Prepared for Parenthood?

If anyone has ever said they were truly prepared for parenthood…they lied.  Sure, there are those that plan for their children years in advance and some that prepare everything for that little bundle of joy to enter their lives…but sometimes, that little bundle of joy comes unexpectedly and suddenly. This is where my story starts. 
I clearly remember the day we found out we were expecting. I emphasize we because I don’t think I could mentally or physically survive parenthood without my partner. Some, are not so fortunate and have no choice but to go at this parenthood thing alone and they are beyond superheroes in my eyes. How they manage it all, or attempt to, each and everyday is beyond my capabilities. My hats off to you, as you are the ones who everyday should be reminded that you are one of a kind, for so many different reasons. 

Funko Superman in shallow focus
How I picture single parents

I digress, back to my just finding out story. We were scared. Shocked. A little in disbelief honestly. Still being in my young 20’s, not having everything, or nearly anything, figured out; I just kept thinking how in the world  am going to make this tiny human feel as if I *did* have it all figured out. How could I possibly be someone they look up to forever and ever when I was still figuring out who I am? 

How could I possibly be someone they look up to forever and ever when I was still figuring out who I am? 

Everyone enters parenthood with a worrisome heart. No matter how much people think they “prepare” for it, plan for it, or  find the perfect time for it, it always comes with unexpected surprises. I have always known that I wanted children; the whole caregiver thing just filled my heart with joy. However, it also scared me to have a tiny human solely dependent on me for their survival. I mean, the fear me and my partner had was insurmountable as we realized the depth to bringing another human being into this not-so-perfect world. It is our duty to not only provide for them, nurture them, but also shape them into the best versions of themselves. 

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The next nine months taught us a lot. We not only had to grow up, but we had to navigate an unknown world for the both of us.  We also, somehow, had to prove to others around us that we were in fact capable to face on this new adventure. We had many encouraging people, but we also faced some very doubtful and discouraging people in our lives. We quickly realized we needed our own place and a place for this baby. We moved out of our parents house. We started this wonderful thing every adult dreams about “budgeting” (lol because apparently babies are expensive??) We lost friends along the way…but we also gained some new ones. At the end of the day, one of the most important things we gained in the 9 months awaiting her arrival, is a stable feeling that no matter what is happening, even if the world crumbles around us, we had each other. We had love, trust, and friendship. We began to create a life together. 

The day our beautiful daughter entered the world it was like a switch turned on. That day is etched in my mind as the most indescribable blissful moment. I felt that we had been given this extraordinary gift and it left us speechless that day. As soon as I saw her big brown eyes look up at me, almost any doubt I had experienced seemed to go away. As I held her for the first time in my arms, I was reminded of one of my many purposes in my life, to always love her unconditionally no matter what. To wipe her tears away, to encourage her and push her through the good and the bad in this crazy life. To make her smile and laugh every chance I can. To teach her right from wrong. To protect her and to remind her that she is, in fact, capable of doing anything she wants in life. 

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Isabella Marie (mommy still needs coffee)

Fast forward to almost three years later, we sure have had our shares of awesome, scary, sad, overwhelming, and basically any and every emotion that there is to be experienced (that’s a story for another time). However, If I could go back in time I would not change a single bit of it. Not one argument with my partner, money struggle, long night, sleep regression moment would be changed. Those struggles only made us stronger as a new family and helped us to reach the pinnacle of what we are now. We still don’t have it all figured out, but being thrust into this role propelled us into the role of a lifetime. Taking each day to be grateful for what we accomplished since that first year is what I strive for each and everyday. It isn’t easy, I’m a mom, a sister, a wife, friend, graduate student, and full-time Registered Behavior Therapist. Whew. Balance is what I strive for these days and when I see her smile or hear “mom” from the other side of the house, I know that this journey is all worth it. It takes a village and I am so grateful for mine. 

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“Taking each day to be grateful for what we accomplished since that first year is what I strive for each and everyday”

So, is anyone ever truly ready for parenthood? Most likely not. But that’s the beauty in each and every parenthood story, that it’s different from everyone else’s. It’s a blank canvas that you can create with pure, raw love. How do you color your parenthood journey? I hope that it is riddled with pockets of joy and a village you’ve created for your own family. After all, whether you think you’ve prepared for this journey or it’s all a surprise, you are not alone and mama, you’ve got this. 



Maria is a full time Registered Behavioral Therapist pursuing her Masters degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Applied Behavioral Analysis. She is a mother to 2.5 year old Isabella and wife to Anthony. She loves Harry Potter, Halloween, and venturing to the many theme parks near her home in Central Florida.

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

don't give up. You are not alone, you matter signage on metal fence
*Trigger warning for depression, negative self talk, and narcissism abuse

I’ll never forget the day I walked into my room, and my heart dropped into the pit of my stomach. As a twenty-something, and just like most twenty-somethings, I had a plan, a vision, a picture of what my life was supposed to be during this season. It wasn’t supposed to be me staring at my twin bed. I flicked my shoes off and tossed my things in a dusty corner as I collapsed onto my bed, sobbing. My sobs would turn into crying, my cries into screaming, my screams into silence.

There were many factors that lead up to this moment not just one, or two, but quite a few.
First, which is probably most typical I suppose, a long-term relationship had ended. One that I had invested so much of my time, effort, and emotions into…was done. I found myself put in a place with a major learning curve.

It was an experience I never imagined I would EVER find myself in or closely related to… having to rebuild myself in all aspects. I was sinking slowly, my feet being the first to disappear, keeping myself from taking the proper steps into healing and moving forward. I was in quicksand, continuing to sink.

grayscaled photography of person's hand spreading sand

 In this season of life I had fallen victim of verbal abuse, from someone that was supposed to be my “sidekick” “best-friend” “my plus 1”.  A developing pattern that happened slowly over time. Years, and years went by before I could identify, and acknowledge the pattern of mental abuse. Constantly being told what is “wrong” & “right”, having things being held over my head constantly, degraded, inferior, “don’t do this” or “don’t do that”, “grow-up”, “you’re so immature”, “get a life”, “you’re so dumb”, “get a clue”, “your parents think the same of you”, “you can never do anything right”, “you’re wearing that?”. . . I was compared to others, controlled, put into an imaginary box unable to step out, and be ME.   

There are many of you that can slap a label and connect the dots to this behavior. I can too! Narcissism can be icky, sticky, and tricky. Separating myself was the hardest, and not because of a broken heart. Sure, my heart was broken, but not because of “love”.  My self-esteem, confidence, personality, mental state… Everything a part of me was broken. The process of repairing myself was far different than the healing process of a healthy break-up. I had feelings of guilt, and shame. I felt unworthy. I felt disgusting, gross, ugly. . . I hated myself. I had fallen into a deep depression. I began to spiral into poor choices both socially and financially sinking deep into the quicksand that had taken over my life.

My only hope was my family, and friends. They were the ones who came to my rescue. I was given direction, and hope. I was given a hand to hold through this time of healing. It was in this time when I had a “Ah-Ha” moment of self-realization, and reflection of the importance of mental health, and wellness. I entered upon the realization that “It’s Okay Not To Be Okay”, and asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of Strength.

Emily Ann

Emily is a Registered Behavior Therapist that works with children on the Autism Spectrum. She is also in her last year of college and plans to graduate with a Bachelors in English Literature and History. When she’s not teaching kids to better themselves, she loves to explore new places and write about her experiences in her life. She’s inspired by fierce female protagonists such as in the book Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. She’s also a lover of all things coffee, pizza, and painting.

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