I was 21 with two small children, 14 months apart. I didn’t have a thing in this world to offer them but my love. But that alone is not enough to care for children. Their dad was all in one moment and out the next. I refused to go back to my parents’ home and facing their “I told you so’s and you should have’s.”

I honestly was ashamed…

The daughter of pastors in a traditional Baptist church who had done one of the ultimate worst things.

Get pregnant without a husband.

My parents are old fashioned and having children out of wedlock is still frowned upon. So I tried to do it all on my own. I began to drown in my own stubbornness and pride which made me fall into a mild depression. How could I mother these gorgeous little ones living with a defeated spirit and broken heart? I couldn’t. They deserved so much better. They deserved the world. And they deserved a whole mother. Yet, I was unhappy; unhappy at who I was, who I had become, how I allowed myself to even get in this situation.

Their father was older than me but not ready to grow up. He still wanted to live a life of a single man and did not want to make the same sacrifices that we all have to make when we become parents. I can recount a time when I had to take my daughter to the doctor for her check­up but it was it was on the same day as his birthday. He ended up leaving me at the doctor’s office with no phone and no way home because he felt it was taking too long and he wanted to enjoy his birthday.

Needless to say, that was the end of us.

At this point, how I saw things no longer mattered. Yes, I messed up and yes, I was in a pretty bad place but who mattered more? They did.​  So I packed up what was left of my life and went home. Much to my surprise my parents embraced me lovingly and were there and still are here for me the best they can be. I allowed myself to suffer because I was afraid to face them. But like most parents, and how I envision myself to be to my children when they are older, we love our children beyond their mistakes.

I am an advocate when it comes to teens wanting to have sex and have babies too young. I did not have to go through all that I did if I had waited until I was older and had at least finished college. My children are my world and I would go to the ends of the earth for them. I had to grow up, fast. I had to leave my amazing college and my amazing college friends to go home and raise a baby. There is so much I would have loved to have experienced but those days are gone.

I have happiness and joy in being a mother.

My faith allowed me to grow and mature in order to be not only a parent but an example to them. I look forward to continuing to build a legacy that they can one day be proud of. My journey is not over, it is only the beginning. I could be bitter or still stuck in that mental state of “woe is me” while allowing this world and my circumstances to beat me down. I could have easily given up and not endured the heartache of closing those earlier chapters in my life. I am happy and grateful for the path that has led me here to this place.

I know it will only get better from here.

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Kristie McCollum

Kristie is a mom of 2 beautiful kiddos, a full time student, blogger, health coach, and lover of life! She loves all things pink and sparkly, decorating her planners, and spending hours on Pinterest. She enjoys writing, reading, traveling, and spending quality time with her family. She currently resides outside of Raleigh, North Carolina.