For some today is May 2. For me today is what I call “heartbeat day.” 18 years ago I was single, pregnant, in a toxic relationship, struggling with substance abuse, low self-esteem and worthiness. I was living in an apartment I was ashamed of because it was all I could afford. I desperately wanted to change the direction of my life, but was struggling to figure out how. I woke up on May 2, 2003 feeling shame, regret, guilt, hopelessness and grief. I had spent the night before abusing substances despite the fact that I was pregnant. I didn’t feel pregnant at the time. I wasn’t nauseous or tired. My stomach was still flat and the only indication I had that I was pregnant was the fact that my breasts were swollen and tender. Oh! And I had taken a pregnancy test back in February of that year that had said so.
I remember calling my mom that day to tell her that I needed help and had used drugs and alcohol the night before and didn’t know what to do. I was worried that I had hurt the baby and thought that I was never going to be able to break free from the throws of addiction. We called the doctor and told the doctor the situation and we were able to get an appointment that day. Little did I know that this event would be the single most important event of my life.
I remember entering the office and feeling so much shame and embarrassment for the situation I found myself in. After many questions, the doctor put the jelly on my tummy and touched the sonar wand to my stomach and I began to hear it. “Thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump…..” Tears began to stream down my cheeks and something inside of me changed that moment. There was a tiny baby growing inside me. I could no longer deny it. I had heard the heartbeat and I was now responsible for someone other than myself. God knew this was just what I needed.
I walked out of the doctor’s office that day with a new purpose. I didn’t know how or where I was headed, but I knew that from that day forward I would be sober and make the changes necessary to bring this baby into the world with the best possible chance of thriving. The sound of that tiny heartbeat had changed me forever. There was no going back. I wanted more for myself and more for the tiny human I was growing. What is so amazing to me now, is that this “awful” situation would end up being the propelling force for my life. Becoming a mother was and still is my greatest gift.
18 years later I am still sober and have totally transformed my life. I have a life now that I didn’t know was possible because of my earlier decisions and circumstances. I am working on the shame. I used to live in regret but that is fading too. One thing is for sure. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. God knew what he was doing when he sent Jared to me. I will be forever grateful for the trust he had in me and the strength that I found in my Savior, Jesus Christ. I would not be the woman I am today without my faith in and love of my Savior. For any of you that are struggling, there is always hope. There is always a way out of your current situation. I am living proof of this.