I write about a destiny that I can barely touch. I can’t realistically relate to it aside from the fact that I was once a child and the only shield I had against the world, was my family.  As I search for the words to write this post hundreds of children are being separated from their parents.

I write as a Latina, and as a witness of the cruelty to my people, the braided ones, who even in my own country are disrespected for the color of their skin, or for the lack of means that restricted them from having a formal education. I grew up watching how people of my own nationality and origins disrespected them, exploited them, called them by snapping their fingers, or named them ‘nacos’ and what not. Those are the people that are fleeing from their countries in search of a better future, after experiencing cruelty that goes way beyond what we can ever imagine.

Their journey is not as simple and romantic as ‘searching for the American Dream’, as many people think; it’s, more often than not, a desperate escape from a life of cruelty and abuse.

This story is not new: Native Americans suffered a similar faith not that long ago, when their children were taken away and sent into ‘Boarding Schools” where they were separated from their siblings, and from everything that was familiar to them in an effort to ‘Americanize’ them. The government did it because it was cheaper to create boarding schools than to kill them. This part of history isn’t as widely known,  perhaps because there are not that many Native Americans left.

But it seems we don’t always learn from our mistakes, and the lives of those less educated, and specially of indigenous descent, are still valued differently to the lives of the white educated population.

journey of a braid stop tearing children from their families frontier mexico usa boarder made in latin america

A life is a life. America is bigger than this. The actions of a few don’t represent us, but our silence speaks for us.

If you have a voice, use it. If you can, donate money to support those working hands-on at the border. Just keep the conversation going. We are in charge of engineering the reality we live in.

Pictures: Celia D Luna

Dress by Pompi Garcia, pictures by Celia D. Luna.

I’ve been struggling the last couple of days to use the right words to express how I feel. If you follow my stories through Instagram, you know what I mean. First it was Irma, who threatend to destroy Miami.

She taught me what fear was.

Just when I was able to sleep again without worries, I found myself at the Earthquake that struck Mexico City, causing more destruction than I could have ever imagined.

It taught me what terror is.

For the first time I could feel the numbness of panic.

Why is it that earthquakes don’t have names? It feels better to refer to a name than just to an earthquake.

I thought I knew what earthquakes were;  I lived through hundreds of them growing up.

This was so much more than that; it was a direct hit to our history. We all have stories related to the 1985 Earthquake which happened exactly the same day 32 years ago. It was always a date written in our collective calendar. At that time, my dad used to work at Televisa, and his office collapsed. The only reason he didn’t die crushed by its structure, was a last minute rendez-vous with my aunt.

He spent weeks trying to find survivors and make sense of the left overs. ‘How can you count the number of victims when you have 17 arms, 15 legs and 23 hands?’, he used to say in tears.

You can’t.

As I found myself in the midst of this disaster, sitting on a roundabout, waiting for a friend to find his cat, before his badly affected building crumbled into pieces, with a smell of gas I can’t even start to describe, I was sure that it was the last day of my life.

Buildings were falling everywhere. You could see them. You could hear them. The destruction lead to a union beyond compare among Mexicans. So many silent heroes were born in the last couple of days. So many empty coffins were honored.

We have changed. Our society is different. It has realized how strong it is.

That feeling changes you forever; it really does. For me, it has been the beginning of a Journey from Within.

And now there’s Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic. The Caribbean will never be the paradise it used to be: Cuba, Antigua, Barbuda, St Thomas, St Martin, St Barts.

Pure destruction.

Bali is perhaps on the ‘waiting list’ of disasters to come, and so is Mexico thanks to the activity registered by our volcanoes in the last couple of days.

And of course, so are we in the USA, with the growing tensions with North Korea, and the discomfort in La Falla de San Andres — those tectonic plates have absolutely no mercy.

I don’t even want to list all the disasters happening on the West.

Let’s face it. We can’t control what’s happening outside.All we have left is help others while we can, and dare break into an inner journey that makes us understand that we are so much more than what our eyes can see.

We are light. We are safe.

 

 

 When I become a mother, oh the things I will teach my children. I’ll sing to them every song; even those songs that have never been sang. I’ll fill their minds with stories of magic and wisdom, and show them how life and emotions work. I will let them get dirty when they play. We will laugh so hard together.

When I become a mother, no birthday will pass unnoticed, and every holiday will be a celebration. Yes. The day I become a mother, I will not make any of the mistakes my mother did, because God knows I’m so much stronger and better prepared for this than she ever could be…

And then I became a mother.

After al the baby showers, hopes and wishes, there he was. His perfect little body was lying right there next to me. I remember staring at him and constantly putting my finger close to his nostrils just to make sure he was breathing. He seemed so fragile and perfect.

As I went out for my first walk after a day of having given birth to my Sebastian, I realized most of the newborns were wearing clothes.

Was I supposed to dress him? Ok. Someone should really be telling me these things.

But my mind was somewhere else. I was patiently waiting for the ‘I’m the happiest person in the universe, and this is all I needed in life’ moment that the world and the media had promised me since I was a little girl.

Yes. This was supposed to be the moment when everything made sense, yet all I did was stare at the EXIT signs in the hospital. I was terrified. All I wanted was to go back to the life I had been so happy with until then.

Well. Perhaps it takes a bit of time to get there.

But it didn’t.

And I’m not sure it ever does.

Not fully…

My situation was perhaps a bit different than the average. I lived with my mother only until the age of 6 and didn’t have much of a relationship with her, which made the concept of motherhood hard to relate to. I was also living in Canada, far away from my roots, and packing up my life to move to Sweden.

Baby blues?

No.

I couldn’t go down the stairs of my three-story house without wishing to unexpectedly roll down and disappear.


When I bathed my boy, I wondered what would happen if I stopped holding him. Once he slid, and I just stared at him under the water for a couple of seconds without reacting. I’ll never forget that image. It still wakes me up at night sometimes.

After a couple of months I realized it was post-partum depression, and being home on my own, given that my husband was always traveling and I was in a city where I didn’t know anyone, didn’t help.

But how can you even start this conversation with people, when all you see are happy faces, and ‘motherhood is the best thing that ever happened to me’ posts everywhere from your closest friends?

This has to change. We need to be more sincere, and not only say what we think people want to hear.

It took me about a year to get through my depression, and it has been the hardest experience in my life so far. Also the loneliest. Perhaps if we talked about these things more often… lives are being lost to this reality.

In my particular case, what saved me was a very supportive husband, my yoga, and deep conversations with my mirror where I would basically hack my mind to go on the right direction by repeating the messages I wanted to believe. You’d be surprised to know how much power that simple object carries within.


I’m not here to offer solutions, though. I used to make lists of different ways for you to fix your life for a living not too long ago. There are no right answers for this one. This is simply my story. I get often told that I have everything anyone could wish for. My life is perfect, my family is perfect, and it worries me to see the mirage people go for, and the weight that thought bears in their arms. Those expectations… . and it’s not even real! Let’s be more sincere. Everything in life is constant hard work: family, love, career, self-love, relationships… every single thing.

Happiness is a choice that you make every day, and it’s not outside. Don’t think that someone will be the answer to get to the ‘happily ever after’ path. Get married. Have children.

You will still be you.

Your demons are not going anywhere.

There are no shortcuts.

Sebastian, my son is now 5 years old. He has become the most fantastic human being I’ve ever met. He’s the sweetest and most understanding of boys. I couldn’t be more proud of him. I had a second child, and the experience was so much easier. I didn’t get depressed the second time around. The dynamic was very different, even though he has been an absolute hurricane compared to Sebas

I’m not the mother I dreamt I would be when I was younger. I didn’t sing all those songs, to them either. I have repeated so many of the mistakes of my parents, and I often echo their words. But, I’m also the best mother I can be with the cards I’ve been given, and fight to become better at it every single day.

And the journey continues…

danie gomez ortigoza journey of a braid post partum depression

 

Cuando me convierta en mamá

Cuando me convierta en mamá, la de cosas que les voy a enseñar a mis hijos. Les voy a cantar cada canción, incluso aquellas canciones que nunca se han cantado. Les voy a llenar sus mentes con historias de magia y sabiduría, y les mostraré como funciona la vida y las emociones. ¡Nos vamos a reír tanto juntos!

Cuando me convierta en mamá no pasará ningún cumpleaños desapercibido y cada día festivo será motivo de celebración. Sí. Cuando me convierta en mamá no cometeré ninguno de los errores que mi madre cometió porque Dios sabe que soy más fuerte que ella y estoy mucho más preparada para esto de lo que ella pudiese haber estado.

…Y entonces me convertí en mamá.

Después de todos los baby showers, esperanzas y deseos allí estaba. Su pequeño cuerpecito perfecto yacía junto a mi. Recuerdo contemplarlo todo el tiempo y constantemente poner mi dedo bajo su nariz para asegurarme que estaba respirando. Se veía tan frágil y tan perfecto.

Cuando salí por vez primera a caminar después del nacimiento de Sebastián me di cuenta que la mayoría de los recién nacidos usaban ropa. ¿Debía de vestirlo? Ok, alguien me debía de haber dicho estas cosas.

Pero mi mente estaba en otro sitio.

Estaba pacientemente esperando el momento de ‘soy la persona más feliz del universo y esto es todo lo que necesito en la vida’ como me lo prometieron el mundo y los medios desde que yo era niña.

Éste debía de ser el momento en que todo hiciese sentido, sin embargo yo lo único que hacía era contemplar los letreros de EXIT del hospital. Estaba aterrada. Lo único que deseaba era volver a la vida en la que hasta entonces había sido tan feliz.

Bueno, quizá lleva un tiempo llegar a ese momento.

Pero ese momento no llegó.

Y no estoy segura que ese momento llegue.

No completamente…..

Mi situación era quizá un poco distinta a la promedio.Viví con mi mamá solo hasta los seis años y no tenía una relación importante con ella como para hacerme entender de manera clara el concepto de maternidad. Además, vivía en Canadá, lejos de mis raíces y estaba empacando mis cosas para mudarme a Suecia.

¿Baby blues? No. No podía bajar las escaleras de mi casa de tres pisos sin desear rodar y desaparecer. Cuando bañaba a mi pequeño me preguntaba lo que pasaría si lo dejara de sostener. Después de un par de meses caí en al cuenta que de estaba atravesando depresión post parto, y estando en casa sola dado el hecho que mi marido viajaba todo el tiempo y que estaba en una ciudad donde no conocía a nadie, no ayudaba mucho, pero, ?¿cómo puedes sostener una conversación con la gente cuando que todo lo que ves a tu alrededor son caras felices?, y posts de ‘la maternidad es lo mejor que jamás me había pasado’ enviados por tus mejores amigas. No es nada fácil.


Esto tiene que cambiar. Tenemos que ser más sinceras, y no solo decir aquello que los demás quieren escuchar.

Me llevó un año aproximadamente salir de la depresión, y ha sido la experiencia más difícil en mi vida hasta hoy. Y el momento en el que he estado más sola. Quizá si hablásemos más de estas cosas sería diferente. Hay vidas que se están perdiendo ante esta realidad.

En mi caso particular, lo que me sacó adelante fue el tener un marido muy comprometido, mi yoga, y conversaciones profundas con mi espejo donde básicamente hackeaba mi mente para seguir la dirección correcta a través de repetir mensajes en los que quería creer. Te sorprendería saber cuánto poder tiene esta sencilla acción.

No estoy aquí para ofrecer soluciones. Hasta hace poco me dedicaba profesionalmente a dar listas de soluciones para resolver todo en la vida. No hay respuestas correctas para ésta situación. Aquí tan solo te cuento mi historia. Me dicen tanto que tengo todo lo que alguien quisiera tener. En los ojos de los demás, mi vida es perfecta, mi familia es perfecta y me preocupa ver el espejismo que esto genera. Tantas expectativas….¡¡ Y ni siquiera es real!!

Seamos más sinceros.Todo en la vida requiere de esfuerzo continuo: el trabajo, la familia, el amor, la carrera profesional, las relaciones, cada pequeña cosa.

La felicidad en una opción que escoges cada día, y no es externa a ti. No esperes que alguien sea la respuesta para encontrar el camino “de vivieron siempre felices”. Cásate, ten hijos.Seguirás siendo tú.Tus demonios no se irán a ningún lado. No se puede cortar camino.

Mi hijo Sebastián hoy tiene ya 5 años. Se ha convertido en el ser humano más fantástico que alguna vez pensé conocer. Es el niño más dulce y comprensivo . No podría estar más orgullosa de él.Tuve un segundo hijo, y la experiencia fue más sencilla. No viví la depresión la segunda vez. La dinámica fue muy diferente, pese a que es un huracán comparado con Sebastián.

No soy la madre que soñé ser cuando era más joven. No les canté esas canciones. He cometido muchos de los errores de mis padres y en ocasiones soy eco de sus palabras. Pero soy la mejor mamá que puedo ser con las cartas que tengo en la mano. Y lucho por ser mejor cada día.

Y la jornada continúa…