Maybe you are not in the position to care for yourself, let alone someone else at the time of your child’s conception. Perhaps you are standing there by yourself, rubbing your belly and wondering, how can I do this on my own? Worries flood your mind, like where will we live? How will we get healthcare? How will I afford provisions and clothing for my changing body and my growing baby? And once he is born, how will I maintain a comfortable lifestyle while also providing love and affection for my newborn human being? I understand these fears and the hopelessness that surrounds them, for I once was that young woman standing alone, contemplating those things.
I was in an abusive relationship throughout my first pregnancy. Though the father was present in my life, he was washed up on drugs, leaving me to wonder not only how I would do this on my own, but how I could escape him to begin that journey. To leave him would put me in a helpless financial position and force me to face up to my loved ones that warned me not to marry him in the first place. I had pondered these things during my pregnancy, but once that precious baby was secure in my arms, he gave me the courage needed to swallow my pride and brave the uncertainty of stepping out on my own. He was two months old when I filed for divorce and moved back home with my parents—who accepted us with open arms.
This daring escape was only the beginning of a long, difficult journey. When my dad helped me move out, we had to leave behind many of my personal belongings, including my bed. While my son slept soundly in his cozy crib, I lay restless on the floor, until my grandfather gave me the bed from his guestroom. I didn’t have money for a divorce attorney, but my parents helped me to pay a paralegal to file the paperwork. For the first time since I was eighteen, I could not afford health insurance, so I filed for Medi-Cal to cover our healthcare needs. I also signed up for WIC, which helped me contribute to the pantry at home. The car I drove was soon after stolen from my driveway—with the stroller, car seat, and boppy seat in it. My parents loaned me the money for a used car and I offered to clean their house to a shine once a week for a year to pay it back. Though my parents did not charge me rent, I had basic expenses to cover, and ended up paying my cousin to watch my baby while I worked my part time job—which left me with near to no cash left at the end of a long, exhausting week of work.
Not to mention that during all this, my ex continued to harass me, by phone and in person—only when my dad was not there at my defense. After a few of these frightening encounters ended in violence, I filed for a restraining order against him. Now, my cousin that watched my baby had to carry restraining order papers and keep wide eyes out for the danger of his father showing up, and I had to worry for his safety as I worked to support his survival. No matter how I struggled to supply what my child needed, the joy of watching him growing, learning, and laughing, safe behind the shield I carried, by far outweighed the burden of providing for him and continued to fuel the courage I needed to fight the many fronts of this relentless battlefield.
The divorce took about a year to finalize, and the troubles of getting established continued into the following year. But with the support of my family, friends, and community, I was able to see us through this difficult time, and into the protective arms of my best friend whom I married when my son was two years old. He adopted my son and together we built a loving home where my ex no longer harassed me, I no longer needed government assistance, and my family was no longer depended on for my survival. I understand than not everyone has the family support I had, but while figuring things out I learned that the state as well as many private programs, like pregnancy centers and churches, offer support and encouragement to mothers in need. There are good people out there willing to help you get on your feet.
This difficult time in my life brought out more than just the strength in me but highlighted the good in the world as I had never experienced it before. And the good that God has planted in His garden remains for you to harvest today. The journey will not be easy. You’ll have to be tough—relentlessly. You will get tired and will often cry while your baby cries on your shoulder, but mothers are superheroes, designed by our Creator to provide for the children we create. Fear not the solitude you currently face and seek the light this promising new life shines on the path ahead. In braving that long, difficult road to LIFE, you will find that you are stronger than you ever knew and by letting God in your heart, you will never have to do any of it alone.