I read a tweet the other day of a woman claiming that she is not a single mother, but a single woman who happens to be a mother. While this statement is nonsensical, I actually found myself thinking about it in relation to my life. I could feel those invisible little wheels in my head turning and I could not help but feel that I am in a similar predicament.
I have often wondered what would have happened had I refused to keep the pregnancy that made me a mother. About how different my life would be and exactly how life would be if I was not a mother. Would I still be in school? Would I be this focused if I didn’t have something to prove?
The truth is, I don’t know. I hardly remember the person that I was before all of this happened. But I can shed some light. I was carefree, egoistic and self centred. While you may be inclined to think that I am miraculously healed of these things, take a pause. Because I am still these things although I reckon the percentage has been dialed down. The remaining percentage can be defined by other adjectives such as protective, loving and devoted. Getting lost in what was instead of what is, is a fool’s errand and I am not one. I am a mother.
I remember the moment that redefined things for me. I was seated on the bathroom floor waiting for the results of the pregnancy test. My best friend was on phone, playing both devil’s advocate and guardian angel and when the result came, I couldn’t help but feel lost and clueless.
This is the part where I let you in on a little secret. It has been 3 years now and I still do not know what I am doing here. Nowadays, my routine has stabilised but a part of me is floating in limbo. The beginning was the hardest part. My son was always crying, my body wasn’t healed yet and I was constantly overwhelmed by emotions. Everyone told me that it would get easier with time, that I had to adjust and be patient. But I did not feel like time and patience were the answers I was looking for. So, when I could not keep my baby from crying, I cried too. I know, weird, but it was what I had. I remember longing for my old life, wishing that things could go back to what they were. I remember wishing that I could go back in time and do things differently. But if given a chance, it would still be an impossible task for I cannot remember how I transitioned from care free and self-centred to mama bear.
Everyone who asks how I am handling being a mother at such a young age and still continue with my education, I give a simple answer. I am on a rollercoaster. There are highs and there are lows and I am holding on for dear life. The highs include my son’s smile, his pretty face and his personality. I will leave the charming smile and pretty face for if you ever get to see him but as for his personality, I have plenty to say. He is the kind of person who walks into a room and it lights up. The kind of person who has the capacity to live in oblivion and that regardless of whatever is going on around him, he will still be his usual cheerful self. But I suppose that is characteristic of toddlers. These are the things that I look forward to everyday. The lows on the other hand, are subjective. He can be his happiest self while I am overwhelmed both physically and emotionally. On most days, I get by alright, but on others, I cannot help but feel lost. That I should be doing more. That I should be more. It is on these days that I am at my lowest.
A friend of mine constantly tells me that he is on a journey towards self-actualization. While his is very different from mine, there is a focal point. For people like us, there are no breaks and there is no stop. I may not know whether I am a single mother or a single woman with a child, but I know that I cannot run the risk of ruining my son’s life because my emotions and thoughts consumed me. So even if I don’t have motherhood on lock, I know that I always show up for my son. I protect him, I care for him and I always will.