Today is National Single Parents Day. I’ve been a single parent now almost half of my age. Still, it was never my intent. In 2003, 5 years after my transplant, I was unexpectedly pregnant. I was surprised, we all were. As my 3-year relationship crumbled, I asked my doctor at Duke Medical Center, where I was a kidney and organ transplant patient, for advice. I was surprised again when Dr. St. Claire, my nephrologist said to go for it, if I wanted to…and he would help me medically. I had to get off a few transplant meds such as CellCept, get on some different meds, and go to the doctor…a lot. But, he said, I can’t guarantee that if you don’t have this pregnancy that you’ll be able to do it in the future, as the future with a transplant is not promised. But just for today…you are cleared for pregnancy.
And that was my first day deciding to be a single mom.
With over 10.6 million single parent households in the US, and millions around the world, according to the U.S. Census, we didn’t all get here on the same path. Some of us are widowed, divorced, chose IV fertilization to parent alone, or like myself, a single parent due to broken relationships. I know all of these types of single parents personally. We are regular families. Normal families.
I did an interview for a prominent DC magazine this week on my perspective as a single mom and the interviewer asked me so many questions that made me think. When asked what I want my message to the world to be, I responded to highlight that single-parent families are not synonymous with lack. My kids have a lifestyle that doesn’t lack. It’s different than a 2-family parent house, but it’s not lacking what it takes for them to be amazing humans. I’m the product of a 2-parent household…with lots of issues. But that’s a post for another day.
I’m waiting for the day that I can have someone do work on my houses and not ask the question after take one look at me, and then my children, “is your husband home, and do you need permission before we do this work?” I’ll never forget the time in 2020 I got a preliminary denial for a refinance on my rental home because my application screamed “single black female” but luckily the broker of my loan was a strong white woman who called the newly hired underwriter and personally questioned her. Needless to say, I got the refi.
It was embarrassing for me to come out as a second time single mom in the same year that I bought a house and a car in the same day, and refinanced my other house. None of that mattered as all I was concerned with was damn, how did I let this happen…again? I was about to die just so I wouldn’t have to admit to being a single mom again. I felt like a complete failure. Even though I was making the most healthy choice for myself and my kids at the time.
That’s how society can make you feel. Like above all, you’re a failure if you’re not married. If your relationship doesn’t work and you’re “shackled” as an outcast single mother. I’d love to change the narrative, one day, one post at a time. I don’t talk about my hardships and accomplishments to brag. I do it for the young parent who thinks their dreams are over if they get sick. If they find themselves single…as a parent. You still deserve all the blessings this life can give you. You are still worthy. Even as a single parent household. You and your family matter.
Shoutout to all of the strong single parents who’ve shown me that you don’t have to give up your own dreams and life, and…you can still be a complete person while raising children, even if doing it alone.
Share this post with a single parent you know, and wish them Happy National Single Parents Day! Which is not just today, but every day. 🙂