‘I found out my marriage was a lie. He was unfaithful. I had been lied to for months. I spewed venomous hate towards him. I was numb. Then, I found out I was having a miscarriage.’

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“A lot of people think about that fairy tale when growing up. They meet the love of their lives, get married, have babies, and live happily ever after. My fairy tale wasn’t quite that. I didn’t live a normal life, I moved around a lot, never wanted kids or marriage. I just wanted to be loved by someone so deeply and passionately that nothing else in the world mattered. I wanted to travel the world without care (hence the no babies thing). I had no idea what I wanted to do career-wise. I just knew I wanted it to be something great. I always knew I was destined for big things. A quote my father always said to me growing up was, ‘Did he have passion?’ It always reminded me that no matter what I did, passion had to be involved. Being young I had no idea what my greatness was. I knew the universe and God would help me figure out my path. I was 21, broke, confused, heartbroken, and lost. I traveled a lot and somehow managed to move back to LA. I was only there a few short months when I met a guy. Just one month into knowing him I got the most life-changing news. I was going to be a mom. 

I didn’t sleep at all that night. I went through every emotion possible. I mostly laughed and cried interchangeably. Finally, at 7 a.m. I went to my mom, held onto her so tight and began weeping uncontrollably. She asked me what was wrong. I said, ‘I’m pregnant. I don’t know what I am going to do. I’m a mess! I’m 21,  I can barely take care of myself, I don’t even have a real job! How am I going to take care of her?’ Her response was, ‘WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A BABY TO PLAY WITH!’ Honestly, I didn’t expect anything less. My family has always been super close, weirdly close, and very supportive. At that moment I knew everything would be okay, I didn’t know how but I knew it would be. Mikah’s dad bailed a few weeks later only after asking if I was going to get an abortion. He liked the party lifestyle, he was an alcoholic, he wasn’t into relationships and was not ready to be a parent. Man do I know how to pick them. But I didn’t mind – I knew in my heart I was destined to do this alone. 

Courtesy of Hilary Elizabeth Cardona

Although I had this fierce independence, anything mom related was new and I felt lost. No one my age was having children. I found an online mom community on Instagram. Everyone took me in quickly and my account grew like wildfire. Everyone wanted to know my story, everyone wanted to know everything. I was very open and honest about my life; I made blogs, vlogs and was online constantly. As a young woman who was struggling before pregnancy, trying to find out who she was and what she wanted out of life, being pregnant was even more confusing. I was constantly being told by friends, family, and random people online who I should be now that I was to be a mother. I was told to cover my tattoos, cover my body, take out my piercings, stop with the crazy hair colors, and to watch my language. It made me feel as though I couldn’t be myself. I wasn’t allowed to express myself, that I was basically being punished for becoming pregnant and needed to become a nun… I tried, I really did to be the person everyone wanted me to be. I took being a mom very seriously because I truly had the best parents ever. Mikah deserved that too, and she only had one parent so I had to be EXTRA great. I promised I would go to church and have a closer relationship with God. I promised I wouldn’t have sex again until marriage, and I promised I wouldn’t ever drink again. I made a lot of promises because I thought that’s what mothers do. I struggled, I was more lost and confused than ever. Now I was not only trying to figure out who I was as a person, but I was also trying to figure out what kind of mother I would be. I spent nights up tossing and turning, wondering what others would think of me as a mom. But most importantly, I wondered what Mikah would think of me, what kind of relationship would we have, if she would even like me.

It didn’t matter, because the night Mikah was born, was the night my life changed forever. When I looked into her eyes, I fell in love, I found the deepest most passionate love, the kind of love I had always been looking for. I found my best friend, my travel partner, the love of my life. I knew I would fight like hell to make sure her world was full of love and happiness. Mikah was in and out of the NICU for the first two weeks of her life. I thought pregnancy was rough, but those 22 hours of labor were ROUGH. It was the hardest thing I had ever had to go through. It was then I realized how truly obsessed with her I was, and that I could never be apart from her. That is when my first business was started, Wanderer and Wildflower, my nicknames for us. It lasted about a year, but it was a good year. I sold headbands, bows, and tutus for babies. With my mom community following I had on Instagram, the money was good. Between the help from my family and the support from my business, I was able to stay at home with Mikah. 

Courtesy of Hilary Elizabeth Cardona

Fast forward to Mikah being two years old, her dad came back into her life. Which was very hard for me. I was used to being the two of us. We had traveled to many different states together, we had moved across the country and back together, she helped me grow up, she was the love of my life and I was selfish. I didn’t want to share her. But I knew I needed to give this a shot because it was what she needed. We started doing things as a family, we ended up moving in together; we had date nights, we were figuring out life, and everything seemed to be going as well as it could.

Then it happened again, I was pregnant again. It was like a repeat of the first time all over again. We stopped talking for a little bit because, again, he didn’t want to give up his friends or partying lifestyle. I moved back in with my parents, I didn’t know what to do, again. Everyone was extremely disappointed in me, that I didn’t learn the first time. I had no job at this point, no money, I was pregnant and had a toddler. I was that same scared 21-year-old little girl who didn’t know who she was or what she wanted. I sat and prayed. I knew God would help me. He did.

Their dad and I had worked things out and moved back in together. I was five months pregnant. On social media I saw a skin care company, so I joined. Besides my daughters, it was the most life-changing decision I’ve ever made. Shortly afterward, I had our second daughter, Saige. Like her older sister, she was in the NICU for the first two weeks of her life, and I was there every day with her. Just a few weeks after that, we got married! I was so happy, I truly thought we were going to be okay. I had two amazing daughters, a rocking career, a husband who wasn’t perfect, but he tried. Then life happened, my world fell apart.

Courtesy of Hilary Elizabeth Cardona

I found out my marriage was a lie. I found out I had been lied to for months. I found out he was unfaithful. I didn’t handle things the right way. I spewed venomous hate towards him. I turned to alcohol to cope with the pain which I knew was wrong. I was numb. I had so much hurt and hate in my heart towards him. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I found out I was having a miscarriage (I had had one before when I was 18), and my heart broke in a different way. I had been kicked down and at low points before but this was the lowest I had ever been. My daughters and my business were what got me through the days I didn’t feel like getting out of bed. There were days where I honestly thought this was the end, that everyone would be better off without me. The days when I doubted myself, the days when I hated myself, the days when I didn’t know who I was anymore. The team members, customers, owners on the other side of the screen didn’t know that their positive words of ‘You’re such a good leader’ or ‘You’re doing such a great job’ had such a huge impact on my life at that time. It kept me going day by day.

If you were a stranger looking at my life from social media, you never would have known the struggle I was going through. You would see positive, uplifting messages being posted. You would see Mikah and I making live videos or me showing her how to make samples. You would see the girls and I travel to different parts of the country for a little getaway. No one knew anything until almost a year later when my divorce was final, and I had moved my girls and I across the country to start a new life. 

Courtesy of Hilary Elizabeth Cardona

I’ve now learned business skills and confidence I never knew I had. I have my own jewelry business and partner with top brands. Without this, I would still be stuck. I wouldn’t be able to afford a fresh start with my girls. I wouldn’t be able to provide for them. They would have to be in daycare, and I would have to have a 9-5 job that would barely cover my bills and childcare. I don’t care about expensive things, houses, cars, material objects. At the end of the day the only thing that matters to me is that my girls are happy, healthy, and filled with life experiences. I am beyond blessed to have a career where I can have the freedom to pick up the girls and go. We have traveled all over the country; Arizona, Alaska, Tennessee, Michigan, Florida and we are not done yet! Although I do not get much help from their father, and we do not see him often, I do not do it alone. I wouldn’t be able to raise my girls without the amazing tribe of people. My mother, whom my daughters and I live with, my sisters, my dad, my other family members, friends, and the support of everyone online, whether it’s a customer, team member, all support me.

I often get asked why I so openly share my experiences online – it’s because I never want someone to feel as hopeless as I have. I never want anyone to feel as alone, scared, confused as I once was. I’ve had many people reach out to me because when I share my story, I make friends, and sometimes people just need someone they don’t know to talk to. I will always be there for anyone. Whether it’s a stranger, neighbor, best friend, family member, I am here to listen. I can confidently say I am exactly where I want to be in life. Being an entrepreneur and single mother is scary at times. I don’t have a steady paycheck, and I am the sole provider, so I never know how much money I am going to make. It’s not easy, it’s constant training because knowledge is power. I am researching new ways to expand my business. Staying up working until 2 a.m. then waking up with the kids at 7 a.m. It’s not just posting on social media like some might think. It’s hard work with a lot of dedication, discipline, and sacrifice involved. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I was born for freedom, I was born to raise my kids while teaching them a work ethic. I absolutely love this life. I am 27, divorced, a single mom, and an entrepreneur, I finally found out that my greatness, is me.”

Courtesy of Hilary Elizabeth Cardona

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Hilary Elizabeth Cardona. You can follow her journey on Facebook and Instagram. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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