The title is a statement, and it is so true. It comes in many shapes and sizes, but today I want it to speak to every single mother out there. Just because you are divorced, a teen mother, or life just happened, and you ended up with a dead-bit dad, I want to remind you to forgive, love and value yourself.
I have a story for you; about a lovely lady, let’s call her Ndira. Seventeen years ago, at age 15, Ndira became a mom to her firstborn. Life hadn’t even begun, and options when life took a turn. She had to become responsible for another beautiful soul. Well, she is good at that! She went back to school and got an education straight through university and a job before graduating. As a Christian believer, she knew that God would always channel blessings for the little one through her. Amen and Amen.
Full of faith and determination, she continued to land job after job, which, unknown to her, led to her purpose in life.
And as she was aspiring to be the “fresh product out of Africa’s Strong women’s magazine, as Caroline Numuhire puts it in her article- The Art of Selflessly Loving Yourself- It was time to think of a family and baby number two.
Here is where the story began!
In matters of relationship, Ndira stopped seeing herself as the Psalm 139:14 type of girl who “praises thee,” for she is “fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works;” and that her soul “knoweth right well.” She instead identified herself with socially known flaws- a single mom, a teen mom! Who would want baby dad dramas? Who would want a used product with evidence of disgrace/a sinful affair?
Not having stopped stigmatizing herself, she thought a deserving relationship would come from someone who also possesses some past that would equalize her flaws. Ideas floating were maybe a mature widower, an awesome divorced dude who was previously married to a woman who did not know his value, or someone with a child to match her story. The universe picked the signal, and it later happened. A youthful divorcee with a child seemed right; he was a church-going, daddy-material, attentive, and very honest- that is honest when someone tells you the truth about them, and you tend not even to her as their eyes sparkle innocence.
When the first wife, referred to as a materialistic wife, reached out to warn her about the trouble Ndira was subscribing to, the quick response was a block! The heavy, go back to satan type of block. Of course, one year in Ndira knew she got herself in a big scam with a lovely second bundle of joy.
With the bundle of joy almost clocking five years old, Ndira spent the last four years reflecting and analyzing if she was bewitched, if she was up straight unlucky or too dumb to make those bold consequential decisions. These years of soul searching made her realize that she failed to forgive herself. She was unable to value herself, and instead of moving on and believing that she deserved the best, she continuously lowered the standards and embraced the image that self-stigma had been cooking in her mind.
Ndira represents many African women who are considered disgraceful and less virtuous. This goes beyond the external perception, and it becomes a silent ingredient in forming our inner perception. It starts by forgiving yourself and seeking the necessary support to overcome the inner thought that bound you to your past tests and mess. Just turn the trials into testimonies and mess into messages and trust that you deserve the best and nothing less.
Don’t use your past wrong as an excuse to do another wrong in your life, as two wrongs will not make it right.
*By Guest Blogger: Carolyn Kandusi