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  • Writer's pictureTaneka Gibson


During one of my counseling sessions, I began to share the significance of my son's life to my life. My therapist responded, "We overcome by the testimony of others." Since that session, the statement has rung in my head regularly. Although I recognize the good things that happen when we share our testimony of how God has worked in our lives, I have avoided sharing my story like the plague.

My moment of transparency:

I became a mother at 17-years-old. Yes, you heard correct "17!" I became a mother my senior year of high school. Like many teenagers, my parents couldn't tell me ANYTHING. I felt invincible and was hardheaded. While being a baby myself, I had to WOMAN UP to the consequences of my choices because my mother said firmly, "that is going to be your baby, you will be responsible for it, and you will finish school." Determined not to become a "statistic," I finished school a semester early and enrolled in a technical school the following fall.

You may be wondering why this is "significant" I mean; I am not the first or only person to overcome teenage pregnancy. Well, you are right.

But having my son was my catalyst for change. After having my son, I realized I was responsible for another human being! A son. A black son. I knew how I carried myself mattered to his life. Therefore, November 16 somehow became my new birthday. Over the years, finally, I realized my son's birthday was a pivotal moment in my life. Being a mom of two amazing sons, I realized that becoming a mother lit a fire inside me to become a better person.

But let me be honest, I have dealt with a bit of shame. Imagine yourself constantly being the youngest mom on your kid's field trips. Think about the judgemental stars or when people say, "you don't look old enough to have a child this old?" I often worried people were doing the math and looked down on me. I used to get derailed from my mistakes. I felt I disappointed myself and my family. But now, when I look back, I can see God's hand in my life. I believe my son was an angel who changed the trajectory of my life. My children, in a way, were the shield of protection. I always thought of my sons while buying a home, going to college, and dating. My sons have been my biggest motivation. They are my most significant source of inspiration and my strongest supporters.

"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it." -Lou Holtz.

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