Recently, I was reflecting on how long I have been single, and it dawned on me, I could have raised a child!
Honestly, I almost did.
Almost 11 years ago, my eldest sister died shortly after child birth and in the midst of our mourning the question was raised, “What do we do with this child?” It wasn’t just an important question, it was an urgent one. A baby needs a home, love, and family, and this child just lost all of that in one fell swoop.
There we were, in the saddest state I think we ever could have been in, and a child’s life was about to be decided by a bunch of emotionally compromised adults.
The decision: Shikisha will be his mother.
Their reasons ranged from my age to my seemingly unending love to how much I reminded them of my sister. My immediate emotion was fear, but my verbal response was that I will have to discuss this with my household.
A few months later when I was expecting to go and take this child home, my sister’s family informed us that they had given him up for adoption. Yes, all levels of anger replaced fear. However, there was also a great sigh of relief. I wasn’t ready to be a mom.
The prospect of being a parent sent a shock of realities through me. With all the comforts I had in life, I was completely incapable of taking care of myself. I was an uneducated, low-income earner, with limited options. My earnings at the time could barely handle lunch. My job had a nice title and I could randomly be seen on TV and was even quoted in the newspapers, but my financial status left much to be desired. I had, to that point, done nothing meaningful with my life. I had a stream of unfulfilled dreams, desires, and potential.
I was in my mid-20’s and a sorry excuse for an adult. By the definition of WHO, I wasn’t even qualified to be one.
This close call propelled me forward. It forced me to speak up more and to stop being silent to comfort those around me. It made me push for my own education, the formal kind that puts letters behind your name. It made me more aware of my own earning potential and more purposed in how I manage my finances. It made me look on my dreams as goals, and I started moving towards them. The idea of becoming a parent, pushed me right into adulthood.
My life would have been dramatically different had I become a mother that day, and yet, it changed because of the mere idea that I could have.