At the age of 17, I learned I was expecting. I was so scared and I could not bear the disappointment on my own mother’s face, but the little person inside of me had already given me so much courage. I was ready to stand up for my choices and be a mother. At three months, I knew I was ready to accept this gift from above!

The baby-daddy, like many others, had already cut his losses and wanted nothing to do with the little person inside of me. Funnily enough, I still had the strength to know that I could do this on my own through family support. My mother and sister were my strength; whereas the little person inside me gave me a new perspective. She was not the end of my life or future, but she was the beginning of a new one.

Months passed and I could hardly wait for her delivery. The time came as I was still going on so strong. It was on the 13th December that she was born around 10pm. Unlike any normal baby, she was delivered but unfortunately not breathing. Immediately there were a lot of people in my room all around her, trying to get her to breathe, but she did not! As I was still panicking, she was taken away, straight to ICU. I have never been so scared. The thought of losing my baby was nerve-wracking! Days passed and there was no diagnosis of what was wrong with her.

I was being referred for counseling should anything happened to her, but NO! I refused to give up on her. I prayed so hard. I talked to my God as if he was a friend. I told him he could not take my girl. He’s an amazing God. He heard me and my baby got better and came out of ICU. On the 13th August, I held her for the first time in my arms. It was amazing; a feeling I’ve never felt before. I fell in love with this little being. He never failed me; I saw His amazing grace when my baby got better and was discharged.

Now the big journey began. I knew I could do this as a single young mom with the amazing support of my family and friends. Oh, God knows I have the most beautiful baby in this universe. Everybody fell in love with her beauty. Her exquisite smile is out of this world. Months passed to a year but now one weird thing was happening: She was not saying one word, or even trying her first steps.

I refused to take it seriously because I always had hope that she would surprise me and I would hear “Mama” or even see her taking her first steps but I came to realize that it was past the stage and she could not talk or make out even one word. Those little sounds she makes still give me hope that one day she will talk. As fear knocked on my heart, I took her to a doctor who also thought she was way behind with her milestones. She was referred to physiotherapists, a speech therapist and a CT scan which revealed that a part of her brain was damaged when she was born and went into ICU. It was the biggest shock of my life, but they promised me she would be okay.

Every day I pray. I questioned God about why he would give me such a beautiful baby that could not walk or talk. I cried myself to sleep most nights, wondering if maybe I was being punished for something, but why would God make her suffer for my sins? It tore my heart to shreds every day when people saw her on Facebook and they would comment that surely now she’s walking and talking; and I knew she was not.

I was not embarrassed by my baby, but I was just not ready to face pity and answer too many questions. I realized that I had been so focused on my own feelings and not giving my baby the love she needed; accepting her for who she may be forever. All I do is hustle hard, pray hard and hope that I get a job so I can take good care of her as I continue my studies. I still want to be the best female advocate in the country. I’ve learned to accept the work of having to take care of this heaven-sent angel, because I love her!