Ashley Lamothe B.H.ScMother, YWCA Peterborough Youth Engagement, Owner - Creative Kwe
Ashley's Story :
Nogojiwanong/Peterborough wasn’t exactly part of the plan, but in all honesty neither was single parenting two Jamaway (Jamaican Ojibway) boys. Life has a way of steering you in directions you never imagined to amazing opportunities.
I grew up in and around Peterborough, raised by an amazingly resilient and strong single mother. I grew up with strong values in rooted in Anishnaabe tradition and a solid support network in family. In my 20’s I really took this for granted. I left for post secondary and thought the bigger life was beyond Peterborough. 11 years later, I came back. It wasn’t until I was faced with one of the hardest challenge imaginable that I realized Peterborough was and always will be home.
In 2015 I lost my partner and children’s father while 5 1/2 months pregnant with my youngest and my first born was only 2. My world, my life was turned upside down and I literally stopped. I spent almost a year being broken, lost and going day to day. Everything around me was tied to a life, a future I no longer had. Just shy of his 1 year anniversary, I realized that I needed to go home. I made the decision to do just that. I came home to Peterborough and it seems as though it was exactly what my spirit needed. Even though I had nothing but our belongings and my car, I somehow felt like it was going to be okay. The ripple effect afterwards is what really amazes me even now. Everything just clicked and I slowly began healing and rebuilding. I reached out to community agencies and they gave me what I needed most. Safety. Safety to catch my breath, heal, grow, and finally find my own version of happiness. For myself and most importantly for my kids. Safety to start a business on a dream and passion for being creative without any actual business experience and to finally wake up smiling each day at what’s possible.
I still have nights of crying wondering how I am going to sole support these two wonderfully spirited tiny humans and bouts of serious anxiety of doing all the things, but I also feel tremendously grateful to be home in a community that encourages my growth and change.
Happiness to me isn’t a destination. It’s an ongoing journey and I’m grateful that I went through what I did because it forced me to reflect on what I needed to rebuild and restart. At the end of the day only we can create our happiness and I’m doing just that for myself, my boys and my community