Okay, so I know this is my music website, but y’all, I just had a baby, and I’m not about to start a whole new website for a few pregnancy and postpartum-themed blog entries. Besides, I am not a big fan of the whole niching down thing. I’m a whole-ass person with a multifaceted identity, mkay? Plus, I’m just really at that stage in life-slash-the pandemic-slash-motherhood-slash-late stage capitalism where doing things the lazy way is an act of resistance. I will not be shamed.
That said, I’ve been wanting to write blog series where I tell folks all about the products I actually used throughout my pregnancy and after delivery. For transparency’s sake, I will say that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, but I am legit only publishing these posts in hopes of helping any pregnant and birthing people who trust my opinion as they wade through the waters of “WTF is actually useful?”
I know folks have strong feelings about shopping on the ol’ Amazon marketplace. I do as well, and they are complex – probably worthy of a whole other blog entry. But until then, this new mama is trying to help other new parents and feed her family at the same time, so feel free to kick rocks if you’re not down for those causes. Away we go:
Products I Actually Used During Pregnancy:
It took us old lesbians like a billion years to get pregnant, so I was trying various prenatal vitamins for quite sometime before we finally got the BFP. At first, I took Ritual Prenatal Vitamins, which were great in terms of ingredients. But some cons: They were kinda spendy, I didn’t love the subscription model, and the hint of lemon flavor that I loved in the beginning kind of started making me feel like I was ingesting Pledge wood polisher.
From there, I moved on to SmartyPants Prenatal Formula Daily Gummies. They were tasty little gummies, and I dug the omega-3 action because mama comes from a long line of ladies with mental health issues and from what the internet tells me, fish oil is good for the brain.
I switched it up yet again when I realized that the Smarty Pants gummies didn’t include Iron. I didn’t want to have to supplement that separately, so I decided to go with Solimo Prenatal Vitamins & DHA Gummies. These are the prenatals I was taking when I found out I was pregnant, and rocked with them all the way through the first few weeks of postpartum life, until they became “currently unavailable” on the Amazon site. Rude.
Thankfully, I never had my head in a toilet bowl throughout my entire pregnancy. There were, however, a couple early months where I felt pretty dang woozy. Two things got me through: Preggie Pops and Sea-Band wristbands. The former helped for those short but intense waves of yuck, and the latter were great for all-day wear. Neither product eliminated nausea altogether, but they both smoothed out some of the rougher edges of the experience and helped me avoid a trip to Barftown, USA.
Heartburn Relief & Sleep Aid
All I have to say is: Tum-ta-tum-tum-TUUUUUUMS for the win. I went through like four bottles of extra strength Tums in my last trimester. I hope you don’t hit the level of heartburn that I experienced, but if you do, stock up on these chalky little miracles.
I think every Buy Nothing group on Facebook has one of these U Shaped Pregnancy Pillows listed on the daily, but just in case you don’t see one or don’t feel comfortable washing a stranger’s pillow case, make sure to snag one. Seriously. Sleep is soooo hard to come by in those later months, and this pillow will help you catch some crucial z’s.
I’m not someone who ever had an elaborate or regimented skincare routine to begin with, but I did try my hardest to slather on some of this Bella B lotion on my legs and baby bump after showers. Did it make all my cellulite miraculously go away? No. Did it prevent post-delivery stretch marks from forming on each hip? Also no. But I like the way it smells, I like the consistency, and who knows…maybe those stretch marks would have been a lot worse without it. And as far as I’m concerned, my stretch marks are effing awesome. I earned those suckers. But yeah, I still like and use the lotion.
I don’t know if it was the pandemic or the popularity of online shopping or WHAT, but geez Louise, it was so hard to find maternity clothes in actual stores. I don’t know what made me think I would be this cute pregnant lady in adorable flowy maternity dresses, but that vision was squashed pretty quickly because I hated the idea of buying something fancy that I couldn’t try on in a store. I ended up just wearing a lot of sweatpants and T-shirts like every other dang day of my lesbian life. That said, I did spring for some staple items that made pregnancy just a bit more comfy - like these maternity jeans, this maternity swimsuit, and these workout-slash-pajama maternity shorts.
As my body grew, I had no choice but to go hunting for new undergarments. These Caramel Cantina Nursing Bras were my favorite for lots of reasons: padless, wireless, soft enough to sleep in, supportive enough for light workouts, annnnnd I knew I could use them to nurse after the baby came. I ended up going back to buy another 4-pack so I could have enough to last me through one laundry cycle! For undies, I first tried the cute below-the-bump “panties,” but I did not dig them at all. Correction: all I did was dig them out of my crotch because they kept sliding down. Back to the interwebs I went, and I found these Intimate Portal Maternity Foldable Briefs which worked wayyyy better for me in terms of fit and coverage. I bought two 6-packs, and they are still essential skivvies for my postpartum comfort.
Okay, boom, there you have it. Wishing you a happy pregnancy and hope any of these items help make your experience more comfortable! Stay tuned for a few more blogs with recommendations for postpartum life!
Hey friends! My wife and I are thrilled to share that after three years of ups and downs and all arounds, we are expecting little River Jean to join our family!
We got so used to things going so wrong for so long, it’s dizzying to look back and see how all those tears and tough days played a part in making this exact moment possible. We know there could be, and likely will be, more twists and turns, because that’s life...but right now we are so happy to be celebrating what really feels like a miracle.
This whole experience makes me want to shout so many things from the rooftop, like how so many queer folks might not struggle so much with fertility if they were accepted from the jump as worthy and deserving members of societies and healthcare systems and families; how grateful we are to my mama who essentially funded this journey posthumously; how fortunate we were to be selected by complete strangers to be the recipients of such a mind-blowingly generous embryo donation; how appreciative we are to our family and friends who have been there every step of the way; and most importantly, how excited we are that River chose this family! What an excellent choice!
So far, I am feeling better after an exhausting, ravenous, and queasy few weeks, and Audrie is spending lots of time kissing and singing to this slightly-expanding belly o’ mine.
Announcing this pregnancy is cool and all, but we are both ECSTATIC to be done with hormone treatments starting today...you know it’s true love when someone is willing to stick a needle in your buttcheeks for 3+ months straight!
We love you, fam! Thanks for celebrating with us!
Mama & Mamba
Hey friends! I wanted to premiere a brand new video for "Crickets," ahead of my latest release that will be available for streaming/download on December 26.
My Patreon crew got the first look, and they are absolutely the reason I continue to be able to create music despite not earning my usual gig income this year, so I want to thank them for their continued support during a really weird and hard time for artists.
To start, let me disclaim that I have no real technical skills when it comes to video-making, but I had a vision to try and capture what the infertility struggle feels like; using a tripod and an iPhone, I managed to arrive somewhere in the realm of reality.
In the song, you'll hear real crickets I recorded from outside my window on the nights I would lay awake wondering if I was ever going to get pregnant. Sometimes I would see a cricket in the bathroom, and of course (always looking for a sign from the Universe) I Googled what they meant - besides the "nothing" response they are commonly associated with. Some searches pointed to good luck and fertility. I secretly hoped my mama was coming to me in one of those crickets telling me that good news was on the way. The good news never came. Sometimes crickets are just crickets, I guess.
You can also hear the crinkle of a pregnancy test wrapper in the chorus, which I used to represent the almost mechanical wheel-like revolution of hope to despair to hope to despair, cycle after cycle, fail after fail. What actually happens in these cycles is you actually have to go into the lab every try for a blood test to confirm the cycle failed (even if you already started your period or tested negative at home), which adds an extra spin cycle of hope/despair where you tell yourself tons of little stories "maybe it's implantation bleeding" or "maybe it was a false negative" until you finally get the phone call confirming what you knew all along. No baby.
Feel free to share this video with anyone you know who has struggled with similar issues. It's isolating. I hope it comforts and speaks to people who have been through it. I feel very fortunate that we were even able to try five times. In the opening lyrics "I've cried onto a casket," I'm referring to my mom's death. I'm also wearing the clothes I wore to her funeral. I wanted to acknowledge that some folks don't have the resources to attempt to grow their family, and we would've been in that boat had it not been for my mama's death. So maybe she was still my good luck cricket in a different sense. Thanks to her, we will always get to say that we tried, and that is comforting.
Still, I want to point out that for sooooo many LGBTQ+ folks who envision creating families of their own, whose own families did/do not accept them - we get such a late start on this process because it takes us such a long time to shed the shame placed on us by others and to arrive at our full authentic selves. Which then makes us a little late to the game in finding our healthy life partners/relationships, which then makes us really late to the family planning process. By the time Audrie and I started trying to conceive, it was practically too late. So many queer couples I know struggle with this, and it really angers me that our own loved ones, our own schools, our own religions stand in the way of our ability to love and grow into ourselves, each other, and our families. This is tragic. This is abuse. Please, if you are reading this, and you refuse to accept your child or loved one's sexuality or gender identity or anything else about their authentic self, you are literally robbing them of time they could be fully supported and immersed in your love for them and their love for themselves. Don't do that. God wouldn't do that.
Thanks to my friend Jim for inviting me to be a part of his series, the Kinship Cafe. We had a great chat about all kinds of topics I find fascinating, plus I played a few tunes. Watch the full show below, and don't forget to check out the show's Patreon page if you'd like to support his series further!
You can probably see from my blog posts this month how much I enjoy being on podcasts. This one was particularly cool because I actually got to meet/chat in person with the host, Cha Wilde, while I was gigging through Seattle a few months ago. Cha does such a lovely job with branding and stylizing, plus all the guests are great. I highly recommend checking out all the episodes. But maybe start with this one since I'm the guest. Haha.
Ok, so this probably doesn't count as real press but I had to share. My dad is compiling a list of the Top Ten Albums of his life, and included my album Lights Out on the list. I'll just be over here crying that my dad took the time to thoughtfully review my album. Check it out!
Last post, I announced the premiere of the "Deep Dark Down" live video recorded for The Rye Room Sessions in Portland, OR. Here's the second session we did for "Not a Boy." Both of these songs are on the album Lights Out currently available on iTunes, Spotify, etc.
Thanks to the team at Folk Frontier for recently playing Deep Dark Down on their show! Check them out if you're looking for new music from independent artists!
I had a great time with Laura on the Hapnyn San Diego podcast, recorded in beautiful Oceanside, CA. We talked about sisters, fathers, grief, gay marriage, and all kinds of other stuff. Listen below, and don't forget to check out their website for other episodes featuring San Diego's local talent. (You can also stream on iTunes, Spotify, Youtube, etc.)
Welcome to another edition of Behind the Song. This one's been brewing in my head ever since I finished reading Tomi Adeyemi's new book Children of Blood and Bone. It's a Young Adult novel, but the themes are so relevant for today's society, I highly recommend it for all ages. On a cultural level, there are so many parallels in Adeyemi's alternate reality, it almost doesn't feel alternate. On a personal level, there is so much mother-daughter-grief stuff going on, I had to keep the tissues handy at all times. One particular section of the book punched me right in the throat...the main character Zélie has a cosmic conversation with her late mother. A song: "mama, mama, mama" leads Zélie to the spirit of her mother. I shit you not, this is what my sister and I sang to my mother during that grueling 6 days where she slipped away from us. Zélie's mother tells her daughter how proud she is of her and that she will never leave her side. For those of you who've followed my challenging relationship with my mom, you know how desperate I was to hear these words from my own mother. And it might sound silly, but in reading this book, it felt like I finally did. Everything is connected, people. It's like my own dead mama summoned me and set me straight through the voice of a fictional dead mama. What are the odds? I don't know, but I'll take it. When I set down to write this song, I wanted to write not only about the energy that connects all beings, but also about the love, positivity and resilience that grows out of powering through fear, grief, and trauma. Resilience is such a powerful gift because it softens and hardens us at the same time. The more resilience we have, the more we are able to show compassion and open our minds to people/experiences we may not be familiar with. But at the same time, it strengthens our convictions and helps us advocate for the powerless/voiceless. This is what I wanted to capture in the song. I also wanted it to feel epic and cinematic....you know, just in case they are looking for songs to put in the movie. A girl can dream.
i’ve been reading all the signs on the wall
i’ve been staring at the stars in the sky
i’ve been wondering if this road leads anywhere at all
if it ended in demise, i would not be surprised
but that doesn’t mean i’m not willing to fight
i’m calling all the strength in me i need to survive
there’s a fire in me i just need to ignite
i’ve been fumbling in the dark, looking for a spark of light
it’s in the sunrise, It’s in the sunset it’s in the thrill of the unknown
every heartache, every mistake it’s in our blood, it’s in our bones
every sand of desert, every strand of hair the magic’s there
hanging in the balance of the valleys and peaks if you listen, magic speaks
Oya, Oya, the magic’s in me
Oya, Oya, the magic’s in me
Oya, Oya, the magic’s in me
you’ve been telling me bout star-crossed love
you’ve been selling me on shakespeare
i've been wondering if love alone will ever be enough
cause i know there’s so much more at stake here
but that doesn’t mean i’m not willing to try
i’m calling on the strength in me just to look in those eyes
there’s a fire in me, i just need to ignite
i had such a heavy heart, i’m trying to do my part to make it light
don't you see, don't you see, don't you see