At 23 years old, I felt older and more mature than my peers because I was married and believed I had a career I would retire from. Looking back, I realize how naive I was! I mean really…23?! Twenty-three is not old in terms of life development, but in all my 23 years of infinite wisdom (sarcasm), I felt like I had a good handle on my life and the trajectory of it. I would even argue that I felt secure in what I thought would be my life’s path…of course, not the particulars or details, but I was pretty sure I knew where I was going. Being the planner I am, I had MORE than a 5 year plan, I had the next 10-15 years all mapped out; I’d climb the corporate ladder and secure the bag…obviously! After all, I’m a college-educated, ambitious, career-driven woman, and I was ready to conquer the world one cute shoe at a time!
Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, my life flipped upside down. A pee test that yielded a plus sign rocked my entire world. I was pregnant! Once that realization set in, I was engulfed with a flood of emotions. I thought, “THIS ISN’T IN THE PLAN! I’M NOT READY!” My eyes began to well up with tears and words escaped me. I was going to be a mother, but I felt unprepared and inadequate. I questioned if I had the capacity to love and teach a human being to be a good citizen in this world. Quite frankly, I wondered if I’d be good at motherhood. I was scared…better yet, I was terrified. And that’s who I’m dedicating this letter to…the young and tender, 23-year-old Melissa who was terrified, battling feelings of inadequacy and who felt overwhelmingly unprepared.