Recently I had the opportunity to write an article for my school magazine on what its like tackling University with a toddler and I wanted to share it here for all of you!
It all began with two pink lines. I remember the moment to this day; it was a sunny Friday afternoon, on June 16th, 2017, when my world turned upside down. I had never seen such bold pink lines. I scrambled for the instructions in disbelief that it was true, but it was. I was pregnant. So many questions raced through my mind: “How did this happen?” “I thought we were careful?” “What am I going to do?” “What about school?” “What about my future?” I always dreamed of going to University, yet here I was, finishing grade 11, pregnant, and afraid.
I hid my pregnancy from family and friends for six months. Yep, you read that right. Six whole months. Looking back, I can now see how foolish I was trying to tackle something that was so much bigger than myself alone. After revealing my little secret, I had an immense amount of support from my partner, family, friends, and the staff members of my high school. Despite my situation, I knew that I had to finish grade 12, and I had to do it well; after all, my dream of going to University did not change. I had to do this not just for me, but for my daughter.
Jade was born on February 10th, 2018, a few days after the second semester of grade 12 started. Here I was, tackling life as a new mom with a newborn while trying to finish high school. I can not lie and say that there were not many times I wanted to give up. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and at some points done with life itself. I can say with great pride that I fought hard and was able to walk across the stage at graduation with my head held high, and an honors rope draped across my shoulders. I did it.
After high school, I took the year off to enjoy life with my little girl. This year, I started this blog and intsagram@raisingalittlehuman, sharing the story of my life as a teen mom. As the months passed, I knew I had to get back into school no matter how much I enjoyed the time off with my baby. I had to give her a life I always dreamed of for myself.
I received early acceptance to many schools, but I kept refreshing my email every hour in anticipation of my acceptance to a specific one. I was thrilled to eventually receive my acceptance and scholarship, but with that excitement came the devastating fact of facing reality. I wanted to go here so badly, but I had to recognize at the time that I am 18 years old with a one-year-old. I would be moving three hours away from all of my family and support, and I had to figure out how to afford rent, school, and daycare. That is a lot of stress weighing on someone’s shoulders, let alone a new mom, and an 18-year-old. I started to lean towards a different school, thinking it would be a better option to stay nearby. My daughter’s father is staying home to live his dream of being a Pilot. I thought: “Maybe I should stay near everyone?” I always thought to myself, “would I be able to take care of our daughter while going to school?” I was feeling an overwhelming amount of “mom guilt.” As I was sitting at my computer with tears streaming down my face, with 15 minutes left to choose a school, I had an “epiphany” if you will. After spending over a year pouring all of my love and energy into this tiny human, I realized that I matter too. My dreams matter, my goals matter, I matter. After all, I can give my daughter the best life by going to the best school in Canada. I took that frightening leap and clicked accept, packed our bags, and moved to a new city.
One very important lesson I have learned is never holding anyone back from their dreams. It is hard to be away from my daughter’s father, but if it is meant to be, everything will fall into place. As much as we would love to be in the same city, our dreams have taken us to different places. The essential thing to do in a relationship is support each other no matter how hard it might be. I know the future will be good for us, and for our daughter.
Being a student and a mom has come with many struggles. It is not easy to watch your friends go to parties while you stay at home. It is not easy to come home from a long day of classes to cook, clean, and care for a toddler. It is not easy to find time to do your assignments. It is not easy when your child needs you because they are sick, and you have to miss classes while watching your tasks pile up. It is not easy to try and give your child the perfect life when you are still trying to navigate through life yourself. It is not easy, but it is so damn worth it. I have never felt so much love in my entire life. This is no simple love. This is the purest kind of love; she loves me for me and nothing more, I can’t think of anything better than that. This tiny human showed me the world through her eyes, a world that isn’t as awful and cruel as I thought it was. She taught me the true meaning of love and hard work and has helped me find strengths I didn’t even know I had. I wish I could travel back in time and tell that scared 17-year-old that everything is going to be okay. My daughter will continue to be my biggest motivation.
In four years, I hope to tackle another obstacle with her by my side: walking across the stage at graduation.