Dorren Odunsi (34) and Anisa (5)
San Diego, CA | Reno, NV
Dorren is a previous project participant, you can view her photo and story from 2014 here.
Dorren shares -
“I had an abortion right before Anisa. From the time I found out I was pregnant to the time I had the abortion it was 4 days. I moved quickly, didn't think it through, and let other's thoughts about my situation impact my decision. It was the worse decision of my life. When I got pregnant with Anisa and wasn't ready for her, but knew I couldn't survive another abortion. I would never have been able to forgive myself.
Parenthood has taken my body through the ringer. I've had body pains and aches and I'm not accustomed to being larger in size now. And while others appreciate my appearance, there are times I wish it looked different. But I do love how I look. The changes I want to make are strictly for being healthy long term and trying to carry another precious human in my body.
I adjusted well postpartum. I remember my mother telling me how much of an expert I looked like when dealing with Anisa but deep down inside I was terrified. And I admitted that. There are so many things people don’t tell you about being a parent. And because of that, we are shamed when we experience them. I didn’t do that. I lived in whatever my truth was at the moment. That feeling of not knowing unconditional love until you meet your child, I experienced that. And it's been amazing. Even when I don't like her - because no one wants to admit that out loud, but it's true - we don't always like our kids, even though we always love them.
My expectations were definitely not my reality. I definitely expected to get my body back together quicker than I have. 5 years later, I'm 3 pounds from my birth weight but that's life. It happens and we make our priorities the best we know how. Since I've had her, I've experienced the highs of journeying with her through her firsts and the lows of ending the marriage I once had to her father. But through it all, being a mother has changed me. It has grown me.
God has given me a miniature version of myself. Only she’s more intelligent, emotional and strong-willed. If you know me, then you know that’s a challenge. And it requires patience. Which I’m still learning. People think you become a parent and gain patience overnight. That is the furthest thing from the truth. There are days when I know I’ve done more yelling or snapping that I want to and she resiliently fights through it while I shame myself for being so harsh and not having another approach. She makes me a better human because I know that’s what I have to do to make her be the best person she can be.
Now we suffer through the challenges of a single parent homes in two different locations and making the adjustments there. It hasn’t been easy and the adjustment aren’t just restricted to her. I experience them too. But in time, we will find a rhythm. And I couldn’t have been given a more spirited child to journey all of this with. I’m teaching her and she’s teaching me. We are growing and learning together.
I participated because I love Ashlee. I've participated before. I believe in what she's doing and want to be involved in any way I can. She's carrying a platform that I myself envision contributing too but have yet done nothing about.”