By Katie Taylor
Special to the AFRO

I’ll never forget riding the bus home scared because I had to confront my mother with news of my pregnancy. I had found out my fate earlier during the school day. I was 18, in high school at one of the most prestigious arts schools in the country, the Duke Ellington School of Arts, and was just starting my senior year. Thankfully, I was surrounded by my friends, but I still didn’t know what to do.

Katie Taylor and her daughter, Hunter, 10. (Courtesy Photo)

I cried a lot, like a lot. I didn’t want to be pregnant, and I was scared. I contemplated the termination of my pregnancy and even adoption. I was so lost and afraid, I just prayed that God would take it away. Alas, God did not, and I held my pregnancy to term and gave birth to a healthy baby girl two weeks shy of turning 19. Thankfully, I made it to prom and across the stage to get my diploma first!  

Within the first year of being home with the baby, her father and I split up and I had been diagnosed with Postpartum Depression (PPD). Bonding with my daughter quickly became difficult, I felt like I was losing interest in being a mother. I was angry all the time, I wasn’t really around at night. I would fight with myself to hold back tears daily. I didn’t want to get out of bed most days. Having to put on a fake smile on day after day takes its toll after a while. I messed up a lot, but one thing I knew is that I still had love in my heart for my daughter. 

It is that love that continues to get me through the darkness. I can’t be a good parent if I don’t love myself or if I’m not happy. I have spent the better part of the last 10 years growing up alongside her. Learning how to love myself and teaching her to love herself. Learning to ask for help when I need it, and how to be independent all while still needing my own mom. 

I have learned so much about motherhood, from becoming a resident chef, teacher and doctor to learning how a kiss can take pain away to helping a young, Black woman learn to accept her changing body. However, most importantly, I have learned to never give up.