Having a child is a big commitment. Food, clothes, shelter and education require a huge investment of not only money, but time. Most parents will spend at least six-hundred dollars on diapers alone in the ﬁrst year of an infant’s life. So, how do you support a child if you can’t even support yourself? Sydney Mitts has been through some pretty serious ups and downs to get to where she is now. She tells us about her struggles and her life before and after motherhood.
My life was never super conventional. I was adopted but not until the age of five. Until I was in the third grade, eight or nine years old, my adopted family and I still lived in Newport, Arkansas, where my biological family also lived. That year, during my Christmas break from school, my mom moved my family down to Georgia. She taught me growing up that my biological family was bad. She didn’t want me to have any contact with them at all, and she thought the best way to keep me away from them was to move us all out of the state, I guess.
I had no contact with them until one random phone call when I was seventeen. I recognized the name on the caller ID—Dorothy Wood—but I didn’t know exactly who it was and no one speciﬁcally came to mind. The lady on the other end just said, “Hello, is Sydney there?” I replied yes, that it was me and the next thing I knew the lady was crying. She told me she was my grandma. I didn’t really get what was happening at ﬁrst, since I deﬁnitely hadn’t been expecting the call at all. After she told me who she was and summed everything up for me, I was pretty much in shock. We ended up talking for a while and I even got to speak to my dad.
When she found out that I had been in contact with my biological family, my mom was madder than I’ve ever seen her before—and that’s saying something! Even though I was seventeen—old enough, I felt, to make my own decisions—my mom didn’t allow me to talk to my father. Later on in the year though, around October, I went with my sister to church and she called my dad while we were out. She told him to come to Georgia and pick me up in the Milledgeville Walmart parking lot, and I met him for the ﬁrst time there.
I wasn’t happy in Georgia and I wanted to be free to know my biological family, so I decided then and there to move back home. We packed up and transferred all of my things from my mom’s car to his and then made our way back to Arkansas. My mom wouldn’t even give me a hug or say goodbye when I left and that really hurt. I was happy though, living in Arkansas with my dad and grandma.
After being in Arkansas for a while I met a boy online named Samuel McCrary. We fell in love, fast. We would stay up all night talking, from ten at night to three in the morning. When we ﬁnally got to meet in person, I had already planned to go back to Georgia to ﬁgure out some unﬁnished things there. We still talked, but I had to leave Arkansas. About six months after I got back to Georgia, Sam just showed up out of nowhere. He obviously still wanted to be together, and so did I.
We ended up having to be homeless together for about six months because my mom kicked us out. I don’t think she really cared about me. We lived in various places, from rooms and garages that were left open by their owners, to the couches of people we met, to the front yard of a church. They weren’t the best of times, that’s for sure. We slept on a lot of ﬂoors and stayed for about three months in a tent by the river. We took baths in the river and begged for food and money. The summer was brutal, but the cold was worse. We tried to build ﬁres to stay warm and some people gave us blankets and food, but others were rude and mean to us. Luckily there was a public library where we could use the computers and hang out sometimes. We got kicked out of a few places by the cops, which was scary. Looking back, I was really young to spend four months in such a way. I was only seventeen.
I guess the real story of how we, or I, got to where I am now began the ﬁrst time I found out I was pregnant with twins. I was excited, but scared. We weren’t exactly in the right position to be parents, with no home or income, but somehow we were still happy about it and knew everything would end up okay. It didn’t end up okay, but not for the reasons I expected. I lost the babies the day after Christmas. I didn’t really want to try again after that because losing the twins was so hard on me, but I really wanted a child, so on January 28 2012, Sam and I decided to try again for a baby. It was our anniversary and things were looking up a bit. It worked and my son Ryan was born November 8th 2013.
I absolutely never considered abortion and adoption was out of the question for me as well, as I had gone through it myself and it deﬁnitely did not make my life easier. I knew from day one that I would keep him. I also knew being a mother would be tough, especially at my age and place in life. I didn’t think it mattered though, as long as my baby was born healthy and alive.
November 8th was a crazy day. I was scheduled to be induced, so I went to the hospital at the time of my appointment. After a while, nothing was happening, so they sent me home to my mom’s place. I exercised and then tried to relax and sleep, but I kept waking up in pain every few minutes. I waited for a while but it didn’t get any better, so I ﬁnally went back to the hospital and asked them to check me. They told me it wasn’t time because I was only six centimeters dilated. Soon after, the pain got worse and I could really feel it. They checked me and said I was crowning. I was really scared and ended up cursing at the doctors. Everything went by fast though and I apologized to everyone I’d yelled at as soon as Ryan was born.
Ryan is almost five months old now and I am extremely happy with the decision that I made. The hardest part is watching him grow up way too fast. He already has two bottom teeth, so I had to stop breast feeding him this month. He has quite the appetite though and needs bottle after bottle all day. I wake up early with him and then spend my whole day looking after him. It’s a lot of work and my life has changed in many ways, but not for the worst. Everything gets better when I see his cute, sweet face. The best part is just being able to be with him and to hear that he is still breathing.
We live with my mom in Georgia now, and things are going better for us. Sam and Ryan are my whole world and being a parent is amazing. Sam is a really great father; he absolutely loves every single day of being Ryan’s dad. He is working now too, as a landscaper, which helps a lot as it means we’re not entirely dependent on my mom for everything.
Overall, I’ve changed a lot and accepted a lot of things, but I wouldn’t change anything that happened, except for trying to sleep through the contractions— that was not a good idea! I love my baby and my life now. No, it’s not easy, but it is totally worth it.