Power of One
Sometimes I ponder the quote “we never know the love of our parents for us till we have become parents,” by Henry Ward Beecher. You see, at nineteen years old, I gave birth to a baby boy. But let’s back up a little. While I carried him for nine months, I didn’t feel the love that you see on social media or the excitement of awaiting such a “gift.” I had never seen a successful love for a child from any parent.
Every day people would ask me if I was excited for him to come out and see the world. Not knowing how to react, I said “yeah” even though, deep down, I never wanted a child in the first place. I grew up with Cystic Fibrosis, and I know what a hindrance that put on my life. I would have never wanted that for anyone else, let alone my child. I didn’t want the hard work that came with having a kid. People all around me told me to watch myself because he may end up in foster care like me because the percentage of foster kids that have their kids get taken away was high. Naturally, I rejected the idea.
A few months went by and the bigger he got, the more excited people around me were to see him. I had two baby showers and as my small apartment filled with diapers, burp rags, bottles and a crib, it began to sink in. Still not super thrilled about the idea, I started telling myself that this was the consequence for not being more “careful.” Growing up, I never had the parent talk about sex or babies. Some would call that being lucky, but I call it missing out. Other kids take for granted what us foster kids miss out on and wish we had.
Well the day was finally here, it was time to rush to the hospital. I had so much love and support all around me from my partner’s family. Twenty-two hours later, an anxiety attack and starvation from the hospital giving me only broth to eat, I finally met my baby boy. After nine months of being scared and feeling like having a child was no big deal, I heard my son cry for the first time. From that point on, I vowed to myself that I would never let him know hurt like I had. I would always make him feel wanted and loved. I no longer felt he was a consequence, but a blessing. Again, I think back on that quote and wonder, if my parents loved me as much as I love this child, why was I put in care?
I took on being a leader with Mockingbird so I can advocate for kids like me who feel undervalued and unappreciated. To help kids learn from the mistakes of parents and to become a better person or parent themselves. In an imperfect world, we need the perfect kids to “be the change they want to see in the world” — Gandhi.