Tales From A Twin Mom:
Single Mother? Never Give Up.
I was only sixteen when I had my first child. At the time, I was living with my aunt and cousins in Puerto Rico. I remember spending many wonderful hours sitting with my cousin on the porch sharing memories, reminiscing about childhood experiences, and exchanging well-intentioned (yet naive) ideas about how we, together, would raise this little boy. I was happy, even though neighbors who knew nothing about my life or circumstances were quick to critique and pass judgment on me for having a child at such a young age.
The big day finally arrived and I was ready, relieved, and excited to bring my little boy into the world. My happiness was short-lived, however, when the doctor decided to take it upon himself to teach me a lesson. There I was, lying on the hospital bed nervous, alone, and afraid waiting for a nurse, doctor, or anyone to administer something to ease the growing discomfort and pain. Much to my surprise, the doctor barged into the room and asked me how old I was. When the doctor learned I was only sixteen, he scolded me and said “I’m not giving you meds” so that I, according to him, would learn to “make better choices.” Like my neighbors, this doctor knew nothing about my life or circumstances but took it upon himself to pass judgment.
I realized that I had to “toughen up” and be strong for my little boy from that harsh moment on. Irrespective of what my friends, neighbors, or doctors thought, I knew I had a responsibility to be strong for my baby and I learned to ignore others’ uninvited and unwelcomed judgment.
I gave birth to my son on my cousin’s birthday. I faced many challenges as a young single mother with very little support, understanding, or help. Eventually, I found myself in Orlando, Florida, as a single mother of a three-year-old without a job. My son and I lived day-to-day, but I gave the little I could with a full heart and a lot of love. On several occasions, my son and I were forced to sleep in my run-down car in parking lot of the local Walmart. He had no idea that I would stay up all night “on watch” making sure that nobody would hurt him, not even the random men who tapped on the window asking if they could “help.” I felt happy that, as uncomfortable as the circumstances were on me, my little boy was safe, fed, and able to sleep through the night. I never gave up.
I fought hard to find a job and keep it, despite the challenges I faced each and every day as a single mother. I worked endless hours to make ends meet and provide for my son. I knew I was doing the right thing, even though my son often asked “Mommy why do you work so much?” Sometimes I felt sad that, somehow, this little boy was suffering because of me. After all, I could not afford to throw him a birthday party, take him to amusement parks, or enjoy the little things some little ones today take for granted. My hope was that, although he did not have material things, he was beginning to learn the value of never giving up, fighting every day to survive, and becoming better against all odds. I taught my son that, as long as you can look into the mirror and be proud of what you see, everything was alright.
Today, I am the founder and CEO of my own successful business that provides amazing products for twins, multiples, their parents, and my son is doing great. I am hopeful that my words provide comfort and strength to all single mothers who feel alone, abandoned, or scared. Rest assured that your experiences, as difficult as they are, will build character, strength, and will contribute to your child’s future. While you may not have the same memories of college parties, vacations with friends, and many of the other experiences of most young people, be sure to stand tall and proud knowing that you fought, persevered, and succeeded.
Never give up. I didn’t.
What do you tell yourself to keep going?