What would your younger self have to say about where you ended up in life? I had a Lake House experience and exchanged letters with my 26-year-old self. As I wrote, I revealed the truth about motherhood. I gave up my past notions of what an ideal life would be like and got down with a new way of thinking.

26-year-old self: Dear future self: I can’t believe I am moving to the Cayman Islands! I applied to the television reporter position on a whim when I saw the job posting online. I said to myself, “Self, I’m a certified scuba diver. The Cayman Islands looks a lot better than Memphis, where a TV station reached out to me.” I hit send on the email, and surprisingly, the news director replied and asked me to overnight a résumé tape. Not long after, I was packing my bags and my new laptop. I could finish my New York Times bestselling book to be on a beautiful beach sipping a piña colada and watching suntanned men with alluring accents ride jet skis. Years from now, I’ll tour the country, autographing novels and donating a percentage of the profits to charity, including my own nonprofit that raises the self-esteem levels of young girls.

36-year-old self: Dear 26-year-old self: I had an amazing international experience! I travelled to Thailand and took a picture in front of the Golden Buddha–same place dad escaped Vietnam for much-needed R&R before returning to the war. I went wild water rafting (using my body as a raft!) down the winding rivers of Honduras, and I survived a weekend long party during Jamaican carnival–still picking the paint out of my hair from J’ouvert! I lived on a beach and became closer to nature and God, and guess what? I finished that novel! Everyone said unpublished authors would never land an agent. I landed a dozen! I lost count of the people who asked to read my manuscript. One woman sent me a book by my favorite fiction writer and said I reminded her of her client! Never signed a contract, but was asked to make some edits. My boyfriend at the time even pitched in to cover the cost. I later moved in with that boyfriend and became a certified teacher at a high-needs school outside of Washington, DC. I planned to polish my novel and reach out to the interested agents. Then, I got busy–busy with work. Tried to close the achievement gap, which is a lot harder than I thought! My boyfriend and I broke up and made up again and again. We took a trip to Florida. I didn’t come back with a tee shirt or a key chain. I came back with stomach pains and nausea. I knew instantly that I was pregnant. I was later dumped–over the telephone–during my second trimester. My child’s father married someone else the weekend of our daughter’s first birthday. I found out he was engaged on Facebook. So, I’m sorry to tell you that I put my book on the shelf. It’s still sitting there, collecting dust. I apologize for disappointing you. Not where you thought you would be, huh? You never really wanted to get married or have kids.

26-year-old self: Dear 36-year-old self: I’m going to be a mother!?!?! Get out of here! I need to pause and get a box of tissues. I wonder if I named her Caitlynn. That’s my favorite name. I hope her father is actively involved in her life. I’m extremely close to dad–don’t know where I would be without him. At any rate, I can not wait to meet her! What is she like? Is she a motor mouth? Is she sassy? Mom always says that she hopes I have a daughter just like me, so I know what it was like to be in her shoes. A baby wasn’t in my plan. At all. But now that I know she’s there, in the future, I can’t believe I didn’t put being a mom on my things to do in my thirties list! Deepak Chopra once said, “Even when you think you have your life all mapped out, things happen that shape your destiny in ways you might never have imagined.” I’m glad you took a detour! But wait! Am I dying? I don’t understand why I can’t dust off my manuscript. I mean, I wrote more than 350 pages! The most popular character according to my best friends got dumped while pregnant. Wow! Am I psychic? Please know that just because your dream was deferred doesn’t mean it can’t be fulfilled. Before I go (have a date! He has an accent. I better not drink too many mojitos or else Caitlynn might come much sooner than planned! hahaha), what’s going on in the man department? I mean, Cait’s dad isn’t the only fish in the sea. Here in the Caymans, we have a Catch of the Day on the menu everyday! What happened to, yeah, you know the one I always say I will end up with.

36-year-old self: Dear 26-year-old self: Whew! I’m so glad you aren’t upset! You know what, come to think of it, Caitlynn–yep, still love that name, is the best part of God’s plan for my life. I couldn’t imagine having a child but now that she’s here, I can’t imagine not having one! I tear up thinking about how absolutely incredible she is! And yes, “the one” I say will always be in my life is still in my heart! You may plan a wedding after all! Oh, almost forgot! I’m not dying. Therefore, the project isn’t dead! I promise to breathe life back into the book this year. I’m no longer on my timeline. I’m trusting in God to lead me into my divine destiny when he thinks I’m ready. He once asked me, “Why are you so afraid to give something up when it will be replaced with so much more?” That’s why I’m Giving Up pasts hurts and Getting Down with the business of walking out my purpose in life. I won’t write again. I want you to enjoy the journey! Know that everything will be OK. God has an amazing ability to turn your burdens into blessings! Gotta go dust off my dreams!


On the 14th of every month, I’ll be revealing the truth about motherhood with 12 other writers. Follow the hashtag #NakedMoms, and come back later to check out the links! Until then, let me know what your younger self has to say about your present!

To Be a Better Mom You Have to Give Up by Steph at Confessions of A Stay-At-Home Mom

I Am A Recovering Perfectionist by Thien-Kim at I’m Not The Nanny

Giving Up On Perfect Single Motherhood by Laila at Only Laila

The Time I Almost Gave Up on Motherhood by Vaneese at Mommy Works A Lot

Motherhood: The Sacrifices No One Tells You About, But You Need to Know  by Joyce at Mommy Talk Show

To Let Go and Let God by Jacquie at The Sweeter Side of Mommyhood

I Didn’t Want to be a Mom by Summer at The Dirty Floor Diaries

Mothering While Introverted by Diamonte at Liberated Mommy

Motherhood is About Giving Up by Jessica at A Parent In Silver Springs

Motherhood: I Give Up by Stephanie at When Crazy Meets Exhaustion

Giving Up Supposed To Be by Brandi at Mama Knows It All


About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

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