Do you know what it feels like to give birth to a child and never hear him cry? Or be discharged from a maternity unit with a memory box in place of the baby just delivered? I know what this feels like because this is how my journey to motherhood began. Having gone through these heartbreaking experiences, I still cannot find the words to articulate accurately or encompass the magnitude of my pain. 

My Journey To Motherhood

At nine months pregnant, I went to my last OBGYN appointment and looked forward to meeting my baby boy the following week. Instead of hearing his heartbeat, I listened to the words, “Your baby doesn’t have a heartbeat.” I was devastated, numb, and confused. Devastated that I would never know the child I was carrying. Confused about how God allowed this to happen to me and numb trying to process this entire experience without a point of reference. 

How was I supposed to give birth to a lifeless child, express milk from breasts prepared to nourish that child, and be productive in any capacity? My entire life came crashing down. The pain worsened when I sat at a funeral home, making arrangements to hold a memorial to remember my child, whom I knew solely by his movements inside my belly. 

Thankfully, I had family and my child’s father to go through that process with me. At the age of 20, I had not lived enough life nor gained enough knowledge to help me process any of this. My limited understanding of God could not help me grasp how a perfectly healthy pregnancy suddenly turned tragic. I questioned how my motherhood journey could end in the blink of an eye. I questioned everything I knew about God. 

Loss, life and faith on my journey to motherhood.

But My Journey Was Not Over

After going through one of the most traumatic experiences in my life, I thought I would never be a mother. However, about a year later, I discovered I was pregnant again. I was a nervous wreck throughout my second pregnancy because I constantly feared losing another child. In those moments, I prayed to God, asking for strength. As my baby grew inside me, I grew closer to God and further away from my child’s father. I made the difficult decision to end our relationship. There were unaddressed issues and feelings regarding the loss of our first son. Those issues ultimately produced an extremely unhealthy environment. 

Once I decided to leave, I refused to go back. During this transition, I became even more determined to carry this child to term and hear him cry as time went on. I came to terms with the fact that I would be a single mother, which was extremely hard. I never imagined in a thousand years that “single mother” would describe me. Through my relationship with God, I began to accept this new reality. The more I turned to God, the more His Word reassured me that I could overcome anything. I finally faced the emotions connected to the loss of my first son. 

I found peace, joy, and an irreplaceable and undeniable faith. I no longer needed to hold on to those feelings but rather give them to God.

My mom is superior. Kenise Batts motherhood journey.

I continue to grow as a mother and woman through God’s guidance. Through all that I experienced, I learned that your life’s work and dreams don’t stop once you have your child. They’re simply redefined. My dreams, goals, and aspirations didn’t die because things didn’t work out the way I planned. They just grew in a different direction. 

As A Single Mother…

I expanded. I obtained Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees, volunteered at the Allegheny County Jail, and served as an administrator at my church. 

Over the years, I made countless mistakes and sometimes fell short of the mark. But I always get up. I keep going and never give up. Every experience is a lesson learned, whether good or bad. Through it all, I always remind myself that what God has for me will come to pass. As I continue this journey through motherhood and life, I lean on my faith and remember that “I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

*Read more Personal Essays in the series.