Dear Proctor and Gamble, Where are all the dads?

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rogue cheerios

17 days until the Winter Olympics begin.

Several weeks ago, I saw murmurs about this Proctor and Gamble Sochi ’14 ad. I ignored them.  As we get closer to the lighting of the torch, however, this ad will start making the rounds:

This ad is a follow-up to an earlier P&G campaign during the London summer olympics in 2012. A brief skim of tweets using the hashtag #ThankYouMom, I see the ad is getting great reviews. People called it great advertising. They’re calling it a tearjerker.  I didn’t like that one either. I ranted about their ad over a year ago.

But I KNEW that I would just hate the ad when my husband came home last week and asked me if I’d seen it. I told him that I hadn’t and asked him if it was more of the same.

He surprised me with his review. He told me that…

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Pregnancy Scare #3; Fearless Mom: Jessica Calixto

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Name: Jessica Calixto
Age: 25
Year you graduated high school: 2006
Year you found out you were pregnant: 2010 & 2012
Number of children: 2

The Uh Oh Moment: I found out I was pregnant with my first child at the beginning of my senior year of college. I was 22 years old. I actually took the pregnancy test in my college dorm bathroom. I didn’t have anyone with me at the time. I was freaking out. I come from a family where they are all Christian and getting pregnant without being married is just not understandable. I just kept saying “Oh my God” over and over again. I had 5 roommates and I just met them so they probably thought I was such a weirdo just screaming in the bathroom.

I got into my car and rushed to his house. I remember hugging him, asking him if he loved me. He said yes and I held out the stick and thought he was just as excited as I was. We were going to have a baby; our love created a baby. Years later I’d find out that day wasn’t a joyous one for him and he actually was going to break up with me that same day.

The Mom Moment: I guess I had a mixture of feelings. I was scared, but happy and excited to find out that I could have babies (for some reason I just thought I wouldn’t be able to due to past health issues).

This may sound weird but my favorite first for both girls wasn’t a word or accomplishment. It was the first time I breast-fed them. With Leilani it was magical. The bond created was indescribable; knowing that I was nourishing this little innocent fragile being.

With Michaela it was all of that and more. Because her being premie and having so many medical problems, I couldn’t even hold her at first . She was fed through tubes for the first few months of her life. To get that contact and know that I was increasing her odds of survival with not only my touch, but with milk created for her, was something special and the first time I did it was on my birthday.

***Any man can be a father. It takes a real man to be a dad.***

Father/Dad: He was such a good dad.

Meet Leilani. Riding in style on Christmas morning.
Meet Leilani. Riding in style on Christmas morning.

Leilani was his world. He cried when she almost died during delivery and got emotional whenever he had to leave her.

He was excited for Michaela. He was with me every day when I was hospitalized due to having placenta previa. I almost died and needed so many blood transfusions and so did Michaela. I was in the hospital pregnant with her for a few weeks before my body couldn’t take it anymore and I had to deliver. She was 27 weeks and needed to be in the NICU for 3 ½ months. She had to be rushed for emergency surgery when just a week old and had so many medical issues.

My husband was there every day. He did not return to work because he wanted to be by her side. He also helped me recover and would bathe me because I was so useless the first few weeks.

Now he is definitely just a father. He just left us one day, not returning from work, deciding he didn’t want a family, and I was left to be a single mom of 2 babies; 2 years and an infant with so many medical needs.

Ms. Michaela, one year old, happy as can be!
Ms. Michaela, one year old, happy as can be!

Them vs. You: I knew my parents would freak out but I was with the same man for 5 years off and on and I was previously engaged to him so I thought they’d get over it quick and share in my joy.

We told my parents and they wanted to kill him; literally chased him out the house when he hesitated when they asked if he was going to be a man and take responsibility, do the right thing, and make me his wife.

I didn’t think he’d hesitate because he was always so adamant about marrying me. When I broke up with him prior he would call, message, and send gifts all the time telling me we are going to be married and he won’t give up; and now that I’m pregnant and gave him another chance he isn’t sure? It pissed me off, and selfishly I even thought about terminating the pregnancy. I’ve always been so against it but I guess when you are young and in a stressful, uncertain situation, you can’t tell what thoughts will come to your mind until your living in it.

My brother was harshest. He said, “I’m just surprised you know who the father is,” which insinuated I was a slut because I was pregnant yet I was with the same guy and they knew that.

My dad was harsh too and said that after I have the child he will ruin my body and make me pretty much fat and undesirable to other men—when I was so pretty and petite and basically leave me for no one to want me.

Fearful Moment: My scariest moment was when my babies almost died. Having to endure all that my baby has gone through, with all of her surgeries, being alone in the hospital with her, being newly abandoned, and realizing he wasn’t going to show up even for her when she was having complications, fevers, and surgeries.

My lowest moment as a mom was realizing when he left. He left us with nothing. It was low because I felt like a failure because I wasn’t going to work in order to take care of her medical needs but now I was left with nothing to help us. We were going to be evicted and left on the street if I didn’t do something. The father was very confused and I still don’t know what he is going through. He would come back sometimes but it wouldn’t be pretty. It was a very abusive situation (and it never was before). My girls witnessed the abuse one time and I saw them screaming and crying and I knew that I wasn’t going to stay in it. As much as I loved my husband (and still love the person I thought he was) I was not about to traumatize my girls and let them see a horrible depiction of love and a false definition of what it means to be a woman. Women are strong, women are to be treasured; just like my parents demonstrated for my childhood.

Stronger; Wiser; and doing everything for all the right reasons
Stronger; Wiser; and doing everything for all the right reasons

Fearless Moment: I found my strength that day. Seriously, their faces in terror and realizing he not only didn’t want me but didn’t want them, that was my strength to get out. It was only going on for a few months starting from getting abandoned to the abuse but I was so confused and wanted to be a good wife and make the marriage work up until that point. My girls are why I do everything.

Support System: My closest friends left me. I became closer to other friends and they are like family now. I was on the verge of insanity but some true friends, counseling, family, my babies, and most of all God have all helped me move forward and not give up.

"I never thought I'd be a single mom. I never thought that I could make it without him...I think moments of weakness bring out hidden strength."
“I never thought I’d be a single mom. I never thought that I could make it without him…I think moments of weakness bring out hidden strength.”

Final thoughts…
My final thoughts are hopefully inspirational to other single moms out there. I never thought I’d be a single mom. I never thought that I could make it without him. He was the breadwinner, he was my rock. I think moments of weakness bring out hidden strength.

From trying to overdose because I couldn’t handle the stress, to moving away to a new place determined to be successful; from crying curled in a ball on the floor as the stress overwhelmed me to getting a career that pays me triple what I was making (and more than my husband’s income and mine combined prior); from thinking I can’t make it on my own and I need to stay with a man who doesn’t love me to trying and make it work to starting grad school and in 2 years making 6 figures and it’s only been 7 months since he abandoned us and all this began and 5 months in a new area.

I’m not saying this to boast but to say sometimes when God takes away things, we are so quick to think our world is over, so quick to want what we had, but God can replace it with beautiful things. I will not say that I rather make more money than be with my husband and have a family but I will say that a marriage without love and staying with an abusive husband is not where I will allow myself to be. Trust in God. He provides and watches over you.

Pregnancy Scare #2; Fearless Mom: Saray

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Name: Saray Garcia

Age: 19

Graduated high school: June 2012

Number of children: 1

Pregnancy Scare: October 2010

The Uh-Oh Moment: Back in 2009, Sept 22nd to be exact, I started dating a young man named Carlos. As a young teen I yearned for the attention and love I lacked. We dated for a little over a year and I got pregnant in October of 2010. I did not find out I was pregnant until December. This was the beginning of what I thought was the end of my life.

Having unprotected sex and not thinking of the consequences was my biggest mistake. I had pains and constantly had to urinate. I went to see my doctor sometime in November, had a blood and urine test to check for STD’s and pregnancy. When the results came in, they were all negative so my doctor thought it was kidney stones. I started having morning sickness and the pain grew stronger. I felt too sick to go to school. I was sent to get a sonogram in December.

ImageThe Mom Moment: The doctor stared at me for quite awhile and looked back and forth at the screen. She asked “Did you know you were pregnant?” The rush of emotions couldn’t be explained. I replied “Excuse me?” and she showed me the screen. I saw a baby. I could not believe what I was seeing. I fell in love at first sight with the child inside me.

                  ***Any man can be a father. It takes a real man to be a dad.***

Father/Dad: He didn’t know what a dad was. He was always too clumsy and I just could not trust him. As she grew he came to see her whenever he wanted, but the big problem was who he actually came to see. He wouldn’t pay mind to his daughter but would use his time to beg for me back. I couldn’t give him another chance; I wasn’t in love. Maybe I would have fallen in love if only he would’ve been a DAD and not just a Father. His idea of a dad was taking pictures with her.

At this point in my relationship, Carlos and I wasn’t working out. I realized I didn’t “love” him and I simply just did not care. Being pregnant was the worst possible scenario.

How far did the apple fall from the tree? My parents raised me in an utterly different way. Due to their religious beliefs I was kept  away from the rest of the world and wasn’t able to develop to my full potential. I respect their beliefs but I am not letting anything hold me back from helping Julia’s mind develop to its full potential.

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Meet Julia. Julia is now two and a half, already colors inside the lines, remembers names, counts to 13, and so much more. Her problem solving skills are that of a four year old. Her mind is ahead of normal and I am helping her continue developing it.

Them vs. You: My parents helped me out from day one. Carlos was there but not there.

When I walked out the room I see my parents and don’t know what to say but my face said it all. I finally blurted “I am PREGNANT!” Both my parents looked at each other but the only one to speak was my father who said “Let’s go feed you and that baby. Both of you must be starving.” Not another word was spoken that day.

I called Carlos to tell him the news and he didn’t know how to respond. He asked me whether I was going to keep it or not. I did not know how to reply. I was born in a Christian home where it was drilled in my head that abortion is a sin and you are killing a baby who did not ask to come into this world. But I was sixteen and PREGNANT. That same week I decided to keep the child and attempt to fix my relationship with Carlos. But on January 29th 2011 I found out he cheated on me with a girl we both knew. This crushed my dream of having a happy family. Like I said before, I didn’t love him but I loved the idea of our child having a mommy and daddy. I broke up with him. Not only was I pregnant but it was a week before my birthday. I felt disrespected! We attempted to work things out for the sake of this child but I felt disgusted and ashamed of him. So for the rest of my pregnancy I spent it depressed and in some kind of way alone.

Fearful moment: The hardest moment of being a parent was and still is dealing with the person I had her with. I’ve always given him the right to visit her as many times a week as he wants and for as many hours. He was always fine with doing so. But when he found out I was dating, he flipped and took me to court. He is asking for joint custody. There is no way in hell, I would let that happen. He now gets to take her once a week for 6 hours. I will continue to fight for full custody. I have my reasons in which are huge and I rather not say. I want him to have a relationship with his daughter and that is why I asked the court to send him to parenting classes.

Fearless moment: From the first steps to her first words, my favorite part was her first word. “Mama” was the first word spoken out of Julia’s mouth. That word impacted me and moved my heart. To feel acknowledged by the person you completely ADORE!!! When I am down she lifts me back up. The moment she speaks, the way I feel changes.

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Support system: The greatest support I’ve had since day one was my BEST FRIEND WENDY. I love this girl as if we were blood related. All, and I mean ALL of my “friends”, left me after knowing I got pregnant. I wasn’t able to party or do anything anyone thought was fun, so I was no fun. Wendy on the other hand was there every second. She would come visit me and Julia. If I wanted to go somewhere, talk, or just needed company she was there. Not once did she look at me differently for becoming a parent. She continues to support me in all I do and I owe her for her loyalty.

Final thoughts: Children grow up so quick and Julia grew up faster than I could’ve imagined. Your child is the reflection of yourself so be careful. Take care guys.