Not all of us enter motherhood as women. Maybe you became a mom during your teen or college years. Maybe your career was unestablished, you had a boyfriend, your life still had a big question mark in front of it with endless possibilities ahead of you. Then within an instant that positive pregnancy test changed your world. While it seemed like everyone around you was moving forward, you found yourself struggling to survive. You stopped dreaming, hoping, and having fun. You started withering away. You still hadn’t discovered who you were, and now you wondered who you could’ve been.
Sometimes life throws you a tough nail. I would know—I’ve experienced it. Over and over again… I’ve been that young mother who wasn’t ready. I know what it’s like to feel down in the dumps, but those tough times are really your silver lining. At least, that’s how it’s been in my experience. This is my story.
I was 19 when I became pregnant and 20 when I gave birth. I didn’t plan on being a mother at 20, and when I became pregnant, I didn’t feel like I let go of all my hopes and dreams—I felt like they were torn away from me. So I guess you can say that I had expectations for my child to fulfill everything I was not able to. I pictured a golden child—a child who would glow, be an athlete and a scholar, and would live with me forever. That image was totally unrealistic and was totally something an inexperienced person would dream up for their child, but I held onto those dreams because they were what I had left at that point.
When my son ended up having health and developmental issues, all those dreams for him were suddenly squashed. But that experience made me reflect on my own dreams. At one point I had a moment where I thought, “Wait, do I have dreams for myself anymore??” At 22, I had 2 boys, was broke, and was on my way to working at Hooters. My life was NOT at all where I had expected it to be. To be honest, I felt sorry for myself. It was hard not to envy other women—mothers who seemingly “had it together” and made the whole mom thing look easy. It felt like no matter what I did, I kept getting the short end of the stick.
I lived in a constant state of stress, fear, and doubt. I felt so lost, and the frustration of wanting just ONE thing to be easy was unbearable. But sometimes in those moments of darkness, I saw things so clearly. Sometimes motherhood is the beginning of a journey of becoming who you are—someone you never knew you could be. Motherhood is a journey of self-discovery and self-awareness during the most selfless moments of your existence.
My biggest moment was at the park one day with my older son. There was a group of kids and they asked me why my son wasn’t able to talk “normal” and why he was so scared of the wind. It was in that moment (after going to the car and letting out a good cry) that I said NO MORE. It was time to become a woman, an advocate, a protector, a guide—it was time to be strong for my son.
I knew in that moment that everything would be okay no matter what. And guess what? It is! That boy who could’ve been labeled “autistic” is a happy, healthy, growing, homeschooled, nature-loving gentleman today. I go hiking with both of my sons, and our shared moments outdoors at the beach have been some of the most memorable and empowering moments for me. The moments I have been truly able to discover myself have been spent outside sitting on a rock. In fact, one of those moments was even spent breastfeeding my younger baby under a tree while my older son ran around with a poopy diaper.
In the outdoors, all of my demons have been revealed and all of my patience has been tested. In nature, I am naked, pure—my soul exposed. I can hide nothing. I am simply myself, and I am learning to love this person I’ve discovered.
I have found myself in nature, and I believe that others can do the same when they’re lost like I was. The only way to clear your mind of your own polluted thoughts is to cleanse it—renew, rejuvenate, and restore it with a fresh perspective. In the world we live in today, no amount of filters, followers, or friends can do that for you. I have had people doubt me, laugh at my dreams, and purposely put me down. Nature has been my prescription to all those situations. It takes being unplugged and getting away from the hustle and bustle to reflect on life.
Now, I get it: we all know how difficult it can be to create time for yourself, especially if you don’t have childcare or a partner to help you. But getting outdoors with your little one is a way to bond, create intimacy, and find a tribe of others to enjoy the journey with. You are NOT alone, mama, and, remember: it takes a village to keep the chief sane!
You don’t always have to climb mountains to gain clarity but the fact that you CAN climb them is something every girl needs to understand. It may happen on Mt. Everest or at the playground, but being outdoors can help you grow into the woman you are meant to be.
But most importantly, getting outside and embracing adventure gives you the chance to see what you’re capable of and just how strong you truly are. That’s how it happened for me. I was a girl on a mission to find direction, and I did. So take a page out of my book—be a girl on a mission.
The girl on a mission is a force to be reckoned with. She’s a fighter. She’s a warrior. She’s an ambassador. She turns her breakdowns into breakthroughs. She is a MOM! No mission is impossible for her.
Are you a girl on a mission? Are you still trying to figure out who you are? It doesn’t matter what age you are because we all have room to grow. We all have moments of feeling lost and losing sight of our dreams. That’s why it’s so important to allow yourself to dream big. Constantly cleanse your thoughts and refill your mind with good and positive things. Discover the beauty of simplicity. Stop searching and start unplugging. Stop doing and start being.
Nature allows you to do that.
The outdoors is a sanctuary for deep thoughts and meditation. It can allow you to bond with your children and discover positive ways to create the life you desire, making the impossible possible. The outdoors can help you discover your mission! My hope is for ALL mothers, whether you’re 14 or 45, to continue to dream and to set an example for our future generation of children.
You can defy the odds. You are one in a million. You can climb that mountain. You can make it through the hardships that life throws at you. Sometimes you just need a little mountain magic, flower power, and dirty feet to help you along the way.
I am a wife and mama of two based in Southern California. I love to do anything that gets my body moving and have taught yoga and bootcamp classes in Los Angeles County over the past few years to give back to my community and get people on the path towards healthier lifestyles. I’ve also worked as a birth doula and placenta encapsulation specialist in Ventura and Los Angeles County for the past 6 years. My biggest passion is serving women in need and providing education and resources for expecting teen mamas. I am a board certified holistic nutritionist and health care practitioner, and my main focus is creating healthy lifestyle plans for families with an emphasis on natural remedies and nutrient dense foods. I love spending my time outdoors exploring trails, paddlboarding in the ocean, and taking road trips with my family. Sharing my passion for backpacking and adventuring with other mamas gives me a sense of purpose! Encouraging other women to leave their comfort zones, watching them grow, and believe in themselves makes my heart full. I hope to encourage every mama out there to pursue their passions and pave the way for their kiddos.