When I started writing my first book, Life After Birth: A Memoir of Survival and Success as a Teenage Mother, I just wanted to tell my story. Mainly, I wanted to encourage every teen mother not to give up herself, not to quit high school and show her that she could have everything she could dream of for her life. And for her child.
I also wanted to show girls how easy it is to get pregnant and how to avoid getting into the situation I was in when my son’s father forced himself on me. And moments later, his semen was inside of me even though I never felt penetration. Yeah, that happened, and I became a mother. I did tell that though. Not until I found out I was pregnant. And even then, I didn’t really talk about it. I just went on with my life. I think no one really knew anything other than that to do.
But when I did tell my story, I was scared, much like I felt when “it” happened. Much like I felt when I found out I was pregnant. Much like I felt giving birth and for so many day and years as I raised my son alone.
I also felt free. My secret was out. I was no longer hiding. My truth and my feelings were exposed and released. I cried as wrote my book. A lot. I laughed a lot too. As I wrote, I revealed every detail that I could remember. Every experience in my journey and how I overcame many obstacles including teen pregnancy and single motherhood.
But I did it. I told my story. The local news shared my story.
Then national and international networks featured my story.
What I heard over and over again was that people, girl and boys, men and women, were learning from my open and honest book and my roller coaster life. I began speaking in schools and colleges. And it felt AMAZING to be sharing my story to impact theirs.
I won some amazing awards.
Then I quit my job. My amazing corporate job.
I had found my purpose. My calling. The reason for the painful lessons I had learned. I started a speaking business and a nonprofit. And my new journey began. The next chapter of my story.
Is it time for you to tell your story too?