A Fall Newsletter...

A few weeks back I took Amari to do a photoshoot for the children's clothing store, Sandbox. While there, I met a lovely lady named Joy Sweeting. Who, after a few conversations, kindly suggested writing a piece in their fall newsletter about my pregnancy with Amari.

Now I know I've shared a little in my point of view. But I think Joy did a very good job expressing how it was for me and why I want to share it so much. So here is that newsletter.

Amari This happy baby has a very brave mother. Hailey began sharing her birth story as she dressed and engaged baby Amari throughout the photo session.

Amari kept cruising off the rug and backdrop. All she wanted was to move!

Twenty year old Hailey was a busy certified mechanic and dive instructor working on yachts in the British Virgin Islands. Her free spirit felt at home in the boating community, and she loved leading others on adventures underwater.

The last thing on her mind was having a baby. In fact, a chronic kidney condition meant she’d probably never conceive.

At the beginning of the pandemic, she and her boyfriend parted ways. He headed home to South Africa and she returned to Nassau. Over the next five months, she became so ill that doctors gave her an unusual heart diagnosis.

Her mom kept telling her she was pregnant, but three pregnancy tests said she wasn’t. One day, they showed an apartment to two doctors. The wife was an OB-GYN. Hailey’s Mom said, “That’s a sign. I know you’re pregnant.” And this time, the drugstore test was positive.

Hailey wept for days, stunned that she was pregnant, relieved that she didn’t have a heart condition that would keep her from diving, agonizing about the implications for her life.

After the shock wore off, she had plenty of adjustments. Most painful was that the baby’s dad wasn’t supportive, and it appeared she would have to raise her child alone.

Just when Hailey had finalized a baby shower, emergency orders shut everything down. The event was cancelled. Her friends and family did a drive-by, but the whole experience felt fractured.

Hailey’s family came around her. Her grandmother had knitted some treasures to lay aside, in case she passed away before her great grandchildren were born. Hailey moved in with her Mom and two teenage brothers.

When her kidney problems flared up again, Hailey drove herself to the hospital. Her own mother was quarantined with a chronic autoimmune condition. Amari was born by emergency C-section.

Hailey moved back home for recovery. She got help with breastfeeding via Zoom calls with lactation coach, Rosa Knowles.

The whole experience summoned a great deal of courage.

During the photoshoot with Amari, Hailey kept expressing how grateful she was to have beautiful pictures celebrating her miracle baby. For her, the session was an unexpected gift that helped to heal some of the maternal milestones stolen by Covid-19.

Just two weeks later, Hailey’s uncle, Mike, passed away suddenly. He used to own a store just a few doors down from Sandbox. Hailey and her Mom shared that baby Amari has helped their family enormously. “She’s such a happy baby. She has brought us so much joy, and distracted us from our grief.”

Hailey shared her story to inspire other young single mothers to be brave, strong, and to embrace the gift of motherhood.

If you guys love this piece you can check out more of her work and pieces about the other kids that were there that day by clicking :

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