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It’s Okay to Admit That Motherhood is Hard

May 30, 2024

Michelle Donovan is the 2019 Rhode Island Mother of the Year®

From a very young age I always knew I wanted to be a mother.

My family says I have always had the nurturing characteristics and the drive to take care of others. While most kids around the age of 15 worried about what plans to make this weekend, I focused on what I could do to help me further my knowledge on children and childhood development so that when the time came to become a mother I would be more than ready.

Just before I was about to graduate high school and go on to college so I could open my own day care, my mom had an unfortunate back surgery that left her paralyzed from the waist down. I put my life on hold so I could focus on taking care of her and making her life as easy as possible. Over the next couple of years I worked part time at Starbucks while I took care of my mom (and it was at Starbucks that I wound up meeting my husband). Fast forward a few more years and this is where my journey to motherhood would begin.

When my husband and I decided to start trying to have a baby it did not come as easily as society makes it seem to be. 3 years and 3 failed IUI’s later it was becoming apparent to me that my dream of becoming a mother might not ever turn into a reality, and that killed me.

Just when we were about to give up, we were presented the opportunity to become parents through adoption. On June 6, 2017 our daughter Raelynn Mae was born. It was the best day of our lives.

This leads me to the issues I have faced in motherhood. For some reason I was constantly battling feelings within myself that just because I didn’t have her naturally I wasn’t allowed to admit how hard being a mother was. I was of afraid of backlash I would receive from others when they knew how desperately I wanted to be a mother.

Over the past 2 years of Raelynn’s life I have learned that it is okay to admit that motherhood is hard. Its okay to not always know the right answers, and its okay to lean on others for support. Whenever I think I am actually starting to figure out each phase my daughter is in, she grows out of it and I’m back to square one. Thankfully this day in age there are so many resources to take advantage of. Through social media I am able to share my experiences and find others who have had similar experiences with motherhood and who are looking for the same thing; support and advice from others.

Being a part of American Mothers is a dream come true because I get to do exactly that: learn, grow, and support other moms. Although I have yet to be as successful as I would like to be at this point in my life, I know that nothing can compare to being Raelynn’s mom. I just hope to set the same examples my late mother has taught me, and maybe one day my daughter will be up here as Rhode Island’s Mother of The Year.


Michelle Donovan was born and raised in Warwick, Rhode Island and is 28 years old. She is a high-school graduate and former caretaker for her mother. Michelle put college on hold to take care of her mother full-time. In 2012, she met Timothy Donovan, who she went on to marry in 2015. In December 2016, Michelle and Tim were presented the opportunity to adopt a child from a family friend who could not support another child. Raelynn Donovan was born on June 6, 2017 and went home with Michelle and Tim the next day. In April 2018 the adoption was finalized. Michelle’s mother passed on January 1, 2018. After her mother’s passing, Michelle decided to start taking better care of her own health. In September 2018, Michelle had weight loss surgery so that she could prolong her health for herself, as a wife, but most importantly as a mother.