Olivyah Bowens, a 23-year-old mom and doula from Puerto Rico, loves her 2-year-old daughter, Ozara, more than anything. As a woman who takes her role as a mother very seriously, she decided to open up about the challenges that come with having an unplanned pregnancy in a now-viral Instagram post — and her experience is extremely eye-opening.
"No one teaches you how to love a child you didn't plan to have," she wrote. "No one shows you how to traverse the emotional complexity of loving a child you weren't happy about being pregnant with. It's even more difficult at those times when they're having tantrums and pushing you to a point of emotional exhaustion. It's confusing."
She admits that breaking the news to her family was an emotional gauntlet that was hard to navigate. It's poignent and thought-provoking.
"When the same people who told you that you pretty much ruined your life are smiling ear to ear at your baby shower a few months later," she said. "It's hard. Looking at a beautiful baby and being bogged down by the thoughts of how you will take care of them and how much life will change."
"I don't enjoy being a mother all the time, but this child has been the catalyst for major growth."
For Olivyah, having an unplanned pregnancy was an introspective experience. She admits that sometimes she can't help but see her own reflection in her daughter's eyes.
"To project the pain of your wounded inner child onto your baby. It is the lethal cycle of trauma," she confessed. "This stage of motherhood has forced me to look at my reflection in my daughter's eyes and realize that no I don't enjoy being a mother all the time, but this child has been the catalyst for major growth. She is the mirror that allows me to look into my past and see the fears still controlling me now."
But despite the fact that being a mom is undoubtedly hard, Olivyah admits that embarking on her parenthood journey has helped her heal emotionally.
"When we heal our deepest pains we are speaking to our ancestors across the space time illusion and holding a cross-generational conversation within our DNA that heals old wounds and rectifies long lost problems," she explained. "Motherhood hasn't just healed me it's healed the mother's that came before me."
Still, she has her hard days. After all, taking care of a child 24/7 isn't exactly for the faint of heart — just look at the photo. "The reality is I don't want to be a mother every day," said Olivyah. "I don't want to feel held back from chasing my dreams and goals. I don't want to be exhausted. But I KNOW this little girl has brought me face to face with things that would have otherwise been ignored in my bubble of childless freedom."
Olivyah left women who are going through a similar experience with a bit of advice that's worth jotting down.
"Dear mama who is going through an unplanned pregnancy, don't feel guilty, don't feel afraid, don't feel ashamed," she said. "That baby chose YOU to be its mothers at the perfect time. Surrender to the journey of unpredictability and let this new being show you a whole new part of yourself you didn't know was there."