How I Became a Mother :: Unexpectedly Perfect Timing


Motherhood was always something I wanted for myself. I used to joke that I wanted kids and not necessarily a husband. It was more important to me to find someone who would make a great father than a great mate.

During my early 20s, I dated two men who would have made good dads. One taught me so much about love and respect, and while he and I had a lot of fun together, we were not ready for children. Boyfriend number two was already a father to a young child whom I adored. Our relationship finally came to head when I realized I loved his child more than I loved him.

When I met Eric, my future husband, I knew he was completely different than the other men I had dated. Eric is compassionate and easygoing. His temperament counterbalances my tendency towards feistiness. Most importantly, he is a provider in every sense of the word. He has always been someone who takes care of those around him without anyone needing to ask.

Ashleigh dating
Seriously – this guy has it all!

After a few months of dating, he persuaded me to quit my full-time job and go back to school to finish my English degree, something I desperately wanted to do, but would never have committed to without his support.

In July of 2011, I had one semester left before graduating when I found myself at the USC health center refilling my birth control prescription. When asked the routine question, “when was your last menstrual cycle,” I had to pull out my phone and look at the calendar before responding. I was never one for keeping track as the monthly visitor came and went without fail every 28 days since puberty.

“You’re a week late then? Is there any possibility you could be pregnant?”

I remember the doctor’s face held no twinge of judgment. She was the director of a women’s health clinic on a public college campus for goodness sake, she had seen her fair share of pregnancy scares. When I looked perplexed, she smiled and said, “You’re already here. I’ll send you down for a blood test” and with that, she went on with the exam while chatting about her kids.

I don’t know what compelled me to stop at CVS on the way home instead of just waiting for the blood work results, but as I sat at the light on Devine Street, I turned right instead of left.

The teenage girl who handed me the test from behind lock and key whispered, “good luck” and with those words I just knew. I knew the test would turn pink. I knew my blood would report positive. My mind raced to the premenstrual symptoms I thought I had experienced over the past week.

Oh, no. No. No. No.

I was not planning on being a mother at 25.

Eric and I had been dating for a little over a year, and while I knew he was the “one” we had only talked about marriage and kids in the abstract sense. We wanted them someday but someday was not in nine months.

There were tears that night and for many nights after as Eric and I talked about every possible scenario. He held me in the middle of the night as sobs rocked my body and whispered how much he loved me and how everything would be alright whatever we decided.

Eric and I talked more openly in those days after the positive tests than ever before. We talked about our plans, our dreams, and our future. We talked about love and loss and marriage and divorce and rights and choice and ultimately we talked about family. We wanted to be each other’s family.

“You’re going to be the mother of my kids,” he whispered to me as I cried in his arms. “What’s the difference between three years from now or nine months from now?”

Within three weeks of finding out we were expecting, Eric and I were married. Three months later we bought and moved into our first home. A month after that I graduated from college six months pregnant with our daughter. And three months later we welcomed Nora Letty into the world.

Signing our marriage certificate at our dining room table. Our moms may never forgive us.
Signing our marriage certificate at our dining room table. Only our siblings and the JP were present. Sorry mom.

Last July 5, two years to the day we found out we were pregnant, Eric and I had our dream wedding with Nora beside us.

Doesn't everyone have a wedding two years later?
Doesn’t everyone have a wedding two years later?

While the timing of the pregnancy was not what we had planned, we could not have planned for a more perfect life together.  And I could not have picked a more perfect husband and father.

Wedding Nora
Nora trying to eat my ring before the wedding ceremony.


  1. I’m glad things have worked out so well for you. You’re a bright woman with so much to share- he’s a lucky guy and y’all are lucky parents- Nora is sweet, funny and pleasure to be around. Thank you for sharing. 🙂


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