I was five months into being 18 years old when I found out that I was pregnant with my first child.
I hadn’t seen my own mother in three years, nor my father in fifteen.
At 18 years old, I had already endured multiple abuses and traumas, and by the time I wrote this letter to my children, the damage had doubled.
As I travel through this healing journey, I am learning to let go of the terrible amount of guilt that I carry over what life has done to me and how that affects my beautiful babies. Since they’re riding this ride with me, I wrote them this letter in case they ever need to hear these words from me:
I hope you know:
That every bit of my being has gone toward healing. Healing myself and you. From things that you know nothing of, as well as those that you do, so that you can have a childhood that you don’t have to heal from. When my suffering gets in the way of that, I feel like I’ve let you down in the deepest of ways.
I know that you didn’t ask to be here and I hope you know that it’s not your fault that I am the way that I am.
It physically hurts me to let you down—to know that I wasn’t able to control certain situations, that I can’t give you everything you wish to have, and that our lives are different from those you look up to.
All I’ve ever wanted for you is better. Better than what I had. Better than what I brought you into. Better than I seem to be.
I get my ass kicked often. I fall asleep with a broken heart and a mind full of what-ifs. When I get up, I fight through unexplainable struggle and suffering.
I cry over your joys and your accomplishments because they are the reward that I get for fighting so hard to overcome my obstacles.
Do you know that happiness is my most valued emotion? And that it feels like knives against my chest when I take that away from you?
I chose to bring you into this world, not knowing how I would break the cycle I was in and hoping that I could.
I chose to be a single parent, not because I didn’t want you to have the two-parent family others have, but because I didn’t want to raise you in a broken one. The damage that would have continued to be done wasn’t worth holding onto my hopeful illusions any further. I tried to make the best of it. But I couldn’t pretend that the reality of the situation was okay and I needed to protect you. I hope you know that it had everything to do with you, but it was not because of you.
I hope you can, some day, understand how much I value our lives and have been doing my best to protect us from harm.
I hope you can forgive me for the times that I let you down, and can carry gratitude for the love that I have been able to give you. I hope that you can remember me listening to your feelings and finding solutions.
But, if you grow to carry hurt in your heart toward me, I hope you know that I’ve been giving you my best, especially on the days that look like the worst—because those are the days I’ve fought my hardest.
I hope you know that you are the reason behind my every effort toward changing my life.
I hope you know how much I love you, always.