"How To Love A Child You Didn't Plan To Have": Young Mother Splits Social Media With Her Controversial Experience

November 15, 2018

Not all children are planned. Many young women face their pregnancy completely unprepared for the reality of their situation. According to The Shriver Report, 50% of pregnancies in the US are unplanned, and 43% end in abortion. 

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But not all mothers are ready to disrupt their pregnancy, especially if they're living with a committed partner. However, even when you're in a supportive relationship, how do you accept the child you weren't planning to have, and, most importantly, learn how to love it?

Unprepared mother shares her story

Olivyah Bowens was 21 when she found out about her first pregnancy. At the time, she was with her boyfriend of 10 years, Toddrick​​​​, and although the couple always talked about wanting to have children, this wasn't the right time for them. Olivyah was a college student and not ready to sacrifice her ambitions to raise a child.

Despite her fears, Bowens decided to keep the baby and shortly after gave birth to beautiful baby girl Ozara. 

After dealing with her complicated feelings about unplanned motherhood and welcoming her second daughter with Toddrick, Olivyah wanted to share her experience, hoping it could help another young woman in a similar situation. Bowens posted her thoughts on her personal Instagram account, starting with the beginning of her journey:

No one teaches you how to love a child you didn't plan to have. 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.

Through ups and downs, Olivyah dealt with her role as a mother. But she had no idea she would learn a new truth about herself through this experience. Bowens revealed it's hard on her to this day, but she appreciates the lessons her little girl taught her:

The reality is I don't want to be a mother everyday. 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.

READ ALSO: Depression During A Pregnancy Is A Pretty Common Thing

Bowens finished her story with a message to women facing unexpected pregnancy and offered them words of solace and inspiration:

Dear mama, who is going through an unplanned pregnancy, don't feel guilty, don't feel afraid, don't feel ashamed. That baby chose YOU to be it's 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. 🦋

It came as a surprise to Olivyah when her post went viral. The response to her story overwhelmed the young mother, but, as she told PEOPLE, she wanted to help others by sharing her experience, so her goal was somewhat achieved:

I really thought, ‘Maybe this will help somebody’. I didn’t know what I was going through back when I had my first child. I didn’t know how to express it. So, I thought maybe there’s another mother who is experiencing this and she doesn’t know what it is.

Unfortunately, not all feedback was positive. Many people criticized Olivyah for unwillingly becoming a mother, as it can hurt her child in the future. Some mistook her for a single mother, despite Olivyah and Toddrick raising their two girls together. But Bowens stands by her words:

I was not expecting the amount of negative comments, … It wasn’t shocking because of what I said. It’s my truth.

At the end of the day, Olivyah accepts negativity and hopes there are people who can benefit from her experience:

I’m glad I went against my fear and posted it. I’ve learned that a message is gonna reach exactly who it needs to reach. When you’re putting something out on the Internet, everybody may not love it, or understand it. But even if it reaches one or two people, that’s still important. It’s helping those people.

What people said

Here are some comments left by social media users on Bowens' post, both negative and positive:

© herholisticpath / Instagram

Despite Olivyah's initial complicated feelings, we admire her for battling her doubts and stepping up to learn how to be a good mother to her daughter. We all know parenthood is hard, so is it worth it, criticizing people who try their hardest?

READ ALSO: How To Hide Pregnancy In Early Stages: Stylists’ Tips

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