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October 2, 2023 33 mins
This episode features Mental Health and Maternal Advocate Ashlee Muhammad. Ashlee shares her story about motherhood and how she leveraged her insecurities to teach other mothers of color to self advocate and become more confident when expressing their feelings during and after pregnancy.
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(00:01):
Maternal If you are not okay,your children cannot be okay, your spouse
cannot be okay. Right, thething that your kids want most above all
is a happy mom. Welcome toMaternal Home to access in information for mothers
of color. This episode features mentalhealth and maternal advocate Ashley Muhammad. Ashley

(00:22):
shares her story about motherhood and howshe leveraged her insecurities to teach other mothers
of color to self advocate and becomemore confident when expressing their feelings during and
after pregnancy. Do you live inthe city born and raised in Harlem?
Okay, yep, and still livethere. Yeah, Harlem is great.
Yeah, I love her. Imean I'm ready to go, but I'm
up. I love Harlem. Yeah. I don't know if New York is

(00:45):
a place to raise multiples, doyou know what I mean? Like,
I don't feel like they make theapartments big enough. You don't get any
like real land, you know whatI mean? Like it's the city is
very tight. It's tight, andit's I feel like the city is has
become now as an adult myself,become very much a place for like,
you know, parents, maybe onekid and possibly two, you know,

(01:07):
what even, But I feel liketwo is a max. When you start
getting into my numbers four and fivechildren, it's like, oh, okay,
you know what I mean. Likeyou're at home and we need little
more yeah yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely, we need a minivan and
there's no place for parking, andthen you have to pay. It's stressful
to be here, Like I comeyou in every day, and I'll to
be honest with you, I leftmy house at a little after six today

(01:30):
and I didn't get here to likeafter nine. What I'm saying, I
was late for my meeting and whatAnd you're in Jersey or I'm in Middletown,
New York, so like Paramus likethat area and it's nice up there,
and I thought for sure I wantedto live in New York City.
Yeah, And the same COVID happenedwhen I was like, oh, I
love my house. I love mykWe don't have a lot of land.

(01:51):
We have like maybe like a halfan acre or so, but it's enough
grass tomorrow, right. It keepsmy husband happy. Our kids are grown
now, so it's basically just youknow him and I'm right, you know,
and that's what I say. I'mlike maybe you know, later on
down the line, which I doubt, but I'm like, maybe down the
line, I'll want to come back. And and same to your point,
I never wanted a house. Iwas always actually I remember being younger and

(02:13):
saying like, I just can't waitto have a beautiful, big apartment.
And you know what I mean.You'd watch TV and see these beautiful like
Upper West Side and I'm like,I can't and then I like pandemic hit
and I just my mind completely shifted. I'm like, wait, we're confined
to this baby space right, like, and we can't go anywhere. It's
difficult kids, right and they're everywhere, yeah, oh my And I was

(02:38):
actually pregnant during the pandemic with mysecond to last, and my hormones were
all over the place and I waslike, and I'm like, I'm a
Sagittarius, so I'm like a wanderer. I love to just go and and
that like I was in a verydark space at that, like I literally
packed my whole house up. Isaid, baby, I'm sorry, but

(02:59):
we I have to. I'm like, maybe I need to let God know
that I'm ready to make this transitin our entire We've lived out of boxes
from months. I had no apartmentlined up, I had no place that
I knew that for sure that wewere going. I'm like, I just
need to let him know that Iam. I'm ready for whatever that next
step is about to be. Andsure enough, before my son turned three

(03:21):
months, we were signing the leaseon. So you were setting, you
were setting the intention. I hadto because I was like, I'm literally
going to drop myself crazy in hereif you don't like, get out of
here, make moves to get upsomething something. Yeah. It's like you
know when you're gonna go on avacation and it's like the vacation isn't there
yet, but you feel that likelight energy when you're going to get your

(03:42):
hair done and your nails done andbuying your last little minute things you already
feel in vacation. I was like, I need to trick my brain into
being there, like we're like wealready know that we're moving right and just
you know, God was like okay, like you're doing the work and it's
working in your favor. And Iended up get in my apartment because forgot
that I had filled up the applicationfor this building like five years ago completely

(04:04):
forgot and they just so happened tocall around that time and I was like,
oh, that's amazing, more perfect. Yeah yeah, So how many
kids do you have? So total? Five? Okay, yes, I
will have another busine old. Yeah, extremely so. I have a nineteen
year old. She is with herdad's family currently at the moment, she's
away at school, but when shedoes come home, she's like primarily with

(04:27):
her dad's family. We can talkall day about teenagers and the choices that
they make, and you know,I'm still going through it a little bit,
yeah, and just you know,and and truthfully, I don't feel
those conversations I had enough, Soyou know, maybe you and I can
another on another time, just kindof really sit down and really create a
safe space, because I think parentsalmost feel scared to say like I'm struggling.

(04:47):
Yeah right. It's so easy tosay like, oh, my kids
are great and everything's fine, andthere's no real conversation there. But when
we start to get into spaces oflike I'm really having a tough time with
my teenager right now, she's reallylike choosing to do things, or he
is choosing to do things. Thatis the complete opposite of what I saw
yea for their life right and howdo we deal with that, how it

(05:10):
affect your other children, and havingto kind of make a stance and say,
okay before I allow what's happening tokind of fester throughout my whole entire
home. If over there is whereyou're happier because you're able to do things
that I would, under no circumstanceallow, then maybe we need to explore
that and see what that looks like, you know what I mean, and
not feel guilty about it. Asa mom, you'll hear all kind of

(05:31):
things. I've heard that I'm adebbut mom, I've heard that I've all
of these things. But at theend of the day, I've made and
it was not an easy decision,but I've made peace with him. I
am. I stand like firm andheat that that was the perfect decision that
I made because he allowed me tobecome comfortable with it and the only person
that I want to rectify and helpit, you know, and even like

(05:55):
soften my daughter's heart and soften evenmy heart in a way, I only
want him to touch it. Iwant anybody else, no other hands in
the pot. I don't want anybodyyou know, give an opinion and saying
all of these things is the onlything, even me as a human,
only thing we can do is messit up emotions and all of those things.
Only person hands I want on itis his. And when that time

(06:15):
comes for us to be able tokind of sit back down and like work
through all of that, that iswhen I feel like it. I will
note that all of this was donefor a reason, sure, and God
and God is good like that,because I feel like, even with this
particular space, right, So thisplatform was created to share stories about mothers
of color, right, and likewhat we go through and what we deal
with on a daily basis, ourexperience is a lot different than you know,

(06:38):
our other counterparts in society. Andyou know, and we were talking
earlier before the podcast started just aboutlike, you know, your experience with
motherhood and your birthing journey. Socan you just kind of share a little
bit with our audience about like whatit was like for you when you were
having your children. Of course,so my very my first experience at becoming
a mom, I was really young. I was eighteen, I had just

(07:00):
graduated high school, and so Ithere were a lot of sacrifices that I
had to make for my daughter andrealizing that, you know, I do
want to be a very present,very on hand, you know, very
hands on mom. And so whenI had her, I didn't like I
think I might have been like athome in the bed laughing, you know,

(07:23):
my water broke. I thought Ipeeted on myself. So I was
like, well, let me,you know, go take a shower and
then i'll you know, walk overto the hospital. And they were like
take a shower, Like you cannotdo that, Like you have to come
right now. And so it waskind of was a very very long labor.
I was in labor for like almosttwenty four hours, and you know,
then she was here, right youtake all the things, you you

(07:46):
know, You're like, they're like, well, would you like epidural?
I'm like, well, I'm ina lot of pain, so sure I'll
take it, you know what Imean. And you know, festered through
that labor and then I didn't havemy next uh set, my next child
until which ended up being twins,until ten years later. So I was
almost content and fine with not havinganything. Difference. It's a huge gap,
you know. I met my husbandwithin that time, and you know,

(08:09):
I was always the you know,the younger girl. I said,
I didn't really want any kids,Like I was fine. I wanted to
actually become a radio personality. Andthere were so many things that I wanted
to do in this space that Iwas like, you know, I'll be
traveling a lot, and I don'tthink that that will kind of you know,
pair well now, especially back thenwith having a child, because there
was a lot of shame and beinga team mom and there was you know,

(08:31):
so much that you know, andbeing a mom kind of like was
thought to like stagnate what it isthat you wanted to do in life.
And so ten years met my husband, you know, fell in love and
I was like, I want tohave all his babies, you know,
and then uh first shot pregnant withtwins, and I'm like, whoa,
I am extreme, Like I haveno clue what it is that I'm about

(08:52):
to get myself into. But I'mlike, you know, I know that
my husband is an amazing dad.He's a wonderful dad, you know,
stepdad to my daughter. He hashe had two children prior to our marriage.
He was a phenomenal fand and webund to family. So it was
a phenomenal dad to them. I'mlike, we're gonna figure this out,
right, We're gonna work it out, and so and we did. You
know, I stayed home with mysons until they are about like two point

(09:15):
six, and that was really toughbecause I had never done that before.
I was, you know, verymuch a provider, especially for you know,
my daughter. I don't I didn'tconsider myself a single mom in the
sense because her father's family was extremelyactive and very very helpful. So I
never, you know, considered myselfa single mom, but I was single
in the fact that all of thefinances, all of the expenses when it

(09:37):
came to my daughter, I hadto bear right. So I always,
like a workaholic, always needed towork. And my husband kind of gave
me that room to say, like, babe, just stay home, you
know, with the babies if youso choose, and maybe you know,
work on your craft and you know, kind of perfect what it is that
you ultimately want to do, youknow, if for the long run.
And so being home with him didallow me that space, but it was

(09:58):
very very different. You know,I was gonna ask you, like,
what would you say, is thebiggest difference between your first pregnancy versus your
pregnancy with your twins. So youknow, two babies inside of you,
you know, pulling all of thethings, the energy, the calcium,
the you know, ever, yourhair, like just everything from the inside.
Was a complete three sixty from whatI had gone through. Because again

(10:20):
I'm now ten years older. I'mtwenty eight as opposed to being eighteen,
and so you know, even thoughtwenty eight is not old by any means,
it's a huge difference from what Ihad last experience. And so,
you know, when I was sick, I was really sick. When I
was tired, I was really tired, and I had never experienced anything like
that before. And so I wasgrateful enough that I had a partner who

(10:43):
understood, you know what that waslike, who wondered, you know,
who gave me time to rest,who didn't expect me to still be on
all the time, and so youknow, just going showing up to work
and making it back home was likea victory for me. And every day,
and so I worked all the wayup until I was about until about
maybe like a week and a half, two weeks before I was set to
go in and have them and I'llnever forget. You know, they used

(11:07):
to. I don't know if theystill do it now, but when you
have twins, because it is multiplesand it is a very unique situation,
they would have like a psychiatrist comeand kind of talk to you. And
so they asked us, like,you know, well, who's going to
be your support system and you know, like who's gonna do shifts? Whose
mom is moving in? Which isgreat to hear because you know, we
look at where the Black maternal healthcrisis is right now, right and we

(11:30):
kind of wonder what resources are inplace right to like help off set postpartum,
and like what your support system isgoing to look like. So I'm
glad that at least that part ofyour experience was a positive one. So
they asked, right, However,they absolutely did nothing. There was no
follow out it. So my husbandand I had no help. It was
just me and him and we're sittingthere looking at each other like help,

(11:52):
Like who does this lady think she'stalking to? Or what's the point of
asking if nothing's gonna happen if there'sno follow up? Right? And are
my labor was you know, extremelytraumatic? Because I was into which to
you know, our point that wewere speaking about earlier, because I they
were trying to pressure me to havea C section, and that was just

(12:13):
not something that I wanted to do, especially because it was twins. Why
did you think that pressure was coming? Well from in my mind, then
I knew that, you know,a C section is surgery, and so
I'm like, well, there's moremoney in that. You know, they'll
get more money because it's a surgery. And then I thought that that pressure
was because it was twins. Andso technically, when you hear twins,
you think c section because you're like, well, no, you know,

(12:35):
human body, you know, whenyou think about it, can physically push
two babies out. One's traumatic enoughon the body. And so I felt
like they looked at me this,you know, black woman, you'll you
know, at a decent age,they're like, mm, I don't really
think that she can do it.So we'll just schedule you a c section.
You'll come in and I'm like,schedule me as c I'm not interested

(12:56):
in that. I want to pushmy babies out, or at least to
try sure until that's no longer anoption. And they were almost adamant at
not making that available well because statistically, right, there has been data that
has shown that black women are scheduledfor cesareans at a much higher rate than
our counterparts, right, So youknow, there's a lot of things that

(13:18):
are tied into it, and youcan go into the whole like what we
think theoretically is the result of thator the reasoning for that. But it's
sad because you know, the humanbody should have the opportunity to go through
a thorough natural labor. We werecreated right to be able to give birth.
So when you rush that right oryou alter that in a sense,

(13:39):
it creates sometimes an unfavorable result,which is why I could totally understand why
you weren't for the cesarean and youwanted to pursue it naturally, right,
absolutely, And so you know,I had to really fight tooth and nail,
and I felt almost alone in thesense of like it's me up against
nurses, doctors, you know whatI mean, different people coming and not

(14:00):
like well are you sure and whyare you making this decision? And so
I had to really kind of justlike channel, you know, my grandmother
and just think about, you know, the older black women in our lives
who do not take no for ananswer, who absolutely we're going to always
speak up for themselves because you know, they were directly affected by you know
what I mean, what we neverwant to naturally talk about, but is

(14:22):
a huge part of our history,right. And so my grandmother, you
know, is, and you knowremains, even though she's no longer here,
the strongest Black woman that I've everknown. And so I just had
to become her in that sense andreally stick up for myself and say,
I'm not going to allow you guysto essentially bully me into making a decision
that you want me to make withoutfully understanding, you know what it is,

(14:43):
what it is, and being ableto speak up for myself, right
because nobody's gonna speak up for melike me. So you had your babies
naturally, I absolutely have my babiesnaturally. I pushed both of my twins
out they were fourteen minutes apart,which the hospital did not like at all,
but like that's my story, that'show it happened. And you know,
essentially they were almost going to tryto cut me before I pushed the

(15:05):
baby be out, which is myson Nova, because after I had jets
and of course my body is likeit needs a rest, and your body
kind of just lapses and it's likeit needs a second. And so we
were kind of hitting a ten minutemark and they were like, you know,
okay, Ashley, you know,if you don't, you know,
if you aren't able to push withinthe next couple of minutes, we're gonna
have to go in and kind ofget you know, baby be out because

(15:26):
we don't want his heart rate todrop and things of that nature. And
so I'm like, okay, I'mlike, give me a second. And
I got it. And so wehit about twelve minute mark, I started
pushing again and I was able topush my second son out, And that
to me was like I literally immediatelystarted crying and I was because and my
husband you could just hear him onthe side like you did it, like
you really did, not not justonce, but twice. Absolutely. Wow.

(15:50):
So if you had to look backat your experience, right, like
even if with your first child oryour your twins, like, what would
you have told your younger self,Like what advice would you have given to
yourself if you had to do itall over again? Knowing what you know
now? Right, knowing what Iknow, now I think that, you
know, I would speak up formyself exactly how I did then, right,
I felt like you know, anyother time who you know Ashley was

(16:15):
as a person because I grew uplike extremely insecure and just very timid.
I didn't want to ever you know, like shake any tables or you know,
make anybody feel you know, anyway, I probably wouldn't have spoken
up for myself, but I'm soglad that I did, because you know,
I would have allowed them to makea decision for me that I would
have regretted for the rest of mylife. And so I think that I

(16:37):
would probably tell, you know,twenty eight year old Ashley, job,
well done. You know, goodjob for speaking up for yourself. And
let that be a lesson to anytime moving forward when you do when you
do want to be silenced, youknow, when you are you know,
kind of afraid to kind of makeany waves, you know, that is
the time to self That is absolutelythe time to self advocate. And even

(16:59):
other times when we think that wemay not. You know, somebody that
I hold in a very high regardwhen it comes to business. Her name
is my Leak. She says somethingto me the other day her and I
will on live together and she waslike, you know, dare to leave
an aftertaste. And I was like, you know what, that's very true.
That's too many black women in ourspace don't want to, you know,
we don't want to dress the waythat you know makes us feel happy.

(17:21):
We don't want to, you know, because we don't want to make
any waves. We don't want towear our hair natural, right. We're
afraid to kind of get the locksand embrace and embrace school we are to
our core, we don't want todo that. And so I love that,
and I was like, I'm neverever going to forget that, dare
to leave an aftertaste? For sure. That's that's great. I'm glad that
you mentioned insecurities because a big partof this platform is teaching women how to

(17:42):
self advocate. And I was readingyour background and your story, and you've
been able to turn some things thatyou've dealt with insecure wife into a platform
for yourself. So let's talk aboutthat. Yeah. So I have my
crew what I like to call andwe came up with over this or was
disruptors. So I would like tothink of myself as an insecurity disruptor.

(18:06):
You know, my company was built. My company it's called b Iconic,
and it's spelled in a very uniqueway because the eye is not spelled just
like the letter I. It's eye. So my birthmark. I was born
blind and my left eye, youknow, it has a medical term.
But essentially what I tell people tomake it very easy and digestible, it's
it's my birthmark, right, It'sthe way that I was born. And

(18:26):
so I didn't look like everybody else. I didn't you know, my I
didn't dress like everybody else. Ijust I was always very uniquely me and
that didn't sit well with people sometimes. And you know, kids can be
very cruel. They can say certainthings and make you feel certain ways.
And so what I you know,later on in life, and this is

(18:47):
not like I tell people all thetime. This was not like some aha
moment at fifteen, and I,you know, I was able to get
it too. I was very mucha young adult with you know, a
child and you know, children onthe way and still extremely very cure.
But what I started to realize onceI became vulnerable on like social media and
just started cheering and talking to moreindividuals, was that like hold on.

(19:10):
I wasn't the only person who grewup feeling this way. Like wait,
this is like like a thing amongstpeople, and so I was like,
I in that moment, I realizedthat my purpose in life was you know,
while yes I love being a mom, but I really do feel like
God's sole purpose all my life wasto help people feel less alone and to
kind of bridge that gap in between. You know, you can have a

(19:33):
platform and you can build a safespace for people to unapologetically love themselves.
Right, It's almost like a thingwhere it's like if you meet somebody and
they're confident in who they are,it's almost jarring or it's threatening to people,
but it's like you don't know whatthat person felt like growing up,
right, you don't know how thatmade them feel. And so, you
know, until I was able toand you know, come on, until

(19:55):
I'm able to come on platforms likethis more often and have the real conversations
and just spread them message, Iwas like, how can I get this,
you know, message out to peoplethat I feel is really really important.
How can I live within my purpose? And I said, I think
the way that I'll be able todo that is through clothes because I've always
gotten that, you know, complimentfrom people while you dress really different,
you dress very unique, you dressyou know, you don't dress like anybody

(20:17):
else. And so I was like, that's how I'm gonna do it.
I'm gonna be able to do itthrough clothes. And so I started creating
these conversation pieces where it would getpeople to stop. Somebody who may be
insecure and who doesn't really talk topeople outside, but now a stranger is
stopping you telling you how amazing youlook, and that literally is lingering within
you for the next five or sixdays. And so that started. I

(20:38):
was like, it's happening, right, people are starting to look inwardly and
really love themselves simply off the smallcompliments that they're getting from people outside that
they never even It makes a hugedifferent, huge difference, absolutely, and
so you know, it would literallybring tears some eyes every time I would
get a story, you know,on Instagram where somebody would say, like,

(20:59):
you, you know, you reallyopen my eyes to you know,
show that I am worth getting complimented. I actually am beautiful, right,
And so that for me, thatthat does it all. And so I,
you know, create these conversation pieces, and I get to you know,
connecting my customers in a way thatI don't know if any other retail
company has been so intentional about creatingthese pieces that are getting people to stop

(21:21):
other people and create conversations, right, create confidence in people that they didn't
have before. I love that.I love that, and I think that's
a big piece to what we're doingwith Maternal Right. You know, one
of the things that we have incommon is I was also a team mom,
right, So I was just youknow, going through a lot of
similar things that you went through,you know, very feeling very judged,

(21:42):
so socioeconomically challenge right, and veryinsecure to the point where once I found
my voice and I could learn howto self advocate. And I think that
you have to teach yourself absolutely,right, absolutely, this is kind of
where this all came from, right, And I didn't see the connective tissue
at the time, right, Like, I feel like God uses all these

(22:02):
experiences to build you up so thatyou can create confidence for yourself, right,
similar to what you're doing with yourplatform, and that confidence is transferable
or it's teachable to the women andthe mothers that are listening to this platform
because self adecacy comes with confidence.Right if you if you feel like you
can speak up and you feel likeyou have a voice, you're going to
be passionate about yourself. Absolutely,And I think I even like when I

(22:26):
have you know, conversations, andof course I am by no means like
you know, a mom culture oranything like that. You know, as
we all know that we're all youknow, separately on our journey. So
trying to figure out you know howthere's nobody that's done it that's been like,
oh well, I got everything right. I did everything perfect right,
because at the end of the day, our children are going to be who
they want to be. Essentially anythinganybody wants that you learn from perfection.

(22:48):
I learn from mistakes truly, andyou learn just from other people's experiences and
seeing how it worked out for them. But one thing that I always always
always tell you know, moms whenwe are talking and because even I had
to, you know, relearn thatas a young mom and you know,
evolving with my daughter and essentially growingwith her, right, I had to
learn with like we like stop,we got have to stop silencing our children.

(23:11):
We have to allow them to sayhow they feel to you know,
well I don't I'm not really comfortabledoing that or I'm not really and of
course within reason, right, likelike your kid cannot come to you and
say I'm not really comfortable doing dishesand it's like, well, guess what,
You're still I'm gonna do the dishesanyway. Right, But if there's
like you know, there would bea thing where we would like somebody would

(23:32):
speak a stranger and you'd be like, you know, say hi, and
they we kind of force our kids, like you have to speak. That's
rude. And if your child kindof retreats and they're like, I don't
really want to. We can't teachour child stranger danger on one hand,
but then tell them to speak rightin the in the other hand. So
if our kids are letting us noticesomething doesn't make them comfortable or something,
you know, like I'm not reallyyou know, that's not really what I'm

(23:52):
interested in. We grew up,we always wanted our kid to play the
piano, because that's just something thatwe always wanted. And our kid is
like I really could do about thepiano, right, It's like, let's
not force them to play the pianoand give them permission to be them,
and give them permission to that.That's it, right there, give them
permission to be themselves and speak upright on not being interested, because that
will then translate in their adult lifeand they'll it'll be so natural to them

(24:17):
that not saying something will make themuncomfortable. Yeah, right, not speaking
up for themselves. I was sograteful that my grandmother gave me the opportunity
within our home to say how Ifelt, to express myself through the way
I dressed, to kind of youknow, to listen to the music that
I wanted to listen to, becausethat all those things gave me a voice.
Even though the minute I walked outthat door, I was silenced by

(24:40):
society and the way that those peoplemade me feel, I at least knew
I had a safe space within thosefour walls, and I think that it
was very you know, even thoughyou know, the thought of it was
tough. As the words started comingout. When I was on that you
know, delivery in that delivery room, it flowed like water to say,
that's not happening. I am notin said, you guys are gonna listen

(25:00):
to what I have to say.It was innately in me, And so
I think that if we you know, always give that and allow you know,
our children, our friends, youknow, everybody in our space that
space, I think that that willbe something that stays with them and sticks
with them always. I agree.So let me ask you this, how
do you think what you do interms of the platform your creative like,

(25:22):
please into not just the maternal healthspace, but the mental health space.
Well, you know, an insecurityyou know, being insecure about something is
directly, you know, tied tomindset, your mindset, your mental right.
I tell people all the time,like, do you understand how you
feel about yourself? Navigates every singledecision you make. Right, if you're
going to decide to say, hey, okay, I'm a coffee drinker and

(25:47):
having a couple of coffee every morningmakes me happy, I'm gonna leave the
house ten minutes earlier, right tohave that, to make sure that I
can go by dunk and Starbucks whereverto get that cup of coffee. If
you do not feel good about yourself, you will deprive yourself of that strictly
because you don't want to make anywaves. You don't want, you know,
somebody to say like, oh well, you found time to get coffee

(26:08):
in the morning, maybe and yourco workers didn't write. You will literally
deprive yourself of things if you donot feel, you know, great about
yourself. That's unfair. Yeah,that's unfair to you. That's unfair to
people you know that you love.That's unfair to you know, those people
around you. I say to peopleall of the time, you have got
to put yourself first. If youare not okay, your children cannot be

(26:32):
okay, your spouse cannot be okay. Right. The thing that your kids
want most above all is a happymom. Thousand percent. When you are
a happy mom, when you area happy you know, individual, everything
about the way you move, interact, everything will be different thousand percent.
So we're gonna be having these discussionseven more, and that you're gonna be
at the Mental Wealth Act cannot wavein October, Yes, cannot. Really

(26:56):
super excited about that, and justto have these conversations in a live setting
so that it's interactive and people havethe opportunity to ask questions and like be
a part of these conversations. Sowhat are you looking forward to most about
the Mental Wealth Expo? Well,I think one of the things you know,
of course, aside from you know, just sharing my story and you

(27:17):
know, getting to connect people ina very personal way because live is it's,
you know, something very special aboutlive. But aside from that,
I think also learning right. Ithink that you know, we as people
reach a certain space and we feellike we've got it. And I don't
think that healing is ever done.I think that healing is always you know,
a never ending journey. And soI'm interested in learning. I'm interested

(27:37):
in taking something from at least oneperson there and applying it to my life
and never ever forgetting it right.And so I think that, you know,
I'm so grateful that platforms like theseare built because you know, as
you and I know, just afew years ago, this was not a
thing. No, it was nottalked about, It was not you know,
common, and so to see youknow, women like you who were

(27:57):
a teen mom and Aly, youlived my dream right, you were a
team mom and actually got to becomeand do something that I was. I
mean, you could not tell me. I can find videos back from fifteen
twenty years ago, essays twenty yearsago about you know, me saying that
I was going to be sitting inthis exact position while there was somebody you're

(28:18):
sitting here too, says I amnow right, by the grace of God.
But you were able to succumb thatright, You were able to silent
that noise, and so to evento just see that there was somebody who
literally lived my story and was ableto do it. Let somebody like me
know that that's possible. And soit's just it's bigger than you. It's
bigger than me. It's it's reallygetting to, you know, evolve and

(28:40):
go through all life experiences exactly theway they were supposed to to end up
exactly. Well, so interesting yousay that, you know, going back
to insecurities. The one of thethings that I always loved about radio,
and like I don't want to likeget teary eyed. Listen. I've stopped
several times myself just seeing a blackwoman sitting here doing this thing. I
mean, you don't even understand howit's bigger. It's bigger than you.

(29:07):
Do You know why I always loveradio because I didn't think that I was
good at anything else. I didn'twant people to see me. I've loved
my voice. I always felt likeI had a voice for it. I
always felt like I had something veryinteresting to say. Yeah, I did
not want people to look at me. I didn't want people to and so
that hits me here because that isthat is the exact reason why, right.

(29:32):
And then you know, then ourheart becomes a thing, and then
now you can watch watch it onYouTube and you know, on our hearts
platform, and then then podcasting becamea thing, and then it was visual
and I'm like, I would Iwould have never saw that happened to this
space. But I'm like, whatyou were running from, it's inevitable.

(29:52):
Yeah, right, And and here'sthe thing is, and there's a space
for all of us absolutely right,Like we all have our individ visual stories
and our individual voices and our experiencesand like you were saying, this is
much bigger, right, Like Ithink for me, it just took God
to get me to the place wherehe could use all the insecurities, all
the shortcomings, so that I hadsomething to talk about. Because he's like,

(30:17):
what you wanna say? And I'mlike, well, you know,
I don't know. He said,well, we have to fix that,
right, and we have to figureout how to you for you to translate
things you've gone through into what couldpotentially help people. So I love what
you're doing with your story and howyou're sharing and like, thank you so
much. That's everything. Thank youeverything. That's the beauty and doing it

(30:37):
scared, right, I say allthe time. I say it all the
time about entrepreneurship. I'm like,guys, like I'm I am scared every
single day every month. Still atthis point, I don't know, you
know what the first of the nextmonth is going to hold sure, however
I'm doing is scared because I understandthat it is helpful to someone somewhere doing

(31:00):
it scared, right, because medoing it scared and letting them know that
I'm doing it scared is going tosay I don't have to have everything perfect
to just start, And so Iam in I just I could commend you
all day on this. You know, I could commend entrepreneurs just on you
know, the idea of how importantit is to just jump, sure,

(31:22):
just jump and do it afraid anddo it do it afraid. So how
can people connect with you? Sopeople can connect with me? On Instagram?
I'm on Instagram all the time morethan I should, probably should,
we all are, But my personalInstagram is iconic ash. So it's spelled
E y E C O N IC A s H on Instagram. I'm

(31:42):
iconic ash on TikTok my company's pageon Instagram, and TikTok is just straight
b iconic, so it's b EE y E C O N I C.
And my website, which is themost important that you guys can shop
all our amazing Converse station pieces isbe Iconic dot com. Spell the exact

(32:04):
same way. And you're going tobe with us at the Mental and I
will be at the Mental Wealth Expo. I cannot wait to see you guys.
You know, please don't hesitate,you know, to talk to us,
ask us questions. That is that'swhat this is for. Yeah,
so I cannot wait. Well,thank you for being here to thank you
for having us, and hopefully Iwould literally love to we gotta we gotta
deep with a lot to talk about. We have a lot to talk about,

(32:25):
So I cannot wait to be back. Awesome. Well you are listening
to Meternal on iHeartRadio. I'm KenyaGibson here with the lovely Ashley Muhammad and
until next time, Until next time, by guys, this conversation will empower
mothers of color to build the selfesteem and confidence they need to self advocate
for their maternal health rights. Womenwill learn to recognize some of the signs

(32:50):
when it comes to neglect and healthcareduring their pregnancy, in ways they can
ensure a healthier pregnancy outcome. Visitmeternal dot info to learn more about what
iheartradi You was doing to combat theBlack maternal health crisis and how it's supporting
mothers of color
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