Tatyana Ali’s Blog: Finding My Mom-Me Super Powers
Please welcome our newest celebrity blogger, Tatyana Ali!
Best known for playing Ashley Banks on the hit ’90s TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the actress and R&B singer, 37, also has multiple films, including Second Sight and Samaria, being released this year. Her latest EP, 2014’s Hello, is available on iTunes.
Ali is currently expecting her first child with fiancé Vaughn Rasberry, whom she met on eHarmony and became engaged to in March. The twosome will tie the knot (and welcome their baby!) in late summer.
Being pregnant is a magical time. I’ve discovered pregnancy brain is a true phenomenon — and for those who don’t know, it’s a mental fog, sometimes rearing its funny little head as forgetfulness or absentmindedness probably caused by all of the extra blood flow in the body and the huge doses of hormones I’m producing.
I should probably make my disclaimer here: I am NOT a doctor.
Anyway … WOW! Prime example of pregnancy brain, that last digression. Okay. Where was I?
… Yes …
While I’ve discovered pregnancy brain is a real condition, I’m amazed to witness a deeper connectivity. I’m able to shift my awareness from what’s going on around me to my baby. It happens instinctively. I can be truly engaged in conversation while simultaneously paying deep attention to the bouncing and flipping happening on the inside.
My mother had the power to be engaged in the world and still know exactly what we were doing and what we needed. Many mothers do. It feels like I’m beginning to take that power on. My mother always knows where her children are, no matter what she’s doing. Even now, I can be in a different city, and BOOM! I get a phone call from her when I’m potentially in danger or in emotional pain.
Moms have the power of Wonder Woman, Spider-Man or Superman. I’m talking about immense strength and agility when necessary. We’ve all heard tales of mothers lifting cars or running at incredible speeds if they feel their children are in danger. At 3 years old, my youngest sister turned upside down in our above-ground pool in our childhood home in Long Island. She was inside a floatable doughnut. She jumped in head first, her legs splayed in the air, and her top half, stuck, remained submerged. She couldn’t right herself.
My mother, who is no athlete, came out of nowhere, ran from the kitchen and did a massive hurdle jump over the 5 ft. pool ledge to grab her! Let me be clear: My mom can’t even swim.
What about the cunning acuteness of a mother’s hearing?! I liken this particular ability to Wolverine, who can cue into what’s happening at vast distances or listen in on the changing patterns of someone’s heartbeat to tell if they’re lying.
My mom and many of the moms I know have this power. I was in pure awe of her when I was a child. She seemed all-knowing and omnipresent. I couldn’t get away with anything! As I moved into my teens, her powers were so … annoying! She knew exactly what I was up to. Consequently, it wasn’t much.
I’m not too much of a fool so when I became an adult, I started to rely on her consciously, conferring with her for advice and guidance. I’m lucky to have such a great relationship. My mother is amazing. And, when I think about all that she did for her children, all that she continues to do, and everything she is to our family, I don’t know who any of us would be without her.
Do I have the super mom gene in me? Truthfully, after the wonder, shock and amazement of finding out we were expecting, came fear. It’s a fear that not many people talk about because with the fear comes guilt that you’re not simply overjoyed like you should be. It’s so overwhelming, the responsibility, the transformation, preparing for childbirth. How would my life change? How would my career be affected? No more wine? The guilt comes because the questions seem selfish and ungrateful.
Then I realized that what I was really asking is, “Who is this new Mom-me?” Is she ready to wear the red cape? Recognizing that my fear is actually a sign of maturity, a sign that I understand the magnitude and privilege of being a mother, I gave myself permission to feel my feelings. I discovered I had to mourn the death of a former self. After which, love and faith — the opposites of fear — were able to take over. And, of course, through all of this, I am blessed to have my mother here to guide me. As my fiancé’s mother often tells him, no matter how old you are, you are still my baby boy. And I know my mother feels the same way about me.
Here’s the thing: I actually really liked the Clark Kent version of me. She’s pretty dope. I worked really hard on her. She’s humble yet confident, dorky but still cool, kind yet determined, hardworking and fun. I wasn’t sure who the mom-me would be, but now that I’m realizing super powers are involved? She may even be cooler than the woman I was!
And I can actually feel my superhuman gene switching on. Senses heightened, split awareness, nesting in full effect, achieving bra sizes and levels of organization I have never reached before, a drive to put the needs of my child before myself??!! This is just the beginning!
Some, like my doctor, call it hormones. I look at my mother and the other epic mothers I know, with my budding wolverine senses I simultaneously feel within, and I know what it’s really called. It’s love.
— Tatyana Ali