Could you share a little about your background?
I was born and raised in the Bay Area. Originally from San Jose. I am a licensed therapist and started my career in early childhood mental health. I later went on to finish a Doctorate in Education Counseling Psychology. Currently, I work at a safety net hospital managing outpatient programs.
What prompted you to write a book?
Writing a children’s book wasn’t something I ever envisioned myself doing but the more I reflect on my journey I realize I had been laying the groundwork throughout my life. Becoming a licensed social worker, completing my doctoral thesis on colorism, and my personal experience combatting themes of anti-blackness have all led me to this very moment. Becoming a mother was the defining moment that led to the creation of Hey Carter! Books. The fear I felt surrounding raising a Black son and the emotional confusion I felt while pregnant prompted me to write a children’s book. I wanted to change narratives for black children.
Why is it important for you to have taken the leap of an Entrepreneur?
When I first started my business, it was more of a passion project. I had a few failed attempts at running a business prior to this but knew I needed to make some changes in my approach to see the results I desired. Taking a leap as an entrepreneur, for me, meant no longer viewing my business as a passion project. I knew I was only going to see “passion project” results if I continue to treat my business as such. Taking a leap meant taking a chance on myself. It was scary but necessary to accomplish my goals. On the other side of fear is greatness!
How are you balancing working and being a mom?
Very carefully and with a lot of grace. It has been challenging balancing work and being a mom, especially in this pandemic. You never actually reach a state of balance, there’s always something or someone not getting your attention. My youngest is 10 months old, so on most days I am toggling between nursing, diaper changes, and zoom calls. It can be a lot to manage at times. One thing that helps me keep up is maintaining my self-care routine. The weeks where I prioritize myself, are the weeks where I am most productive. Having a consistent self-care routine allows me to keep up with my energetic kids and juggle competing priorities without being in a constant state of stress.
What was your experience like doing a Homebirth during the Pandemic?
We planned to have a homebirth prior to the pandemic. Around February, I went on maternity leave and the week I was due the shelter in place orders went into effect. I went over my due date by almost two weeks and was worried I would have to deliver in the hospital. Part of the birth plan was to have my friends and family at the birth to support me. We ended up asking them not to come in fear of possible exposure.
The experience overall was amazing. I labored almost 24 hours in the comfort of our home and my daughter was born in water and delivered by her father and brother. It was an intimate birth and a moment that brought us closer as a family. The decision to have a home birth came from my mistrust of the healthcare system. Black women have disproportionately higher maternal death rates. We are often viewed as pain intolerant and ignored. A few days before I had given birth, I was told my fluid levels were low and I needed to have the baby immediately. When I asked for additional information, they refused to give it to me. When I demanded a printout of the evaluation they had just performed, I was told there wasn’t one. I was denied access to my own medical information and was expected not to question the medical advice. Thankfully my midwife provided me with factual information and presented me with options to support in making the best decision for me and my baby.
What advice can you share with new moms about Parenting?
Your opinion is what matters most. The unsolicited advice as a new mom can be frustrating and overwhelming. I remember feeling like I couldn’t do anything right because someone was always telling me the right way to do something. Family and friends would give their opinions on how I should do things and most of the time the information was outdated and simply didn’t reflect my parenting style. We chose to use cloth diapers and received so many opinions about how cloth diapers don’t work and that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with it. Four years later, I am still going strong with cloth diapers. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and let people know you are fully capable of navigating motherhood and will ask if you need support.
Tips for Women who are afraid to take the dive into pursuing their dream?
First of all, I want to normalize being afraid. Being afraid is a normal feeling. It’s scary thinking about what happens if you fail, how that will make you feel or what others will think. When we put energy into the reasons why we won’t succeed, our brain becomes focused on that. On the other side of fear is greatness. It requires getting uncomfortable and that’s how you know you are in the right spot. Start to plan out measurable action steps to accomplishing your dream. This will help your goals feel more attainable. It is also a reminder that you have a roadmap toward success to follow. Pay attention to self-limiting beliefs and challenge them.
What is next on the Horizon for you?
I have a few projects I am working on. I will be releasing a few children’s books this year. I continue to be passionate about highlighting Black joy and ensuring representation for Black children. The Hey Carter! Children’s Book Series will have an activity guide designed to support teachers with culturally relevant content. The books will set a framework for children and the supplemental activities will help with understanding the messages and applying them to everyday life.
What favorite quote really helps inspire you?
“You are enough.” I write this mantra frequently as a reminder to myself and to my inner child when I am feeling defeated. I often put a lot of pressure and expectations on myself and at times I am chasing this never ending race for perfectionism. This simple quote has calmed my heart and mind at the perfect time. I will often write it on post-it notes and leave it around the house. I also write affirmations daily that help me stay motivated.
Do you listen to music while you write, if so, what can we find on your playlist?
I actually don’t listen to music while I write. I find it very distracting. Sometimes I will listen to jazz or soundscapes while writing. I mostly listen to music before I write to get me in the mood for writing. On my playlist you can find music from Snoh Aalegra, Ari Lennox, Solange, H.E.R, Megan Thee Stallion, Anita Baker, and Jhene Aiko to name a few. I love slow jams and jazz cover instrumentals.
Hey Carter! Books featured on Netflix original series Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices featuring Jill Scott, Common, and Tiffany Haddish. Jill Scott was paired with “Brown Boy Joy” and read the book in episode 7.
You can connect with Thomishia on Instagram @MelaninMommy. For more information about Hey Carter! Books, visit www.heycarterbooks.com and on social media @HeyCarterBooks.