Tatyana Ali is a mom!
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, which premiered in April, and Samaria, released in September. Her latest EP, 2014’s Hello, is available on iTunes.
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There are so many things I want to show him. He’s mesmerized by the blue sky in the morning. Edward stares out of the French doors straight up into the sky and grins in his sideways way. Little bubbles of spit form at the corners of his heart-shaped lips. I fast forward into the not-so-distant future, daydreaming about showing him all the shapes that clouds can make if you look long enough.
Then I remember to slow down. Time moves quickly on its own; no need for me to push it along. If I can try to remember anything at all in this heaven, it’s to take my time, be present, take it all in, so I can remember everything and live in it eternally.
I love brushing the swirling cowlick at the crown of his head, which has finally rounded out from its post-trauma, cashew shape. His breath is always sweet. When he gets frustrated, his little body turns red. He curls into a ball, and then stretches out and roars like the Hulk.
In our first ultrasound, we saw him move like a flash dancer. He made everyone in the room laugh out loud, including our doctor and technician. I guessed then that my child would be spirited. I was right.
When he sleeps, he leans his chin on his fist, like a tiny thinker. His father does the same. It’s uncanny. And he changes every day. One moment he looks like his father, the next me, the next a grandparent.
In him, we glimpse flickers of the people we love — facial expressions my sisters make, the way he sucks his finger like Vaughn’s cousin did. When I kiss him in his sleep, soundly in REM, dreaming his baby dreams, he smiles and my heart explodes out of my body and into all of the space surrounding us.
We’re completely swooning over this kid.
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I enjoyed my pregnancy so much that I wondered if I would miss it. I thought it might be strange for my belly to suddenly be empty.
How would I handle this next part of the adventure?
What would the transition be like?
I did a dream maternity shoot with my friend, actor and photographer Lance Gross, my stylist Monique Lauren, and makeup and hair artist Chris Gees, because I needed to commemorate the time. Now, I will always be able to travel back in time and remember the sense of fullness and expectation.
After a long labor — 24 hours — I heard my baby before I saw him. By the time he was in my arms, I had just enough energy, with my husband and our doula’s help, to have him latch. I fell asleep knowing that he had safely arrived.
Vaughn notified our family, who had been keeping vigil for nearly a day just a few rooms away. In our family suite at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, I had the chance to get lost in his every feature and gesture for the first time. I awoke with Vaughn at my side and our beautiful baby boy in a bassinet beside us. I lay awake until the next morning because I couldn’t stop staring at him.
My prayers for him imbue every breath I take. Our son’s name, a tribute to his grandfather and great-grandfather, also appeal to the blessings of his ancestors. I see eternity in his sable brown eyes — the blood and promise of generations past and all our hope for the future.