Laura, Dumfries VA (2/4)
"Five days after having given birth to my first daughter, I had to resume classes. I was trying to make this my last semester so I was taking 22 credits. I remember the registrar telling me it was madness to do 22 credits with a newborn, and I was like ‘Watch me.’ So we did it. My mom helped, my sisters helped. It was insane, but we made it happen. I graduated, started working and then… to add injury to insult in all the people who had supported me… Three years later, I got pregnant again. Out of wedlock. It was very hard for a lot of people. It was difficult personally because for 20 weeks they thought I was having a miscarriage. I didn’t feel safe to bond with her emotionally because you feel you’re going to lose her. Every month I would go for my sonogram, waiting to hear the baby wasn’t there anymore, but she was always there. Always. I was still involved with her father when she was born and he asked if he could move in with us after the birth. I don’t think it was for the right reasons, but you know, you’re full of hormones, you want to bond, to be a family… So we moved. But a week after he raised his hand to volunteer to go to Afghanistan. He deployed for 7 months. After he left, it was just my two daughters and me. Again, not ideal. And again, it felt like surviving."