Sunday, May 13, 2012

Motherhood Unexpected

No birth plan, and no tour of any maternity wing.
No maternity clothes.
No packed suitcase.
No Lamaze classes.
No cute baby room specified to gender.
No fancy camera ready to go. 
No concern of the latest and greatest stroller I'd need.
No cool diaper bag.
No hip pregnancy photos of my belly.
No husband.
And just when you thought this pregnant teen couldn't 
get any more nontraditional? I drove myself down the 
highway to the hospital going 90 mph and 30 mph when a 
contraction would come. 
And if you want to learn more, you can check out this post, and this post.

My girl came into this world, unplanned, unexpected, oh but not loved any less. The one plan I did have? To love this baby with all my might. She would have all of me, because I was all she had. Little did I know that God had both of us.

When I missed my monthly friend I knew instantly I was pregnant. I was engulfed in fear. I had come from a Catholic background, but had no relationship with God what so ever, other than the kind that told me I ought to be ashamed of myself for getting pregnant out of wedlock. Boy, did I not know God or what!? I now know better. The God I know would have accepted me where I was at, and I could have fallen into the arms of His grace.

I knew that having this baby was the only option for me, even if I was just going to be 20 when I delivered. I had so much shame when I was pregnant as it was, but on top of it I was judged harshly throughout the whole 9 months, up until the minute she was born actually. Being young, unmarried and pregnant is no walk in the park--people stare, they whisper, they stare some more, they judge, they ask extremely inappropriate rude questions right to you. People would see that I didn't have a ring on my finger and I'd get the look of death--it was almost like living in 1964, instead of 1994.

I now know that I was looking for love in all the wrong places back then. I know that I was an emotionally messed up girl, who wanted to be loved, but simply couldn't figure out how to be loved. Gosh, isn't that how we all still feel, even after growing up? I think so, but what's different now is we know where to get that love; we mature and realize that when we are young and foolish (or have severe emotional issues), we will try just about anything and do anything practically to get that love, or what we think is love.

I was crying out when my parents were getting divorced and I found myself knee deep with an eating disorder and enough laxatives to fill a closet. I was crying out when my dad came home drunk, and scared us kids and my mom. I was crying out looking for a place to land; a place to be heard and loved, and I ended up landing in some unsafe territory, but look what ended up coming out of that! I didn't realize that at the time, but what a miracle my 8 pound, 3 ounce, 22 inches long girl was! I had no idea that this was my only miracle. 

My baby girl! Madelynn Violet Emmerich, 1/15/95

I gave birth to a healthy baby girl who rocked my world! It was not easy, far from that. It took me a good 4 years to get on my feet with her. After being evicted once, losing my car, missing out on college, parties, and a carefree lifestyle, I learned what self-sacrifice meant at the age of 19 and throughout my 20's and even 30's.

Most girls at that age don't have to be responsible to feed themselves, let alone another human being. I was trying to feed both of us, clothe both of us, and provide shelter for both of us, but most vitally, giving my baby stability in all forms. Stability in love, kindness, gentleness. It didn't seem like I had the world at my finger tips but oh I did! Because I didn't have much money, and before the Internet existed in our lives, I had the privilege and more time to teach her manners, to show her how to be independent and to shape her into a graceful politeness that she still hasn't lost to this day! To tell her constantly how cute, fun, smart, unique, special, against the odds kinda gal she was. To tell her how beautiful, just right, and sweet she was. To tell her how proud I was of her ever second. To just love on her like it was the last day on earth. To nurture her creativity on little to zero money, was a sheer gift!!! I didn't need all the bells and whistles to raise this kid, I needed two things to raise a great kid: me, and her.

Madelynn and I/March 1995

my life would never be the same. not only was she growing up, but so was i.
when life happens so fast and you make choices, that you have no idea will affect you the way they actually do, life can really teach you. experience becomes your teacher. selflessness becomes your only option, and you're stronger, wiser, and more loving because of it. you don't have time to fuss about homeschooling or non-homeschooling, or this preschool or that one. those sorts of things aren't even in the forefront. but what or if you are able to feed your kidwatching your back nonstop while going up your 3 flights of stairs in your apartment building with 2 bags of groceries, a diaper bag in one hand and your baby in another -fearing for your safety--these are the things that forefront, these are the worries of a single mother.

I was lucky enough to stay home with Madelynn for the first 2 and a half years because I could not afford day care. So I worked evenings and weekends, and spent my days with her. It was wonderful! To have that time for so long with her was so special looking back at it now.

We lived right in the city, so we walked a lot, ate desserts, went to the free zoo in town twice a week, played lots of Chutes and Latters, colored, snuggled all day some days in bed, walked around the local grocery store just for something to do and sampled donuts, having lots of visitors throughout the week, went to any free art classes we could get our hands on, and joined a community center that offered free services.

I worked hard at finding ways for her to open her mind. We spent hours at the Library, and coffee shop owners got to know us that they'd offer free treats and drinks to us. We lived our neighborhood well, and once I got a full time job, it broke my heart to leave her at day care, but I knew it was best for her. I had to make more money so I could make her life better, more stable now in a new way, financially. It didn't mean I could buy many toys yet, but it meant, food on the table, a vehicle and no more eviction notices. And that is golden. It was huge progress. This was our life together.

18 years ago today, I was just finding out that I was pregnant. I told my mom and sister on Mother's Day in 1994. Like I mentioned before, it wasn't a traditional pregnancy-- fussing over caffeine intake, diet or proper exercise, but I grew into it. I learned to embrace being pregnant, and loved my baby within just weeks of my pregnancy. Like most woman who are blessed enough to be mother's, I will never forget the look in her eyes when she would get me up at night as a newborn. I didn't have anyone to help me, I got up alone, night after night, sometimes calling my own mom crying, saying I didn't think I could do this anymore.

I remember on my 21st birthday, my sister insisted on taking me out, so my mom babysat her 2 month old grandchild, while we went out. 2 hours and 1 drink later, I was ready to be home. My life was just different, and I was adjusting. (Don't even get me started on the what the dating scene was like, that's another post)!

Today, my daughter will be entering into her Senior year of High School this Fall, and she is one incredible girl, a happy girl as most of you know that have been reading along on my blog for the last 7 months. She's actually an over achiever, and that can be stressful. I guess that's due to me drilling into her head when she was little all those affirmations LOL.
I raised an outstanding girl in so many ways, with so little; and after getting married, when she was 7, my husband Kevin has been nothing but supportive on our continued journey.

I hope you appreciate a little glimpse into how Motherhood was an unexpected thing for me to enter into, and how I shared that I did come into it, and I'm grateful I grew into it, and I wouldn't change a thing. Because then I wouldn't  have my girl. I think it's important to remember that entering into Motherhood doesn't always look traditional or the way we might think or hope it to be. And that's OK. Life doesn't always go as "planned", as you know and keeping this in mind keeps us humble and nonjudgmental.

 Mother's Day/2011

If you feel you have any questions after this post, feel free to ask away in a comment or send me an email!

There were so many things I could have written about today; my Mother (which wouldn't have been hard because that woman has been a pivotal person still today in my life, and also Madelynn's)being one of them, but I do dedicate this post to all who are mothers, all who have been mother's, all who have had mother's, and all who hope to be mother's. May your day be blessed and beautiful.

And I'll be here for a few days; sometimes when other voices get louder than God's, it's time to step away and get alone.


HopeUnbroken said...

beautiful post, gina!
your daughter has been raised with a whole lot of love, obviously. and she appears to be filled with beauty and grace, just like her mama.
happy, happy mother's day to you, dear friend :-)

Rebecca Palm* Gallimaufry Photography* said...

Happy Mother's Day, Gina! What a wonderful story and you have done such a beautiful job. :-)

acm said...

Happy mother's day to you Gina!

Hailey Marie said...

This is the most beautiful "Mother's Day" post I think I've ever read. Your truth, your wisdom, your words- incredible. Thank you for sharing your story,what an amazing testimony and journey! It's so refreshing in a "blog world" that seems overrun with details of pregnancies and perfectly planned births... those should never be the things that define motherhood.
The instant, instinctual, and inexplicable love you have for another human being is only something moms can know and that is what thrills me the most as I look down the road to our own someday-family.

Happy Mother's Day, Gina!! xoxo

Gaby said...

What a beautiful and honest post Gina! I can't imagine how tough your situation must've been but it sounds like you navigated it with grace. Happy mothers day to you xx

SymbioticLife said...

Happy Mother's Day Gina! I hope your day was beautiful and one you will cherish. Sometimes, it's so shocking how similar our lives have been.

chambanachik said...

Gina, I loved loved loved this. Sometimes the storyline feels so broken and twisted, but there are beautiful things that come of it. Needed that reminder.

Stephanie said...

Oh my word, this is so beautiful. What a wonderful story you have, and what a beautiful young woman you have raised. You should feel so proud of yourself and of her.

Thank you for sharing this. : ) I hope you had an amazing Mother's Day!

theolivetree said...

great post! I am in awe at how amazing women like you do this?! My mom was 16 when she had me so I know how must have rocked your world. What a great God we have who can see the blessings before we can :)~! Happy mama's day to you!!

Liza said...

Such a wonderful post. You love your daughter so much, that really shows.

I think you've completely put into words just how life altering having a child is. It's all encompassing. Even for me coming from the stand point of "planning" to have a child I just don't feel like you can completely prepare. You can get lost in all the stuff you feel you "need" or all the ways you're lacking as a mom. This is such a wonderful reminder that our focus should be on the Lord and loving our children. That's all we need!

Happy Mother's Day! Hope you have a wonderful week!

Mandy Crandell said...

So, so beautiful. You have me choked up. Hooray for mothers!

Desiree said...

the story of when you first got pregnant with the little one.. reminds me alot of me.. now. currently.

Sadie Dear said...

What a beautiful post! Goad is so good to His children, and I am so glad I stumbled on your story.

His Little Lady said...

you are an absolutely beautiful and loving mother! thank you for always being so honest and open about every experience!!
xo TJ

Lydia Criss Mays said...

What a beautiful tribute to your daughter on Mother's Day. What a beautiful reflection of what is really important in this world when it comes to raising a child. As a childless mother (and yes, that term is purposefully and sadly used) there is a lot of "bells and whistles" when it comes to talking about parenting. All it takes is the two of you. How beautiful and special and lucky your daughter is.

Happy seeing beautiful!

Jean said...

omg! this teared me up! you're right, sometimes life doesn't go as "planned" and sometimes, we're okay with that. sometimes, it was best it happened that way! :) i love this story! and i love how you wrote it. so powerful! i love how you took advantage of the free resources and ventured off, i do that, too! it's there for a reason! :)

And yes, on the nonjudgmental part! I could relate to that. If you put your judgments aside and get to know the person, you'll really see there's nothing to judge but what a wonderful person that person is.

Happy Monday! And hope you had a lovely Mother's Day!

Rolled Up Pretty said...

LOVE this post Gina! It makes me so excited to meet my little guy! I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day! You deserve it!

Amira said...

This was such a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing your story :-)

Grace said... read what you have gone through is just extraordinary! you are AN amazing woman and this was just beautiful to read.

hope you had a happy Mother's day!

postscript :: thank you so much for always leaving the sweetest notes on my blog. I simply cherish all your encouraging words. :) <3 <3

Krista Lynn said...

What a beautiful post!! Completely real and honest, I really enjoyed you sharing it!! What a fantastic mother you are!


Nicole Marie said...

You. are. amazing!!!

Kelly said...

thanks gone for sharing you heart. your story sound similar to mine. you and your girl are gorgeous.
happy mothers day. love you!

Hannah Popper said...

wow, such a touching story! you and your daughter are both beautiful! have an amazing day, and thank you for sharing this!

hannah mae
let it rain, love :)

AnnaCo. said...

Bless your heart, Gina! Thanks for this post. Blessings, Anna

AnnaCo. said...

Bless your heart, Gina! Thanks for this post. Blessings, Anna

Anna said...

I'm almost crying here. This is so beautifully written that it touches someone to the core. I really admire your openness about everything in your life.

Christine said...


Lindsay said...

WOW! This post just touched the depths of my soul. You are such an inspiration! You share this story because you are going to help so many people. I am ALWAYS here for you! Big hugs!

Shane said...

Wow Gina, this is such a beautiful story. I never realized you had gone through all of this. You sound like such a strong woman and so very lucky to have her in your life. The mother-daughter relationship is beautiful :)

xo Shane

Kristen @ Confessions of a GDS said...

What an amazing story you have Gina!! You've gone through so many struggles and look at you now... you are wonderful :)

Naomi said...

I realize I'm a bit late to reading this (I'm catching up on blogs after a crazy busy week) but just wanted to let you know I love this post, Gina! Thank you so much for sharing your struggles and how it's all been worth it for the life God's given you!

jennifer blair said...

Wow. I feel like everything you post is so beautiful. This one is exceptional. You have such an amazing story to tell. I loved reading about your journey to motherhood!

fiddlehead said...

What a beautiful post, Gina. I love how you share and open yourself up. There is so much to learn from these experiences...I truly appreciate you. Happy Mother's day (belated) to a remarkable woman.

Laura said...

This is one of the most beautiful and inspiring blog posts I've ever read! To go through waht you went through and to come out of it can really inspire many people in other hard situations where they think, "It's impossible" or "It's too hard."

tia said...

you ladies are beyond beautiful. you made me cry- this post is so much of what I went through with my daughter but I was in high school still, senior year. You inspire me every day- I look up to you more than you could possibly imagine. Your little lady is so lucky to have such an amazing mama.


Julie Marie said...

this was so beautiful gina! i cant imagine the work and sacrifice it took. you did such a wonderful job and its not over yet.. =) i had a hubby, after 2 losses, i didnt actually have a baby til I was 27...and even I know the sacrifice it takes. I watch my younger sis and her hubby and how noticeable naive they are...and i remember that, when it was just about life...
and i think what sacrifice it is raising kids, daily, it becomes your life, as opposed to all the things that WERE your life.
I imagine it is THAT MUCH MORE evident when you are young and alone. God has given you the grace to do such a task. I dont know if I could do it. I struggle, even with the help.
blessings friend.. =)

Tamera Beardsley said...

So,so beautifully written....such love....

Autumn said...

I think you and your daughter look so much alike. I can't even imagine how many sacrifices you made and how hard this must have been.

Betsi* said...

Just now reading this, missed it somehow! Your story sounds so similar to mine. My boy came unexpected and extraordinary to me when I was barely 20 and unmarried. He is also my miracle. The amazing little person God used to save my life and refine me. He is still refining me through this mothering journey and I am learning to embrace the challenges and heartache that bring about growth.
Beautiful post! You are an amazing mom and I so admire you!

Christina Broll-Smith said...

Awww! I'm all smiles from over here. I know what's like to go through an unexpected pregnancy and feel shame. You were and are so brave. Love you!