This I Believe

Jessica - Saline, Michigan
Entered on February 26, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

The Sum of Struggles

I believe the lessons of life define us. We all have our own personal struggles and we either overcome or succumb. We persevere or we perish. We persist or we fade. My own life is clearly marked in struggle. But I choose to persevere. I persist.

When I was three, my parents divorced. Despite shared custody my father simply fled. He never came back. I have only blunt memories of him. The years to come would place my mother in the Captain’s seat of Hardship and I by her side.

Between four and six years old, I was raped. I have both vivid and clouded memories of those days. Their impact, however, remains sharp and jagged.

In the years that followed, I struggled with the reality of an unwanted stepfather and stepfamily. My beliefs about men plummeted and solidified. It wasn’t until I met the man who would become my husband that I found strength, respect, and goodness in his kind. I fell madly in love. I persisted.

When my husband and I decided we were ready to start a family, fate stepped in and decided something different. I lost the first pregnancy in the first trimester. It was after this I knew something was wrong. My husband and I consulted a specialist.

We did everything by the book. Fertility drugs, ultrasounds and appointments resulted only in disappointment month after month for nearly a year. I insisted the doctor was missing something. It turned out I was right. A hysteroscopy revealed that the lining of my uterus was covered in polyps. I was immediately scheduled for surgery knowing that the results would be biopsied. We prepared for cancer.

I was at the height of my emotions and tolerance for disappointment at this point. The surgery was yet another mark on my emotional ticker. The beginnings of depression were filling the spaces where hope once lay. But something still flickered. A tiny flame that wouldn’t let me let go so easily. This time hope persisted.

The biopsy showed no cancer. Three weeks later, I was pregnant. Eight weeks into the pregnancy fear was back as I began spotting. The memory of my first miscarriage escalated my fear to terror. I knew I couldn’t survive if I lost this baby. Hope still persisted and I didn’t lose the baby.

Throughout my pregnancy I struggled with the ghosts of my past. And when I learned I would have a girl, my mother’s shield was permanently brandished. I would do everything to protect and ensure that she did not have my childhood.

On May 24th, 2005, I reached that pivotal point in life when the sum of all my struggles became my triumph. I had reached the summit, the pinnacle of life. I had reached Motherhood. Through a mountain of struggles, I have been rewarded with a gift that is so precious and rare. The sum of my struggles is a daughter.

In the face of adversity, I say, persevere.