I live a really blessed life.
I grew up in a little blue house in a small rural village surrounded by neighbors who became family and had pillars of support throughout the community. I was raised in a loving family that was built on the importance of honesty, loyalty, respect, and above all, love.
I belonged to a church where I was the youngest member of the choir and never missed a Sunday, singing louder and prouder than anyone in that sanctuary the day my little brother was baptized.
I went to a safe elementary school with three hundred students and a larger high school with over a thousand.
I was so lucky to have opportunities to build strong friendships from a young age, to know how it felt to be part of a school community enriched by an amazing music program that fed my soul, and to build relationships with teachers who became mentors, supports and even friends in both my elementary and secondary days. My first jobs were at my local community center and convenience store before moving on to our local YMCA, all of which gave me the opportunity to learn the importance of hard work and truly caring about the well-being of others.
Flash forward to now, I live in a beautiful home with my fiance, one of my best friends and our two dogs, although part of my heart will always live in my hometown where my best friend was laid to rest. I work full-time as a child and youth worker in a team environment where we devote our time to caring and advocating for children and youth with developmental and behavioral exceptionalities.
My family is still my foundation, and I still live my life valuing the importance and necessity of honesty, loyalty, respect, and love.
Despite the many blessings I have been given in my life in the form of a loving family, meaningful friendships, safe homes, a purposeful job that I love and the ability to share my love of music with others, the greatest blessing I have ever received is the one growing inside me. When I found out I was pregnant, the only emotions I felt were love and overwhelming gratitude. I had been chosen to be this tiny life's mom and there was nothing greater or more important than that. My fiance was just as thrilled and we immediately began making plans for a big, bright future for our little miracle, and for us.
There was no room in our hearts for anything other than love and indescribable excitement.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, our vision for this pregnancy changed. With the exception of the first one, my doctor has met me and an empty chair for every appointment. I have gone to all ultrasounds alone and only been able to share the experience with my guy through sonogram pictures and relaying messages from the techs. I am often the only one in the waiting rooms and wear a mask for the duration of my visit. The story of our labor and delivery is entirely unknown at this point but may involve having no family or friends visiting us or holding our child when he or she is born.
This is the harsh reality of having a baby during a global pandemic that many people do not take seriously.
When George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minnesota during an arrest that he did not resist, North America erupted in protests. Many tried to peacefully protest the acts taken while some turned to violence and attempted to fight hate with hate.
While I already knew that our world needed healing, the reality was that this world was a lot more broken than I truly realized. I guess you could say I had been ignorant of the darkness the world was in. So many people are so consumed with their ideas of what's right and what's happening around the globe without actually paying attention. The world is slowly slipping further and further into a state of corruption and it leaves me with one impossible thought: I am terrified to bring a child into this ailing world.
Despite being afraid of the unknown that lies ahead, I will not let fear define me and how I choose to raise my child.
I will educate my child about the significance of seeing past their needs and considering the needs of others and how their actions may affect those around them.
I will explain that all lives do indeed matter, but that sometimes the lives of specific people require more love and support.
I will demonstrate for my child the power of faith and of prayer.
I will never let my child stand alone regardless of whether I agree with their cause or not.
I will teach my child that beauty lies within our differences, not our similarities.
I will show my child that it is always right to stand in solidarity with others for what is right, even when it is hard and doesn't necessarily affect them directly.
I will instill the importance of being kind no matter what — because you never know what someone is hiding behind their smile.
I will stand with my child and exhibit what happens when people are seen as a vessel of love and potential and nothing less.
I will illuminate the power of remembering that a big heart will always get you further than a big paycheck.
I will prove that fighting hate with hate will only make the fire bigger and that the only voices louder than those of hate are those raised in love.
I will be the best mother I can be and raise my son or daughter on a foundation of honesty, loyalty, respect, and above all else, love.
I promise to give my child a blessed life because they are the biggest blessing of mine.