I Chose You
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My decision to be a teen mother was a selfish and immature one. At the time, I wanted to believe that I was doing the mature thing, but the reality was that I was really being selfish. I did not consider the amount of work that it took to be a parent, so I couldn’t have known what my parents were going through. I put my parents through unneeded stress. My dad worked two full-time jobs to take care of us. Once I was on my own, I understood what it meant to be the only source of support for my child. That was a great duty for an eighteen year-old and an even greater burden for a one year-old.
I wanted AJ, because I loved her. My love did not prevent her from getting hurt, it did not supply her with food, water or shelter, it did not keep her from hating me. My love, my intention, my hope for her and my desire to be supermom was anything but. Love was not all that I needed, I needed maturity, I needed experience, I needed my mother, I needed her father, I needed family, I needed a better paying job, an education, a car, support, my own home, but most of all I needed God. My relationship with God had not developed enough for me to call on Him like my dad always suggested I do. I prayed, I went to church, but I had not yet learned to trust Him.
I was presumptuous to think that I could do it on my own. I was selfish to want a baby that I could not take care of without great sacrifice. I was foolish to believe that I was in any condition to love her enough. I was broken, and a broken person makes a broken parent. I had not yet healed from the rejection, hurt and pain that I had suffered. My brain wasn’t finished developing, but I was in charge of helping a beautiful innocent human being develop. I was a child. I may have been more mature than most. I did the very best I could and even then, I did better than I thought I should, but I was a teenager. I was full of doubt. I acted stronger than I was. I wish I knew what I thought I did.
I became the best mother that I could, but I was still a teenager. I did not do drugs, I did not drink, I did not party and go to clubs like my friends. I watched Sesame Street, Bananas in Pajamas and Barney excessively. I stayed home with her. I sang to her. I read books to her. I taught her the alphabet and her numbers. I prayed with her every day and every night. I took her to the park, we went on long walks and I talked to her. We went to the zoo and the museum. I cooked three meals a day for her.
I made the best out of what we had. I made playdates for her and I stayed with her. I loved her, but I was just a broken child and that always finds a way to seep out and cause unwarranted pain. If I had waited to have AJ, I would never have had her, so I don’t regret having her, but I still cringe at the thought of me not being enough for her. I still hurt at the thought of the life I could not give her. I thank God that we made it; though we are not unscathed, we made it. I still can’t help but wonder what her life would have been like if I had more to give.
His Promise: Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. - 2 Corinthians 12:14
My Promise: I promise to put my needs ahead of my wants, especially when it impacts others.
From the book: Picking Up the Pieces to 100 Broken Promises
Available at all major bookstores.
Yushima Cherry Burks
Author, Therapist, Entrepreneur