8 years ago today I became a mother for the first time. I'll never forget how profoundly my life changed when I looked at the face of the most beautiful baby I had ever seen in my life. Everything that I ever cared about before seemed insignificant. My petty teenage problems melted away. I was now a mother, and the only thing in this world that mattered was nurturing and caring for this helpless and precious little girl.
I was only 17 when I had my baby girl, and I nursed her for 15 months before she self-weaned. People, especially peers, seemed really weirded out and questioned why I would ever want to breastfeed. Older people made me feel like I was too young and incapable to breastfeed, and suggested repeatedly that formula would be easier for me, especially since I was a single mom working full time to pay for my apartment, bills, and my little girl's necessities. But those judgements and opinions never stopped me from giving my daughter the best that I could offer. All I could afford at the time was a secondhand single manual pump, but I used it diligently and even grew to love it. I had never tried any other kind of pump, so to me, that was as good as it gets. Whenever my daughter was with me, she nursed from my breast. I remember nursing in front of anyone and everyone who came into my home. I would joke to my friends that "once you become a mother, you lose all modesty".
Back then, I had no idea what "attachment parenting" was, but I followed my instincts and I co-slept, breastfed, responded to her every sound, kept her in my arms and attached at the hip. She grew to be such a bright and happy little girl, and despite that I was a single, low-income, working mother, I never felt like she lacked anything, and it didn't quite feel like the big struggle that everyone warned me of. Motherhood was the greatest thing that had ever happened to me. I felt complete.
By the time my daughter turned a year old, I was able to get into University and continue my education.
8 years later, I am now the proud mother of a beautiful, smart, compassionate, talented, artistic, funny, and all around wonderful little 8 year old girl, as well as two other little ones, and one on the way. My daughter is the BEST big sister! She is so loving and nurturing to her little brothers, it absolutely amazes me. It touches my heart to the point of tears (of joy) when I think about how loving and helpful my daughter was when my second child came along. My daughter is like an angel in disguise.
Although I was only a teen, my daughter wasn't planned, and I went through a hell of a difficult time during my pregnancy in a way that seemed hopeless and impossible, I stuck it out and am so incredibly thankful for the experience I was able to have, becoming a mother to my daughter. Everything just gradually fell into place, exactly when it needed to. It was meant to be.
If there are any teen mamas reading this blog, know that you were made to be a mother, and you are every bit of a mother, regardless of your age.
Never let anyone tell you otherwise. ♥