Updated: Nov 5, 2021
By Jessenia Nozzolillo
Let me tell you a story.
I dreamt of a beautiful little girl with dark wavy hair & piercing eyes—one who called me mom. Someone I loved deeply, more than I ever knew possible. But, this was just a Dream. No way could this be real. We have dreams of weird things all the time.
I became pregnant with my first child at 17 years old. I was shocked & confused. I didn’t know much about sex, never mind having a child. I was never “promiscuous,” if anything, naive. At the time, I worked at TJMaxx. I never wanted children. I always believed I would be an aunt who could love kids at a distance & just live her life. I never even thought of my future or marriage. I just wanted to get by. Having a difficult childhood meant I didn’t really want to pass that on to my children. At work one day, I noticed a child crying across the building. Like a radar, I have had been triggered deep within my genealogy. I caught a child almost falling out of a cart. Every child called to me. It was the strangest day of my life. I slept in till 2 pm for the first time in my life. I was exhausted. I didn’t know why. I assumed I had mono because that’s what everyone was telling me. It was unlike me to be so tired.
I realized my period was late & panicked. Took a test. It was positive. I then made a couple of appointments & found out I was about 12 weeks in. I had a tiny little bump growing. I cried for weeks. I didn’t want to leave my room. I kept working & hiding the truth. Then I felt her move & remembered the dreams. I realized that this was that little child I loved so much. With that realization, I embraced the pregnancy. I came forward to my mom. Got my own apartment. I started telling people. I worked full-time while finishing HS online. And my precious Luna was at my high school graduation two months old. So many people said I should get rid of her. Abort. But the thing is, she inspired me to be a better human being. A fire was ignited in me that day. I held her in my hands. That fire meant I would never live for myself again. I would do anything to be the best mother possible. That means healing my trauma. So the journey of self-healing began, although I had a long way to go.
I sacrificed myself for her. I let go of anyone who didn’t make her a priority. I devoted every waking moment to her, even forgetting to shower, forgetting to paint, forgetting to write poetry. I opened a daycare & bought a house at 21, so I would never have to leave her side. Now a mother of 2. My kids were my only focus. Not my happiness. Not my health. Not my goals. I was consumed with trying to give them the best of everything. I paused my dreams & goals. Everything I did was to raise them. If travel didn’t include them, I didn’t want it. If work didn’t include them, I didn’t want it. If plans weren’t child-friendly, I wasn’t in.
Then my whole reality shattered. When she was 11 years old, she came to me and told me she never wanted to be a mother. I asked why!? How could you be so sure, at such a young age?
“I love you. You’ve done everything for me. But, I have dreams & goals too. I want to travel. I want to live too. You stopped everything just to be here for me. And I don’t know if I want to stop dreaming of having kids.”
Then & there, I realized I was teaching my children that you could not do both. I was teaching them that dreams halted when kids came into the picture. All this time, I thought I was just a good mother. But, I was teaching them that sacrifice was the only route. I never blamed them. But when she asked, my answer was, “Don’t worry, I have plenty of time. I’ll travel/paint/adventure/go back to school/change my career/find love when you are older. Right now, I just want to be a mom.” So she decided she didn’t want to be a mom.
I realized I was overcompensating for my own childhood wounds. And in overcompensation, I was forcing her into the opposite trajectory. No children. That would not be enough. I wanted to teach my children that they could have & follow dreams while being a good parents. I changed my trajectory. I planned a trip. I went back to school. I closed the daycare. I found love. I got married. I became a psychic medium & global healer. I changed everything. I changed EVERYTHING so that she knew she could do both someday. Love her children AND follow her dreams.
My daughter is now 14 and wants a family. Yesterday she came to me & said, “I’m so proud of you. You’ve given me such amazing things to look forward to. I can’t wait to see what else our life brings us. I can’t wait to live my own adventures with my own family.” I couldn’t help but cry.
Life is never about the big things. It’s a string of tiny meaningful insistences. Change. Decision. Choice. At any given point, we can choose exactly what we want. This whole story is a series of decisions I had to make in the span of 16 years that got me exactly where I am today. It’s not an overnight process. They are small actions done in love that add up to resemble my “dream.”
Now I know sacrifice is not a parenting tool. It is a wound. I will not pass that wound on to my children.
Copyright protected 2020 Jessenia Nozzolillo