myself, painted me and on me, cast my belly, and admired it as much as I could. I didn’t think I would ever experience that version of myself anytime soon. (Boy was I sadly mistaken.) I was fortunate enough to not have any complications during my pregnancy or delivery. I labored for 29 hours naturally, and very intentionally. Constantly fighting the pressure of every nurse to poke and prod, contain and restrain. I did a great job at advocating for myself, even though I had the help and support of my partner, my mother, my grandmother, a doula, a midwife and my friends. Yes, my friends—there was such a party in my delivery room as we sang and danced through contractions that the entire floor staff at Temple University Hospital found themselves peeking in, just to see what was going on.
“Are you ready for your epidural?” “No.”
“You’re the only natural birth in the hospital.” “Oh!”
“It smells amazing in here. What is that?” “Really?! Must be the lavender”
“It’s time for your epidural.” “No thank you.”
“Ma’am, you have to remain in bed so that we can monitor you.” ”No, you have to monitor me. I don’t have to stay in bed.” (My personal favorite.)

At the end of it all came forth a bright eyed 5 lbs 5 oz baby boy that I would refer to as my "Journey."