Writer Moms

Published on March 26th, 2024 | by India Akua Mendonca


From Start to Finish

I’ve always been drawn to writing and used it to better understand myself. Writing was a passion of mine before I became a mother, and it remains a passion now. I started writing nonfiction pieces before I was pregnant with my daughter and progressed to short children’s books after she was born. None of these were published.

I let go of my desire to publish the children’s books and nonfiction pieces I’ve written, both unconsciously and consciously, once I became a mother. There was a time when I felt like being a mother was the only role I could fulfill. Despite the fact that my daughter is the person who inspired me to write children’s books, I used motherhood as an excuse for not accomplishing my personal goals. While I love being a mother to my daughter, it’s hard to reconcile who I used to be — a writer — with who I am now: a wife, mother, and homeschool teacher.

When I dig deeper, though, I can see that I was hiding behind those reasons. Underneath it all, I was scared, preoccupied with thoughts of not being worthy or capable of accomplishing my dreams.

In order to publish, I have to finish my work. Not finishing what I started goes hand in hand with not having faith in myself. I have started working on ideas, passions, activities, and projects without finishing for as long as I can remember. I tend to start projects with enthusiasm and passion, but when it’s time to execute, I don’t always see them through.


I ran hurdles in high school. Practice was enjoyable and rewarding. The camaraderie and support from my teammates and coach created a sense of community. Having a strong support system helped me push through challenges and achieve my personal goals.

My first track race was an entirely different story. On race day, everything changed. I was excited to compete and race, but I also felt a sense of nervousness creeping in. Would I make mistakes? I couldn’t help feeling anxious about how I would perform and if I would meet my own expectations.

I felt ready to race until the starter pistol went off. Once the starter pistol was fired, I immediately froze and dropped to the racetrack to catch my breath. By the time I stood up, all the other hurdlers had passed me. 

As soon as I stood up, I looked at my mom in the bleachers. Whether she was sad for me or disappointed in me is unclear. All I knew was how sad and disappointed I was in myself.

Maybe the starter pistol was not to blame. Looking back now, I see that my real reasons for not being able to race were anxiety and fear.

I never competed in a race again after that day. First I quit hurdles, and then I quit track and field altogether. Years later, I still wish I had at least raced in one track competition. 

Maybe if I hadn’t frozen in my first track event, things could have turned out differently. 


Juggling motherhood and my dreams of becoming a published writer seemed impossible in early motherhood. Although I did complete several children’s books, I had no plan to get them published. Sound familiar? Just like my first track event, I was too scared to participate. 

When I thought about it, I realized that the common thread connecting my high school track experience and writing was my anxiety and self-doubt. I viewed publishing my writing as a finish line, one that would lend credibility to my work. Not finishing my work meant that I wouldn’t have to try to publish it. I was taking myself out of the race before it even started.

Would anxiety always creep up towards the end of a project, preventing me from seeing it through? More importantly, was I really going to let it run my life?

I was tired of being the person who quit every time she felt uncomfortable about something but wasn’t sure how to change.


I was feeling low when I had a coffee chat with my friend Georgina Marie Guardado. As we sipped our coffee, I shared my struggles with finishing and how unworthy I felt to try to accomplish my dreams.

As the Lake County Poet Laureate and Literacy Program Coordinator of the Lake County Library, Georgina is experienced in the creative community, so I was curious what advice she might have. Like me, Georgina has struggled with anxiety around creativity and publishing, but she was able to overcome it and find success. She told me that my life, my story, is important and that it matters.

Photo by dlxmedia.hu on Unsplash

I listened intently as Georgina shared her story with me. She understands how it is to be a doubtful woman of color when it comes to accomplishing dreams that seem so far away. In addition to encouraging me to pursue my creative ambitions, she also supplied me with the practical tools I needed to get started on my publishing journey, like websites where I could share my completed work. With her guidance, I could finally see a clear path to crossing that finish line and becoming a published writer.

I was in a period of waiting for my life to take on a particular shape when what I really needed was motivation to shape it myself. After Georgina shared her story and her struggles with me, I stopped stalling my journey. It means the world to me that she helped me find my power.

Self-belief is key. It was extremely important for me to get in the groove of accomplishment in order to get unstuck. I may always have these anxious feelings and doubts, but I refuse to let them take over any longer. The fear of moving forward can’t compete with how good it feels to finish what I’ve started.

Cover photo by Blocks Fletcher on Unsplash

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About the Author

As a stay-at-home mom, India Akua Mendonca enjoys motherhood, wifehood, writing, reading, exploring new places, going to the beach, eating at restaurants, and listening to bossa nova music. India earned her A.A. in Liberal Arts from Chabot Community College and her B.A. in Black Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to becoming a wife and mother, she worked at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University as a Document Specialist. India is currently a homeschool teacher to her six-year-old daughter and enjoys witnessing and cultivating her education. She lives with her husband Marco, their daughter, and their three birds in Clearlake Oaks, CA.

2 Responses to From Start to Finish

Leave a Reply

Any comments left on this article will be sent directly to its author. We do not at this time publicly display comments. (If you want to write a public post about this article, we encourage you to do so on social media). We love comments, feedback and critique but mean or snarky comments will not be shared and will be deleted.  

Your email address will not be published.

Back to Top ↑
  • Subscribe to Mutha

    Enter your email address to subscribe to MUTHA and receive notifications of new articles by email.

    Email Frequency