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We Gave Up Sex After Having Our First Child

Celibacy after having a baby is definitely not a conventional path, but it is the path my partner and I chose and one that made us better.

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There is this order that life is supposed to follow.


Meet him.

Date him.

Love him.

Marry him.

Reproduce with him.

I've just never been that cookie-cutter. I tend to be sporadic and off-centered.

I was the type of woman who knew she wanted to be a mom and while dating, I quickly eliminated any guy who didn't fit my vision of what a father should be. When we found each other, we clicked. We vibed. We were also a bit of inseparable. I knew this man would be the father of my child. The question was, when? Would it be before or after the wedding? After the careers, after the courtship? I didn't know but I knew that I wanted it to happen when I felt ready and when I was at a time of my life when I could be the best motherly version of myself.

The one thing that I was most certain about was the fact that in the event that something happened to me, or if our relationship failed, my unborn child would have an amazing father in the man that I chose. I knew that I would have the most amazing parenting partner; one who would never leave me to be a "single parent" no matter if I were married or unmarried, if I was in a relationship with him or not. That was enough for me because I wanted to be a mom. Whether I got to be a wife and a mom would be a bonus but I definitely wanted to be a mom. It was enough for me.

So much so that at age 29, when I began to have strong feelings about wanting to become a mom, we chose not to rush into a marriage. Instead, we decided to plan a pregnancy and we decided to focus on parenting. Even while friends and family deemed my pregnancy a mistake or when people would say I got “knocked up" because they didn't see a ring, I knew that this was very well thought out. Six months of trying to get pregnant and the stress of that “two-week wait".. this was far from a mistake.

I knew that I decided to become a mom at a time in my life when I was ready and I didn't want to wait until someone gave me permission or rush those other areas in my life that I didn't consider ready. We were not ready for marriage. We knew it would come but we were not there yet. We were ready for parenthood and that is the direction we went in. Ass-backwards right? Maybe not, but definitely unconventional.

My son was 4 months old when I turned 30. Parenthood took his dad and I on a ride unlike anything we could have ever imagined but it made us stronger. It brought us closer. We learned so much about each other and we overcame many tests. After focusing on our son for the first year of his life, we were now ready to focus on us. Individually and as a unit. We had many nights of pillow talk about our new life and he spoke to me about how he had become a new man and wanted to be a better leader. I had evolved as well.

Motherhood brought this sense of serenity to my life. In the middle of all the chaos, I feel so much peace. I wanted to learn about this new person I had become. I was so proud of my decision to become a mom. It was the best decision that I had made, it made me better and I wanted to get to know this new me as quickly as possible. For me, that meant tuning in and listening closely. Eliminating distractions and becoming one with my spirituality. I began to meditate more and spend time alone.

For us, that meant getting passed the physical attraction that we had for one another and find ways other than sex to show our affection and adoration. We began to listen more, date more, and laugh more. We chose to be present in each moment we were together and we are falling more deeply in love every day.

For us, first came love, then came the baby, then came the house for our family with marriage next on our list.

Now, after the baby, we are challenging ourselves to remain abstinent until our wedding night and we are so excited about this journey. Sex is so easy when you are into each other but finding alternative ways to show that love takes a deep understanding of self and your partner. You have to be so deep into each other and willing to drown yourself in the overflow of love just to stay near.

I am in deep.

I won't let go.

What this has taught me is that things don't always work out the way society says it should. Do what feels right. Keep the end goal in mind and switch the middle part up if that makes you happy.

Kimberly Fleming is an author, speaker, and self-proclaimed motivator. Her life's mission is to encourage people to be the best versions of themselves while presently choosing happiness at each stage of their journey. Her work lives on her personal writing stage, graylove.com and on Instagram/Twitter @iam_KIMf.

Featured image by Getty Images

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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