In 2015, I had gotten out of a terribly abusive relationship, things blew up with my family, and I just spiraled down a path of life temporarily that I’m not proud of. But notice how I said temporarily? That part of my past that I’m not proud of lasted about a month, then I met R. J.
When I met R. J., he saved me. He stopped me from making some terrible mistakes, he showed me what true love is supposed to look like, he helped me find myself again, he brought me back to Christ, he showed me what a healthy family should be like too, and a million other things! He saved me from following in the footsteps of most of my family members. God bringing R. J. into my life changed it for the better.
But when I became a mom to our 2 month old baby girl, Jemma; she woke me up. You see, though I’d been off of the path my family had created for sometime now, I still struggled with boundaries, with being naive about them, confidence, and a deep struggle with finding my true purpose in life. But that all changed the moment Jemma arrived into this word and I held her in my arms for the first time.
The moment they placed our little girl on my chest and I looked into her beautiful eyes, I just felt this overwhelming feeling of grace and love pour over me. I was no longer my own person… I was now a mom. Jemma needs me; she needs me to feed her, protect her, teach her, empower her, and love her.
When they placed her on my chest, she latched on her own within a couple of minutes. She’s been a champ at breastfeeding since the beginning. And with feeding her came confidence… confidence I didn’t know I had. I’m so thankful to be blessed with the ability to breastfeed my daughter. But with breastfeeding, there’s so many controversies. I mean it just recently became finally legal in all 50 states (it took a few last states to finally jump on the bandwagon), that breastfeeding moms will be protected and can’t be charged with crimes such as indecent exposure.
I exclusively breastfeed Jemma, that means I needed to become comfortable with feeding her in public , I do use a cover just for my own personal preference. This meant a feud began with my own father on social media about breastfeeding in public. A feud in which I needed to stand my ground and remain confident in my stance that I will not put anything before feeding my child.
That means if it’s a very hot summer day and my child is fussy with having a cover over her head while eating, guess what? I’ll take it off. She needs to eat. Before Jemma, I hated confrontation (still do), and would of just avoided the argument as a whole. Now, if someone chooses to challenge me on a stance of mine, I’ll challenge back. I’m respectful of others opinions, don’t get me wrong. But I won’t cower about mine.
Becoming a mom also meant knowing that I now need to protect this tiny human of mine. So, I quickly became better with boundaries. Being someone who comes from a very toxic, alcohol and drug ridden, manipulative family…putting up boundaries have always been difficult because I was always made to feel guilty since they were, ya know… family?
But to me now, blood just makes you related. Love makes you family. A family full of manipulation and abuse is not a family. My family now is my husband, my daughter, my in-laws, my church, and a few close friends. All of these individuals show unconditional love and respect. These beautiful people are my family.
I don’t want my daughter exposed to the toxic relationships that are my “related” family. Therefore, boundaries were created. I will not take her around certain individuals because of needing to protect her, and now I don’t even feel guilty anymore. Now I feel proud and I find comfort in knowing she won’t be exposed to the kind of life I grew up in and instead grow up with two parents who love her endlessly.
The next realization that hit me as I was holding my 8lb life changing miracle was my purpose in life. I’m meant to be a mom. Don’t get me wrong, my passion is educating and empowering individuals to use natural solutions, and also being a victim’s advocate, but being a mom is the #1 thing I was called to be.
I love every single second of being this little girl’s mom. Granted, I hate that every second is flying by so fast! But even through fighting postpartum depression, Jemma is my light in the dark tunnel. She’s the anchor keeping me in place. She’s my motivation for pursuing and pushing even harder for my dreams because how can I ever hope to teach her to do so if I don’t do it myself? She’s my reason for becoming fearless because I pray she lives a fearless life. She’s also the reason I’ve changed my mind on waiting so long for the second baby because now I’m totally okay if my husband and I get pregnant again sooner because being a mom is the best thing in the world!
My husband saved my life…Jemma woke me up. R. J. and Jemma are the two most important people in my life and I never want to fail them. I’m beyond excited for our future and for R. J. and I to hopefully welcome more little ones into the world. And because tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I’m just so thankful to God for blessing me with the most wonderful husband and our beautiful child.
-Jill Hughes 11/27/19