25 Faces: Alana Koponen

25 Faces

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25 Faces celebrates the amazing women in my life who continue to inspire me day in and day out. I hope this story brings out your best as well. Join in the conversation below, or on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for another inspiring narrative!

Motherhood and the hard work and sleepless hours it takes to raise a child are often times overlooked as an important role in society.  During a month celebrating amazing women, we can’t overlook moms – the ones who raise us and put up with our back-talking, tantrums, and spit-up.  But motherhood also comes with plenty of rewards – watching your child start talking and walking, and growing into adults.

Alana Koponen is a single mother of 8-month old Eva. I’m continually amazed at Alana’s positive attitude and her ability to be an outstanding mother to her happy baby girl.

25 Faces - Alana Koponen & Eva

Kate: Most women don’t see themselves as becoming a single parent. Before Eva, what did you picture for yourself?
Alana: Before Eva, I was working long hours as a nurse without batting an eye and then meeting friends for drinks most nights of the week. I pictured myself continuing in my nursing career, enjoying being a 20-something young professional who worked hard and played hard in all aspects of life.

K: How has your life changed since having Eva?
A: Since having Eva, my priorities have changed drastically. I definitely feel a sense of urgency to get home to her every night after work, overtime no longer holds the same passionate appeal it did before. Instead of going out on the town at night, I’m spending time at home entertaining Eva, endlessly washing bottles and onesies, and then forcing myself to finish homework after she’s gone to sleep. Aside from the not so fun aspects though, love also has a fierce new meaning. The term “mama bear” is no joke. When you have a child, you don’t think twice about harming someone that in some way hurt your baby.

K: What’s the hardest part about being a single mama?
A: Though physically it’s exhausting every minute of every day being a single parent who works long hours and is in school as well, the hardest part is having no emotional support from a partner. I remember the first week after I had Eva, it was such an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve never felt so alone in all my life, even though I now have a little person with me all the time. There are times when you hit your emotional breaking point of exhaustion and there’s no one there to talk you off the cliff but yourself. I’ve learned it’s okay to set Eva down if I’m reaching that point, take some deep breaths, and give myself a pep talk. I literally talk out loud to myself (oh what my neighbors must think…). I think of every encouraging phrase, scripture, or song lyric possible, and repeat it to myself until the frenzy subsides.

K: What’s the most rewarding part of being a mother?
A: I’ve never been the type that craved the validation of feeling “needed” by someone else, but when I get home after being gone at work all day and she’s beyond thrilled to see me I simply glow. It helps me remember that even though I can’t be there for her every moment, she loves me and is excited to spend time with me. Nothing compares to seeing her smile in her sleep, a kiss on her little nose or cheek makes it happen every time.

K: Do you have any advice or words of encouragement to other single mothers?
A: You can do it! Never fear going it alone. There is power beyond words when you realize your divine calling as a woman—to be relentless in ambition, graceful in adversity, ethical when no one’s watching, and beautiful beyond the constraints of your skin. I’ve never felt as powerful and capable as I do today.