Tajuania Dawkins sat in a hospital room while her teenage sister labored with a son. She leaned back, just enough for her oversized shirt to pull taut over her midsection. Her mother reached over and lovingly patted her stomach, only to find it hard, impregnated with Tajuania’s own full-term child — the one she’d hidden for nine months as he grew.
“She realized it was rock hard and I was pregnant, and she just started screaming,” Tajuania said.
Tajuania, the goody-two-shoes of the family, was only 15 when she got pregnant. This wasn’t supposed to happen to her. Her two older sisters both had babies in their teens, and Tajuania knew her parents were banking on her to break the cycle.
“I was that … nerd that went to school and made straight-As in school,” Tajuania said.
So she hid the pregnancy for nine long months. She wore baggy sweat suits to cover the bump, and she avoided situations and conversations that might give it away. She successfully kept the pregnancy to herself and the child’s father up until the very end.
Two weeks later, on April Fool’s Day, Tajuania went into labor, unsure what was happening. She told no one, not fully understanding the baby was coming. Her son was born the next day, a perfectly healthy, full-term baby who took Tajuania’s family by surprise.
The next few years were tumultuous, but a turning point came when a killing hit too close to home.
The Cold Case
Tajuania fell in love in college with a bad boy — a drug dealer — and became pregnant at 19 with her second son. It was a toxic relationship, and he went to prison on drug charges for four years. But Tajuania stood by him, visiting him in prison throughout his sentence.
After his release, he stayed on the straight and narrow for a while before returning to his old ways. Tajuania didn’t want that near her children, so the two broke up but stayed friends and devoted themselves to co-parenting.
He started dating someone new, but before long, the couple went missing. Living in Huntsville, Alabama, missing persons cases are few and far between. The area isn’t known for crime, so two missing people made headlines.
They were missing for three weeks before they were found dead in a car off a busy highway.
“His death really shifted and changed my entire life,” Tajuania said.
Police never caught who did it, and Tajuania has had to cope with the mystery for all these years.
“I was so lost,” Tajuania said. “I was depressed. I just remember crying out to God. I started going to church. … I started reading a lot of books.”
Battling — and Bettering — the Mind
It was Tajuania’s rock bottom, and there was nowhere else to go except to God.
There’s a passage in a book called “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer that talks about how you have control over your thoughts. This concept changed Tajuania’s life. She realized she wasn’t at the mercy of whatever thought popped into her head at any given moment.
“I connected with God, and life just got better for me,” Tajuania said. “ … (I was) making better decisions and better choices.”
Those better choices led Tajuania to a healthy marriage and two more sons. She worked in corporate America for 13 years before God told her to leave her job and start her own business.
ASAP Errand Girls
Tajuania set out on her own, wrote her first book — an autobiography entitled “Cre8 Your New Beginnings” — and started a business called ASAP Errand Girls with her sister. They help elderly people and their families run errands.
“A lot of people see me now as successful and where I am with a positive mindset and think that I’ve always been here,” Tajuania said. “Because of that, I’ve mentored a lot of people going to the schools and stuff. … I’ve told my story so people can understand that God can use any one of us.”
God certainly did use Tajuania, and He can use you, too.