A Self Reflection
I was a teenage mother. But, it’s not what you think. I became a mother for the first time at age thirteen when my half sister gave birth to her first child. After bouncing from place to place she ended up at back at our house. Unstable, and ill prepared for the life she just brought into the world. Myself, and my family included became the caregivers for not only our new edition but for my half sister.
The second time I became a mother, she returned to us once more, after my father rescued her from another poorly chosen man. This happened too many more times and during each of those times I cared for my niece the best I could. My heart breaking each time my half sister selfishly tore her from our home and off to another temporary high.
But the third time I became a mother I was still too young. By this time, my parents had divorced, my mother worked long, odd hours and my half sister had returned with my niece cold, blue and minutes away from death had we not gotten her to the hospital when we did. I was now much more of a primary caregiver for my niece. I made sure she recovered, got to school, did her homework, ate, and was all around taken care of.
There are too many years of drug induced fights, custody battles and back and forths’ that followed. So, after the previously mentioned events we began the process of stripping my half sister of her parental rights. This was a lengthy process that started in 2015, and is just now coming to a close in 2021.
Many things were lost in this whole process. My childhood was cut short when she first came back, and for many years I was angry. I felt like my half sister had taken something away from me, something I couldn’t get back. It took me a great deal of time to come to terms with the fact that I was 23 years old when I finally got to start a life for myself.
I am now approaching 26 years old and only now am I stabilizing my life. I have learned that despite what I thought I had lost, I gained things that have shaped me and helped me to become a powerhouse for the family I’m now creating. While over the years of caring for my niece, I dropped a lot of things, lost a lot of things. I walked away from jobs, friends and freedoms, I became a better person for it. I got a crash course in motherhood at an early age and it has given me a greater respect for every mother out there. Especially those caring for children that did not come from them. My hats off to you all.
Though the years were hard and filled with self doubt, tears and wondering if me and my family were doing enough, the one thing I have no doubts left about, is that I would do everything over again. I have gotten to watch my niece grow into a bright eyed, intelligent, sassy young woman (just like her aunt). And that’s something I wouldn’t trade for the world.