Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I’d be at war. Every day is a struggle. I am in a battlefield I march in and out off. I am a warrior now and I am stronger.

When I was younger my worries included school work, grades, friends, my relationship with my family, and how I looked. These used to be like titans ruling my life. Not being able to pass a project on time made me want to faint just thinking about how that could lead to a failing grade. A failing grade though, made me feel like it was the end of my world. These all seem so far away now. A very distant memory. And all of them feel so minuscule compared to what I face today.

The first time I became stronger was through a heartbreak. He was handsome. He was a gentleman. He made me smile. He made me feel special. He was everything. He was perfect. We were perfect. Or so I thought. We were together for almost 2 years and we were happy. Until one day, I see a picture of a newly-wed couple from a friend’s post. Guess who the groom was?

The second time I became stronger was through a loss. My grandmother was my inspiration. She was patient, strict, funny and most of all, selfless. I stayed outside the ICU every day she was in the hospital. I came in to see her every time they would allow the visitors in. I’d hold her hand even when she no longer spoke or moved. She was there fighting and I stayed beside her through her fight. The doctor told us that we can finally go home and rest because she was going to be OK and she will be transferred to a private room. God called her home when I was making my own way home.

The third time I became stronger was when I learned I was pregnant. I am the eldest and my family had lots of dreams and expectations that mostly fell on my shoulders. I was also the eldest female grandchild. When my family learned about my pregnancy, disappointment was the main reaction. Yes, my pregnancy is a blessing but it was something that was only accepted after some time. My aunts and uncles used to tell my cousins to be like me but all of a sudden there was a big EXCEPT – except the part where I become pregnant.

The fourth time I became stronger was when I gave birth. I have never felt pain until I gave birth. It was the most excruciating experience I have had to go through. I thought to be pregnant was already hard with all nausea, vomiting, weakness, and everything else that came with the hormones. It was also the scariest time of my life. No one else can give birth for me so even with all my doubts and fears, I had my baby.

The fifth time I became stronger was all the times I had to stand up for the decisions I chose for my baby. When everyone questioned me for babywearing, breastfeeding, and cloth diapering my baby. I had to be strong when everyone made assumptions that I was being “a cheap parent” and “not treating my child right.” Everyone seemed to know what was good for my child BUT me and I was the mother. When someone questioned my parenting style, made a rude comment about my child, or hurt my child, I suddenly had the courage to stand up to them.

The sixth time I became stronger was when I became pregnant with my second child. By this time, my family took a shorter time to accept that I was having another child. The people who had a harder time though was the companies I applied for. I went to every interview and took their tests only to be told that being pregnant or having kids was somehow a factor that they consider a con for any applicant. I was crushed but I had to move on for my children. I learned about freelancing and a month after giving birth, I was working at home.

Today, I go through my days without a struggle. Whenever I look back and see how far I’ve come, I know that I am stronger. Things did not get any easier but I’ve learned to work harder and I’ve also been blessed much more than I believe I deserve. Through all the troubled times, I had God with me. Even when I thought I couldn’t, I was able to go through the challenges and was blessed beyond measure. I am a warrior and God is my salvation.