I remember the day Kingston was born like it was this morning.
After 72 hours of natural labor, he was finally here.
I watched them give him his first bath and then handed him to my then husband who fussed over him while they stitched me up. Then he walked over and placed him in my arms.
I caught my breath. I was finally going to be face to face with my baby and hold him. My heart raced 100 MPHs.
When he placed him in my arms, I looked down at his face. I scanned his face with so much curiosity. His doll baby eyes were gorgeous. They were also mine. But they were so serious. He didn't cry like I expected. He didn't coo, like I saw newborn babies do on TV. He stared at me...intently. Nor curiously like me. But seriously. I finally locked into his energy and got what his eyes were communicating to me:
"Hey Mom. I don't know what is going on between you and my dad...but I'm here now, I'm looking to YOU to take care of me and I need you to get your shit together."
I knew my marriage was over when I was barely in my third trimester of pregnancy. Infidelity and disrespect reigned supreme and he didn't even hide it. He'd pick fights to leave the house and would be gone for hours and hours on end. When he was home, he'd flagrantly sit up in my face and talk to this woman on the phone. She called into the wee hours of the morning and he'd entertain her calls by answering.
I'd sit in my son's nursery on his rocking chair and....cry.
I felt trapped in my own pregnant body. I had walked away from so much and given up so much to have this baby. A child my husband asked for. I never wanted to have children. I never saw myself as "mother material". I never thought of myself as "maternal". Growing up, I was never the little girl who fantasized about getting married and having children. I looked to my husband to be the head of parenting and leading the household. Coming from a broken home and the product of a failed married between my parents, I didn't find shit appealing about marriage. Growing up the youngest of five children, I damn sure didn't find children appealing. In fact, I couldn't wait to turn 18 so that I could get thee fawk out of dodge. But my husband coming from a polar opposite background made me think that this could be an exception.
After all, he grew up in a home with both his parents and his parents were (and still are) very much so going on strong. My young and naive ass was in for a nice little San Francisco treat. Getting married and starting a family, I turned down a really dope assignment to Honduras and I also had to be reassigned to a new army unit as mine was moving to Arizona and had no job slot for my husband (we didn't work in the same fields). Now I was asking myself what the fuck was the reason? My life had done a complete 180 from the year before and a bitch was feeling it! I knew I damn sure wasn't going to stay married. I wanted a divorce by the time I hit 7 months. I no longer knew who the fuck my husband was and the footloose, fancy free pre-marriage version of myself didn't know who the fuck I was either.
A few weeks before I went into labor, the woman called my house again. It was 3am and we were laying in bed. I was up and had my back to him. He answered per his usual and began engaging in conversation with her. Giggling and shit. I got up and went to my baby's nursery to sit in King's rocking chair & cry, per mine. But this time, I didn't cry. I thought. I played back all the shit that I had been going through in my mind. Instead of feeling defeat or helplessness, I felt anger. It was like an ascension. I stopped being afraid of how I was going to mother this baby I thought I'd always be second in command to and realized I would figure it out, just like I figured everything else in my life thus far. I shifted from victim mode and into empowered mode.
I heard my voice: "Hold your fucking head up. Remember your path"
At that moment, I snapped out of my funk of helplessness. Realizing I had been in victim mode and NOT operating in my power, I had allowed a nigga to play me...then play with me. Finally dearly devoted Virgo left the build and we-don't play that shit Aries Moon entered the building. As if on cue, I heard the door of the master bedroom crack open and my husbands footsteps in the hallway. Not sure if he was on his way out to grab some heaux cake or not, I heard my voice call his name and ask him to come into Kingston's nursery. After a few moments, he emerged through the door with a semi-annoyed look on his face.
"Yes?" he asked.
"Who was that on the phone" Damn, that was my voice i heard again speaking.
He let out a deep sigh as if to say "Can we not tonight bihh?"
I took that as confirmation and kept going. "Does she know that you're married?"
"No." His voice was flat
I nodded and took a deep breath before asking: "Does she know you have a baby on the way?"
"Nope." The nigga was matter-of-fact and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
This is what incensed me. The son that he begged me for and watched me walk away from so much to settle into life with him...he was now out here hitting with the Billie Jean flex? I began to feel hot again.
"Why doesn't she know that?" I asked. I was surprised by how calm my voice remained although I was Little Caesar's Hot & Ready inside.
He put his hands in his pocket and shrugged before answering: "I don't know. It never comes up."
I blinked and suddenly I went from looking at him in his eyes to looking down at him on the floor. It took me a few seconds to realize that I had just two pieced his ass. Might have even been a three piece. It took him a few more seconds to realize the same. Suddenly I felt all the love, warmth, dedication, future, and everything in between for him, leave my body. The camel's back was broken and the dead horse was beat up in the street. The cord snapped and I was officially DONE. Yes, at 8 months pregnant. Cut a heaux off and give you blizzard season for the rest of your life Virgo was back in town.
I remember standing over him and saying: "Old April is gone. I'm going to drop this baby, get my ass in the gym, re-enroll in school, and I'm only going to be about my son. I'm DONE, you raggedy ass nigga."
I remember stepping over his ass still laying on the floor and waddling my ass back inside the master bedroom where I went on and had the BEST sleep of my life
Now fast forward back to Kingston's birth
When we locked eyes and shared that moment, it was like everyone in the delivery room disappeared and it was just me & my baby. He could sense shit wasn’t on the up and up with me and his father. But he was making it clear that he was depending on me
I squeezed his little cheeks and kissed his fingertips before saying in a voice low enough for us: "I promise baby boy".
This has been the fire under my ass for the past 15 years.
In hindsight, I am realizing that this connection was cosmic. I am a Virgo and Kingston is a Gemini. Both signs are ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication. Since his birth, I've always felt a strong pull and connection with Kingston. I know when his energy is off and I've always provided the space for Kingston to talk to me-and me to him. We're crazy close. We have real ass conversations. I am certainly not the parent who believes its taboo to be your child's friend. I think it taboo if you aren't.
To wrap this story up with and updated bow, I kept my word to my son and his father. I went on to have my baby. I went on to get myself back in school. I went on to get my ass back in the gym and snatch my body back (I gained 70 lbs during my pregnancy). I also remained only about my son. Oh cause my husband thought I was playing. I was a brand new person from that day forward and when Kingston finally came earth side, it was officially a wrap. I went on ahead and filed my divorce and took the trash on to the curb.
My son was the catalyst that changed the trajectory of my life. Having my son helped me snatch my power back. Motherhood made me woman up. The child that I grew up never wanting to have, ended up being the child that saved my life and acted as the accountability guide to my purpose and getting my shit together.