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.
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.
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.