*i decided to follow along with a blog series created by theseparentsblog. You can read more from theseparents and the other families participating at theseparents.com
I became a mom at 18. Just days after graduating high school. I entered a very tumultuous relationship the summer before senior year. Very obviously not using my brain. I started and ended my senior year pregnant.
Parenting did not come easy. Or naturally. I was easily overwhelmed. Suffered from a mild case of post partum depression. I let people tell me how to be a mom versus following my instincts. I blindly followed outdated advice. And for 8 weeks stayed in a verbal and emotionally abusive relationship.
Being a single mom scared me to death. I didn’t have a job. A license or a car. I depended on my family a lot. For a lot. Kai’s father was in and out of her life and that affected me more than it should have. I let him bother me. I let him drain me.
I dated here and there. Most guys clearly were not ready for the responsibility of dating a woman with a child. It was difficult for them to understand that I couldn’t always go out.
Nick found me online. We messaged back and forth for a bit before we exchanged numbers. We texted back and forth for a few weeks before settling on a first date. He took me to a haunted house of all places. But we hit it off.
Things happened really quickly for us and I’m a firm believer that if it works, then it works. Our first date was in September. I was pregnant in December. Married in April. We had our first child, girl, together in September just weeks shy of our one year dating anniversary.
It was tough. Money was tight and I was a stay at home mom juggling two kids. One who suddenly started getting more aggressive and stopped sleeping through the night. We lived in a small apartment and I still didn’t have my license. Being isolated most of the day was a struggle. If we live I a city with better, more accessible public transit, it might have been better.
After a year and a half, we moved into a house. It was refreshing to have more space and a yard for the girls to play in. Our financial situation was improving. I was looking into going back to school. I finally, at 22, got my license and started back to school.
Soon after Nick and I were discussing the possibility of a third child. We made the decision to have our third and very likely last child around Halloween of 2011.
I was pregnant by November. We decided to keep this pregnancy under wraps until we knew the sex.
In December we started the autism evaluations for Kai based on some delays and signs she had been exhibiting for a few years. She had already received an Individual Education Plan (IEP) through school and the next step was getting an official medical diagnosis. It was pretty obvious to the doctor who met with us that autism was a high probability. So for the next few months we did that dance.
So there I was. Pregnant. Back in college. Mom to two, one of which was likely special needs. It was so overwhelming. I was struggling with so much. My pregnancy was very hard on my body. Walking was painful. So of course getting to school was hard.
Days before the final term of school started, we got the official diagnosis. Autism. It wasn’t a shock. I knew. I had months to prepare, but it was still hard. All of my hopes and dreams for Kai went out the window. I had to learn how to parent her differently. I stayed strong, but silently struggled for awhile. You know the 5 stages of grief? Yeah, I went through those over
the course of 4 years.
After her diagnosis, and with my pregnancy becoming increasingly more painful I made the decision to with draw and take a year off of school. I knew it would probably last longer than a year and that I was pushing my career further back, but I needed to take care of my body and my children. Kai needed me. And I needed to rest.
In July of 2012 I had our third and final child. A girl. We named her Elliot Juniper. Our family was complete.
Fast forward to today. We recently moved into a new house. We hope to be here until we are ready to purchase in about 3 or so years. Kai is almost 7 and is thriving! We had her repeat kindergarten and moved her to a knew school and she is doing so well. Avery is 4 going on 15. She’s almost done with her first year of preschool and is super excited to start kindergarten in the late summer. Elliot is almost 2 and is a firecracker. She is so feisty and willful.
Nick and I recently celebrated our 5th year of marriage. I love him more than the day we married. I’ve yet to make it back to school, but that’s okay. I’ll probably go back in a year. Once Elliot reaches the age to start preschool.
Nick recently accepted a job to be a Hamilton county deputy officer. He’s two weeks into the corrections academy with 7 more to go. I’m super proud of him.
“My life might be little and boring, but at least it’s mine – not some assembly-line, secondhand, hand-me-down life.”