You can buy a thousand and one parenting books,take classes, listen to podcasts but nothing can prepare you for YOUR journey of being a parent. I've learned so many things about myself, children and about the world and people around me that I never even knew existed or could happen. Mother's really are magic and a mother's love can truly do the unimaginable.
I became a mom at 20 years old to my oldest Edlyn. Her dad and I went to high school together but never spoke to each other. It was one summer day maybe like a year or two after high school (bad memory) that he messaged me on FB and the rest was history pretty much. Growing up, I was pretty much alone a lot between my mom and grandma working and my dad being in and out my life. So even though my family wasn't the tightest knit, I still fantasized about having the perfect family, with lots of laughs and being together. From the outside looking in his family was just that (oh, did I later found out the truth lol!)
But fast forward, I got pregnant with Edlyn and even though I had this picture we were going to be happy and bliss together- it was the COMPLETE opposite. Him- terrified to tell his family I went through the pregnancy without him. Thank God for my mom and family and friends I had at that time that made my pregnancy AMAZING despite it all. Eventually I gave him an ultimatum and told him that you are going to tell your family or I would.
Ol' girl showed up at his house BIG BELLY AND ALL & told his mom and family (love his mom she practically raised Edlyn as I finished college worked full time and was just a huge support in addition to my grandma <3 ). They were shocked, but by doing this I ensured my daughter would know all sides of her family and not lacked in any love- like I did growing up barely knowing anyone on my dad's side.
So as you can see my pregnancy was NOT the fairy tale I imagined and saw in happy go lucky movies. In some ways it traumatized me- but in MANY more ways it made me stronger and taught me these key lessons:
Woman Have Superpowers
1. Woman have an incredibly HIGH tolerance for pain. I tell you, after I had Lyn I feared NOTHING. I can jump off a building and land as light as a feather on my pinky toe-NO SWEAT! Even though, I did at the very end get epidural for Lyn's birth only because I nearly passed out and you know they need you awake to push and ish'- for Moxie who was a few ounces shy of 10 lbs- no epidural, My cooch didn't tear and I just straight up SUPERWOMAN the hell out of birth!
Growth of Self Confidence
2. After having my daughter I gained an incredible sense of self confidence. I had a different strut in my walk, talk and nobody could tell me anything because I had my baby girl and there was nothing else I needed. Growing up I was always shy and awkward. I would only be my full goofy self around who I was comfortable with. After having Lyn, I felt amazing! Which leads me to my third lesson..
Postpartum is REAL
3. Although I felt great and like fine wine after I had Lyn- Having Moxie was a completely different experience. I was sad, angry, happy, and every other emotion at once. Me and her dad argued over the dumbest of things because it brought out the worst in me and my insecurities I thought I outgrew some time ago. I was obsessed with my Pooka but I felt the absolute worst about myself. I was going through a tough time of my grandmother being diagnosed with cancer and eventually passing away. I was terribly heartbroken but it was heightened due to postpartum. Thankfully, I have a strong partner and solid friends with me that take me out of those dark places.
Resources Resources Resources!
4. There are A LOT of resources out there for mothers and their babies. From W.I.C to universal free pre-k, counseling programs and support groups. I mean the list goes on. Now in the era we are in of black entrepreneurship- there are even opportunities to help grow and start your own business as a mom/parent. There were times where I didn't know how I was going to get or pay for something, but after a few minutes of researching and asking around BOOM- whatever I was needing help with was resolved or a solution was found. Ya'll didn't know mother's were magicians? When we know something has to get done it WILL get done one way or another.
Discover Your Purpose
5. Motherhood can help you discover your purpose. Listen-I am a firm believer of whatever is for you will happen and not on your timing- on GOD's timing. We have all been told having a child young or in your 20's will end your career your life is over- no more fun blah blah blah. Let me tell you this, I have traveled, partied, gotten promotions, graduated college, started my entrepreneurial journey, switched careers, relocated from NY to Dallas and then some AFTER I had my babies than I did before I had her. So please don't listen to those words,even if they are coming from a loved one- It is far from the truth!
Adaptability & Flexibility
6. I suffer from anxiety, if something doesn't go my way or isn't perfect I flip out. I am in a bad mood periodt pooh! I've had to learn that things 99.5% of the time won't go your way when your a parent and THAT'S OKAY! I have learned and grown accustomed to being late at times, stained clothes, spills, accidents and just shit going wrong just happens lol. But every spill, break, mishap is a funny story later down the line to tell you mini best friends in the future.
7. I didn't have the perfect household or parents as I'm sure many haven't either. Especially in a black home, there weren't any apologies, fights, miscommunications or no communication at all. I grew up in a household full of STRONG(maybe too strong) BLACK WOMAN! There wasn't any image of marriage or many men role models. I was left home alone a lot and my video games and just being to myself in solitude in my room was normalized for me. My mom wasn't terrible but like me she had my sister and I young and spent most of her youth raising us. My mom is very vibrant and full of confidence loved to go out and have the finer things in life, but of course that came with a cost. The cost was a major strain on her daughter's relationships. It took years and relocation of both my sister and I to even get the relationship we share with my mom today( Love you ma!)- and there is still a lot of growth to do. But if we didn't FORGIVE that she was just doing what she was taught or seen growing up, there wouldn't be a relationship. I am happy and EXTREMELY grateful for it and is helping me understand myself better.
I AM NOT JUST A MOM
8. It is very easy to get lost in the sauce of being mother, homie and hustler all at the same time. I lost myself and still regaining myself back to this day. The fantasy of having the PERFECT family consumed me. Leading me to need validation from my partner, friends and family. This hindered so many of my relationships, soared my anxiety and depression and made me into someone I didn't even recognize myself and that I found unattractive. I started doing more things for myself. Refrained from asking everybody should I buy this or do this or that? I am learning to do things solely because I WANT TO. As long as I am not hurting anyone, the family is safe fed and nurtured- I am and WILL take the time to buy that outfit, read that book, take that long shower, get my nails done, play that video game etc. Mental health is wealth and if I am not okay I can't be the best parent I need to be.
Listen To Your Babies
9. From the time they are born even if they can not speak words they are communicating their wants, needs and most importantly how they feel. As my children get older I am seeing that I don't always know what they want or understand fully how they feel. Instead of guessing I ask, or observe and talk to them. This is something my partner actually helped me with too. I can be very busy sometimes and caught up in the many facets of life but I always try stop what I am doing to listen and hear out what they have to say, or asking for. This builds trust, which is exponentially important as they enter their teen, young adult years.
10. Listen, I still play video games, dance, act a fool okay! I am only 27 years old! So what I have three babies, have responsibilities all that jazz. Without laughter and joy life is not worth it. You must LIVE and enjoy your children, your partner, family, friends and most importantly YOURSELF! Motherhood is just another journey to fill your life with amazing new experiences and funny stories.
These are just the key facts that had I learned on MY journey of motherhood. Everyone's journey is different, and of course...we know all of the other key elements of motherhood like it takes a village and be kind to yourself, because no parent is perfect.
Would I change how my life turned out being a young mother?--- NOT AT ALL!
I am the better woman, sister, daughter, friend and everything in between because of my motherhood journey.
Overall Motherhood can indeed be the scariest hood of them all( It's ghetto here sometimes) lol- So Mom Life is Thug life in my eyes- The way we hold things down is the most gangsta and O.G ish i'd ever seen. Don't you agree?
What are some of the lessons being a mother has taught you? Drop them in the comments below!
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