I am Mary Gentle. Mother to my miracle baby boy, Curron, who also goes by Zai. I am also a stepmother to two beautiful children. My daughter Chai (12) and my son Dj (11).
I am very family oriented and adventurous! My husband and I love taking our kids to explore and build new memories around the world. If I am not doing those two things, I am prioritizing self care! From getting my hair done to a nail appointment, I make sure I do my best to find some ME time! It’s important, even while trying to raise children.
How has motherhood changed you the most?
Motherhood has changed me in so many different ways. The biggest adjustment is not being able to come and go as I please. I am far from a homebody and my husband and I are both the same way! From essential errands, to the gym, a happy hour, to a weekend trip, we’re pretty much always on the go!
Being a mother has slowed me down a lot. Not that I can’t take my son with me wherever I go, but as moms we know how exhausting it can be - am I right? The bags you have to pack with extra clothes and diapers, bottles...and let’s not forget the stroller! I mean thinking about it right now has me tired!
So now I am very mindful of what I truly need to do, and what can wait. It's given me a sense of peace just enjoying my home and sitting on the floor interacting with my son versus running around constantly and coming home exhausted. Plus, with the climate of our world I don’t feel comfortable taking my son everywhere. COVID has heightened my anxiety when I think about strangers being around him. Plus, we know kids love to touch everything!!
Motherhood has also taught me to not have too many expectations. The craziest thing about my role as a mother is that one day I think I know my child... what he likes, his favorite toy, what makes him laugh, etc. then the next day he’ll be fussy with his favorite show on, doesn’t want to eat his usual snack, doesn’t want me to hold him... it’s like WHAT!! Where did all of this come from?
This has taught me to show up everyday and be open to whomever my son wants to be for the day. Whether that’s an expression of being silly and joyful or fussy and full blown tears. It’s also opened my eyes to always remember how much is going on developmentally in this little human’s body and that he’s trying to manage those feelings and changes. It’s got to be a lot! More than we give our toddlers credit for! Not being able to fully communicate to mom and dad has got to be rough some days.
Lastly, motherhood has taught me to never compare myself to other moms! Sounds so easy, but we do it. Also we live in a world where Instagram portrays only the “perfect image” of someone. I remind myself that my son Zai is a God given gift to me. God saw fit for me to be in this role, because he knew I could do it. There’s no one better than me for him. Comparison only robs me from loving and growing with my son - and that’s not fair to him!
Just remember it’s a marathon not a sprint! None of us mothers get a gold medal for doing what we think is the best version of being a mom!
Tell us about your fertility journey.
I have a history of ectopic pregnancy. Which means the embryo is getting stuck in my Fallopian tube. If the embryo ruptures in the tube, it can unfortunately kill me. I had my left Fallopian tube removed due to this very reason in 2016. God is so great, because it almost cost me my life.
My husband and I never had any issues getting pregnant, rather an issue with the embryo being implanted in the wrong spot for me to carry properly. To this day we don’t know why. We sought several opinions all the way down to a procedure that flushed both tubes out with saline to make sure there were no blockages. After we got positive news that there were none, we still ended up back at square 1 with another miscarriage. It didn’t make any sense....labs were coming back normal, my weight was controlled and eating habits weren't too crazy.
So after several miscarriages, I did the necessary research on my own to undergo IVF; what it meant and of course what it cost. I was referred to a clinic by a close friend who had an amazing experience. My husband and I sat down with them to discuss the process in depth and if we’d be good candidates.
I went through IVF in the beginning of 2018, and had my son in 2019! We were so thankful and blessed to have a healthy crop of both boy and girl embryos, and were successful with the first transfer round! I wouldn’t take back this experience for anything. So grateful for science! The beautiful thing about our world today is there are so many ways to have children. Don’t be afraid or feel so defeated to do your own research. Ask questions, look into different insurance policies, seek different opinions from different doctors, etc! And lastly, DON’T GIVE UP!!
You're open about your faith - how did it help you during those times?
Faith defined my experience. I had faith that God was going to grant the desires of my heart, and that’s exactly what he did. Every step of the process I had to think about how good God is, and that he wants us as his children to be blessed, to be happy, to lack nothing! Every needle poke, to every ultrasound, I spoke God’s plan over in my head as I was enduring every physical aspect of this journey. I used positive self affirmation. I had sticky notes on my mirror that had God’s promises on them from the Bible.
Faith is a mindset. I did my very best to keep my mind healthy, and not let it waiver out of fear. It was something I had to practice everyday, but over time it started to feel natural. When I didn’t take control (something I ALWAYS want to do in my life!) God was able to let himself in and work in my life.
Word of advice for anyone who needs to hear this: If you apply this type of faithful mindset to anything you may want in your life, watch God show you who he really is. I promise you, you won’t regret it.
What would you say to someone who's currently struggling with infertility?
- Have a faithful mindset. Get to know God during this process.
- Do your research and understand all of the options there are to have children.
- Be kind to yourself. Nothing is wrong with your body. We can’t help that we are all created uniquely different. Celebrate and love on your body regardless! It’s still your temple.
- DON’T GIVE UP!!
Being a Black mother in America comes with added stress. How do you cope and find ways to celebrate Black Boy Joy?
I cope by praying of course. I also cope by relying on my wonderful support system of friends and family to lift me during these trying times. And I find things that make me mentally happy which is crucial these days! I celebrate my son everyday! I tell my son how worthy he is and how phenomenal he will continue to be. He may not understand now, but I speak life and powerful affirmation over him.
I also let the black men in my life know the same. I tell them how much they are loved and needed in this world. They deserve to grow old too.
Most grounding daily rituals?
Prayer, prayer, prayer! And a glass of wine.