Single Mom Spot Story Share: Meet Kendra
Mamas, meet Kendra. I’m so grateful that she shared her story to bring hope and help to other single moms. When I read it tears welled up in my eyes. Kendra describes many of the fears and stigmas experienced as a single mom poignantly. I think you’ll love meeting Kendra and hearing her story as much as I did. It’s a story about hope and purpose and how your babies help you find who you are as a single mom.
“Being born and raised on the south of Chicago, my perception of single motherhood was always flawed. It was a curse, a plague to be avoided. I never wanted to be a statistic. I saw what many of my cousins, sisters and friends went through raising kids on their own and being primary providers. Through inter experience, I felt strongly that I did not and would not repeat that cycle. Growing up, my parents were married. They always told me and my siblings, to not have kids prematurely. I always had a fear of becoming a mother at a young age. I’d see young mothers pushing their strollers, with other small kids trailing behind them in some of Chicago’s worst neighborhoods. While my dad drove, I’d sit in the back seat and imagine myself doing the same thing. I told myself, that will not be me. I would not be that single mother, pushing her baby in a stroller, alone in the extreme Chicago weather. I told myself, that I would be married like my parents. Because of my parents relationship, I didn’t want to have kids until I was married. I didn’t know then, that even marriage doesn’t exempt the possibilities of being a single mom. I didn’t know then that even married mothers, co-parenting mothers are sole providers and carry the similar pains as mothers who do it absolutely all on their own.
I always knew what I didn’t want in my life. A lot of what I didn’t want was due to the things I saw in my environment. Although I didn’t want so much, I also wasn’t actively pursuing what I did want. I spent a big chunk of my 20s just living aimlessly, learning through trial and error and just surviving. My mental health ran wild. I wanted more for myself but I just didn’t know how. I didn’t know back then that life would teach me everything I needed.
In my early 20’s I was diagnosed with PCOS. I was devastated but relieved to find a piece to the puzzle of a lot of symptoms I was having. Anxiety and depression was such a familiar part of my life since my teens, I didn’t know that a hormonal issue could contribute to that. Unfortunately, PCOS can cause fertility issues. As I started getting older, I wanted kids but I never got pregnant until the age of 29. I wasn’t married. I learned quickly that most times we can’t write our life story as precisely as we may think. Sometimes life will turn out in ways you wouldn’t want it to just to grow you and teach you a life lesson.
My daughter Marley was born December 7, 2016. I didn’t like the experience of pregnancy. I was sick the majority of the time. In spite of the physical and emotional discomfort, seeing Marley for the first time was the most heart filled spiritual experience of my life. I’ve never seen someone so beautiful. I’ve never loved someone so much. My heart had never felt so full. I didn’t know what to expect for our future but I knew at that moment I was going to be more intentional about my life. In that one moment, I wanted to give her everything. I knew that wasn’t possible but I knew even stilI was going to try.
I recall holding her tiny body when I got home. “Is she all mine forever?” I thought to myself. It felt so surreal and a little fear crept inside of me. “This is a big responsibility. Am I capable?” Her little eyes wouldn’t leave mine. She stared into me as if I too was the most beautiful thing she had ever gazed upon. Her eyes were so in love and dependent upon me. I made a promise to her at that moment to not let her down. She came from me but she wasn’t mine forever. God borrowed her to me. One day she will grow up and everything I’ve taught her and exposed her to will show up. Marley makes me want to be better even today.
I spent the majority of her first year in extreme postpartum depression. I didn’t realize that when I left the hospital, I’d have many many nights and days alone. I had to teach my baby on my own. Me and her father were not together anymore and had to figure out how to coparent. I resented him. I felt like it wasn’t fair that he got to pick and choose when and how to be a father. I was bitter that he could go days and days without seeing her. I was jealous that he could choose to give me something to help provide for her or nothing at all. I’d miss days of work when the daycare would close and he’d refuse to help me. We would argue and I’d fall further into depression. Eventually, I got tired of the vicious cycle of trying to make him be the father I wanted Marley to have. I let go and decided to forgive him for my mental health.
The financial barring weighed heavy on me. I went back to work when Marley turned 8 months. Without a car, I found myself pushing her inside her stroller to daycare on the south side of Chicago before going to work. There were times it was raining or snowing. There were times when the sun would beat heavy down on me during the summer but I did it. There were times I’d cry out frustration after giving the daycare hundreds of dollars by myself when I wasn’t eligible for childcare assistance. There were times when I got paid and everything was already called for before I got the deposit. There were times when I was just dead tired after working. I still had to bathe, feed and spend time with Marley. I have no regrets. My love for Marley is unconditional. It’s been hard but worth every single moment. I know my experience is growing me and pruning me to be a better mother and person.
Marley is now 4 years old. She didn’t ask to be here. She didn’t ask for her parents. She deserves a happy mommy. I spent a lot of this time in depression but up until recently, I’ve been actively and intentionally healing. Marley was borrowed to me by God. She was my new lease on life. Before I had her, I was just living with no purpose. There were many times I felt like I wouldn’t make it. She gave me a reason to live. It is my responsibility to be a better person because I have someone watching me. I have someone using me as an example and compass for their little life. I’ve learned that everything isn’t always about me. I’ve learned that I cannot control her father and what he does/does not do. I pray that in time, he does better. But no matter what, I will always do my best.”
By Kendra for singlemomspot.com
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