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I Am Tajuana Allen

Hi all! I hope everyone is happy and healthy! A few days ago I had the opportunity of interviewing my aunt, Tajuana Allen. She is one of the many strong women I am blessed to have in my family and I am so happy I got to feature her, so I hope you all enjoy!

Tajuana is currently a teaching assistant in a kindergarten class within the Plainfield Public School System. However before she got here she graduated from South Plainfield High School and attended Rutgers University for a year. After that year she decided to take a break from school and join the work world. Years later, in her adulthood, she decided to go back to school taking online courses where she received her degree in Human Services Management. In the next 10 years she hopes to see herself trying out a new career more closely related to her degree, and enjoying a new chapter in her life.

One of the questions I ask all of the women I speak to is " What is your greatest achievement and why?" as well as "What would you consider your hardest thing to overcome?" Frequently when I ask this question to mothers their answers always revolve around their children and raising their families. However, for most women their greatest achievement is not always in connection to their hardest life challenge to overcome. During our conversation Tajuana spoke about how her greatest achievement would be appointed to her children, but her hardest life challenge would be struggling with infertility. While she has recently battled with and won a fight over cancer, she still believes overcoming infertility was the toughest. She says this is because having children is a big part of being a woman in her eyes as well as in society's eyes. She also expressed how she learned that many other women struggle with infertility, but all stories end differently. For her, the story ended with her being unable to conceive and carry her own children and it was one of the hardest steps in the emotional process of infertility. However, she does now have a beautiful family that she is grateful for and proud of, despite the hardship.

As women, society and our own internal voices puts so much pressure on reproducing and managing the "perfect" family, from a very young age girls are given baby dolls to play with and treat as their own. There are tons of loud voices within the world promoting the idea of a woman providing a "perfect" family for the man. However, where are those loud voices promoting that not everyone is always given the same opportunities? Now, I'm not saying that creating a family out of adoption, surrogacy, or any other alternatives is wrong, or imperfect. I am saying nothing is perfect and as a community of women we need to be the voices that speak up to raise awareness about the hardships infertility can bring to a person. Normalizing all options for women, will hopefully take away some of the emotional stress infertility can bring on to someone experiencing it.

Luckily Tajuana has had a very supportive husband by her side, as well as a healthy foundation of strong women to look up to. When asked Tajuana nominated her late grandmother as her greatest female inspiration because of the overwhelming strength her grandmother carried. She recalled how no matter what crazy course life might have taken, her grandmother always stayed strong.

Let that be reminder to all the readers out there, no matter how rough it might get hold your head up high and remain strong. I hope you all enjoyed learning more about my wonderful Aunt Tajuana, please be sure to reach out (via email, social media, or direct message) if you have a woman you'd like to see featured on the blog!

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