A Mother’s Instincts Never Fail

Being a mom is the best privilege, honor, and everything I could ever imagine. There’s highs and lows, but so much goodness comes out of it. From the moment we see that positive sign on that stick we immediately activate our mama bear instincts. We protect that baby in the womb, outside the womb, and even when they become adults.

I have an incredible relationship with my daughter and our bond is strong. I am a mother that pays close attention and when I noticed these changes in her development I decided to consult her pediatrician. Her dad would constantly say “She’s fine. She’ll grow out of it”. Around 15 months my daughter’s progress changed. She went from talking and walking correctly to regressing in language and became rather clumsy.

To be honest, I was deeply worried and I didn’t want to make an assumption but my educational background in psychology and early childhood development alerted me to the possibility that my daughter may be experiencing signs of developmental delay. The problem is she was reaching her developmental milestones and then suddenly she went in reverse. Was it something I did? I felt as if I needed to blame something in order to feel better about the situation.

The onset of the pandemic really messed things up in my quest to get answers for my daughter. I didn’t want to be that parent in denial and it was bad enough my partner was. I knew I needed to get answers and to get my daughter help. Fast forward we finally get an appointment with a neurologist, completed the ADOS test, and got an answer. The neurologist was reluctant to give an official diagnosis as my daughter showed stronger capacities than most children that are severely on the spectrum.

Most people have said to me that my daughter is quite smart. She really is a brilliant child, but we just need to close those gaps. Early intervention is the best course of action. Autism is a unique developmental case, but those that are on the spectrum greatly vary and even some of the most brilliant minds were found to be autistic.

Early intervention has proven to be the key in the success of those individuals. In most cases, you could never tell that a child was once diagnosed with the condition. Autism is so complex, but is also really interesting. These individuals can really inspire you. My daughter has been a huge blessing and inspiration for me. It was going through this journey that made me change my profession. I have become more involved with Autism awareness and am mentoring youth that are on the spectrum.

This was a journey that I never thought I would be on, but it’s helped me in so many ways. It’s not sunshine and lollipops when having a child that can’t clearly communicate with you, and it can get frustrating for the both of us. We’ve learned to communicate with one another and we’ve learned to develop our own understanding. It’s getting better each day and therapy has helped tremendously. There’s been less extreme meltdowns and tantrums, and more of how can we better assist “Lamb”?

I’m hopeful that my daughter will be communicating clearer very soon. I feel that God chose me to be this little girl’s mom because He knew I would be able to handle this task. Even though it has been difficult and exhausting, there is absolutely no way I’m giving up on her. Being “Lamb’s” mom is truly an honor. She’s my greatest achievement and motivation. Helping her is my top priority and she’s coming along quite well. This journey is far from over, but we’re learning more and more how to manage. We’re taking it one day at a time.

PCOS & the struggle to lose weight

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome affects as much as 5 million women between the ages of 15-44 years old according to a study posted by the CDC. This condition causes an increase of androgen, infertility, rapid weight gain, hirsutism, irregular menstruation, and the list goes on.

When I was first diagnosed with PCOS it was the worst news I had ever received. Once I was diagnosed that’s when other symptoms started to appear. I had always had issues with my menstrual during my early teen years as the cramps were quite debilitating. It caused severe nausea, vomiting, and weakness in my legs. My weight was never affected and I would attest that it was due to me being active.

Once I reached my early 20s is when my weight began to increase. I went from nearly 90 lbs to 110 lbs. Just before I had a successful pregnancy I was 112 lbs and reached 144 lbs. My small frame could barely manage the weight. After my pregnancy I lose about 20 lbs and kept it off for quite some time. I do believe breastfeeding contributed to my weight management, but once I stopped the weight packed on extremely fast.

It is a huge struggle to manage PCOS and all it brings. This condition has taken a toll on me mentally, physically, and emotionally. I look at myself in the mirror and I don’t see the ‘me’ I’m used to. I look extremely puffy in my face and neck area. My body is not the body I’m happy to see. At times, people have assumed I was pregnant when I’m not. The embarrassment is painful and the feeling of hopelessness weighs heavy.

My biggest hope is to be able to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It has not been easy to drop weight, but any progress made is a victory and one step closer to dominating this condition.

Please find me

I recall one day being in church and during worship service tears began to stream down. The overwhelming sensation I felt could not be controlled. I felt the urgency shout and at that moment I asked Jesus to Please find me. Repeatedly I asked because I felt so lost and uncertain of everything. I can openly admit that I struggle in my walk with Christ. I get close and then I pull back. It’s come to a point where I feel that once I get the dead weight out of my life I will be free from this bondage.

My relationship with Christ is important to me. The most important relationship I could ever have. Thank God for maturity because I am now able to see why God set His standards when it comes to relationships with others. Being unequally yoked with a mate was not a part of God’s design. I can admit that my relationship with my daughter’s father is the very example of an unequal union. It takes more than just saying you believe in God, your lifestyle has to be a reflection of that. My life reflects the poor choices I made, the mistakes I’ve made, and doing things outside of what God had planned for me.

Rededicating my life back to God is the only sure way I can show Him that I am done with living in error and that I need Him now more than ever. He can provide for me in ways I can’t for myself as well as love me more and honestly than any man on earth could. This is my public declaration that I, Angel am a sinner and am in need of repentance. I acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the true Messiah, and the Savior of the world.

So on this day, I make this request once again, Jesus, please find me.

Do yourself a favor and get out of debt!

If you make poor choices in life it can be detrimental to your future. Fortunately, you can always work toward correcting those wrongs and do what’s best for your family. Debt is one of the most stressful situations one can find themselves in. Being a single parent is also a reality of being in debt and the struggles of a one-income household has the potential to place you in poverty.

A few years back, I started to take notice of my credit history and what I would need to do to get out of debt. As a college graduate, I have accumulated student loans. My only saving grace is that my payments are deferred since I’m currently in school. That is not always the best option simply because it puts you in further debt and it increases the amount you’d owe.

Back in 2021, due to the pandemic, the President put a hold on student loan repayments. Of course, this is not going to last much longer. At the time, I was a full-time student only working a few hours a week because I have a toddler and am predominately responsible for her. If you’re in a situation such as I am, you need to do whatever you possibly can to get yourself out of debt. I made a great decision by working on building my credit. For starters, I paid off my credit card. Making payments on time and paying more than the minimum for the 2 years I have had the card boosted my credit score and increased my credit limit.

My hope is to maintain my credit card usage at the minimum of 30%. I need to show lenders that I am no longer considered a credit risk. I use the app Experian as a way to keep myself up-to-date with my credit report, when or if my score has been impacted, and what items I have remaining on my credit history. Being a single mom, I need to take the necessary steps to ensure that I can take care of us financially. To be honest, I’m not sure about my current relationship since we live together. Among the problems we have, finances are factored in. I would much rather be prepared for what could potentially happen with our living arrangement than to be stuck with no solution. Maintaining a solid savings account is another goal of mine as it would help in emergencies.

I may not have made the best choices when it came to my personal life and relationship, but I am doing my diligence to not be in poverty. The more I pay attention to my finances and work towards being completely debt-free I am certain I will be able to successfully maintain my household.

Handling a difficult diagnosis

Most women dream of becoming a mom. In those moments we don’t usually think that getting pregnant will be difficult. To be quite honest, sexual health class only discusses the onset of puberty and the changes your body will endure. For girls, we’re told once you have a period you can become pregnant, but we aren’t told that you can face some difficulty with hormonal imbalances, irregular periods, and infertility. Never in a million years did I think my years of painful periods would lead me down the road of infertility. I had been in a committed relationship and we decided to plan to have a baby. Truthfully, it takes more than one try to get pregnant; if and when you’re seriously trying. I wanted to understand my body and if I would be able to get pregnant.

I met a really nice OB/GYN and felt that she would give me positive news and let me know I would be able to get pregnant without any problems. Boy, was I wrong? I did the usual blood work and physical exams. Upon the uncomfortable examination, my doctor informed me I had a small cervix. She wasn’t sure if I would be able to deliver a baby. It wasn’t anything that raised a concern, but I figured since I’m somewhat short it was normal to have a small cervix, in my case.

She told me once my blood work results came back we could further discuss my chances of getting pregnant. A week goes by and I get the most unusual news I could ever imagine. The doctor tells me I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS for short. I had never heard of the condition, but I realized it meant I had cysts on my ovaries. Actually a lot of little cycsts. I was in complete disbelief and then she said the syndrome usually causes infertility. Talk about your world crumbling down.

I was quite distraught receiving the news and once I got the official diagnosis is when the symptoms came flooding in. The hirutism got out of hand, I started to gain weight, my acne worsened, and my cycles were out of order. All I kept thinking about was that I couldn’t get pregnant. My partner and I didn’t stop trying and surprisingly, I actually ended up getting pregnant later on. Unfortunately, it resulted in my first miscarriage. From there I experienced multiple miscarriages. I decided that pregnancy just was not in the cards for me. PCOS took a toll on my life, my relationships, and my thoughts. I didn’t want to go through another pregnancy loss and I was tired of how PCOS changed my appearance. I didn’t feel like myself nor did I look like myself.

The other part of this diagnosis is that once you get older the symptopms become quite aggressive. When I was initially diagnosed I was quite small. I only weighed about 90 lbs. at age 22. When I did become pregnant I gained some weight, but with experiencing the miscarriages that led to a cycle of depression and I started eating more, especially foods that wreak havoc on PCOS unknowingly. I had a belly that appeared as if I were pregnant and that was embarrassing. It was hard to tell if it were from the cysts on my ovaries possibly enlarging or from the excessive eating. Truthfully, it was a combination of both, but I needed to slow down on eating excessively.

I desperately needed to do something about this PCOS diagnosis. I didn’t want to give up the idea of becoming a mom so I reached out to another OB/GYN and that led me to take the medicinal route. I started on the medication Spironolactone as well as a birth control to have “regular” menstrual cycles. The Spironolactone gave me a good enough reduction of testosterone after 6 months of treatment which led to a positive pregnancy test. This pregnancy was viable and I was then placed on Progesterone to keep the pregnancy going.

I felt that I had finally defeated PCOS. Even though we weren’t trying for another baby and we weren’t taking the precautions to prevent pregancy I had become pregnant in 2020. Of course, this ended in another loss. This time it was an ectopic pregnancy. This one took a deep toll on me. It was a matter of life or death. I simply couldn’t keep this pregnancy going without putting my own health at risk.

After that experience, I honestly believed that if I did the same medicinal regimen I started in 2017, it would give me another successful pregnancy. Again, I was wrong. My conditon just worsened. My weight got out of control and even though I had lost some of my pregnancy weight it was not enough. My weight was now 160 lbs. which I had maintained for awhile, but this put me at risk for heart disease and diabetes. I am now considered overweight for my height.

I had come to the realization that if I am not meant to have another baby then maybe I need to stop trying. I had gotten to a point where I just let myself go. My health was hanging in the balance. My relationship with my daughter’s father grew toxic and realized it would be detrimental to my overall physical and mental health if I ever had another child from him. PCOS has taught me many things about my life and the choices I make. I can either live with the diagnosis and allow it to take over me or I can do all I can to combat it’s symptoms.

PCOS is not a death sentence. It is a condition that can be managed if you take the necessary steps to do so. Having been diagnosed with PCOS a decade ago, I am now in a place where I want to take action and put myself and my health first. I need to do all I can to be healthy physically and mentally. I have a little girl looking up to me and I need to advocate for others that are in the same position as I am.