Motherhood is truly my greatest joy. You get to grow another human inside your body and feel their every move as they develop and thrive. You get to hold your heart outside of your body, which has been ravaged by 30 hours of natural labor and an emergency cesarean, in my case. You get to recover with your little nestled in your arms and doting significant other by your side, right? That’s the goal, but not always the reality.
At 26, I was left alone, living with my parents because someone “wasn’t ready.” I felt defeated. What kind of life was this for my daughter? Why weren’t we enough? I ruminated in the brief hours she slept beside me, while we laid together in the room I grew up in. The green walls were still littered with my childhood memorabilia and accomplishments, while I was a single adult mother. How did I get back here? I felt angry, which filled in the blanks of my emotions that tottered between blissfully in love and exhaustion.
My daughter was unaware of this chaos, as she should be. She learned to crawl while I worked a job and googled things like, “When do babies remember things?” and “Why do children take up the whole bed?” He never bonded with his child, which I had to learn wasn’t on me.
At 26 years old, I was divorced with a 12 month old. I was living alone in a house I could barely pay for and raising a child by myself. I had no choice but to raise my daughter in the best way I could. Some days, it was easy and I felt empowered and strong. Other days, I reheated my coffee in the microwave only to forget it every time and try desperately to encourage ANY food intake, versus the strict organic diet I had planned for my blossoming goddess.
The life I had envisioned for myself fell short of my expectations. I was on a journey to find myself and encourage my daughter to find who she was, as well. I would be lying if I sat here and told you it was easy, because it wasn’t. As mothers, we are made for this. Some days, I would have told you I wasn’t. I embraced the journey I was on and found that I loved doing yoga while binge watching reality television. I opened myself up to new experiences and new journeys.
The man that my daughter now knows as her father is not biological, but he stepped up when no one else did. He has quieted fears of the dark with calm words and stayed up late nights with those persistent coughs and stomach aches. He lets me be the mother I am without question, which I am forever grateful for. He also cannot seem to find the trash receptacle, but that’s neither here nor there.
I am only able to appreciate this journey because I found myself as a person, but also a mother. I started to love myself, and learned to appreciate being loved through motherhood. Granted, it felt uncomfortable and cold at first, and sometimes I still struggle with it. It is okay to ask for help and allow others to help you, whether it be family, a friend, or a new relationship. You have got this, and I can promise you that no matter where you are or how you feel, you will be okay.
Ashlee is a 27 year old mediocre multi-tasker rasising a 23 month old goddess, Rooney. Ashlee enjoys avocado smoothies and various pastries, Rooney enjoys destroying anything Ashlee finds remotely cool. Instagram: raisingwizards