I have always known that I was going to be a mother.
Even as a young girl, when I would waffle between wanting to be a teacher, a princess and a movie star, I always knew that being a mom was a part of those plans. I was going to find a nice man who resembled my favorite celebrity, we’d have an awesome wedding, we’d be financially secure and then, when the time was right, we’d have a kid or two.
The reality of my becoming a mother was significantly different than I always imagined it.
My pregnancy was a complete and total surprise. Honestly, the timing could not have been worse. I was unemployed, and while I was in a long-term relationship, we weren’t married at the time.
We were in no way ready for a child, but I just knew we would be perfectly capable of adapting to parenthood. It was going to be a huge and difficult learning curve, but I had always wanted to be a mother — and nothing was going to stop that.
My love for him was what kept me going.
Those first few months after my son was born were by no means easy. My son’s father grew increasingly distant, while I was at home with a fussy newborn who wanted to nurse all day and stay up all night.
I was constantly trying to keep myself from drowning in the isolation and misery of early motherhood. With little support, my life constantly felt like it was falling apart. But, this tiny little creature totally depended on me for everything. My love for him was what kept me going.
When my son was about 3 months old, his dad literally sent me and my son to go live with my parents. As a single first-time mom, I had to figure everything out on my own. There’s no road map for parenthood; that’s especially so for single moms. We’re figuring things out by ourselves with no one to tag in when it gets hard. Every day, I still feel like I’ve been thrown into the deep end and I have to figure out how to swim. Most days, I’m barely treading water.
And that’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned from motherhood: No one actually knows what they’re doing.
Sure, I thought I knew how it was all going to go, but the truth?
There’s nothing easy about motherhood. When you’re tasked with the responsibility of keeping another person alive, there’s not a single moment where the weight of that reality isn’t crushing your chest. But the uncertainty and the worry are what make the journey even more beautiful.
But knowing that every minute your heart is walking around outside of your body and you’re getting to watch it grow? That’s the best part of the job.
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