My Incredibly Craptastic Wardrobe

This has been my look and probably why I really don’t post much anymore.

I debated on if I should Post this picture or not.

Today was the 1st time I looked in the mirror. I mean really looked.
I saw me for the 1st time
I used to be so fashionable.
I realized slowly but surely my wardrobe had become leggings, Ill fitting T-shirt, and white socks and cheap Walmart gym shoes.

I actually had more Ill fitting clothes in my hand to purchase to just do the job of covering me up.

Almost 3 years into motherhood I’ve had 2 self care moments and both were with my daughter with me.

She is back in daycare 2 hours a day 3 days a week. When not in daycare we are at Drs appointments and Physical and Occupational Therapy. I use that time to run errands and make phone calls and appointments.

I put what I had in my hand back on the rack. My body has changed so much and time is precious when solo parenting a sick child but if I am completely honest I was headed this way long before AFM Acute Flaccid Myelitis interrupted my daughter’s life on January 10,2020.

Tonight I’m taking a few hours to go through my things and purge keeping only what looks good and makes me happy and is serviceable. There are moments where I see who I used to be. I realize that no matter how hard I try to hold onto that person.

She is no longer me.

So today I said goodbye to her because I’m evolving into something new. I know I am a Queen and a Warrior but even They rest. Right now I’m treading water but I want to build a strong and sturdy ship that will last. AFM will not Win but it has certainly been a fight.

Someone asked me today why are you not bubbly anymore. I said because I’m finding my way in our new normal. With an outline of what I thought our life was going to be like vs the reality & odyssey we are currently on. I think Year one will be the hardest until we find our rhythm and I’m only in month 1.

Zi’Joy will be 3 years old in 60 days
and
I will be 46 years old in 90 days

I choose to put the clothes back that I had in hand after someone laughed at how I was dressed. She seems like that kind of person that would make fun of you and post a craptastic photo of you on social media with an horrific title.

I just wanted to tell her I was a tired solo parent who’s toddler in the midst of a battle after being completely paralyzed from the waist down at the beginning of the year of 2020 and I’m doing the best I can to keep it together each day. Instead I just put back those I’ll fitting cheap clothes and walked out of the store.

Bruised but NOT DEFEATED
MaMa Donna

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This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.

37 Comments

  • JAileen replied 5 months ago

    I’m so glad she’s doing so much better.  I love your matching tops in 4 and 9. If you want to feel better about how you dress, look at my Florida post.  That ought to make anyone feel good about themselves.  :)  Zi’Joy is such a doll.  

  • deb replied 5 months ago

    MaMa Donna, you are a Wonderful Warrior Woman!!! I feel your pain and wish I could make it go away. You will find the path forward and there are no wrong choices. Please remember, you are beautiful inside and out no matter what you are wearing!

  • taylor replied 5 months ago

    Look at that little angel.❤️ She is doing so much better.
    My daughter is a single mom of three small children,  one with minor special needs ,  but 3 none the less.  The struggle as a single mom is real,  I know ...been there myself.
    The most important thing is to take care of YOU.  I f you don’t ...who will care for the little ones!  It’s easy to get caught up in chores and errands.  

    Rest is incredibly important,  grab it when you can...20 min. Of quiet time can do wonders.  MAKE time for hair and make up.  Honestly ,  these are the easiest things to forgo ,  but DO make the time first thing,  you will feel more finished and confident throughout the day.  Eat as well as you can and stay hydrated.

    You are a wonderful mother, but being a single mom is overwhelming in the best of circumstances.  You will find your footing.  You have strong faith and wonderful support .  Sending prayers your way.

  • replied 5 months ago

    You are an amazing MaMa, warrior, and woman! You are putting your energy where you need it - and where Zi'Joy needs it. You absolutely ROCK looks that support your daughter (especially running between appointments, PT, OT, etc.). I will be thinking of you all and sending love your way.

    I can absolutely sympathize with that "oh, that's how I look" moment. My partner was in a terrible accident years ago, and after months of recovery and care, I had a similar recognition that the "old" me wasn't who I was or wanted to be anymore. When style became something I was conscious of again, it changed, and that was ok. In some ways, I needed to shed my old look and embrace the new. I am wishing you a journey of self-love and self-discovery as you find ways to feel undefeated, powerful, and the most authentic version of yourself!

  • karen13 replied 5 months ago

    yAF!! You Are Fabulous! I am so sorry to hear of your struggles and I hope that you can find the ability to take care of yourself as well as you are taking care of your beautiful little one. Sending many hugs and healing thoughts for both of you.

  • Suz replied 5 months ago

    Coming back later to comment more fully...I just need to say that you are amazing, wonderful, and such a loving mother to Zi'Joy -- and you know what? You look stylish no matter WHAT you wear!! I'm not just saying that It's all in the attitude. I've been following your journey and am so glad your daughter is doing better than she was. Wishing you ongoing strength and healing. 

  • Jessikams replied 5 months ago

    I am so sad to hear about this huge challenge you two are facing together. Being a single mom must be exhausting and I hope you have some friends and family around who can make you laugh over the phone or buy you a cup of coffee. You already know you are super strong, and you LOOK super strong, not defeated at all. Just hang in there!

  • Bijou replied 5 months ago

    Your strength, love and beauty shine through. All I see in these photos is Ledonna being a wonderful Mom and sharing precious moments with her equally beautiful daughter. AFM may have knocked you down, but you both have the strength and warrior spirit to beat it.

    There is nothing "craptastic" here. Dressing comfortably for the daily battle ahead is what it is. Please take care and yes to more moments of self-care because you are doing a great job. Zi'Joy is the best dressed 3 year old ever, these photos prove it. Your fearless fashion sense is still intact.

  • Liesbeth replied 5 months ago

    Dear Ledonna, people who laugh at others appearances are pittiful and need a great deal of learning in life.
    Your story brings tears to my eyes. Be kind and patient with yourself. Your warrior is not dormant, she is getting you through this ordeal.
    I had a similar experience of recognizing the 'old me' was gone after baby (and then my circumstances were downright luxurious compared to yours) and it was scary and hard to move past. Somehow you have to find the trust to know that whoever comes out on the other side is ok, but I think you know that, you are one wise lady.

  • rachylou replied 5 months ago

    MaMa Donna, life is all about becoming! And hey man, the foundation of my fave style, punk, is clothing that can be bought at a gas station ;)

  • Lucy replied 5 months ago

    TBH you still look pretty fab to me ! Your style is innate.
    But if you don’t FEEL fab, definitely cut yourself some slack . You have been through the most traumatic thing I can imagine as a mama. Of course your focus is not on fashion but on your precious girl . This will change over time as she improves further . She’s clearly a warrior too !
    I’m so sad for you to be going through this , but I know you will conquer . And fashion will come back as a priority when the time is right .

  • Synne replied 5 months ago

    You are a true warrior!

  • kkards replied 5 months ago

    sometimes just getting up and getting dressed is winning.

  • Lesley replied 5 months ago

    LeDonna, you have a style and spirit that shows even on leggings days. (Your cool hair and glasses mean that even your comfy dressed-down days are stylish, and your funny headline tells me that you have a good sense of humor, too.) You have so, so much on your plate and it's 100% understandable that some things fall by the wayside. I had very good advice from a wise colleague when I felt like my career was a little railroaded when I was in the thick of 3 little kids to raise, and I would like to say the same to you. Cut yourself a ton of slack. You are putting the best possible care into your daughter right now, and that is necessary and wonderful.

    I know this post is not necessarily you beating yourself up, but actually missing that person you feel you used to be. But that person is still there, and you will get back to her. We all have body transformations after having kids and the passage of time, too. It doesn't matter--we are all in the same boat. You will reclaim your spunky self, and you will find some things for yourself that express your inner style, and you can pick right up where you left off.

  • Cardiff girl replied 5 months ago

    I know that at the moment it doesn’t feel that things will ever be any different but one day this too will pass .You will have time to dress as you would wish and you will look back and what you and your daughter will remember is the love between you not what you wore or how you looked.

  • Suz replied 5 months ago

    LeDonna, coming back in to say -- I get it -- It feels as if the old you is gone forever. In a sense that might be true. You've gained hard experience (that I wouldn't wish on anyone!). You were already wise, already a warrior -- but now there's another layer of depth. And in this moment, it's all you can take to put one foot in front of the other. Your focus has to be where it is. On Zi'Joy and just getting through the day. You will get there. 

  • catherine replied 5 months ago

    You’re obviously strong, smart, and determined to stay focused on your daughter. Many would not be able to accomplish what you have. I wish you all the best as you continue. When you have the time and strength to concentrate on building a new wardrobe, I am confident that you’ll do so. For now, you look like a woman fiercely working to finish the race. This is indeed a beautiful image.

  • Roberta replied 5 months ago

    She is so beautiful and SO ARE YOU.  I don't know if this will help, but - I was where you are. A premie who couldn't eat on his own, endless appointments and forms and bills. I felt lucky when all my clothes were clean. The Lands End outlet on Elston was my second home. That was when anything with your initials monogrammed on it was practically free. One day I looked at my striped turtleneck and oversized navy chinos and wanted to cry.

    But it's the last thing you can think about, right? And Suz is right, it is a layer of depth and experience (well said). It will get better.

    We love you!

  • Angie replied 5 months ago

    LeDonna, you are the same WONDERFUL WARRIOR. Fabulous in every way. Simply evolved, built for speed, with heightened senses, adapted, and even stronger. Words cannot reflect how incredible you are as a parent, carer and role model to your precious daughter. What an enormously lucky little girl Zion’ Joy is. My jaw drops and my heart is filled with immense admiration and pride for who are and what you do.

    Elated to hear how much better little Nugget is doing! You both ooze with style. Your matching tees and hair are KILLER sublime! Rock on and much love. Xo

  • nemosmom replied 5 months ago

    You are a strong warrior mama! Stay strong for yourself and for sweet Zi'Joy!  She will remember this fight with the love you've shown her, and how strong you've been for her - she won't give a second thought at what you were wearing.  Sending you much love and well wishes.

  • nuancedream replied 5 months ago

    LeDonna, the strength and beauty you possess are mirrored in the face of your precious Zion'Joy.  While you may feel your fashionable style and vivacity may have abandoned you, they're still there and you will reconnect with them. In the meantime, be kind to yourself and remember that style is not equated with the clothes on your back  Sending you and Zion' Joy loads of love and healing energy.

  • April replied 5 months ago

    Just being a single mom is exhausting, LD - having an illness in the family puts it on a whole other level.

    Please listen to Taylor when it comes to self-care.  

  • lyn67 replied 5 months ago

    I was terrified to learn about your major challenges right now  but so happy your little Princess is doing so much better and think your fab unique style is so strong that is shinning through all your choices, even if  leggings, T-shirts, white socks and cheap Walmart gym shoes!!! Remember style is in the attitude FIRST! Loved seeing you in  those surelly NOT!)ill-fitting but  smartly coordinated black &soul carresing quoted tees!:-)

  • cindysmith replied 5 months ago

    Ladonna, I'm sending you (((hugs))) and love

  • Karie replied 5 months ago

    I am so sorry to hear of your struggles. You and your beautiful daughter will get through this because you are both WARRIORS. You are gorgeous not because of what you wear, but because of your beautiful soul.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • avicennia replied 5 months ago

    Leodonna, my heart goes out to you and ZI'Joy.  I've been a quiet presence on the forum, but have always enjoyed your style.  I was saddened to hear of ZI'Joy's illness, and am elated to her that she is making a recovery.
    ----
    I’ve been a single parent guiding my child through a terrible crisis. I quickly realized I couldn't take care of my child if I didn't put my oxygen mask on myself first.  I didn't have time or money for fancy "self care," but I found a few tricks: Is there anyway you can take a few minutes each day for yourself?  Even if its only sitting quietly in your car before your pick your daughter up from day care or before you go into work?  When people offer to help you, could you ask for a bit of free time so you can grocery shop or go for a walk by yourself? Can you take a warm bath in the evenings or go to bed with a hot water bottle?  Can you make yourself a cup of herbal tea when you need something soothing, or keep lavender essential oil on hand? These are tiny things, but they don't take much time or money and I found they made the difference for me.

    ---

    I agree with Taylor that its essential to keep feeling good about yourself. I know that looking stylish is so important to you and that you like to develop creative outfits.  You might not have the time to come up with exciting combinations, but I urge you not to set aside your style.  Could you come up with a couple of "uniforms" that you feel great in and then buy multiples of the main elements?  Its OK if they repeat, the goal is to feel good about yourself everyday.
    ---
    I understand that you don’t feel bubbly or vivacious right now.  But you might find that there is a solidity to having gone through and survived truly existential challenges.  From what I can see, while you are feeling harried and pressed, you aren't just treading water.  Your ship is already strong and solid and ZI'Joy is thriving despite these terrible setbacks.

  • shevia replied 5 months ago

    You are the opposite of defeated and your warrior spirit is obvious in Zi'Joy too. You will rally and come back stronger. But you both look and are amazing right now.

  • Jenava replied 5 months ago

    Wow, I know a little taste of having to find d myself again....but I am not a solo mama, and my babies are healthy, knock wood. You've just started your fight and it sounds like you're already pulling yourself together in strength. I was so excited to see you post again! And my heart aches to hear your precious babe is not healthy.

  • RobinF replied 5 months ago

    It makes sense that you feel different, life is changed now. You don't look "craptastic" though, you look like a busy mom (and I agree with others that you have a built in style). I'm so happy that Zi'Joy is doing better.

  • torontogirl replied 5 months ago

    Ledonna, so many thoughts ...

    1. YOU ARE FREAKING AMAZING. Full stop. You are an amazing mom and person and that is more important than any issue of style or fashion.

    2. I try to be charitable as I know you do too, but anyone who has the combination of unproductive time and lack of class, that they can laugh at someone else's clothing, I'm sorry, I just pity them. Thank God you're not as sad and sorry as them and move on.

    3. This has been my pet peeve since I first became a mom almost 14 years ago. We don't shame surgeons for wearing ugly scrubs, or construction workers for ripped jeans and dirty plaid, why do we shame Moms for dressing for their job. I'm sorry, but if you are chasing a toddler, especially when you have all the additional challenges you and Zi'Joy are dealing with, leggings, sneaks and a t-shirt is 100% the right clothing for the job. 

    4. If leggings and a t are what you need to wear right now, I have no doubt you will make it look fab as I think you have been already! Your hair is fab, you have stylish glasses, you have some beautiful hair wraps and other statement items that you can add to be 'you' in your new uniform. It's a period of adjustment and you are new to this changed reality. I don't doubt you'll feel your way to the right style in good time; give yourself some grace and patience :)

    5. Sometimes self-care does not mean shopping or doing your hair and nails or any of those things. Sometimes self-care means napping with your baby and just saying a big 'f it' to style and fashion and all that other stuff. Do what you need to do to get through this time! You have a whole cheering squad here would thinks you are FAB no matter what. xoxox

  • suntiger replied 5 months ago

    Hugs! You and Zi Joy Are Warriors and don't ever forget it! I don't think vibrant Ledonna is gone for good at all- because it's inherently you. Though you're facing a struggle, your energy still bursts through.

  • Inge replied 5 months ago

    Oh Ledonna, you look far from craptastic, and I hope you can feel all the YLF love!! I completely get that getting settled (and continuining to find out what this "new you" looks like) is uncomfortable and even scary, but you have got this, sweet lady. You and Zi'Joy are such a strong and stylish team (also, I'm just so happy your little nugget is doing so much better!!), and look beautiful (even on what you think are "bad outfit days"). Your inner badasses shine through, no matter what you gals are wearing! And please give yourself all the time and grace you need to very slowly build on again from where you are now, there's no rush!

  • Ledonna N. replied 5 months ago

    Oh how I want to thank each one of you individually Time always seems to run so swiftly. I have read each and every comment and taken each to heart.

    I have felt so overwhelmed that it has manifested in my Ill fitting clothing choices. My grandma always used to say “You never are supposed to look like what you have been growing through.”

    Well I have and I do. As soon as I typed this post I decided to be brutally honest with myself and tried on everything. While I had a pretty decent wardrobe nothing was really servicing my current life style or who I was becoming.

    I read each comment here and decided to mentally and physically dress and shift my mind to the life I am living now.
    I took stock of what I currently have and purged and paired down. Old pregnancy leggings gone Ill fitting tops gone, socks with holes in them gone Shoes that no longer service my life ill fitting gone. I had tops and only a few bottoms.

    I made a list of what I needed. I set my budget and then I went back to Walmart. I asked my family member to watch my daughter as I took a few hours to myself to do what I needed. List in hand on monday I shopped for bottoms.

    4 pairs of quality jeggings (various colors same brands)
    3 pairs of jeans for my return to work ( same brand various washes. Looking for 3 more pairs before my return to work in April)
    4 pairs of of nice athletic bottoms (for thearpy sessions with my daughter)

    4 pairs of high top shoes for my daughter’s growing feet.

    I am throughly satisfied with all of my purchases plus Walmart had a sale. I really could not wrap my head around going to different stores so Walmart met my needs and surprisingly their plus size section and selection has gotten very nice.

    Next for me Shoes I wear a 12 wide now. Walmart cannot accommodate my shoe size so I’m trying to figure this out. My go to store used to be Payless but not sure where else to go but I’ll figure it out 2 pair are better than a whole bunch of cheep stuff

    Thank you all again I think my life currently is athle-leisure wear.

  • Eliza replied 5 months ago

    Ledonna-sending healing thoughts to you and Zi’Joy. You are likely going through a bonafide trauma; you had the bottom drop out on the world you anticipated for your daughter and you very recently. There is ambiguity everywhere you turn. While it is stressful to be unsure, uncertainty is where hope and possibilities dwell. It is a lot. Of course, clothes aren’t your focus now. Waking up and doing it, ALL of it, is. Find your comfy, durable shoes and your version of a uniform and own them.

    You are doing the work of heroes now; YLF is cheering you on. Hearing the progress is most encouraging and you and your daughter are each remarkable.

  • torontogirl replied 5 months ago

    Good job Ledonna!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Glad you got a bit of time to yourself. A good clear-out can be very therapeutic. xoxo

  • Inge replied 5 months ago

    You are on it, Ledonna!! The wardrobe update sounds good, and great that you got a bit of time to yourself. Now enjoy your new stuff, and know that you are amazing, inside and out!!

  • avicennia replied 5 months ago

    Good news! I’m glad that you asked for a bit of time for yourself. And what Eliza said, you are doing the work of heroes and athe-leisure is perfect uniform!

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