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  • Writer's pictureHolly Clayburn

The Mother He Made Me

Today is my oldest son's 9th birthday. Today at 9:21 PM I have been a mother for almost a decade. This time of year I always get extremely emotional thinking about my son, and the years we have spent together. I am raising a son, and he raised a mother. It is no secret in my life that I was a teenage mother, spend any amount of time around me and I usually talk about it a lot. It is not something I am ashamed of because it made me the person I am today, and certainly makes me a better doula. I was 14 years old when I got pregnant and still 14 when, after 52 hours of prodromal labor, I gave birth to an 8 pound 5 oz beautiful baby boy who looked just like me. Oh yeah, you read that right 14. It's astonishing to me that in just 5 short years he will be the same age as me when I became a parent. I never felt like it, but I was just a baby back then, so how on Earth did I get to where I am today? Looking back the only answer I can come up with is support. I got a lot of judgment for sure, but I also got a hell of a lot of support. The best thing anyone ever did for me though was let me raise my child my way, and let me make the mistakes I needed to make, just like all parents do. My parents didn't swoop in and raise my son, heck sometimes I could barely get them to babysit while I worked. This was the best thing they ever did for me, and him.

Raising him has by far been the hardest thing I've ever done, but also what I am most proud of in my life. Yes, I had a lot of help and people who loved and supported us, but I am the one who did it. I did the all nighters, I breast fed him, I rocked him for hours, I dealt with the toddler tantrums, I help with the school work, take him to practice, wash his jerseys, make sure he brushes his teeth, and I am the one who has the marks from growing his body inside of mine. ME. (I am also queen of never ending, run on sentences apparently.) It takes a village and I definitely have it, but still at 14 years old, I started to do these things.

When B first started school I was so uncomfortable around other parents, I was 20 when he went to kindergarten and looked like I was still in high school. Thankfully, I've never encountered any rude remarks and honestly no other parent has inquired about my age, but I'm sure they all wonder. I will be 24 in August, and still look like I should live at home. In fact, a few months back an older gentleman knocked on my door and asked if my parents where home. Hilarious right? It took a lot for me to be comfortable enough to really interact with other parents because while I'm in my early twenties, they are in their late thirties and early forties. Of course this isn't an issue for me, I was just always afraid of judgment. As he has gotten older and into sports it has pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to build relationships with other moms, but I still always have that paranoia of judgment in the back of my head. I guess I haven't ever really felt ashamed, just always afraid of judgment... Which is funny because if you know me well then this will surprise you. I usually don't care what other people think. It took me a long time to really get to a point where I was just straight up proud. Am I recommending teenage pregnancy? Absolutely not. I am just saying that I wouldn't change my story even if I could. I've come a long way, and I am proud of the parent I am, and the son I'm raising.

For 9 years I have been the main supporter of another life, a life I had to teach, mold, and grow. A sweet little life who didn't ask for a teenage mother. I owed him the world. Today, he is amazing... There are no other words for him. He is a straight A student, a great friend, the best big brother, and the greatest lego builder in the world. He is also a huge pain in my butt. He is just like me, and we butt heads because of it; but he is also the reason I am successful. He is an extremely smart kid, smarter than me for sure. He has big dreams. One day he wants to be an astronaut, another an architect, and some days a solider because he wants to save the world. He is going to do great things in his life, move mountains and leave a mark on the world. To say that he changed my life is an understatement. I honestly thought that he ruined it, but he truly saved it. Because of him, I found my career, and I have dreams as big as Texas because of our story. Someday I will help teenage mothers like myself and show them that their life isn't over, that they will still do great things, and be great people. I love talking about us and our lives now, I love telling people my age and his to see their reaction. I am not a teenage statistic, and I owe it to him. I am happily married to a man he calls dad, have another little boy, and a pretty great life. I own my own business. Wow. Let me just say that one more time. I own my own business -that just feels so good to say- and he is my biggest supporter. Every time I get a call to go to a birth he is packing his stuff, helping me get his brother ready and making sure I have everything I need. When I sign a new client he praises me relentlessly. I truly am a better doula because I was a teenage mother. I've been low, and I've made mistakes, so I couldn't judge you if I tried. I know how scary becoming a parent can be, I know the thoughts that fill your head, the regrets, the things you don't want to say out loud. I. KNOW. THEM. ALL. And I don't care. I will love you and give you grace like a 9 year old little boy has given me.

He is the reason I am not a teenage statistic, he is the reason I have a life to be proud of. He raised a good mom. Not a perfect mom, and probably a mom who yells too much, but a good mom. He made me want to be the best person I could be, and made me cry many nights on the days I wasn't. He always woke up the next day and loved me anyways though. People always tell me how good of a job I did raising him, but the truth is, he raised me.

Happy 9th Birthday, B

Love, the momma you made.

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