Oh, Camryn!

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Brianna Nelson is 30-years-old and has a 2-year-old daughter named Camryn.

Brianna is my sorority sister. In college, we had so many good times. It wasn’t long before she and I became close friends. She’s literally one of my favorite people to know. I remember how she told me she was pregnant. I was visiting her at her mother’s house one day. We typically would drink wine or cocktails and laugh and chat with her mother. All was the same that day except Brianna wasn’t drinking. I didn’t notice. Randomly, my phone vibrates and I look down it said Brianna iMessage. I gave her a side-eye like “why you texting me and you sitting right next to me”. And then she said out loud with a nod, “Shut up and just look at your phone.” I opened up the text and it was a picture of a sonogram. And I think i texted her back and asked who sonogram that was. She said “Mine. 12 weeks”. So, instantly, my eyes start watering and I starting getting excited. She says out loud, “Calm down.”

From that moment, I had no doubt Brianna was going to be a bomb mom. I remember when Camryn was born. She was a fighter. She was born pre-maturely and needed so much extra time in the hospital. When I was go visit them in the NICU, Brianna was still her joking self. I knew she was scared for her baby but she didn’t show it to me. She was a single mom up until she met her now husband, Rufus. She found ways to ensure Camryn had everything she needed. Brianna sacrificed her needs to meet the needs of her baby. I’ve seen Brianna happy plenty of times but I never saw the kind of happiness that I saw when she looked at her daughter.

I was able to ask Brianna some questions about being a mother and her responses are below. I hope you enjoy getting to know a small portion of the greatness that is Brianna Elise Nelson.

How did you feel when you found out you were pregnant?

When I first found out I was pregnant, a sense of embarrassment, and anxiety were the initial emotional reactions. I was unmarried, and I had just moved away to St. Louis,Missouri to lay down some new routes, get a breath of fresh air from the Peoria scene. And to end up pregnant was a small blow to my plans. But as the initial months went on, I began embracing the “nugget” I was growing. I had been given a task from God himself… so I knew I had been blessed.

What is it like being a mom?

IMG_7001Being a mom for me is epic! It’s like having a constant IV Pump of unconditional love going into you, and one into them. Being a mom means that this little tiny being sees and feels that you are their entire world. They in the beginning need you to survive, to thrive They grow into bigger tiny beings that look to you for social cues and how to manage their days. It’s like being in charge of precious cargo and its your job to love and nurture them, so that they turn into viable adults in society. Sometimes for me it means being the bad cop in our household/ but because I see so much strength and potential in Camryn.

Before you met husband, you were a single mother. What was that process like? Who were your support systems?

Prior to meeting my husband. Camryn and I were a crazy duo, with a  very strong village behind us. I can not say that every day was easy to be a single mother, but I can truly say the deep and heavy burden of doing it all on my own was lightened. I was a stay at home mother for the first 11 months of Camryn’s life, and I can say the were the roughest part of the Camryn and I show. It was rough because of the day to day mental breakdown of not having the needed adult interactions to stay sane. But once I got back to work, she went to daycare its crazy how less chaotic things felt for me. My support system started with my mom who worked while I stayed at home and cared for Camryn and tended to the house. I can also say my aunts and uncle came through, getting things that Camryn and I needed, gave me needed breaks, and bonded with Camryn. Also shoutout to Camryn’s Teetee Megan for being the best second mom to Cam she could be. Our daughters are cousins and best friends, and it makes it easier for both of us to depend on one another and get a break from time to time. Shoutout to my closest friends who have been able to give me that needed adult break to be able to come back refreshed and to keep on mommy’ng.

IMG_6999Share a brief story about a moment where you felt scared before or while being a mom.

A time I felt most afraid about being a mommy was when I found out that I had preeclampsia 2 days after my baby shower.

I had been noticing my ankles and legs had been swelling up and staying that way. I didn’t think anything of it because I had a lot on my plate. So I just assumed I had worked myself up. Memorial Day was that Monday, and my mom and I had cooked out: I didn’t eat… I had a doctors appointment that following Tuesday. They take my blood pressure it was high but i felt fine. They sent me to the hospital for testing, and they admit me. I went from a baby shower, to not feeling well, to being told my blood pressures were reading so high that I could have a stroke. And all I could think of was “if I die, I won’t get to see my daughter grow up. And it made me sad to think of what it would be like for her to grow up as a motherless daughter. So I fought. I laughed I joked. And I pushed through for my baby girl. Cause I would literally be damned to not be in her life. She changed me, and even though I still have high blood pressure. I thank the process because being ill, and seeing her born at 32 weeks turned my fright into fight. And I do it for Camryn.

What makes you happy about having a child?

What makes me most happy about having a child, is that I have an extension of myself. If you have met Camryn than you know that she is a mini caramel skinned me. I’m give face, she gives face. How I laugh she laughs, how I love so does she. Watching her is like imagining how I was as a child. And it is dope. She loves the little things in life and I could not ask for a better partner in crime than Camryn.

What advice do you have for new mothers out there? For single mothers?

Any advice that i could give to other mothers, new mothers, single mothers would be to do not isolate yourself. I did that initially and it only makes motherhood feel heavier than it should. Your strength comes from those who choose to love on you. Your strength comes from those who go out of their way to inject themselves into your life. The person could be your family, friends, coworkers or church members take all that you can. And when you feel that your back is against the wall, and your team of support is slim to none remember that you draw your strength from your child. They depend on you, just like you depend on them. Love them even when it is rough. Because they will love you when things are tough.

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