Being a mom has been the most challenging era of my whole life. It definitely wasn’t as easy as my mother, and all other mothers around me made it look. But as the famous saying goes, nothing good in life ever comes easy. Being pregnant at the age of 20 was not in my plan or the goals I set for myself, but that’s just the way it happened. At the time, I would’ve rather wished to be seriously ill than to be pregnant; I was just a kid who had no real responsibilities, never paid a bill or never really worked. It dawned on me that my days of being carefree, just going to school and out with my friends, were over. 

One of the most important decisions I had to make was deciding to keep the baby or not. Between the tears, the fear and the confusion, I was certain that an abortion was not an option for me. I have always hated the idea of abortions; I have an Aunt who has always wanted children but couldn’t have any. I couldn’t bare looking at her face, letting her know that I wanted an abortion. I was also afraid that I wouldn’t be able to have any more children whenever I do become stable and ready. My boyfriend and I were especially scared because we had no idea how to go about any of it. After long discussions about our options, we decided to keep the baby. 

Informing our parents about our decision was another hurdle. My boyfriend’s mom is a Pastor and my mom is a calm but “no-nonsense” type of lady. We chose to tell my mother first and her reaction was as I suspected; She suggested an abortion. She brought up the obvious reasons: us being too young and not being self-sufficient. I assured her that I will be ready before the baby arrived and she responded, “we shall see.” A part of me felt sad because my mom is a single, African woman and I knew the stigma associated with that. I could just hear the other moms saying “she didn’t raise her daughter right”, “she’s single, that’s why her daughter is loose” and etcetera. I sincerely felt bad putting her in that predicament but I was determined to make her proud and not see me as a failure. I opted to let my boyfriend inform his parents alone initially. He came back and told me they also felt the same way my mother felt, which was to get an abortion. I decided to also have a sit down with them and inform them about my decision to keep the baby and I was not wavering. My friends also had their own opinions about my decision but they respected it nonetheless and agreed to support me either way. 

The same month I found out I was pregnant, I was blessed with a job with decent pay at the time. I submerged myself in work, work, work, work, Rihanna had nothing on me. I had to prove to myself that I could do it. I read countless mommy blogs, did research on the most basic things like how to change diapers and what were the best brands of baby food, and went shopping to prepare for my baby. While I was doing all these, I was still terrified because I still felt like I wouldn’t be able to handle it once the baby arrived. My boyfriend was there, helping every way he could but I still felt so alone. I didn’t know if it was my hormones but I was a ball of emotions, happy one minute and literally devastated the next minute. I would cry when I looked in the mirror because I wasn’t looking like myself and my clothes weren’t fitting right. I couldn’t understand why people said pregnancy was a beautiful thing because that was the last thing I felt. 

Suddenly one day, I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself. I looked in the mirror and just started complimenting myself. In between my tears, I was reassuring myself that God wouldn’t have given me anything that I couldn’t handle. I made myself believe that I will be okay even if the road is very bumpy. This is when I decided to start blogging about my journey, hoping that me sharing my stories and experiences will inspire other young mothers like myself. I named the blog “DIARY OF A YOUNG MOM.” When the news about my pregnancy became public, I received so much backlash and I have to admit that it affected me more than I expected it to. My mother then became my advocate and motivator, reminding me that even if I did all the good in the world, people will still find something negative to say. “Baby girl, you’re a queen. So, start acting like one and stop crying.” Empowered by those words, I wiped my tears and we went out and got pampered. It was at that moment that I felt my daughter kick in my stomach for the first time.

My baby was an active baby; she moved so much, I had to check with my Doctor if that was normal. I worked daily until the week before I gave birth to my daughter. I have never experienced anything more beautiful than the moment she was born. It was so intense, her father cried. It was a tossup between Ava and Naomi for her name, but Ava won the most votes from all of our friends. Giving birth to a whole human being gave a new meaning to my life. I promised myself that everything I did from that point on would be for her. After her birth, I had sleepless nights and I even failed two classes because it was so hard juggling my education, motherhood, and still keeping a full-time job. It took me a while to find a healthy balance between all three but I finally figured it out. I could not have done it all without the support of my family and friends. 

Overall, being Ava’s mother has changed my life tremendously. She is 2 years old now and is truly a handful; She is like 5 active human beings in one body. Being a mother is a lot of work and I have a new-found level of respect for mothers who do it with no help at all. Some days, I wanted to give up but I knew I couldn’t because I signed up for this.  I went from a girl with no goals and aspirations and lived in the moment, to a young lady who knows what she wants and works hard for it. I now have a relationship with God and I work twice as hard as others around me, all in order to build a better future for myself and my daughter. I am still in school and I am not failing any classes (Thank God). I will be graduating with a Bachelors in Psychology with the end goal of being a Neuropsychologist. I still run my own blog and I have started extending it to help other mothers however I can. I do a monthly giveaway where I pick 3 mothers to win various prices. I went from someone who doubted herself to someone who truly feels limitless. Like Will Smith said, “greatness is on the other side of fear”. For you to achieve anything, you have to go for it regardless of whatever fear you have. It is truly a game of mind over matter. It is okay to be scared and doubt yourself but you cannot allow it to consume you. Everyone who doubted me now compliments me, asking me “how are you doing it?” The greatest lesson I learned from my experience is to never regret anything in life. No matter what, learn from everything you go through and remember you can handle even the impossible. And most importantly BREATHE! You got this.

With love,

-Toky

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