I liked her from the moment I met her, and we just clicked. That was over 16 years ago, and I’ve watched her brave through life standing tall. I’m grateful that for the times life has pulled us hundreds of miles apart, we never seem to miss a beat or lose touch. She is a token of loyalty, friendship, and humility – and is legitimately one of the strongest women I know. Today, Alicia opens up with bold transparency and shares with us her journey of raising a child with chronic illness, single parenting, and revelations on why God has called her to be a Mother. Alicia, thank you for sharing with us your life in words.
How many children do you have? I am a single mother of one.
How old is your child? I became a mother at the age of 19 on December 24th, 2007, to an amazing, sweet, and courageous little boy I named Isaiah. Over the the 12 years of his life, I’ve come to learn he’s the strongest person I know. My Christmas gift that keeps on giving.
What was/is something that makes you afraid as a Mom?
Surprisingly enough, learning that I was about to be a mom or even when I entered motherhood didn’t scare me. What made (and still to this day) makes me afraid, is being a mother to a child who battles Sickle Cell Anemia.
On February 14th, 2008, I received the results to my son’s testing, and that is when the questioning of “self” and my abilities began flooding my mind, more than I would like to admit. Even to date I still question myself. Can I truly do this? Am I strong enough for this journey? Am I the right fit to raise this little boy?
Being a single mom, I often wonder am I giving him enough? I wonder if my son is happy. I try not to be an overbearing mom. More so a balanced mom – stern, yet open minded at the same time.
Raising a little boy without a male figure 100% present has great challenges. I fear failing my son the most. As a mom, I fear not showing my son what walking by faith and not sight is like.
What is the biggest challenge of Motherhood?
For me, the biggest challenge of motherhood has been balancing a personal life outside of motherhood. The question I have is, is there a such thing? The moment you take on – and walk in – the role of motherhood, it is you every day all day. You are on call at ALL times. I have found that for me it’s more so trusting that it’s okay to let me have some “me” time.
For many years all I’ve known was school, work, home, and hospitals. I gave up on myself and the thought of having a personal life for a very long time. I was so consumed with the anxiety and worry of whether my son was okay. My mind was rarely where I was, but instead worried about him constantly. My life became consumed with protecting and being readily available for him; even when I did have to depend early on the “help” of others caring for my son.
How have you managed Mothering a child living with chronic illness, mental illness, or learning/developmental disabilities or special needs?
I believe this to be a forum where I can be as transparent as possible, so I will honestly say that I don’t think I have managed it at all – not yet at least. Yes I know, I’ve been raising a child with Sickle Cell Anemia; which has come with many hospitalizations, many pain crises, long nights etc. But to be completely honest, at some point early on in this journey I just became numb to it all. All I knew was it had to be done. If I didn’t, who would?
What got me through many many tough moments is honestly leaning on my two favorite scriptures Isaiah 41:10 and Jeremiah 29:11. Trusting that what God has for me is for me. Rain is the watering of seeds planted and nothing lasts always. It was me chosen for this kid and he for me. Don’t get me wrong, I highly recommend a form of therapy, a source of positive release.
Honestly, the route I had taken of becoming numb to it all, now has me crawling out of a dark and lonely place. It has been far from healthy, more so destructive to be honest, and NOT for the faint of hearts.
Why has God called you to be a Mother?
*Laughing* Did he call me, or was I just being fast and this is the consequence of that?
Honestly, I believe everything in life happens in divine order. We have free will in our response to circumstances we are presented with. I think outside the box with a lot of things, and like to believe that I am more so Spirit led than religiously led. When it comes to Isaiah and what he needs: is someone to help him come to the understanding that life isn’t happening to him, he is happening in life.
These are two statements I teach my son on a constant basis: “You have sickle cell, it [sickle cell] doesn’t have you.” and, “Sometimes the student becomes the teacher, other times the teacher is the student.”
I feel our paths were intertwined because God knew there will be days where I need to see strength and there will be days where Isaiah will need to feel and/or hear it.
Strength, resilience, and persistence are the reasons I was chosen to walk this journey with him.
What is your biggest hope for your child?
I need for my son to know that the only limitations he will face in life are the ones he chooses to accept, or the ones he places on himself.
Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do ALL things….” not some but ALL things. I hope that I have instilled enough wisdom thus far in his life that IF tomorrow I had to go, he would know he has already been equipped with all he needs to succeed in life. My hope for him is to learn to lead life in spirit and less of ego. To lead!
I remember when I was pregnant going for an ultrasound. The Sonographer said to me, “Oh my, he’s going to be a soccer player!” I smiled and said to her, “No ma’am! My baby is going to dance. This is my million dollar baby.” My little guy was a huge fan of Michael Jackson. He hasn’t danced much since his second hip surgery; not much at least. My hope for him is to dance like David danced!
Limitations are nothing more than hurdles set out to intimidate the desiring heart. I hope to God Isaiah knows his dreams have no limits. If it was set in his heart to do it – and it is not harming anyone intentionally, then reach for the stars and find the galaxy of your dreams! This is my heart’s desire and truest hope for him.
I am all the more grateful for the women (like Alicia) who have chosen to join me on this journey of transparency and support – ESPECIALLY in addition to the life adjustments and loads we are all experiencing in the midst of COVID-19! I can’t thank you enough.
Connection and support are vital to our growth and survival as humans and as Women. I have met many Mothers (myself included at one point) who are going through the trenches and carrying loads solo. This has often led to depression, loneliness, isolation, and such guilt and shame in “not measuring up”.
My prayer is that the women who lay eyes on “Our Life in Words”, will be encouraged, enlightened, and all the more hopeful.
For the Moms,
This series is for the Moms! In honor of Mothers, this May will be chock-full of real stories of Motherhood from Moms of all ages, in all stages. Join me as I feature different Moms (on a weekly basis) who will so graciously be sharing their life in words.
If you missed the previous feature, catch it here! Stay tuned for more stories of triumph, valleys, faith.