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I’ve spent the majority of my adult life being a parent – more than 20 years. That’s a new revelation for me and it has caused me to recall where it all started: Instead of living on a college campus, I was serving in the military. When I thought I would be finishing my degree, I was getting out of the military, caring for a toddler and juggling full-time college and two jobs.

That life, although filled with wonderful memories and experiences, is one that I don’t want my children to repeat. Being a young parent with a low-paying job and little resources doesn’t necessarily assist in accomplishing big dreams. It can mold young ladies into strong, determined single mothers, but – for some – the time is spent struggling just to get by. As suddenly-single moms we embrace our roles and strive to make life good for our children.

I had that thought in mind when I gave birth to my daughter Amber. I wanted to impart in her all of life’s lessons as soon as I could. I began a journal for her where I’d write letters about my love for her, life advice and I’d include articles I thought relevant. When she learned to read, I bought books for her that I thought would put her on a successful path. In her pre-teen years, we began exchanging a mother/daughter journal where we would write our thoughts and questions to each other without judgment, embarrassment or, on my side, lecturing. In her teenage years we remained close and talked about everything: sex, birth control, boys, friends, education, college, careers, jobs, marriage…

Out of all those topics, I really wanted her to hear and internalize the “don’t bring home no babies” conversation. I can’t even count how many times I reiterated how life can be better, easier and more successful without being a single parent; using myself as an example. I wanted her to travel, study abroad, enjoy friends, complete college and start her career on her own timetable and only have to worry about herself.

For me, those dreams dissipated a few months ago when she told me she was pregnant. I was shattered, I’m sure you can imagine, but I’ve adjusted.

With her due date four months away, it’s time to shift my parenting mode and support her unconditionally.

My feelings for, and treatment of, Amber haven’t changed. She’s still my baby, my best friend and one of the people who I love and respect the most.

And we’re still close. Now instead of calling me about friends, professors, grades and college life, she’s also calling with pregnancy concerns and experiences. I listen intently because, let’s face it, I’ve been there. It’s funny because it’s almost like giving advice to myself. She’ll be 21 when she has her first child and that’s how old I was. What advice does the 43-year-old mom of four give her 21-year-old, mom-to-be daughter?

Read more at Black America Web