Our lives are heavily shaped by our experiences and our environment. Whoever came up with the saying “you live and you learn,” said a mouthful. Over my lifetime I have developed the strong belief in the power of motherhood. I believe that motherhood is life changing for both the mother and the child. Mothers help shape the world in that they raise up future generations. The guidance we receive from our mothers follows us through out our entire lives.
On August 12, 1962 Bernice and William Dunn had their last child. Bernice gave birth to a baby girl who she named Sylvia Yvonne Dunn, she was to be their seventh and last child. Bernice and Will were far from rich, but always had enough to provide for their large family. Bernice raised her baby girl as she had all her others, making sure to instill in them the Christian values that her mother had passed down to her. Bernice was forced to assume the role of both mother and father when her husband passed when Sylvia was eight years old. She also faced more struggle when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
In spite of going through so much in such a short amount of time, Bernice remained strong for her children and raised all seven of her children alone. She made sure to instill in her children the belief that “All things are possible through God.”
When Bernice’s baby girl turned 19 years old, she married her high school sweet heart. At the age of 21 on May 3, 1986 Sylvia and her husband Bobby Morrison had their first born. They too had a baby girl which they named Monisha (which means “Intelligent Woman”) Shante’ Morrison. I was their first born and although my parents were rather young they worked hard to make sure I had everything I wanted and needed. My mother passed down to me the stories of how her mother held their family together after my grandfather died. She also told me how my grandmother overcame breast cancer. One thing that mother has continued to instill in me the belief that “The only time you’re a failure is when you stop trying.” I’ve carried these words of wisdom and family stories with me as guidelines in my life.
I’ve always looked towards my mother and grandmother for guidance. Hearing their stories and seeing them accomplish goals and over come adversities have helped me become the person I am today. However, “You live and you learn,” and life has been a great teacher for me.
On August 31, 2005, my life changed forever. My mother, boyfriend and myself piled in my mother’s Toyota Camry and headed towards Western Wakmed. It was 8:00am, and the sun was already beaming down. I was in my third trimester and a week away from my due date.
I had traveled these same roads over and over to go to numerous prenatal appointments. However, on this morning the ride seemed to drag on forever. I sat quietly in the passenger’s seat rubbing my huge belly and looking down at my swollen feet. A nervous excitement overcame me as I gazed out the window with my heartbeat pounding in my head.
I arrived at the hospital and the nurse rushed me back to a room. I was calm and I wasn’t in any pain. After the nurse checked me, we learned that my bag of water had ruptured and I was already dilated 3 cm. Once Dr. Clayton came in and finished breaking my bag of water, I knew it was time. I walked up and down the hallway, pausing for the contractions that were getting stronger and stronger.
I made it the entire 10 cm without any pain medication. However, I soon learned that I wouldn’t be able to have a “natural” child birth. I had to have a c-section. At exactly 7:17 pm, my son Jaylen Kristopher Greene was born weighing 7lbs 15 oz. I was so happy that my son was healthy and he was beautiful!
I called everyone I knew and my family and friends flooded the hospital room to see my bundle of joy. The precedents set by my mother and grandmother have given me guidelines and offered wisdom in raising my own son. I was 19 when my child was born. Most people would argue that 19 is a little young to have a child, but I’m no different than a mother who is 35.
The birth of my son changed my life and it helped me to mature. Motherhood has changed the way I look at a lot of things. I am a lot more rational and a lot more cautious now that I have a child who is depending on me. The class and inequality section of the course was very interesting me to me because, I know what it is to be a single parent and to have to find a balance between motherhood and school. I KNOW that being a mother would be a struggle for me if I didn’t have a strong support system in my family.
My son is now 9 months and I plan on instilling in him the values that the mothers in my family have instilled in me. My words of wisdom for my son are: “no matter how much you plan things out, life always tends to throw you a fastball forcing you to change your game plan; so you have to always be expecting the unexpected.” As a mother, I can change the world just by the way I raise up my son, I have big dreams for my son and I know that the values I instill in him today will benefit him tomorrow.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.