My name is Paulette Crystal Iwenjiora and I’ve had quite a year this 2016. This year is a year I can never and will never forget. How can one describe a pivotal moment in their life that is chaotic in a sweet yet satisfying way. Well let me try and break it down the best way I can.
I entered 2016 with a bang in Dubai at one of the best Hotels where there was an enormous buffet, fireworks everywhere and live music blazing. It was amazing, but before 2015 ran out I found out I was pregnant.
Crack, crack, boom it finally hit me! I was pregnant. What in the world am I going to do? What’s one to do when an unplanned pregnancy hits them across the head, they’re not married and they’re suppose to be moving forward in their career?
I knew right from wrong yet I put myself in a compromising situation, fell into temptation and was left to suffer the consequences. Despite pressures from outside to get rid of it, I decided to do otherwise which is keep the pregnancy and have my baby. It wasn’t an easy decision but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made, and I’m so happy I did.
Before 2016 came around, a family member invited me and my sis to travel with their family to London and Dubai for Christmas and New Year. That was a wonderful experience. I had never been to London or Dubai before, plus it was exactly what I needed at the time, to get away from everything and be in a different environment.
While I was in London I had the opportunity to see my mother’s birth mother, my grandma, for the first time. Apparently, I met her when I was two or three but can’t remember it. I felt blessed to have finally met her along with other family members I had never met before, on my mother’s Jamaican side. My family member also gave me and my sister a lot of money, which was perfect because I was able to shop a bit and save money for future expenses regarding the pregnancy and baby.
Back in Nigeria, I fought with allowing myself to dwell on the negative going on in my life or falling into depression, and also anger regarding my baby’s daddy. I won’t go into details about my baby daddy because that was a whole other twisted dramatic experience on its own.
I had to put into practice repaying evil with kindness which was not easy at all but I can say that it has paid off since I’ve done it and it has left me with less drama to deal with. Apart from that, my mom has been a blessing and great source of support since I told her about everything. Thankfully, when I told my dad he didn’t lose it, but I prayed seriously before telling him though. I thank God for my parents, I know it’s a lot different for some others in my situation.
Anyway, in February I was able to get some dancing in before I took a break from it by helping a friend, that goes by the name of Mairé, to choreograph a dance for her music video ‘Alhaji’. Afterwards, I worked towards doing my NYSC and being relocated to Abuja. It wasn’t easy but everything eventually worked out. I was able to get a place to work where I could have a good amount of flexibility and I was able to go on maternity leave without much of a problem.
Throughout my pregnancy I did not have any serious pregnancy symptoms. I was healthy, put on a good amount of weight and maintained a good body size. Even though my family and I were not financially stable, I was able to take care of all necessary expenses to stay healthy, prepare for my future daughter and because of a wonderful family member I have, I was able to go to a good hospital for check ups and delivery. My daughter arrived on her exact due date which was August 5th. It was quite an experience. I didn’t even know I had gone into labor until I reached the hospital late at night. I was admitted into the hospital by 1 am or so and gave birth by 4:55 am. I didn’t have any serious complications and my baby was perfect, healthy and whole.
If all that I’ve said isn’t enough to be thankful for, then I don’t know what else would be. Two weeks after giving birth , I got a message from someone who helped produce ‘Dance With Peter’, the dance competition I was in last year. She informed me about an upcoming TV series called ‘Life 101’ by Malta Guiness and EbonyLife TV was having auditions and she felt I should try out having seen me dance and act in a web series called ‘Discovering ABJ’.
I checked the role she suggested, ‘Sade’, and instantly became interested because it was a lead role that required dancing. I wanted to do it, but I didn’t know how I would. I just had a baby, the audition required me to travel, plus I’ve only acted once in my life and I wasn’t even sure I’d get the role. I couldn’t leave my baby and it’s wasn’t safe to travel with her and even if I was chosen I would have to go with her. How in the world was I going to work and take care of a young baby at the same time?
I panicked and doubted if it was even worth trying, but I seriously prayed about it and decided to try to do what I could and put my trust in God. I said if this is something He wants me to do that He would provide a way and I would obtain favor, and that’s exactly what happened. I honestly didn’t even think it was possible but everything worked out. Since I couldn’t travel for the audition I was given the chance to do an online audition.
Thankfully, I had all I needed to shoot and edit my audition, along with my friend and sister being available to help act with me. I sent my audition videos after the Lagos audition and waited about two or three weeks before I heard anything.
During those two weeks I was hopeful and willing to take whatever I got. I was tired of being in the house. I wanted to start doing what I loved again which is performing arts but I didn’t know how. Next thing I know I got a call telling me I had been shortlisted, and a week or so later I then found out that I had been selected for the role I auditioned for. I was ecstatic! I couldn’t believe it. My mom agreed to come with me to Calabar to help me with the baby while I was working, which made all the more difference because I couldn’t have done it without her. Also the job came right on time because I lost almost all of the weight gained during pregnancy and my baby was two months old which is ok for traveling.
While in calabar I had a wonderful experience. I met so many lovely people and created some good friendships. Everything just happened at the right time in the best way. I thank God for all of it. Since my little baby girl was born, the amount of joy she’s brought me and my family is just beautiful. She’s the perfect addition to the family. I can’t go through everything that has happened through the year but all I can say is that God has been faithful despite my shortcomings and this has been one of the most trying yet amazing times in my life. I have so much to be thankful for that it’s truly overwhelming.
For 2017 there’s a lot I plan and hope to do. I want to continue with my acting and dancing career and improve. I also want to do a bit of music by the side. I definitely want to get my fitness back up and be like a fitness guru (we’ll see how that goes), also maybe do something business related.
I want to continue to fight fear and doubt, and do what I’m afraid or unsure of regardless of what those around me may say or think. I’m going to build myself up physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Be a better person over all and continue to try and be the best mom I can be to my beautiful baby girl Le Reine Adaaku Jennifer Iwenjiora. I’m hopeful God will continue to show me what He can do in my life if I continue to seek and trust Him fully. I’m sure more unexpected things will come my way but as long as I stick close to God I should be able to scale through whatever comes. 2017 here I come.
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