Mother’s Day at Home: After cancer and miscarriage, Decatur woman makes new home with her 2 children | Decatur

Two paintings of Brittany Alexander’s children hang on the wall in the living room of the family’s new home – a Habitat for Humanity home they moved to two weeks ago.

‘I can’t believe we really made it. I am over the moon. All the hard work I put into this house was for my babies. This is our house, ”said 32-year-old Alexander, with restraining tears. “I’m amazed to think how far we’ve come on this journey.”

During the years-long journey, Alexander faced lows – twice battling cervical cancer and experiencing miscarriage – and highs – on the occasion of the birth of her two children.

Today Alexander celebrates Mother’s Day with her children, 7-year-old Alana Orr and 4-year-old Malachi Orr, in their new home in Southwest Decatur.

“Everything I do is for my children. I want to show them where hard work will get them and educate them to be caring, respectful, humble and God-loving, ”said Alexander.

Alexander’s path to motherhood began eight years ago when she became pregnant at the age of 24. After a difficult pregnancy, with Alexander unable to work due to nausea and constant trips to the hospital, Alana was born.

When I saw her, my heart melted. She was so precious and juicy and plump. She had the cutest grin and dimples. I was so grateful that she was healthy, ”said Alexander.

The following year, Alexander developed cervical cancer. Doctors frozen the abnormal cells with cryotherapy. However, the cancer came back in 2017 after she gave birth to Malachi.

“I feel so blessed to say that from now on I am cancer free and that I am here with my children,” said Alexander. “The doctor told me that my children can be a blessing as well as a curse, because both times I have had cancer after giving birth. But I wouldn’t change anything. My children are the greatest blessing in my life. “

She cherishes those blessings even more now.

In 2015, while living in Arizona with her then husband, Alexander miscarried. She was five months pregnant with twins.

“Passing them was physically and emotionally difficult. They were so small. When I held my babies, they fit in my palm, ”Alexander said, stretching out her hands.

Despite deciding not to try for another child three months after the miscarriage, they found out they were pregnant.

“I was nervous. I was worried that my body wouldn’t be able to carry a baby because of cervical cancer. I didn’t want to tell anyone about the pregnancy because I was scared. I didn’t want to go down that road and possibly lose him,” Alexander said.

On December 29, 2016, one year after the miscarriage, Malachi was born.

‘He is our miracle baby. Even though we didn’t try another, God had plans for us, ”said Alexander. “There have been bittersweet moments when I think of the twins, the children I couldn’t grow with, but God has blessed me with two beautiful babies. He has given me these babies to feed, love and care for. “

In 2017, after her husband’s divorce, Alexander returned to Decatur with Alana and Malachi and moved in with relatives.

Through Candy Ayers with Community Action Partnership of North Alabama, Alexander learned about Morgan County’s Habitat for Humanity. The faith-based nonprofit builds homes for families in need – for single parents, adults caring for disabled children, and seniors living on steady incomes.

After Habitat declined its initial application, Alexander was reluctant to apply again. However, with the encouragement of her family, she did and in 2019 Habitat accepted her application.

To get a home, Alexander completed courses for budget and homeowners and volunteered 100 hours at the ReStore and 100 hours at Habitat construction sites, where she learned how to hang vinyl siding, lay floors, cut windows and landscaping. She also agreed to a 30-year no-interest mortgage.

Anderson met the requirements while also juggling work as a medical assistant, classes at Virginia College, and small group study at Epic Church. On some days she nailed and cut pieces of wood in her undergrowth.

“Brittany has amazed me,” said Alexander’s mother Jennifer Alexander. ‘She worked so hard to get this house for her children. Everything she does is for them. She has done an excellent job. “

Brittany Alexander thanked her parents, William and Jennifer Alexander, for shaping her spiritually, mentally and emotionally.

“My parents are my role models. My mother is loving and strong-willed. She has laid a strong foundation for us, ”said Brittany Alexander. “My dad was a hard worker and made sure we had what we needed. Even now, if I had to change my oil or get a tire repaired, he would be right. Without my parents, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. “

She tries to pass on the lessons her parents taught her to her children.

“I try to set the best example for them. Even when I mess up, I’ve learned to be accountable. I apologize if I do anything to hurt their feelings. I want them to learn that apologizing is not a weakness. I don’t want them to be proud, ”Alexander said.

Alexander co-parents Alana and Malachi with her ex-husband, who moved back to northern Alabama from Arizona.

“He’s a great dad. We now have a great relationship and great communication. He gets the kids every other weekend, ”Alexander said. However, it is a challenge not to have someone to help with the children every day. I feel like I play two roles every now and then and just do my best. “

As a single parent, Alexander – who is a graduate of Decatur High, has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Tuskegee University and plans to attend nursing school in the fall – juggles as a health assistant spending time with her children.

“She is kind, sweet, loving, and caring,” Alana said of her mother. “I like it when we go to the park and do crafts.”

“Her heart makes her special,” said Malachi. “Love it when we go to Chuck E. Cheese.”

By taking them to museums and on vacation and introducing them to art and nature, Alexander hopes to introduce Alana and Malachi to new experiences.

“I like that they step out of their comfort zone and try new things,” said Alexander. “I love spending time with them and watching them grow. They grow so fast and you can’t get those years back. I enjoy their mom every day. “

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