Dawn, my sweet sister in Florida (Drawing Closer To Christ ) has nominated me for the mom making a difference award. Thank you, Dawn for nudging me to recall my story and be able to share it with you all.
The rules were pretty simple: Rules:
1- Please share a post about being a mom.
2- Please pass it on to another mom or other moms.
Here goes my story….
I can safely say that more than half my life has been spent being a mom. I had my son at age 14 and the journey throughout has been somewhat of as a ride on the Ferris-wheel.
At age 13, I discovered I was pregnant.
One evening after church, my parents were told by fellow brethren that I looked pregnant, and so were encouraged to take me to the doctor to have me “checked out.”
My mom and I went to the doctor that Saturday night in August and as I walked behind her I kept praying, ” Lord, please do not make me pregnant.” I thought about the shame my parents would endure (back then, having a child outside of wedlock was a big deal; having an unmarried teenage daughter who was active in the church was an even bigger deal – an unwelcome stigma to deal with), the ripple effect I imagined would be great.
As the doctor looked at my stomach as I lay on the examination table, he concluded that I was about 6 months pregnant. My mom let out a shriek of horror. In her stunned state, she told the doctor it was impossible that I was pregnant and requested that I do a pregnancy test. As I peed in the cup (I don’t know if pregnancy sticks were available then), I began my earnest prayer once more, “Lord, please don’t make me pregnant.”
The test came back positive and we subsequently began what felt like our super long journey back home. My mom walked way ahead with me slowly dragging myself behind. The fear I felt was unlike any other. Thoughts of both my future homelessness and my upcoming funeral crossed my mind. My father was either going to kill me or I was going to end up homeless. This 13 year old girl would have a rather short life.
When we arrived home, my mom went in to break the news to my dad. Cell phone then wasn’t a common thing. I stayed outside in the dark with only the street light shining on me and hugged myself to keep from being cold.
“What was going to happen now? Where would I live? How would I face my father? How would I face anyone? Would I survive to see the following morning?”
A church brother who lived nearby came to visit and left me outside to dialogue with my father. Back then, my dad struggled with serious anger issues. He (said church brother) came out and awoke me (think I dozed off somehow) and told me it was okay, I could go in. I headed straight to my room and went right to my bed where I curled up and fitfully slept with one eye open and one eye closed.
At about dawn, my mom came in the room and invited me to lay in the bed with her and my dad. I remember being petrified yet somewhat comforted. I was not going to be murdered and being homeless seem to be removed from the table. As we lay in bed together, the three of us began crying. I have not ever before either then or after, heard my dad sob the way he did. Years later he shared with someone that he cried harder that morning than he did even at his mom’s own funeral. I suppose he thought about how having a child would affect the future he had in mind for me. I was his first child, the apple of his eye. My action would cause great changes for not just me, but for my entire family.
When we finished crying my mom asked me two questions. She asked whether I wanted to stay in Jamaica and attend a school for young mothers up to the birth of my child or whether I wanted to go to the US and there have the baby. Thinking of the shame and teasing I would endure, I came to the US and 3 months later gave birth to my son, Zachery Alexander Hurst. I remember going through the baby book trying to find a name and close to the end saw the name Zachery which means “Whom the Lord remembers“. Bingo I thought, I definitely did not remember this child much less have any knowledge he was in my womb and so his life is definitely due to him being remembered by God.
Zach was born on November 26, 2002 weighing 6lbs 3 oz at 10:25pm after 22 hours of grueling labor. My boy was born precisely on his due date. The nurses when I was leaving told me they never wanted to see me for another 20 years. Praise God, they have not 😉. I returned to Jamaica in December and come January, I was back in school in Grade 10 (under the English system high school ends at grade 11).
My grandmother played a very instrumental part in raising my baby. She cared for him from Sunday nights through Friday evenings just so I could focus on my education. My parents, especially my mom went above and beyond her call of duty. I still am not sure what the cost was/is for either a pair of diaper or even a bottle of formula. My mom worked hard to supply it all. She moved from having two girls, to now three children. During Zach’s formative years, she covered the entire cost.
When I officially migrated to the US in 2005, I began both working and going to college. I was 17 at the time and the task of raising my son became my duty. The Lord somehow began molding me into taking on this responsibility of motherhood in order to relieve my parents of some of the burdens of raising another child.
You might be wondering how neither I nor my parents recognized that I was pregnant or 6 months pregnant at that. All I can say is, that like baby Moses, my boy was well hidden in the womb. I experienced no morning sickness, no extreme physical changes, no (whatever else new moms have). I remember going to the nurse at my high school once to ask why I had not seen my period for several months and she told me I suffered from anemia. I look back and see that had she probed further, she would have discovered I was indeed pregnant and I would have been expelled from school and unable to graduate with my High School diploma 2 years later at age 15, with the rest of my graduation class.
This journey of motherhood as I expressed earlier reminds me of a Ferris-wheel. There have been days when I’m able to clearly see how to meander through what is happening and during these days, I feel elated and super passionate about being a mom. On other days, I feel like I’m in a fog with no sense of direction or purpose. I feel alone, frustrated and tempted to call DCFS to take my boy away because the pressure of raising a man child is hard.
During the days of fog, my faith have really been a pillar of strength. God reminded me during one of those trying seasons that I was not alone and that He did remember Zach. In another instance He showed me that I was not appreciating the gift of my son. He sent me to scripture showing me that all children are gifts, whether they were planned for or not. All children are an inheritance and my job was to keep unwrapping His gift to me and cherish the inheritance. My son he said, is His blessing to me. I look back now and realize that God choosing to not -not make me pregnant was one of the best unanswered prayers. The joy my son has brought me are incomparable to anything (except salvation) that I’ve ever experienced. When he gave his heart to Christ at the age of 8, that was possibly the proudest day of my life. God has also used the difficult seasons to show me how impatient, unthankful, bitter and ungrateful I can be. Through the raising of my son I learnt the lesson of constant forgiveness.
Most importantly, God reminds me that I am not alone. To the world, I am a single mom but in God’s eyes, I have never had to do this journey alone. 17 years ago He entered a covenant with me that He would remember “our” son. I can resolutely declare that He has, and continues to keep His promise no matter how the situation appears to be.
Zach with his great-grandmother
I won’t be nominating anyone today, but for all the mamas out there, feel free to join in and share your experience. For all the papas, I think you can participate by talking about a mama who meant/still means the world to you.