sharing our stories

CLICK FOR HOPE | I AM REMINDED OF MY GOD

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Please share your story:

Every day is touched by the name Haven Song. In February 2018 my husband and I sat in the midwife’s office, newly pregnant and hoping for our first ultrasound glimpse of our baby. Instead of a huge smile and reassurance, the midwife scheduled a consult with an OB Dr explaining that my fibroids were a concern and that she may not be able to oversee my pregnancy. We went home like we’d been kicked in the stomach. I tried to be positive because the midwife had not said my baby would not survive—only that preterm delivery was possible and we needed to be aware of this fact. My husband Luis was just quiet. He didn’t know what to say. I sat in front of the TV at home thinking about our baby and being alone with my grief while Luis made supper. We hadn’t even picked a name yet. We didn’t even know our baby’s gender. Then the word “Haven” entered my consciousness. I began to think of Haven as a name choice. What would it be like to have a name that meant “refuge?” Refuge from the storm. Refuge from pain. Refuge from sickness and the curse of sin. Then I remembered Psalm 91 and all the ways God promises to protect his children. I knew our baby’s name was Haven Song and that in naming her God was choosing her. When I asked Luis what he thought of the name Haven he agreed! (Up till then we were unable to agree on a name.) In faith we named our baby Haven and if our baby was a girl we would name her Haven Song to remind us of God’s faithful protection. Each day we thanked God for another day Haven lived. Each week we counted towards a full term delivery. Each month we looked back in amazement that my pregnancy was protected and uneventful. At the same time I had to prepare for worst. I looked into baby funeral services and how to ensure my baby would be given to me by the hospital no matter how premature she may have been. Luis and I had to talk together about my wishes if the Dr’s worst case scenarios played out for me. If I began hemorrhaging or if I needed an emergency C-section or hysterectomy. If there were ever a decision that needed to be made who would live, I wanted Luis to make the Dr’s choose Haven. That was a tough conversation. In the end, I carried Haven Song to 39 weeks when the Dr suggested an induction. There were none of the expected complications! I did experience a third degree tear and postpartum depression, but none of the worst case scenarios took place. Haven is healthy and growing. She exceeds our expectations.

How has your story shaped who you are today?:

Every day when I say my daughter’s name I am reminded of my God. Our Father God who protects and loves his children. Who loves and forgives. Who sings over us Heaven’s song of redemption. Who is our refuge (our haven) in every trial —in the bad times and the good.

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What compelled you to want to share your story with us?:

My life experiences have not been easy. My own birth family is dysfunctional and my father is in prison waiting trial. I have prayed for deliverance and healing for my family for a decade now and am still waiting for God’s full restorative healing to occur. When the Dr. gave us the worst case scenarios I immediately thought the worst would happen to me like so many other times to my family. I am learning to choose belief in my heavenly father’s love no matter what is happening. If my daughter had not lived, the promise that God is my Haven would still be true. I hope to encourage others to keep hoping while walking through the darkness of needing to understand funeral preparations for a beloved baby.

What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story?:

Don’t give up. Our father God is big enough for your screaming tears. He is big enough to hold you through your upcoming deliverance or even if there are more tears ahead. He will send you every help that you need.

CLICK FOR HOPE | BEING A LATINA IS AN HONOR

Photo: Authentic Adventure Co. | You can purchase this shirt at our  shop!

Photo: Authentic Adventure Co. | You can purchase this shirt at our shop!

What does being a Latina mean to you?:

Being Latina is an honor. It’s about accepting diversity, being able to speak a second language, embracing your ethnic roots and culture. Being able to learn about the authentic food, music, traditions and passing that down from generation to generation. It’s about accepting that Latinos come in all shades. Latinos are passionate, loyal, hard-working, family-oriented, with a side of attitude and loudness.

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.:

A lot of people think I’m Caucasian until they hear me speak. But the hardest thing for me is people that are not Hispanic feeling offended because you speak Spanish and tell you to stop speaking like that and go back to your country. Last time I checked Puerto Rico is part of the United States. People should not feel threatened by our culture. Being bilingual is something that would give you favor when it comes to job interviews. It comes with dignity and honor to be able to speak Spanish to those that never learned the English language. Another thing I struggled with while growing up, was with the pronunciation of my name. Having a spanish name and everyone not knowing how to say it. So all throughout my years in school people would say it in English and completely butcher my name (Ya Near Ra). Same as in the workplace. I would always have to correct them and I felt embarrassed instead of proud. But now that I’m an adult, I fully embrace the uniqueness of my name, pronounced as (Ja Knee Ra)

Share something you love about being a Latina?:

I love everything, the food, the music, the traditions, the culture, the unity, the diversity, the appeal, our curves, our hustle, dedication, our history and victories.

What do you identify as?: Puerto Rican

Where you born in the states?

How have you been able to celebrate and honor your american nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?:

Yes. I still celebrate Independece Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day. At the end end of the day I’m still an American.

Do you speak spanish?: Yes, but broken.

Have you experienced colorism, or not being fully accepted by your community?:

Sometimes our people mess with us if we weren’t born in Puerto Rico 🇵🇷 which makes me feel like I’m not as Hispanic as they are. The standards are high for a Latina, you have to know how to clean and cook and serve your hubby but I do enjoy those things so they don’t come as a chore lol.

Is there something else you'd like to say or add?:

We should never resent our ethnicity. We should be proud of who we are and the way God created us for we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We should also invest time in knowing our grandparent’s history and how they came to the United States to give their family a better opportunity for success. Thank you to my grandparents, Eusebio Cruz and Cecilia Cruz for leaving Puerto Rico and moving to New Jersey to then move to Chicago. You paved the way for our family and thank you for the legacy you have left us.