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  • Writer's pictureJoshuanna Woods

The Mother

To be or not to be! I was raised Christian where being fruitful was preached to be a blessing (and that it is!). Yet, I was not prepared for the journey of becoming a mother. With the death of my mother at 13, I missed out on a lot of female lessons. The role periods play in our lives was one, and female health in general was another. I was told there was an imbalance in my hormones and I'd more than likely never conceive once I did find myself going to a gynecologist. I was about 16 and probably pushed to get checked by an older family member. Maybe it was just faith, because the news was devastating.

The news of not being able to be what I was molded to be my whole life was a lot to handle. Add losing my mother, trying to focus on school, and searching for guidance.... I was spiraling!

I was taking an Early Childhood course in school and helping my aunt with her 3-year son by dropping him off at my High School's childcare center where I studied. Other students brought their children there as well and I had no plans of being a teenage mother, even if I adored children. How was I to guide a child when I had no idea on how to grab the handles of my own life? Plus, I had plenty of practice on how hectic it was to walk up and get myself and another person ready for school.

Yet, despite the practice. I found myself becoming a teenage mother. What was I to do? My only option for childcare was to depend on the father and that panned out and I completely lost myself. One minute I was in school and the next I was a fulltime mother trying to figure out how I was going to care for this child. I put myself in that situation and I quickly found out I had to figure it out myself.

I had nuggets along the way, and I gratefully took heed of everything I could learn and decipher. My brother, Jarret aka "My Nerdy Brother", threw me the biggest nugget that could change my life and perspective. He'd joined the Army National Guard and told me I could obtain my GED and get paid while doing so. I'd be attempting to finish school or obtain my GED and figure out how I could hold a job all at once. I was not going well and trying to balance life was a task I didn't know how to manage, so I leaped at this opportunity.

I recall going to take my ASVAB feeling all cocky because I had just passed the High School Graduation Test, so I was more than sure I could pass this test. And I did! I scored a 79. Looking back at it now with my current knowledge, with the right mentors and leadership I would have reached for more but that's another topic for another time. This decision was the first of many I'd take arranging childcare for my child while away making something out of my life. It was also the first of many delays in my life and learning to remain humble.

My first delay was failing my GED test by one point due to lack of knowledge of protocols and learning how improper rest and stress affects one's readiness. I was recycled for a week in order to retest. My heart sunk to the bottom of my stomach as I registered time be taken away from me getting back home to my child. Nothing else matter with being physically and mentally pushed but returning to my awaiting child did. How life affected me being there for her did. Anything outside of the original agreement is a lifetime lesson I am still learning to accept. Sacrifice, cool! Altering the agreed sacrifice was something I learned was okay to negotiate. Had I known to negotiate the night before my first GED test, I would have never been delayed. My career in the military would have been totally different as well. Yet, it would take years and many failures before I'd learn to negotiate what I desired for my life in order to benefit my children.

My next failure was marriage (we will definitely get into this in the future), then my career direction, and most recently... my image.

Becoming 'LoveDeprived89' was one of the most jarring things I could do as a mother. I felt like I was betraying my children. They had only seen me as a housewife and your normal Plain Jane parent. So, I questioned: What would my children think? How would it affect their childhood and how people treated them? Why did I care? I was aware that this journey was for me but choosing me was a taboo feeling!

I began my journey to self-discovery in 2020 while on a mission. I thought I would have time to explore who I really wanted to be, but life ran me a different plan. I should have been fierce and began setting boundaries, but I isolated and suffered in silence. That is what I know best. Taking on all my issues and pushing through them. Masking my days with smiles but capturing the scolds I held hidden. Why should I share my happiness? My smiles? My story?

Because my life is not all sadness and scolds! It's swarmed with laughter and tears from growing pains. There is an array of stories on love from parenting to friendship, and of course romantic. Struggles in adjustment and finding me way. But most of all, my unapologetic stance on being me! ALL OF ME!!!

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