Going Solo: Single Parenthood, life lessons, Preggers


The following popped up in my Timehop today. It is from August 30, 2015. First of all, I cannot believe a year has gone by already. Bella starts her second year of school next week and I still remember the shock on her face when she took her first steps. I remember how she felt as a tiny infant snuggled up on my chest and sleeping on my belly. I still remember those first tiny kicks that I felt inside me. What a joy this journey has turned out to be. What a surprise it is to find out this little human chose me as her mother and I never realized just how much I needed her in my life. I only wish it would all slow down because I want to savor each of these moments for a little longer before they end up as yesterday.

I read this and I want to remember it and I know a lot of people can relate:

August 30, 2015, 10pm

I’m listening to Lumineers, packing up The last of Bella’s baby clothes, and crying. Tomorrow is the first full day of the first full week of school for her. School. This life goes way too fast. A month less than three years ago,  I found out she was coming into this world. Three years. That’s it. It seems like it was last week. I have learned so much about life and about myself in that time; definitely more than I ever learned in all 20 years of school. I have learned what I am capable of(and that it’s more than I ever imagined) I’ve learned what is truly important in life, and why love and forgiveness are way more valuable than any hatred or anger or. I’ve learned that money and things mean nothing in this life. I have learned to stop planning and just live. I have learned that chocolate hand prints on my wall are just as awesome as my art collection and that there isn’t a bad day in the world that can’t be cured by a toddler smiling ear to ear, yelling “mommy,” and running into your arms at the end of the day. I’ve learned that loving and supportive friends and family are a rare and priceless thing to have. I’ve learned to really give: my heartFullSizeRender (2), my money, my time, and that giving is the secret to why any of us are here in the first place. I’ve learned that having a child is a gift and should never be taken for granted. I’ve learned to give thanks for that gift endlessly. I’ve learned that being there for Your child and giving her your time means more to her than any toy or material thing you can give her. I’ve learned that even a two-year-old can show compassion and love beyond measure. And finally, I’ve learned that happiness is a choice, and when you choose it you realize that your life is suddenly easier and better than you ever knew it could be. So, thank you to all of you who have been and are a part of our life. Bella and I give thanks everyday for the people and love we have in our lives. We consider ourselves very lucky. The last three years have been the best and most exciting years of my life and I cannot wait to see what our future has in store for us.

And it’s all still true!






This post is hard to write, but it is important to write. I have reached a milestone in my life and that is something worth talking about. We, as women, beat ourselves up. We abuse our bodies to get what we think is the perfect body. We are not happy no matter how hard we work. Yet, it has taken pregnancy for me to learn that what we have been given is already perfect. We make life and that is beyond any level of beauty we will find on the cover of a magazine or strutting down a runway. Embrace it ladies; every curve, line, and stretched piece of skin. It is gorgeous!

body pic

I have always hated my body. If it wasn’t my short wide feet, it was my crooked fingernail or round tummy. It was my thighs that got wider when I sat down and my hips that stuck out just a little too far. There is a birthmark above my left breast that looks like a small rash. There is a hair that grows on my chin and needs to be plucked. There are faded stretch marks on my hips and belly that came from a growth spurt in high school. There are freckles everywhere…..everywhere! My boobs are slightly uneven and my knees are permanently scarred from soccer. I have always looked in the mirror and hated what I saw.

To alter my body, I have spent thousands on diet pills, creams, books, tapes, and gym memberships. In high school and college, I took laxatives like candy. I have done three Master Cleanses. I have juiced without eating. I have fasted. I’ve done, South Beach, Atkins, Paleo, Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, and even Deal-a-Meal. I have been vegetarian and vegan and carb free. I have gained weight and lost weight and been highly successful at both. Even at my lowest weight, I still found something wrong with my body. There was nothing that made me happy with myself. I experienced a sexual assault in my twenties that made me fuller of self-hatred and guilt.

As a result, it took me a long time to be open to love. I have tried my hardest to hide my body and not share it with anyone. I have lacked the confidence needed to fall into a close relationship. I was thirty before I felt comfortable enough with someone to be intimate. Even then, I still never felt quite right with myself.

Four years ago, my father was diagnosed with cancer and I was broken.  I felt totally helpless and useless and wanted to do anything I could to save him. I am not a doctor, so I turned to charity races. I began running and could not be stopped. I had never run a race in my life and started with a half marathon to raise money for cancer research. I was not able to save my dad through running, but I have completed 3 half marathons, two full marathons, a 10-miler, and some 5Ks here and there. Running has become my therapy and has created a total body transformation. However, I still looked in the mirror and was unhappy with what I saw. I still found myself angry when I just couldn’t run as fast as I wanted to or train as much as I wanted to. I blamed it on my deficient body.

The other day, I woke up. I looked down over my body and saw my little toes. They were beautiful. I saw my hips. They are spreading to get ready for my baby and they are perfectly rounded. I saw my thickening thighs: the thighs that are forming so that they can support my ever-growing belly. I saw my growing breasts that will nourish my child. I saw my ribs sticking out just below my blossoming breasts and just above my swelling belly. It was all covered in freckles, but it was totally gorgeous. I looked last at my belly. That place that I had worked so hard on to get flat and tight was now bubbled up and moving around. It was the home to a miraculous human life. This body that I have detested and tortured is making another body. It is creating a life that is different than any other life that has come before it. That, to me, is astounding. Suddenly, without pause, I loved my body. There was no longer anything to see but beauty.



I am officially 20 weeks pregnant. I am finally half way there! I have 20 weeks to go till I meet my little bean. I have learned so much about myself, about other people, and about grace in the last 20 weeks. The people who I thought would be mad at me showed that they loved me and opened their arms to me. People I haven’t spoken to in years have written me, called me, and taken me out for lunch in a show of support. People I don’t know that well have offered me gifts to use for the baby. I am a mother. I am happy. I am blessed.

In 20 weeks my life is going to change for the better and it will never be the same again. In 20 weeks, I will be faced with the biggest challenges of my life. I have walked into a Guatemalan prison and been surrounded by more than 100 tattoo covered gang members who have killed, raped, and hurt others. That was challenging. That was scary, but I survived. For me, parenthood is more terrifying than a Guatemalan prison. I am going to mess up. I am going to make huge mistakes. I’m going to constantly wonder if I am worthy of being the mother to this miraculous little child. I am going to hope every day that my love will be enough. I will ceaselessly worry.

Here is the thing though: There is a human being growing inside me. I am and always have been nothing more than a clay pot full of soil. I have waited for something to grow, but have remained empty. Now, I can feel the seed. I can feel the sense that something is missing slowly fading away. I can feel the small roots wiggling their way to the top. And, in 20 weeks, I will see the flower sprout forth and I will watch as it blooms and grows. That, my friends, is what life is all about.



So this post might end up being more of a rant and I know many of my friends are going to disagree with me on this one, but we all have the right to our own opinions and our own way of raising a child. As soon as the word was out that I was pregnant, other mothers started giving me all sorts of advice. I also started getting emails from companies and started reading apps that gave me daily advice. There are so many choices to make when you are pregnant that it blows my mind. Doing it alone has it’s good and bad side. Yes, I don’t have a partner in this, but that also means I get to make all of my own decisions. I don’t have to fight anyone on anything. I don’t even have to accept a name I don’t like. On the other hand, I have to make a lot of decisions on my own. It is somewhat terrifying. I am now half way through this pregnancy and I figure I will share a couple things I find important.

First of all is the nursery. I’ve had friends ask what my theme will be and if they can help me design it. The truth is, I haven’t thought of a theme or setting up a nursery because I never imagined having one. Don’t get me wrong, I have a spare bedroom in my house that would make a wonderful nursery, but that won’t happen. I have spent too much time in third world countries seeing how the rest of the world lives to be ok with spending a large amount of money redecorating a room for a child who isn’t even going to appreciate it. I’d rather put that money into a college fund or towards designing a room for my toddler who will actually use it. To top it off, I wouldn’t want my child in a separate room from me. I had a friend tell me not to let my baby sleep in my room because I will never be able to get him out. The thing is that I don’t want my baby to leave my room for a while, so I don’t have a problem with that. When it is time, he will learn to sleep in his own room.

I worked with children in Kenya and I adored them. They grew up with nothing, appreciate everything, and are full of genuine happiness. Many of them live in one or two room houses or apartments. They share this small space with their parents and their siblings and often even their extended family. When I visited the house of one of my students the first time, I had an American perspective. I saw what they had materially and assumed they have nothing and assumed they must hate this life. However, my classroom was full of children with smiling faces and laughter. Not only were they kind, generous, and respectful, they enjoyed life and lived each day to the fullest. I want my child to have that joy and I am pretty sure he will not get it as a result of me buying everything Babies R Us tells me I must have. My child will be well fed, loved immensely, clothed, educated, and safe. I am pretty sure he will learn to forgive me for not having a nursery for him.