Category Archives: Motherhood

Ride or Die is Overrated. Yeah, I said it.

adam levine

I was sitting in the car at a red light today, and Locked Away by R. City featuring Adam Levine came on the radio. And all of a sudden, I was furious. FURIOUS. IRATE. INCENSED. You get the picture. Here are the lyrics, just in case you’ve been living under a rock or you hate Adam Levine (who am I kidding…no one hates Adam Levine):

If I got locked away
And we lost it all today
Tell me honestly, would you still love me the same?
If I showed you my flaws
If I couldn’t be strong
Tell me honestly, would you still love me the same?
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My Heavenly Mother

If there’s one thing that stands out for me in the newly released essay on Heavenly Mother – is how little we know of Her. Officially. Doctrinally. And as I reflect on my lifetime in this church, I see how that not knowing has often translated into us just ‘not talking about Her’ and even, not thinking about Her. I’ve heard the reasons offered as to why of course. The conjecture. Including, ‘God wants to keep His wife protected from us…so Her name is not defiled…’ I remember hearing that in a Sunday School class once and being indignant enough about it that I spoke up – I disagree. My Heavenly Mother doesn’t need protecting or sheltering. She’s a GODDESS with powers equal to those of her husband. She could wipe us all out with a mere flick of her fingers. I’m not sure the class appreciated my contribution!

Today’s essay got me thinking about Heavenly Mother. Who and what she is to me.  She’s different things to me at different times.

'Nafanua' - as imagined by photographer Jordan Kwan, model Faimasenu'u Zita Martel.

‘Nafanua’ – as imagined by photographer Jordan Kwan, model Faimasenu’u Zita Martel.

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No Room in the Blessing Circle

baby blessing - men

I watched her as she proudly carried her baby son into the sanctuary, oblivious to the stares of those who may have been critical of her attire, her hairstyle, or of the fact that the father of her child was nowhere to be seen. She was excited to be a part of the LDS Church, having been baptized in the middle of her pregnancy, and was eager to share her newly minted testimony with her baby son.

I watched her as she stood holding her baby son, with a look of expectancy, clearly waiting to have the circle form around her and her son. Instead, the circle was formed without her and her baby son was taken from her arms by  one of the men from the circle while another one of the men stepped away from the circle long enough to escort her to a seat.

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‘Children are a heritage of the Lord.’

Content Warning – sexual abuse, discussion of HOW to prevent abuse esp within a Samoan/Pasifika context.

When I was twenty, I told my husband Darren, something I’d never told anybody else. I told him that when I was little, somebody over time, had done bad things to me. Then they threatened me. They said, ‘don’t tell anyone or you’ll be in big trouble.

I was scared, sore and ashamed. I was seven. I believed him. Continue reading

Baby Jail, Part 3: My Breaking Point

By GuestBlogger (Anon)
This post is the third of a 3-part series documenting the experience of an immigrant rights attorney volunteering at the Family Detention Center in Dilley, TX. Because of the nature of her work, she has requested to remain anonymous. [Part 1; Part 2]

By the end of the week in the detention center, you finally feel like you know what you’re doing. You know what the women are coming in for, you know what you can do to help, what they need to bring, how you do it, etc, etc. By this point you’ve also probably got a favorite or two–children, mother, or story. I, being a sucker for small children, loved all of them. Continue reading

Baby Jail, Part 2: The Happenstance of Fate (or, not happenstance at all)

By GuestBlogger (Anon)
This post is the second of a 3-part series documenting the experience of an immigrant rights attorney volunteering at the Family Detention Center in Dilley, TX. Because of the nature of her work, she has requested to remain anonymous. [Read Part 1 here]

By my second day at the detention center, I had begun to get a feel for how things worked. Women sitting at the front (or the back, depending on your point of view) of the trailer were waiting to be helped, but you had to check in with the person running the floor to see what was needed. At a certain point that afternoon, I saw only one woman waiting, separate from the other 2 or 3 in the waiting area. Not seeing the person in charge of the floor, I approached her to see if she had been helped yet. Asking her, in Spanish, what she needed. She responded, telling me that she had been told to wait.

Poster of Mother hugging child. Caption: There is no humane way to detain families.I noticed something in her accent — something I had heard before, though not in the detention center. Something that made her Spanish different from the rest of the women’s. A thought occurred to me, “Señora, usted habla portugues?” (“Ma’am, do you speak Portuguese?”)

“I do!” she said to me, her face lighting up at the recognition and the possibility that I might too. “Eu falo português; deixe-eu ver o que é que você está esperando.” Continue reading

Baby Jail, Part 1: Family Detention

By GuestBlogger (Anon)
This post is the first of a 3-part series documenting the experience of an immigrant rights attorney volunteering at the Family Detention Center in Dilley, TX. Because of the nature of her work, she has requested to remain anonymous.

Recently, I went to what the government, ironically, calls the South Texas Family Residential Center. It’s more commonly known as the “Family Detention Center in Dilley, TX,” and/or, as “Baby Jail.” It is one of the places where over a thousand mothers and children, fleeing lives we can only imagine, are sent after arriving at our borders seeking refuge. Instead of refuge, they are sent to “hieleras” (ice boxes), “perreras,” (dog kennels), and finally, STFRC (baby jail).

Most of these mothers and children, in addition to fleeing violence, rape, domestic violence, threats upon their lives, extortions, and God knows what else, face an arduous journey across at least one country, sometimes as many as three, to get here. They do not come here because it is a walk in the park. They come here because they have no other choice.

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