Hiii-ya, strangers ! Long time, no talk. I’ve been quiet lately (ha, oh no, not literally…just in the blog world!) and life has been keeping me super busy. In fact, I’m taking the opportunity to write while I can right now. It’s midnight, and usually I’m dead to the world by now…but once in awhile, my mind starts racing and I just have to write down my thoughts. Plus, I try to take advantage of how quiet everything is while I can. The boys are sound asleep next to me, the dog is at my feet, and all I can hear is the AC whirring…and OF COURSE, Friends is always on in the background. The gang helps me concentrate ! I love the small window of “me” time that I get at night. It’s short, but oh so sweet. It gives me a chance to really reflect and think about things with a clear mind. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how far I’ve come. Where I was, where I am, and where I’m going. And more importantly, WHO I’ve been through all of those stages. It takes a lot for me to be proud of myself…but when I take a step back and look at where my life has taken me, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride in the person I’ve become. The person I never thought I would be.
7 years ago today, I was preparing to walk across the stage and accept my high school diploma. After 4 long years, it was finally over and we were all getting ready to start our new chapters. It felt like I had been waiting for this moment forever…and yet, it sure did go by fast. I had been watching my friends for the past 2 years fill out college applications, and listen to their enthusiasm about where they were headed in the fall. Now that I look back, I realize how lonely I felt during those conversations. Not because I couldn’t have those opportunities, but because I didn’t want them. I didn’t share in their excitement as they went on college tours and wrote essay after essay, explaining why they’d be a perfect fit for their school. I didn’t feel driven to do any of the same things that everyone else was doing…and I couldn’t understand why. Was there something wrong with me? Was I THAT much of a loser that I didn’t want better for myself in life? I didn’t feel that I could talk to anyone about it, since clearly they couldn’t understand my mindset. So I stood back and watched as they all set goals for themselves…and slowly but surely, I was on my own. At the time, it was a miserable feeling. Little did I know, I would be so thankful for it one day. It began my journey to adulthood.
After graduation, I decided not to attend community college like my parents wanted me to. It was considered the next obvious step, but my heart just wasn’t in it. Throughout the previous years, my family and I had been to hell and back…and I missed out on a lot because of it. I tore myself down and carried around an overwhelming amount of guilt. In the process, I lost the person that I had been trying to become. Now was the time to reinvent myself; to get out in the world and experience life. To figure out who I was and who I wanted to be. Over the next few years, I made mistakes…a lot of them. I spent time with the wrong people, I became distant from my family, I allowed men to mistreat and disrespect me, I wasted away all of my money I made from my part time job, and I did stupid things…lots of stupid things. But you know what? I don’t regret a single day. In doing all of that, I grew up. I evolved into a woman, and after falling down over and over…and over again…I learned how to pick myself up and stand on my own two feet. I turned around one day and realized that over time, I had somehow learned all of the lessons the universe had been trying to teach me. I learned that family comes first, always. I learned that through our ups and downs, my parents had done the best they could with the cards they were dealt…and I was truly thankful. I learned that I was worthy of real love and that I deserved better…so much better. I learned about responsibility and hard work. I learned how to be a loyal friend, and how to be kind to every living creature I come across. I learned that sometimes in life, things happen without explanation…and no one is to blame for it. I learned that it’s okay to be a kid and let yourself find your own way, regardless of what anyone else wants you to do. At the end of the day, it’s YOUR experiences and your journey…and no one can take it but you.
Fast forward to 2016. I’m 24 going on 85, I married the man of my dreams, I’m the mother of the most perfect (I know I’m biased, but really…he’s perfect) little boy…and I am absolutely, unbelievably, without a doubt, head over heels in love with my life. I became exactly who I always wanted to be. I am strong and confident, I’m opinionated and stubborn. I’m independent, but still teaching myself that it’s alright to lean on people when I need to. I don’t want to toot my own horn but…..TOOT TOOT!!! I turned out pretty awesome. Just kidding…kind of? I told you I was confident. Most importantly though, I got what I always wanted. While I always felt that I was “different” for not wanting to be a doctor or a lawyer, I aimed for the stars in my own little galaxy and became the biggest success I could imagine being. I’m a mom. The job I always knew I was meant for, and my biggest accomplishment. And who knew that by making my one dream come true, I would open up another door of possibilities I never even considered. Shortly after having Weston, I started thinking about my birthing experience and everything my body and mind had gone through to bring him into the world. I thought of all the things I was learning day by day as a first time mom, and all this knowledge I was obtaining. I was SO happy in this new stage of my life, that I wanted everyone else to feel the same joy I was. One day, it kind of just clicked on like a light switch in my head. “This is what I’m supposed to do.” I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it sooner. So, I took my passion for motherhood and turned it into my career. I began my training as a postpartum doula!! Since making this life choice, I have been beyond fulfilled. If you would have told me a few years ago that I would eventually be studying and doing book reports again…WILLINGLY…and enjoying it?!? I would have laughed in your face and looked for the hidden cameras. School was not my thing, and unless I was interested in the subject, which I usually wasn’t…(but I caught some zzz’s in history class!) then I usually brought home B’s and just got by doing the bare minimum. So who knew that now I’d be so enthusiastic about learning? Not me ! I’m loving soaking up every little bit of knowledge I find, and I’m constantly researching new things and discovering information from anything I can get my hands on. I love this newfound motivation ! Although I’m still in the beginning stages, a few expecting mommy’s have already found their way to me and have been helping me to gain experience in my field. I sincerely love conversing with these women and helping to shape their confidence at such a crucial time in their life. Once I complete my prerequisites, I’ll be fully certified with DONA and ready to officially start my journey. I will be specializing in helping mothers (and their family) transition into their new beginning with their precious bundle. Adjusting to life at home with their newborn, establishing a routine for the family, breastfeeding techniques, helping with the healing and recovery of the mommy, and even some light housework & cooking to lighten the load ! Besides the required duties, I want to be there as a friend. A confidante. A fellow woman and mom, who understands and can relate to what they’re going through. I want them to know that they’re supported and loved, and that whatever they’re feeling, good or bad, will not be judged. Nervous? It’s okay, that’s normal ! Dealing with postpartum emotions or depression? You’re not alone. We’re in it together and will do whatever is possible to stabilize your mentality. I also plan to work with spouses and siblings, ensuring that there is open communication in the household and that everyone is fully comfortable and happy. Having a new baby in the house can bring many changes, and I can’t wait to be a part of that transformation. Plus, working with cute little babies isn’t too bad either. Eeeeeeeek!! Woah, that was a close one…almost caught the fever. I wonder if that’ll be a problem for me in the future….? Crap. Oh well ! One day, when I’m all finished popping out mini me’s (or in our case, mini Shawn’s) I would love to continue on and become a certified birthing doula as well. There’s something about aiding a woman as she brings new life into the world that is not only fascinating, but spiritual for everyone involved. I have recently become much more involved in this topic and have so many viewpoints I want to share. But…it’ll have to wait until my next post, because this momma is exhausted ! And I’m sure a certain little man will be waking me up before I know it. Thank god for caffeine…
In sharing a little piece of my story, I hope it brings someone reassurance that we all grow in our own way, in our own time. Strive to be the best version of yourself, and you can never fail. If you were reading this and felt like you could relate to certain things…like maybe you’re not where you’d like to be…no worries ! You’re not broken, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just walking your own path. It might be the unconventional choice for some. It might be rockier than you thought, and it may take longer to get to your destination. And if it does, enjoy the scenic route of life while you’re on it ! But I promise you – when you turn back around and see how far you’ve traveled, you’ll see that you ended up exactly where you were meant to be.
“Find out who you are, and do it on purpose.” -Dolly Parton.