As much as I would like to forget, I can still hear that haunting statement from my past, “We’re through! I am moving on with someone else because I don’t want you anymore. My friend from out of town will come to stay with me, so you got to go.” And just like that, my ten-year relationship crumbled right before my eyes. Our daughter wasn’t even two-years-old yet, and my long-term boyfriend cast me aside like a used dish towel. How did this happen? Why did this happen? When did he even find time to meet someone else? I thought I was enough. Why was I blind to the fact that he did not want us anymore? Those were the questions that I asked myself as a twenty-nine-year-old new mother who needed to pick up the broken pieces of her life.

I Wondered If I Ever Loved Him…

Or did I love the idea of him? I did at first. He was so nice, and we enjoyed our time together until he changed. The more he changed, the more I held on to who he once was and hoped he would revert to that person. I believed that one day he would love me as I loved him, which allowed me to fall further into a hole I didn’t even realize I was in until it was too late.

After we broke up, I spent the next five years digging a deeper hole. Asking myself, “Why wasn’t I good enough for him?” “I can’t do this alone” or “I need him!”

I Was Enough All Along personal essay by Natasha TullI Didn’t Want To Be A Single Parent

I did not want to return to the relationship, but I did not want to be a single parent. Growing up in a single-parent home, I hated how my mom handed my brother and me over to my grandmother. Most of the time, my grandmother acted like we weren’t even there. Well, until she needed us to do something for her. Years later, I realized she treated us this way because she never learned to love. Neither did my mother.

I also hated being a single parent because my child’s father–I still struggle to say his name without sounding bitter–also grew up without his biological father. Not understanding why he wanted his child to experience that pain. I never liked that life for my child, no matter what, even if it cost me my sanity. I dreamed of the “perfect” family. When that dream didn’t come true, I felt broken and unloved.

My Daughter Showed Me I Was Enough

Then one day, I saw my reflection in my daughter’s eyes. I realized I was enough. In fact, I was more than enough! My daughter is my true living testament to my struggles and triumphs. She loved me unconditionally through the ups and downs, especially in her early years. Through her eyes, words, hugs, cuddles, and kisses, I started to see myself as enough.

I was strong, funny, loving, helpful, kind, wise, and cool.

She was the yin to my yang. This revelation gave me the strength to push past pain. I no longer looked back at the past. Instead, I focused on the future and decided to be happy with the life that God blessed me with. Once I accepted the possibilities of life on my own, I cherished the bond she and I shared. Then I started understanding my great responsibility of shaping this young, malleable mind. I also moved on in my relationships. I now have someone who shows my baby what a family feels like. He’s there for the ups, downs, wins, and losses. And most importantly, I am living in the present. Present for precious moments and stability when she needs me the most.

I am proud of the progress that I made in my life. I am grateful to God; all the positive influences shaped me into the woman I am today.

Read more of our Personal Essay series.