Navigating the Unknown
The scariest night of my life was when my daughter Justine was born. On that night, I went to the hospital and after an internal examination, I was told I was not in labor and needed to go home.
I was twenty-two years old and good at doing what I was told, so although I was in pain, I complied, trusting the information I was given.
Back then, I lived in low-income housing, and I was in the fourth townhouse at the end of the row. I remember stopping at the white fence of the first house and doubling over in pain then walking to the second, third house, and my house doing the same.
When I went inside, the pain worsened and I didn’t know how to manage it, so I took a quick bath, and when I got out of the tub, Justine was born within a few minutes.
I was alone with her for those first few minutes as the paramedics were let into the house, and I remember my intense fear of not knowing if she was alive. As I checked to see if she was breathing, she cried, and my fear subsided.
Fast forward twenty-one years, and I am so proud of the lovely young woman she has become. She is kind, intelligent, dramatic, and she speaks her mind, especially regarding feminist issues. Above all, she is a survivor.
As for me, I am learning to push boundaries and to not always do what I am told or what I think society expects of me.
I got married a second time because I honestly wanted to have someone I could be with for the rest of my life. Early on in the marriage, I knew there were problems, but I believed that if I just did everything right, things would get better. Also, I did not want the stigma of going through another divorce with all the pettiness and ugliness that accompanies it. And, I feared facing my life alone.
I get sad sometimes, and I cry.
Then I shrug those emotions away as I prepare to go for another run, turn on some music to dance, or check out my recent likes for my quirky Facebook posts. When I am feeling down, it all means a lot.
I am now walking through the unknown, and it is scary. But I do not feel all alone as I did during those first few minutes with Justine. With the love of family and good friends, I will navigate this unknown, and life will be okay.