It has been years since I faced my biggest struggles but I still have those moments when stress overcomes my ability to embrace the day. Yet, there is something about my story that helps me get through those moments.
Fortunately, I have been able to escape many traps and I have been able to climb over many obstacles. Throughout most of these times, I didn’t think I would be able to do it. There was so much negativity surrounding me as a young mom and none of it came from my own thoughts. I grew into the idea that I couldn’t achieve anything and that my life was over. For a split moment, I genuinely believed this. Everyone around me was telling me so.
Gosh, there are just some moments like these days when I feel like it’s me against the world. It’s not even about me and my child anymore. It’s about me and the community, me and my likes, me and everyone feeling the same way I feel. As if life isn’t hard enough as a single adult in the world, imagine adding on the rewarding, yet difficult, task of raising a child in a place where no one really wants to see you do well.
Of course, there are people who high five me along the way and tell me I’m doing an amazing job. But there’s always that term that comes up that brings me right back down – exception. I’m not an exception! I work hard to be the best mom I can be and there are thousands of other young moms doing the same. The ones who feel isolated haven’t been found yet and comments like these keep them in the dark. For many years, I was one of those great moms hiding in isolation hoping no one would associate me with their stereotyping.
Trust me when I say, for a long time, I didn’t want anyone to know I was a young mom. I would avoid discussing my age and I would do everything in my power to keep my educational level out of conversations. People recognized me for being a young mom but I honestly felt that would all change the moment they discovered my age. In some cases, it really did.
Yes, I have achieved much more than most anticipated BUT that expectation was low. I don’t feel proud to say I overcame the challenges that society put forth. These are challenges anyone can overcome with the right support and in the right environment. Many who haven’t overcome those challenges don’t have the support they need to move forward. I still don’t. I genuinely still don’t.
What I do know is that I have endured a lot and while none of my past negatively affects my present, it definitely helped mold me into this strong being. Even when I felt like many of my days were meant to break me down, I stood tall because I knew that not only did I survive the unbelievable pain of childbirth – I have survived the pain of isolation and loneliness. I went through the pain of being lost and not knowing who to trust or what to do. Yet, I wonder if I’d be the person I am today without that pain. But at the same time, I would hate to see someone endure what I did for the sake of learning a lesson.
So when I have these days when I feel like I just can’t keep pushing, I remind myself that I am writing a story. I am the main character and I can choose how I want this story to end. I won’t let someone else finish my story and tell it how they want. I will leave behind something that my daughter will be proud to share with her grandkids and their grandkids will be proud to share with their grandkids. It’s my time to prove to myself that I am capable of moving past these obstacles and that my life, my story, is much greater than a moment of struggle.