I remember it clear as day. I sat in an uncomfortable chair with shaking hands over my crossed legs. My right foot nervously tapped up and down. My heart was pounding as I held my jaw tight, unknowing what would be unleashed on me that day. I faced her as she looked at me with disappointment across her face. Prepared with rumors my co-workers had said about me, she formed a biased opinion that I didn’t have what it takes to be part of the team. Decisively, she drew the dagger and said, “you wouldn’t know because you’re not a mother.”
If words can kill, that’s what destroyed me.
It was an insensitive thing to say. What if I was struggling to conceive? What if I had a broken relationship with my own mother? Or what if that’s all I ever wanted to become? I hoped to become a mother one day but hearing that statement made it feel unattainable. If I wasn’t good enough on my own as a single woman, how could I ever become a mother?
As I sat there, I began to realize that I was fighting a losing battle. This was a place where I once enjoyed working at but suddenly turned grim. I thought my superiors were supposed to guide me in the direction of success. The only direction I felt them guiding me to was the exit. I tried to keep my head up, but I was mentally exhausted and physically weak. I felt trapped in this toxic and suffocating environment. I barely had anyone to lean on, and I didn’t think anyone cared about me. I believed that if I was gone, no one would notice. If I removed myself from the world, everything would be better.
That would be the solution to my problems.
I would dwell in my thoughts about the possibility of becoming a mother. Why would I bring a child into this cruel world? My dreams of having a child slowly dwindled, and the thoughts of how I could make my problems disappear consumed me, and I fell deep into depression. I refused to talk to family and friends because I didn’t want them to know I was struggling. I rarely left my home and preferred the comfort of my bed. I would cry before leaving to work and wait until the last minute until I had to walk in. It was as if I was wearing a “kick me” sign everywhere I went, but no matter what, I still landed back in the manager’s office. I prayed for something to give me a reason to live or sign that everything would be ok. It was as if all the color in my world faded away, and I was living in black.
Right when I felt like giving up, some color began seeping its way back in when I was offered a job elsewhere. I found a workplace with a family-like environment and a manager who supported and encouraged me. I handed in my notice and never looked back. It’s when I started feeling like I had hope again. I realized that if I was being criticized for everything I was doing and not being acknowledged for any of the hard work I put in, why should I waste my time somewhere that I am not appreciated?
I put my plans aside and started living again.
A couple of years later, I became a mom, and it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’ll be honest. Those words still haunt me. Was I good enough back then? Yes, I was. But was I given a fair chance? I don’t know so. It is truly amazing how words can affect the way we live and the way we see ourselves. I find myself doubting if I’m cut out for motherhood, but then I see where I am today compared to where I used to be. I’m surrounded by people who love me and care about me. Most of all, I have people who want to see me do better and be better with their support and encouragement. Sure, I have bad days, but then I look into my child’s eyes and think, it’s not that bad. To think that I wanted to wish this life away is unimaginable because I believe I was put on this earth to be a mom. Words have power, and sometimes they can kill. I’m glad it killed a chapter of my life and not me.