Teen mother, single mother, married mother, stepmother, divorced mother…every single type of mother mentioned can be an overwhelming task. I know, because I have had the opportunity of being every ONE of those mothers at some point in my life. The common denominator? MY CHILDREN. For that reason, no matter the circumstance or mother title I hold, at the end of the day I am MOMMY and my children depend on me. As we go through life one thing that is consistent is change, whether we see it coming or it just kind of sneaks up on us. Nonetheless, change is not the problem; it is how we handle change once it is upon us. How do we remain confident that the children that God entrusted us to raise will see the best US?
I believe that being transparent and sharing with others is important. You need to know that whatever kind of mother you are right now, with all its challenges, you are not alone. I will share my journey through a series of letters. I will write to each type of mother I was in hopes I encourage you. I want you to be able to transfer the trait of transparency to your children and they begin to share your life experiences as well.
Dear Teen Mom,
Let me begin my saying YOU ARE NOT ALONE. In 2015, a total of 229,715 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years (Teen Pregnancy in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 9 May 2017. Web. 31 July 2017.). You are not the first and you are not the last one to become a teenage mother. Even though it may seem that you made a mistake or you are asking yourself why did this happen to me? God does not make mistakes and he has entrusted you to be the mother and provider of one of his dear children. What a privilege it is to be CHOSEN.
Finding out at the age of 17, that I was going to bring a life into this world was one of the scariest moments in my life. I began to have doubts and fears not only about my future but about my baby’s future. I was a child myself getting ready to graduate from high school and enter this big world, but I didn’t just have me to think about, but someone else’s life who I was going to have to be accountable for. I felt alone and discouraged, but I knew that I had a job to do and that my child depended on me, not to be the best mom in the world, but to be the best mom I could be. After being comfortable with just being the BEST ME, I was back on track to continue the path that was set before me. Things that I saw as being roadblocks actually worked out in my favor. I was presented with an opportunity to attend a university close to home. My plan was to go away for college and did not even want to entertain the idea of being thirty minutes from my hometown. But, I earned a full scholarship, I was able to be close to home where I could see my daughter each evening, and I had the luxury of my support system. I had my daughter the week before Winter Break studied and went back to take my finals. I was able to stay at home with her for a full six weeks and return to school without missing any time. Fast forward, I graduated in four years, went on to get my Master’s Degree and now my little baby is a Sophomore in college. Was it easy? No, but I had goals and a child who depended on me.
I wish I had someone that took a walk in my shoes, that knew what I was going through, to give me a word of advice. Not just others around me telling me that everything was going to be ok. So, if no one else has told you, you are going to be a great mother. Here are some tips that I would share. Take care of yourself first. If you are not well (mentally, physically and emotionally) your child will be the one to suffer. Don’t give up on your hopes and your dreams. You are your child’s first role model. They will adore you and look up to you. Set a good example. Build a support system of family, friends and community partners. You can’t do it all by yourself. It takes a village to raise a child. Find resources in your community where you can gain information on being a parent. Lastly, take a deep breath and remember you are not alone and all you have to do is be the best YOU for your child that you can be.
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