Mother who shared post about 'how to love a child you didn't plan to have,' says she doesn't regret it
Olivyah Bowens decided to post her honest thoughts on the internet and while some praised her for it, there were many who slammed her thoughts.
Olivyah Bowens faced backlash after she decided to pour her heart out in an honest Instagram post about what it is like to be a mother at a very young age, and how to "love a child you didn't plan to have."
But despite the backlash, the 23-year-old mother says that she is happy to have spoken her truth and hopes that one day it will inspire others to come forward with theirs. “I really thought, ‘Maybe this will help somebody,’" she said. “I didn’t know what I was going through back when I had my first child. I didn’t know how to express it. So, I thought maybe there’s another mother who is experiencing this and she doesn’t know what it is.” On July 29, Olivyah, a Baltimore-born virtual doula who now lives in Puerto Rico, shared a post which showed her sitting down with a tired expression while her two-year-old daughter, Ozara, is shown crying.
She began the lengthy post, which has since gone viral, by writing, “No one teaches you how to love a child you didn’t plan to have." She opened up about being a mother for the first time and the fear she had over how her 24-year-old husband, Toddrick Bowens, would care for the little girl. “The first year, it was difficult because I was finishing my degree, which meant I’d stay up and nurse and change diapers. Then I’d spend the day doing homework. There was definitely a layer of difficulty as far as managing my time and my energy,” she told People.
“There were points where I felt like I needed space from my baby because I was with her every single day," she added. There were times when Olivyah grew tired. "I wasn’t getting that much of a break. There were definitely times … it was hard to attach because I was frustrated and so tired," she said. However, she advised mothers who had an unplanned pregnancy to always keep their heads high.
"The reality is I don’t want to be a mother every day. I don’t want to feel held back from chasing my dreams and goals," she said. However, there were people who criticized her post with some calling her "selfish" while another commented, “Why didn’t you consider adoption? No, I don’t agree with nor do I feel empathy for you!” Olivyah became pregnant at the age of 21 and even though she and her husband always wanted children, the news about the pregnancy came as a shock to them.
She said that she struggled with feelings of guilt and shame due to becoming pregnant before “the right time.” After Ozara, she and her husband welcomed another daughter, 10-month-old Oniyah. Even though it was difficult for Olivyah to see some harsh comments left by people, she said that she had expected that to happen. “I was not expecting the amount of negative comments … It wasn’t shocking because of what I said. It’s my truth. There were two types of comments that really frustrated me. One was in reference to the idea that I’m a single mother and I’m bitter. That’s just not factual. My partner does so much to support me … I didn’t like him being misrepresented,” she said.
“The other comment that was hurtful was people saying I’m a bad mother or that I don’t love my child. That was hurtful on one end, but on the other, it was frustrating. I never said I didn’t love my child, I said it was a process to learn to love. I believe love is an action, it’s not just about butterflies in your belly," she continued.
Despite the negativity, Olivyah says that she does not regret the post.
"I’m definitely glad I did it," she said. "Because I know for every negative comment there was somebody who got something from it. I’ve had so many people send me messages, like, ‘This is something I’ve always wanted to say but could never say it.’ A couple of people said their boyfriend or their husband saw the post and they sent it to their wife or their girlfriends. That made me feel really happy.”
Olivyah added that she never expected the post to get so much attention but believes that he helped her learn. “I’m glad I went against my fear and posted it," she said. I’ve learned that a message is gonna reach exactly who it needs to reach. When you’re putting something out on the Internet, everybody may not love it, or understand it. But even if it reaches one or two people, that’s still important. It’s helping those people.”