“Boris and I wanted to have a family, but both had just come out of a relationship and we weren’t rushing down the aisle. We tried for over a year to get pregnant and it didn’t happen. When we were in Germany visiting Boris’s family, he proposed, and then we went to Paris, and everything seemed so perfect, so right. On the way back, I was depressed because the trip was so romantic it would have been perfect if I was pregnant. I cried and cried. I was upset with God. I didn’t understand why we were unable to conceive. Boris grabbed me and said, “This is our destiny to be parents. You can’t stress yourself out, because it’s going to be okay.” So I called the doctor and I said, you know, I’m going to come in and investigate fertility options, and all of that stuff.
The next day I went to the drugstore because my period was only spotting and I wanted to check. The test said I was pregnant, and I was so happy. I told Boris; he came home right away. He started shaking and he was sweating. Then he gave me the speech about I told you so, I told you so. When we went to the doctor, she said this baby was 11 days old. And when we counted back, we saw we’d conceived on the day he proposed. And that was June 20th, Father’s Day.
I realized that it wasn’t until God saw that we were ready to make this commitment that we were able to conceive. It’s as if he was waiting for us to say, yes, you are my life partner. Ever since then, it has been a really magical time. Things that used to worry me don’t matter anymore. I’ve released a lot of negativity and worries. I am making a baby and I just feel so blessed and special.
A few months prior to getting pregnant I did Queen Afua’s cleansing and purification program. Her latest book, Sacred Woman, is about getting your womb healed and your body together. I drink a lot of juices, and you really do feel like a new woman when you are done! After the cleansing, it’s like every blessing came pouring down. I booked a film, Boris proposed, we found out I was going to have a baby, and then our new TV show got picked up. It was like, things were going really well. I was riding high spiritually, mentally, and physically.
My body was a clean slate for the baby to come in, and I’m sure that’s why I didn’t have one day of nausea. I didn’t get severe fatigue and painful leg cramps in the middle of the night, from the instep of my foot all the way up to my hip. My doctor told me to increase my calcium.
The hair growth on my body, upper lip, and chin was out of control. I tried to tweeze when I can, and the makeup lady on the show does a lot of it. Now that the show is on a break, I’ve got to figure out how to keep all of this together on my own. Boris doesn’t let on that I’m a big hairy mess. He says that I’m beautiful and that I’m glowing.
During my pregnancy, I had a few emotional meltdowns over the smallest things. For example, one time I punched an address into the navigation system. Boris shut the car off. He knows it takes me a long time to punch in an address, letter-by-letter, and he turned the car off anyway and I had a meltdown. I was like, “You don’t listen. I don’t know if I can put my life in your hands.” On top of that, he finished my water. So I said, “I’m carrying our baby and the baby needs water. You don’t care. How could you drink it at all?” I was tripping.
My plan going into labor is to be positive. Everybody has told me about the fat, tired, sick, evil, and the pain. I want to choose the positive. Instead of calling it labor. I call it birth. Even just changing the language can be calming. You can’t have 10 months of fear. I investigated hypnobirthing, which focuses on deep relaxation and trusting that your body has everything it needs to give birth. They claim you can get into a state of calm where you release your own sedative, your own pain medicine, and have a pain-free birth. On the tapes you see women breathing deeply and the baby just slides out. I went to see it for myself. I was all up in a bunch of ladies’ business. It was no joke. That’s what I’m working on.
A lot of Black women don’t understand that certain foods and products have a different reaction in our body. We shouldn’t be drinking coffee or Coke or even chewing gum. It all has stuff that affects our ovaries. So many Black women are trying to get pregnant and they don’t even consider the diet. You don’t think it affects your colon, womb, uterus, or ovaries. But that stuff will eat you up inside.
An herbalist named Djehuty Maat’ra educated me about Black women and their womb and taught Boris about his sperm count. A lot of Black men are athletes and don’t realize that spending too much time in basketball shorts or in the hot tub can kill your sperm count. These are things that men shouldn’t do. He tripled Boris’s sperm count. Not to mention his sex drive. I told him, “I’m going to have to get you a girlfriend. There is only so much one person can do.”
The best advice is that you can choose your own kind of pregnancy. You can choose peace. You can choose relaxation. You can choose it to be pain-free. And when you engage your mind in that direction, it is the most wonderful experience. Of course, I am not going to suffer. But I’m going to go into it fully confident, at peace, and without fear, yet open to improvise if I need to.”
Nicole Ari Parker has appeared in several motion picture films including, Remember the Titans, Brown Sugar, and Soul Food (the series) and is now the mother of two. She shared her first birth experience in The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy.
Follow Nicole on IG @nicoleariparker
Excerpted from The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy (Amistad/HarperCollins, 2005) by Kimberly Seals Allers