Soon-To-Be Wife of Warrior Kelly Oubre Jr., Shylyn Gibson Dishes first-time mamahood.

By Colleen Crivello

This fresh-faced mama opens up about it all: Moving to a new city mid-Covid AND mid-pregnancy while coping with severe sickness and weight loss. Plus, the feel-good moment she found out they were pregnant, the power of manifestation, her new appreciation for all moms (and strawberry cream cake, naturally). 

Feeling?

I’m 38 weeks now, and the nausea is real—I feel like I’m back in my first trimester all over again! While I’ve loved the process, I’m ready to start the next part of this journey.

Birth Plan?

It’s kind of crazy because at 20-weeks pregnant, Kelly was traded, so we moved from Phoenix to San Francisco last minute mid-Covid. Before the move, I had my entire birth situation set up with a midwife and doula, but we don’t know many people or doctors here in San Francisco outside who the team recommends. Therefore, rather than go through the process of interviewing a new midwife or doula (remotely with Covid), we decided to go with the team’s recommended OBGYN.

As for the plan itself, all I hear is that things never go as planned, so I like to say we have “a mindset” to go the natural route more than a fixed “plan.” We’ve taken a few birth classes, practice our breathing exercises, and aim to stay flexible as much as possible.

Path to pregnancy?

We knew we wanted to get married and have a family from the start, so we just went for it. And, while it happened completely naturally, we were definitely planned and prepared in our minds. Early on, just as we got pregnant, Kelly had to leave for a couple months and be confined in a hotel for the NBA bubble, which was challenging, but we made it work. We’re big believers in manifestation and the power of our minds, so we planted the seeds and let it happen accordingly.

Finding out you’re pregnant?

While on vacation with a few friends, I started feeling sick every time I ate raw fish or had wine and couldn’t make sense of it! So, when we got back from the trip, I took a pregnancy test out of curiosity. I’ll never forget Kelly and me sitting on the floor of our closet when the positive sign popped up; we were so happy!

After that, nothing went as expected. You always watch these movies, and they make pregnancy seem like it’s some easy, breezy, beautiful glowing experience which was entirely not the case for me. Three weeks later, I was so sick through to the middle of my second trimester. I lost so much weight at the start of my pregnancy—I went from a good 150 pounds down to 115 pounds! I couldn’t eat anything solid, only liquids, slept around the clock because that’s the only time I didn’t feel sick and was extremely weak. Kelly was amazing though, and made sure I was getting the fluids and vitamins I needed. He made me endless smoothies loaded with vitamins, juices, and kombucha.

Gratefully, once I hit the second trimester, the nausea subsided, and, let me tell you, I gained all that weight back and then some—I’m now pushing a good 185! Watching my body become so frail and weak was scary; I’m glad I picked back up the weight I’d lost because I’ve never been that small before. Even now, as I end my third trimester, I love my pregnancy size. All in, it’s been a beautiful process.

Learned through pregnancy?

I definitely have a newfound appreciation for moms. Before pregnancy, I didn’t realize all of the things that expecting women go through from changes with boobs, stomach, stretch marks, sickness, exhaustion, and weight gain—it’s so much to cope with emotionally and physically. Experiencing it myself has made me love and respect the process so much because it’s not easy; after all, you’re bringing life into this world, and there’s nothing more beautiful than that. In fact, when Kelly asked me what I was doing the other day, my answer was: “I created some organs today. What did you do?”

Crazy cravings?

Yes, anything sweet! In fact, I had a strawberry cream cake ready and waiting for our shoot the other day, of which pre-pregnancy, this would not have happened—I was never into sweets! Since I’ve been pregnant, strawberries cream cake, and chocolate-covered strawberries have been my thing! It’s wild.

Working Out?

In the beginning, I was too sick to work out. Once I hit my second trimester, I started doing prenatal workouts a couple of times a week and taking our two pit bulls for a walk in the hills. I’ll walk them as far as they can, although half the time I can’t tell if they’re walking me or if I’m walking them because they’re so strong.

Pregnancy through Covid?

We both imagined our first pregnancy would be this big extravagant thing with baby showers and all our family around. However, with strict Covid-protocol for Kelly’s work—he gets tested every day, and I get tested twice a week—plus, moving to a new city mid-Covid and mid-pregnancy, it was quieter than we had envisioned. For the most part, it was just Kelly and me. Our family is all in Arizona, Florida, and Michigan, and we haven’t wanted to put them, me, or Kelly at risk with travel. It wasn’t until recently that my mom came to visit for the first time.

Nevertheless, while it’s not what I had envisioned for my first pregnancy, it’s also been full of silver linings, like simply having Kelly home more than he ever would have been pre-Covid. We’re so fortunate all around, and he’s been incredibly supportive; I’m beyond grateful.

How do you practice manifestation?

Manifesting is powerful and exciting; even though sometimes it seems we don’t get the things we “want,” there’s often something more extraordinary in store for us that you only realize until after it happens. A lot of people spend their time wondering: “Why didn’t this work out?” or “Why didn’t I get that?” Only to later realize the bigger blessings. The truth is, you have to release to receive After all, if you’re holding onto many small balls, how do you expect to catch the giant ball if your hands are full? You have to let go.

One hope?

With the vaccine out now, it’s wonderful to see kids going back to school and living life more fully again. Before Covid, at least in Arizona, you would never see people outside walking their dogs, playing in the parks, or riding their bikes on the street. And now, everyone has this new appreciation for being outside and more engaged in the present moment. I hope for this next generation they hold onto and grow from that. I hate to say it, but everything happens for a reason, and maybe this social and economic shift is something that we needed to be better for the next generation. There has to be a light at the end of the tunnel, and perhaps the next generation will be that light.

Any advice?

Something I’ve learned along the way is that we create the world we want to live in; our thoughts are powerful. Once you shift your thinking process and the words you tell yourself, you can manifest and achieve anything you put your mind to. It took me a long time to realize that about myself, but I read this book a few times called, You Can Heal Your Life by Louis Hayes, and, oh my goodness, that book changed me. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s such an important reminder that we’re all very powerful.