This year marks my 11th Mother’s Day. I’ve been a mother since the day I found out I was pregnant, but the word “single” has always been attached to “mother” for me and I found out I’d be a single mother the same day I found out I’d be a mother. Throughout my pregnancy I was saddened by the fact that I’d be doing this alone, even more sad that the man that I’d loved and been with for three years decided he wasn’t ready for a family, and meant it. So I mourned the loss of a relationship, while going through a high-risk pregnancy, working full time, with no family around. But there are a few things I knew from day one; I was having a girl (there was never any doubt in my mind about that), and we would be okay. Fast forward 11 years and here we are.
I found out I was pregnant in the Wal-Mart bathroom on lunch break with my friend Bonnie. We went in the stall and I took the test just for kicks. We screamed at the results; my first emotion was happiness. My first phone call was to my doctor at Duke Medical Center, I had to tell him so he could give me the green light. He looked at my last labs and said, “I think you’re fine. You’ll have to stop taking one of your transplant meds, the other is ok.” So I went through the pregnancy with 5 doctors (2 Nephrologist, 1 Rheumatologist, 1 Oncologist, and 1 OBGYN) all of whom I visited often. I was worn out just from going to the doctors all the time! At 31 weeks they put me on bed-rest, but at home. So you know I was still running the streets. My cousin had just returned to Charlotte because football season was over and her husband played on the Raiders so I was at their house all day being annoying I’m sure. She said to me one time, “you’re not on bed rest for-real. They’re gonna come get you.” LOL. The funniest thing is that they did come get me. One day I went for a normal routine check up at the OBGYN (I went every week) and they told me to go across the street to the hospital. I threw a fit because I was about to have my second baby shower at work the next day. Working as an Assistant Buyer in cosmetics, I could NOT miss gifts from these vendors. They loved me and their gifts were always awesome. So I pitched a fit!! It didn’t work. They threw me in the hospital and locked away the key for 3 weeks.
At 33 weeks they told me they were going to prepare for me to have the baby soon because they couldn’t get my blood pressure under control and at this point they were more worried about my kidney than the baby. The doctors said the baby would be fine, but they didn’t want me to be pregnant for much longer. So they gave me that shot in my butt for the baby’s lungs and had me sit on that bed for just a little longer…well 2 more weeks until it was time to party. As soon as we hit 35 weeks the doctors took her out. A white, straight haired, grey eyed, 4 pound 10 oz baby that looked nothing like me was delivered and my own mom was with me in the delivery room. My mom has given me life three times!
I have to give a shout-out to my cousin who didn’t have any children at the time and had just got in town from Cali. She took me to pick up the baby from the hospital (she stayed in one day longer than I did), of course we were late… we had no preemie clothes and didn’t know how to install the baby seat properly and there were no civil servants around to help us. And we needed help! She and her husband let me crash with them for weeks, he gave me his man-cave and also helped me put together all the baby gadgets that babies are required to have. Some of them we had to call for help on, like the super fancy stroller that I had to have but we couldn’t figure out how to open it. When Mo first laid eyes on her, he said, “I’ve eaten chicken bigger than that.” He wouldn’t hold her until she was about one years old. 🙂 When he passed this past October, it was heartbreaking for my cousin of course who’d been with him since she was 16, and her children, but also for all of us who knew him. I’ll be eternally grateful for him being the man who was there for me and my Nook when we came home from the hospital.
I’ve received a lot of help along the way which is how I’ve made this single mother life work. I have great friends, my aunt lives down the street and she’s our emergency contact and babysitter, my mom helps out as much as she can and comes in town to help, and even my own dad helps me out a lot. Because of this support, I’ve been able to make it and defy the stereotypes that many single moms face. I was able to get my masters degree, always work a full-time job, and create a good life for us. After 11 years, I’ve begun to put the “mother” before the “single”. Being a mom is an every day, all day job and it’s who I am…and it means much more than being single. It took me a while to come to that realization and accept it, but it takes a long time for some of us to decide who we are and fall in love with it…in spite of all odds.
Life is good.
Happy Mother’s Day to all!!
Photo and Creative Direction Credit: Harley Morgan of ROE: The Agency