My Abiah Milaine will be 10 years old soon! 10! Double digits. My baby will be 10 years old in a month and a half and I have all the feels. So much racing through my mind that the only thing I can do is write.
I’ve been reflecting on her life and our decade long journey together deeply. I criticize myself often about things I should have done better, things I should have encouraged her to do, have more patience, take more photos. So many things I wish I could have gone back to and do better. But sometimes when she is explaining to me why she thinks scientist are correct and we really evolved from monkeys 3000 years ago or telling me about the poachers who are killing the elephants and what she thinks we can do to stop it, or simply explaining to me why she finished the entire bottle of shampoo washing her dolls hair, there must be something I did right over the almost decade to be blessed with this being.
I was 21 when I got pregnant with Abiah. 22 when she was delivered. Abiah was the most unplanned event of my life! *I am a type A Capricorn* I was in my last year of my undergrad, I’d never given much thought to having children. I always knew I did not want any before I was about 40. Life and living fascinated me, the vastness of it all. Having children, constantly catering to someone other than you, that selflessness, I was not sure I could do it at least not now. Life to me was meant for living and exploring alone, or with another adult.
One summer evening in Oklahoma, at a friend’s Barbeque, everything bothered me. I was extremely hot and irritable; the food wasn’t smelling right and I was so exhausted. I left the party early and went to bed. The following day all my symptoms were heightened, every single thing exasperated me. Hmmmm, 4 pregnancy tests later, I stood dumbfound in the bathroom with Abiah’s biological father who was beaming. Holy Cow, I am pregnant! I am a child, having a child. This was the first time in my life I felt a wave of sadness that I couldn’t explain. It was not in my life’s plan to be pregnant at 21, heck I wasn’t even sure I wanted children. Who was going to feed and clothe and take care of that baby. I worked 20 hours a week, barely enough to cover my rent.
I was disappointed and ashamed of myself for being pregnant at 21. I confided in my aunt who got pregnant at 18. She said to me plainly, Rox have that baby, this may be your only child. Children have a way of coming with their own world. She will be provided for; she will be taken care of. I believed that statement like it was a message from Jesus Christ himself, and I had the baby and she has been abundantly provided for and taken care of every day since. I begged my aunt not to tell anyone especially my parents and I went about my life as normal as I could muster.
I did not tell any of my friends. Not a single one. I spoke to most of them often, many of us were in different States studying, thinking about what we will do next. This non-disclosure costed me dear friendships and it took me a very long time to forgive myself for that. It also made me sympathetic to people who live in shame over past mistakes. It gives meaning to one of the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, ‘Take nothing personally’. Not disclosing to my friends my pregnancy had absolutely nothing to do with them. It was all about my disappointment in myself and my fear of how I was going to cross these unchartered waters. So publicly, I will say to the people I held dear 10 years ago, I am sorry.
Abiah was born on March 1 2011 at 6:38pm. 7lbs 2oz 19 inches long. She did not cry right away, when the Doctor placed her on my chest, I wept! It was a cleansing for my soul. This perfect wrinkly skin, pink girl with remarkably long fingers for a baby was inside me. It was instant love! My God I thought, how could I be so blessed. I kept on humming I am drinking from my saucer cause my cup has overflown. I cried so much- she was perfect.
Abiah influenced every major decision in my life after her birth. Moving back to Dominica, ending the relationship with her biological father, starting side hustles, how and who I dated, friendships. She has been the single most influential factor in all my life’s decisions over the last decade. I had no clue how to be a mom or if I did half of it right, but I was always convinced her presence was more for me than I was for her. I grew up in leaps that evening of March 1 2011, and I am forever indebted to this sweet girl for the adventure this journey over the last decade. It does something to our souls to see life through the innocence of a child’s eyes.
As we set sail to begin this new decade, I give myself permission to release all the guilt, shame and disappointments for being pregnant at 21. Everything has unfolded exactly how it was meant to. Give yourself permission to do the same. Acknowledge you did the best you could with what you had. I want my sweet, sweet girl to grow up doing and being the best she can; taking nothing personally.
‘Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form' RUMI