“Be a woman other women can trust. Have the courage to tell another woman direct when she has offended, hurt or disappointed you. Successful women have a tribe of loyal and honest women behind them. Not haters. Not backstabbers or women who whisper behind their back. Be a woman who lifts other women.”
-Sophia A. Nelson
I had a long few years, like 22 of them. Some of that is my fault, some a series of unfortunate events or circumstances out of my control. The past two years have also been long, but magic. I’m happy in my life right now, and I don’t think it’ll go away anytime soon. I’ve learned the true meaning of love. I’ve learned what it means to work hard and go after your dreams. I’ve learned how to take better care of myself, mentally and emotionally. I’ve learned that the only one in charge of my life, is me.
And some really amazing women taught me all that.
We don’t always have a positive influence or role models in our lives. But over the past couple years some really very special women have come into my life and taught me more than I thought there was to learn! They continue to amaze me every day. This post, is to talk about those women, their influence on my life, and to show them the love they so deserve.
Laney Sweet. I met Laney about a year ago. We met on a surrogate group and hit it off right away. She was my mirror, my long lost sister. She loved everything birth. A doula. A surrogate. A young mother. A wife. It was a perfect fit. I have enjoyed so many conversations with her about all aspects of life. There have been many days when I called her and she kept me sane, helped me work through a problem, encouraged me. Laney has always been encouraging in my journey to become a doula. Helping me find my place in the birth community. Overall just being a great friend (and my own personal doula)! She invited me to the birth of her surrobabe (who was born this past Wednesday the 27th). As I watched Laneys life, and the life of her intended parents change, it changed mine too. Because of Laney allowing me to be there when that beautiful little girl was born, I have never been so sure in my life that I want/need/am destined to be a doula. Thank you Laney, for taking me under your wing. For always encouraging me and helping me find my way. You are a wonderful friend and I will always love you for all you have done.
Carla Morrow. The very first time I saw Carla, it was at a Tarrant County Birth Network workshop about the different types of midwives and the life of a midwife. Carla looked radiant, happy and full of life. I saw her once in awhile at the birthing center while I was there for appointments but it wasn’t until close to the end of my pregnancy when I actually sat down with her for the first time. I already knew so much about her. Her birthing center, her awesome midwife skills, countless people adore this woman. As many people before me (I’m sure) I felt instantly connected to this amazing women. As my pregnancy progressed I enjoyed her more and more. After one appointment she asked if I was a doula. I answered that I was not, but hoped very much to be one someday. She asked what I did for a living and I told her that I was a chef. She said I should come cater the birthing center, and I laughed it off. Carla was on call when I had June bug. She was awesome. She trusts birth, she trusts women. She was kind of in the background through a lot of my labor, but you could feel her there. I trusted her with my life. When June went home her comment on catering was singing in the back of my head. I’m letting the cat of the bag on this “new job” now. Carla was serious, and now I get to be a part of her wonderful team, this team of fierce and wonderful women. She believes in me. She trusts me. She is such an inspiration to me. She lets me know that it’s okay to struggle sometimes, and that the best people in your life come when you least expect it. Thank you Carla, for being a part of my village. For believing in me and helping me follow my dreams. You have forever touched my heart.
Brooke Moreland. Brooke is so much more than my Intended Mother. Our relationship has grown so much over the past few months. As I learned more and more about who she really is, I felt closer and closer to her. She has become not only a friend but family. Every time I call her with exciting news about my life, she shares in my joy. She continues to encourage me to go after my dreams. She understands my need for a career, to find my place in the world. Thank you Brooke, for making sure that my family was always taken care of while I helped you build yours, even when you didn’t have to. For encouraging me and trusting me and for just being there.
Stephanie Wright. I met Stephanie while seeking employment with her through the Marriott. Within minutes of speaking to her I had already embarrassed myself beyond belief. She hired me right away. I felt a connection to her. When I first started working, I thought she hated me. She pushed me unlike I had ever been pushed. She kicked my ass. Looking back I couldn’t be more grateful for that. She made me the Chef I am today. Without her I never would have been able to go home to say good-bye to my grandmother when she passed away. She fought for me. When I told her about my impending surrogacy she opened herself to me and shared her past with me. She listened to me cry when things got hard and always encouraged me not to give up. When I had personal problems she was there. When times got tough she was there. She gives the best advice and doesn’t bullshit me. I can literally talk to her about anything. She was there when I was depressed. She was there when I was happy. She was there to share my joy when June was born and took care of me after the fact. And even now, even though she thinks I’m crazy for riding that roller coaster again, she’s by my side until the end. I will never, ever be able to thank you enough. For being my best friend, for being my mentor, for being my heterosexual life partner. For always listening and always loving me no matter how crazy I am. For teaching me and encouraging me. For being understanding. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life and sharing in mine. I love you forever.
Emma Claire Kimball. Though she will probably never read this, Emma is the most important woman in my life. She is the reason I am who I am. She has given me the strength that I need every single day to be a better person. She reminds me of where I came from and where I want to go. She is the reason I work so hard, why I continue to push myself even when I want to give up. I am determined to give her a better life, a happier life. I want her to never question if she is loved. I want her to know that not once in my life have I regretted having that beautiful baby girl at 15. I will give her the life she deserves, the mother she deserves. She will never question her beauty or her worth. She will never want for anything. She is strong and beautiful and smart. She is my daughter. My whole world.
The point in all of this is, I wasn’t always the woman I am today. And tomorrow I will be different still. I am always learning, always growing. And at least in some part, it’s because of these women. They are all amazing. They are all teaching me and loving me.
They are my village.