When Motherhood is Unexpected

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by Macey Klaiber

"I became a mom in the last way I ever saw coming. We met under hot African sun in in middle of nowhere Uganda, back when we were both just babies. I was young and single and had little to no idea what I was doing. I was learning to live life in a new country and she (at two years old, and 12.5 pounds) had just received a diagnosis of “failure to thrive” (which was far from ok with either of us). Those early days were so hard that sometimes I feel like I can barely remember them. Our days were full of doctors appointments and coffee and my nights were full of literally no sleep, and trying to figure out how to get this precious little thing to trust me. She was scared, I was scared, and I’m certain we both knew it. But somehow in the middle of it all, I taught her how to walk and play and she taught me patience, how to be a mama, and what it was to love someone far deeper than you could ever comprehend. And slowly, we fell into the rhythm of a family. Just the two of us.

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  I never imagined myself as a mom much before I became one, and if I had, I definitely would not have planned on being a single one. Because so much of our story was unconventional, it was a while before I can remember being aware of the additional challenges of doing it alone. What I knew was that being a mom is hard period. Whether you’re doing it alone or with a partner. I can remember several instances wishing I had another person as invested as I was to weigh medical, financial, or practical decisions with. But looking back, it was one of the hardest, sweetest gifts ever given to me.  It gave me the chance to grow with my daughter.  I got to watch her grow from a scared, tiny baby to the sassiest little girl who is so full of life and whose laugh comes easy.  She went from being barely able to sit up on her own, to running and dancing and I got every bit of that all to myself. It also provided the opportunity for us to be surrounded by exceptionally strong women in each season of our lives. Women who loved my daughter and were just as instrumental in shaping her into who she is now. I will always be so very thankful for that.

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            I am forever thankful for the life motherhood gave me- all the hard, ugly, and beautiful. Thankful for all the things I never knew I wanted, and all of the incredible mamas I’ve been able to link arms with along the way."

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