Melissa's Story

Hi! I am Melissa and I have four beautiful children ages 2-7, who are my whole life. Being a mom has always been something that I dreamed about and I am grateful every day that I have been blessed with these amazing children who I get to raise and love.
My motherhood journey has been very different than what I had always pictured. We had a hard time getting pregnant with our first which was very hard for me. I felt like I was failing at the one thing in my life that I felt I was meant to do.  I learned a lot about myself in our journey to become parents. Our first daughter was born with a genetic condition called Oculocutaneous Albinism, which is a condition where she lacks pigment in her hair and eyes. This condition also greatly affects her vision and she has been diagnosed as legally blind, even with corrective lenses. When she was born I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude that it did take us a while to become pregnant so I could learn and grow as a person. If I had not done that I don’t believe that I would have been able to be the mom that she needed me to be.
                 
We had three more children and they have all been born with the same genetic condition. Over the last 7 years our whole family has gone through a lot of growth and learning. Being a mom is such a powerful role that I do my best to embrace each day. There are times when I get wrapped up in the idea that we as moms need to be able to do it all, and it can be pretty disheartening. I often feel like I am falling short at many things in my life. During times like this I always have to remind myself that I am enough. I may not be good cook, I usually have a cluttered house, I can’t take good pictures, and I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, but I am pretty good at being a mom to my kids. I am good at laughing with my kids, dancing with my kids, and loving my kids.
                 
My greatest hope in life is to be able to raise my kids to be confident and know that they are enough. Because of their condition, my children will miss out on a lot of things in life. They will never be able to drive. They have never been able to see a rainbow in the sky or an airplane flying over their heads. They have a hard time recognizing the faces of their friends, and they will always have to have special accommodations made for them at school. In short, they will always be and have to experience things differently than those around them. I strongly believe that this doesn’t mean that their life will be any less important or special than anyone else’s. The best things that I can do for them as their mother, are to first, make them feel safe and loved in our home, and second, to model the attitude that it is ok to be different. I don’t need to fit the mold of what society thinks a perfect mother is. I don’t need my life to look like the picture-perfect lives that people can easily portray in the squares on Instagram. What I need to be is a strong, positive, loving presence in their lives.
                 
I know that my children will make a bigger impact on my life than I will make on theirs, but I want the impact that I make on their life to be a positive one. At the end of the day, I want them to know that they are special, that they are loved, and that they are enough. I want them to be able to look at themselves in the mirror and love themselves. I want them to think of me and remember me playing with them, teaching them, and loving them. I don’t want them to remember me trying to look and be perfect, because that isn’t what life is about.
                 
Motherhood is a beautiful blessing. Motherhood means something different to everyone which is why it looks different to everyone as well. If I want to teach my kids that they are loved and that they are enough, I need to teach myself first.
I am grateful every day for the chance that I have to be a mom to my kids. They are beautiful, they are special, and they are loved, and even though I have to remind myself sometimes, so am I.

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