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Every May, While Children Celebrate Their Moms, I Commemorate Paloma, The First Daughter I Lost By Miscarriage

It is hard to forget “firsts.” You’ll always remember the name of your first partner, your first crush and your first kiss, and you won’t shake the memory of the first time you snuck out of your house, had sex or got your period. I remember all my firsts, and I am completely and entirely the type of person who commemorates these moments — including my first miscarriage.

It was a Sunday in 2010. I was a newly married young woman carrying Paloma, my unborn baby who I wanted, loved and made me feel like a mom from the minute I knew she was inside of me. But while volunteering at my church in Miami, my stomach began to feel off. I felt nauseated, so I went to the bathroom only to notice that there was blood on my panties. I immediately told my then-husband, and we rushed to the emergency room.  

After running some tests, a doctor broke the news: Paloma had died inside of me. They said that sometimes “things happens,” and informed me that the reason for her passing could have been anything from my diet to our genes simply not matching up. To really know, they said they’d have to run some tests, but that would only take place if I miscarried more than three times in a row. I was told a bunch of things that I could not wrap my head around, and all of it felt wrong, but I was too shocked to advocate for myself.  

I was advised to pass her naturally, or I could have her vacuumed out of me. Feeling so attached to my daughter, who I had already named, I could not imagine seeing someone suck her from my body. Without much thought, I told the physician I would pass Paloma at home.

No one told me what to expect. I didn’t know when it would happen, how long it would take, how she would pass through me or if it would hurt, physically at least. I was just told to come back if I needed anything else or to call my OB/GYN the next day for further conversation. I didn’t even know what questions to ask. I was so young, and the shock of it all kept me from really asking much of anything.

Later that week, I passed Paloma — but I didn’t know what that meant until it was happening. In my home, and essentially alone because my then-husband slept through it, I went into labor for about 10 hours. There were contractions and there were tears. But not of my newborn. I gave birth to a dead fetus, and it was both painful and traumatic.   

This is what I remember every May. While families celebrate their moms on Mother’s Day, I commemorate one of my firsts: Paloma, the first child I lost to a miscarriage. And although I had numerous miscarriages after her, she remains close to my heart.

This year, Paloma would have turned seven. This year, she would have been in second grade. This year, I would celebrate my seventh Mother’s Day of being a mami to Paloma. Yet, I do not celebrate; instead, I remember.  

I remember that significant first, a first that marked me and changed me.  

Due to my miscarriage, I decided to change my life. I would never say I was quiet or understated, but before my miscarriage, I passively subverted all the things I grew up being told about myself. Things like, “you cannot have a novio,” “only mami is your true friend” and “las mujeres inteligentes no sirven para nada.” I knew these things were wrong, so I did what I wanted in silence, behind my parents’ backs. I learned to subvert what I knew to be wrong, quietly.  

But after my miscarriage, something in me began to shift. I needed something to change, because I needed to honor my would-have-been daughter.  

Not long after this, I became the first person in my family line to get a graduate degree, and somewhere along all that, I became radicalized. I made Latina Rebels, an online platform empowering fully present Latinas and disrupting binaries placed on our bodies and minds, I started writing for several national Websites and I regularly speak at colleges, universities, conferences and events across the country.

I would never use my achievements to justify such a tragedy like losing your own baby, but I do honor Paloma often by becoming the best woman I can be and for the future iterations of Paloma.  

In May, and on Mother’s Day in particular, I grieve and I remember. I hold in my heart all the would-be mamis, all the mamis whose motherhood was robbed from them. I hold all the dog-mamis, all the mamis going through in vitro, adoptions and/or surrogacy. Most of all, I remember Paloma and all that she gave me, all the purpose that I found in that loss.

Read: How Racism And Xenophobia Harm Latinas’ Reproductive Health

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More Undocumented Women Are Having Miscarriages While Being Detained Under The Trump Administration

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More Undocumented Women Are Having Miscarriages While Being Detained Under The Trump Administration

Conditions inside an immigration detention center are far from pleasant. They can also be worse than a jail cell. For the countless of undocumented immigrants seeking asylum or waiting to be released from these so-called hieleras (which means ice box in Spanish for their freezing temperatures) can unfortunately be the difference between life and death.

Last week a 24-year-old immigrant from Honduras had a stillborn baby six months into her pregnancy inside an immigration detention center. Politicians and organizations are now seeing that stillborn causalities and miscarriages is not isolated incidences but rather a problematic trend that has affected a number of pregnant detained women.

A new report shows that undocomunted women are experiencing more miscarriages while being detained has doubled under the Trump Administration.

Congressman Joaquin Castro and Chairman of the Hispanic Caucus said in a press release made available to us that “Medical experts have stated that detention centers do not have the necessary medical facilities to properly care for expectant mothers and that they should be released in a timely manner.” However, that hasn’t been the case. Pregnant women are detained for longer periods of time rather than be released.

Rep. Castro said that because the Trump Administration continues to detain pregnant women instead of releasing them, that is resulting in higher number of miscarriages.

“Last year the Trump Administration announced that it would detain most pregnant migrants instead of releasing them as the previous administration chose to do,” Rep. Castro said. “As a result of this cruel policy change, we have heard several alarming stories of pregnant women receiving inadequate medical care and even miscarrying while in DHS custody. These tragedies make one thing very clear: ICE and CBP should not be detaining expectant mothers in poor conditions, and the practice of detaining these women is inhumane and inconsistent with our values as Americans. We must examine the circumstances of the unfortunate and disturbing loss of this mother’s child. These agencies should reverse the policy changes that are hurting expectant mothers and instead work to protect the health and safety of all immigrants.”

To show the increase of miscarriages under the Trump Administration: 10 undocumented women had miscarriages between  October 2016 and September 2017. During the same review the following year, 18 undocumented women had miscarriages, the Daily Beast reports. That means the number continues to increase.

In 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and seven other organizations filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and its Office of Inspector General detailing the conditions for all detained people.

“There is a troubling pattern of medical negligence and disregard for humanity in the way ICE and CBP are allowed to operate under the Trump Administration,” Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and the Hispanic Caucus Women’s Task Force Chair said in a statement made available to us. “I fear this tragedy could be a consequence of that negligence. I call on the Administration to be transparent and perform a thorough investigation, so we can know what exactly happened and what can be done to prevent this from happening in the future.”

READ: A Woman Who Had A Miscarriage Was Denied Access To Her Prescription Because Of A Pharmacist’s Beliefs

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As Mothers We Need To Stop Thinking ‘Pow-Pow’ And Chancla Culture Are An Acceptable Way Of Raising Our Kids

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As Mothers We Need To Stop Thinking ‘Pow-Pow’ And Chancla Culture Are An Acceptable Way Of Raising Our Kids

I’m what they call a millennial Latina mom. That means growing up I often endured the old school style of Latinos parenting where chanclas and “quieres pow pows” were meant to be the end all be all of “bad” behavior. Today, even despite the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics has voiced their strong opinion that corporal punishment, physically disciplining your child, isn’t just inappropriate parenting, you can still find in our culture memes and jokes about la chancleta. And while the rate of spankings have gone down in recent years, polls have shown that those “good, hard spankings” that you might have “turned out alright” in spite of can cause long-term harm.

Here’s a look at the reasons why we have to stop spanking our kids.

Pow-pows teach the wrong lesson.

 
“Coco” / Walt Disney Pictures /Pixar Animation Studios

“It’s better to be feared than loved” is a sentiment often touted by managers and leaders who have an odd understanding of proper management. Mind you this phrase was also created by Niccolò Machiavelli a politician and philosopher who often encouraged dishonesty and the killing of innocents in certain situations in his work. Sure, this method of teaching which chancla culture stem from might encourage your child to cower at the sight of you when your raise a flip-flop but it also teaches them that you are not to be trusted particularly in a stage in their life when they are just learning.

Chanclas teach kids that they can get what they want by being physically violent.

harryswife801 / Twitter


As parents, we’re physically stronger and bigger than our children. When we use our size to overpower our children and try to get them to behave a certain way we’re teaching them that to get what you want you can abuse those who are smaller and weaker than they are. This is a classic example of why kids who are often abused at home often go to school and end up bullying their peers.

The reason for the spanking gets lots on them.

andheri5 / Twitter


They may forget why they are being spanked in the first place. They’re doing so much to avoid #lachancla that they can’t even fathom why they are in trouble.

Adults can lose control when expressing anger physically.

 
SaludAmerica / Twitter

When you give yourself a chance to hit your child you put yourself at risk of being an abusive parent. As adults we often experience so much stress and have a hard time coping as it is when we are frustrated, upset, sad or tired. When we start to hit our kids during moments of stress, our minds ultimately begin to associate the feeling as a release for the mind. Soon enough you could look to abusing your kid as a way to stop feeling stressed out.

It could damage your relationship with your child.

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Studies on the effects of physical punishment have found that the more spankings a child receives, the more likely they are to become defiant towards their parents and authorities, which means a decrease in the quality of their relationships with their parents.

You may not get the reaction you are looking for.

“Coco” / Walt Disney Pictures /Pixar Animation Studios

When spanking a child it’s likely that your initial intent might be to correct your child’s poor behavior, but what extents will you go in the moment of punishment if the reaction you want doesn’t happen?

You become the bully

 
FanGirl / Twitter

Kids are resilient and remember everything. Why let them think of you like that? After so long they will start to remember. Why become the bully instead of the parent?

Disrupting their self-confidence

 
EuniqueJG / Twitter

It’s almost like being in a relationship and feeling like you are emotionally being tortured. That’s what it’s like for kids. Even though they lose to test you and think everything is funny. Doing this constantly just is not.

You’re bullying a future child who will go onto get bullied by others

 
SaludAmerica / Twitter

Then parents wonder why their kids are being bullied. Even being yelled at furiously. Many kids end up becoming the bullied from being bullied at home. What’s more, children are more likely to become adult victims of abuse when they are older if they think that their parent’s abusive behavior is appropriate.

They won’t be a leader

 
vikypicon / Instagram

Growing up I was always taught the future of a Latina is being a leader. When you instill bullying or fear how is your child going to be a leader when you aren’t?

You’re not strong

 
EuniqueJG / Twitter

Spanking your kids can cause kids to think about all the pain they have to endure instead what they should focus on.

It’s really not that funny

 
lgbtdaniela / Twitter

La Chancla is classic even to Latinos. All in all, it’s not as funny as many people put it.  Realizing this is not a funny way to discipline will help in the long run.

Older peers aren’t that powerful

 
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Every generation is different. It’s okay to give lessons to your parents or grandparents gave you. Have your own form of parenting to make your own mark.

I don’t want to be that parent

Modern Family

As a mother I don’t want to be pushed so using positive reinforcement is the way to go or you do end up feeling like spanking is the way to go.

Our world is already full of violence

dulcedolan / Twitter

Fueling to the fire isn’t what Latinos are about. We want peace even within our families. We don’t want to be the stereotype on why the world is the way it is. This all starts at home.

I’m not the reason why mental health is out of control

journoresource / Twitter

Our kids are the future. This means their mental health can become at stake when spanking as a form discipline.

I’m not their friend but I am their role model

hakire / Instagram

This is the main part of being a Latino mom. Uplifting to do better than what you had. Even if you had a great life before motherhood.

 You’re raising an influencer

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Making sure your child knows their worth is important. By spanking your kids you may instill a notion that they aren’t.

 It’s the 2000’s, not 1950!

 
I Love Lucy

Things have changed. That even includes parenting. It was okay to spank your kids but after all this time look at what it has put on our society and our future. What does it really teach you as a Latina Mom. Be strong and better than that.

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