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I am a successful single mom, but Lord knows it has not always been that way. Often times we hear about the single mother with the dead beat baby father who was once locked up and we make judgments on them. Most people think, “there goes another single mom, with a no good baby father who put the cart before the horse she. What a loser she must be.”
What if I told you that I was one of those people who if they really knew my story, then people would probably see me as a typically “baby mama” in a jacked up situation. When people see me as a single mother now, they see a successful single mom, someone who is productive, works hard, and is educated. Most people would never guess the things that I have gone through in order to become successful.
Before I get into my story, more than anything I want to encourage other single mothers that although it can be hard, you can be as successful as you want to be. Where there is a will there is a way and through hard work and determination you can accomplish anything.
At the age of 23 I found myself pregnant. I would like to tell you that I was this perfect Bible thumping Christian in which I did everything right. But it was the opposite. I considered myself a Christian and I would go to church, but there was a disconnect between me being a Christian and actually applying it to all areas of my life. I was single, I had a decent job and my life consisted of any 23 years old life. I drank, partied, had fun, and lived for self. By this time I did have an undergraduate degree so I was not completely off base, but to be frank, I was a hot mess.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was not in a serious relationship. I was just having fun like many 23 year old women do, living, and thinking there are no real consequences to my actions. When I told my son’s father I was pregnant. My child’s father wanted me to get an abortion, but I refused. I did not believe in abortion (click here to read my blog on why). I felt like I was an adult woman who made an adult decision and I needed to live with the consequences of what I had done.
I guess it is like the Bible says:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Because little did I know that having my son would be the one thing that pulled me out of my foolishness and required me to change my life. I know that sound so cliche, like the things that all mothers are suppose to say. But it is so true, I never realized how much another person can change you. And that is what my son did for me. But it was not easy, by any means. My son’s father did not talk to me for my entire pregnancy. I can recall showing up to his house one day and him being gone. I didn’t know where he had gone to. Where he moved, he was just gone!
From then on I could make the decision to sit and be depressed or make the decision to be a mom. I chose to be a mom. I went to pregnancy classes and all of my appointments alone. At time it was awkward watching everyone have someone with them and I was sitting by myself, but I tried to remain happy, which I was for the most part. I would be lying to you if I did not say that I would get into these spouts of being lonely and fearful about the future.
I was going to be a single mother. I worked 12-16 hours a day. I did not have a baby sitter or know of anyone that would watch my child for that long. I had to be at work at 5:45 a.m. in the morning and normal daycares did not open at that time. There was so much that I needed to figure out. AND it was up to me to figure it out. There was no one else. By the time my son was born, I made an effort to reach out to his father. He came over when my son was 4 weeks old. He stayed for about 30 minutes refused to hold my son and walked out of the door.
From there, I made the decision to file for child support, one that would do me no good. About a week or two later I found out my son’s father had become incarcerated for larceny charges, where he would spend the next 6 plus years. To make matters worse, about a year into my son’s father being in prison, I found out that he was still legally married all this time. But I could not worry about what my son’s father was doing, I had a child to take care of. When my son was a year old, I was sitting at my new job as a bachelors level counselor. As I was sitting in a meeting on a of a paper I saw (LMHP). I learned that this meant licensed mental health professional. As clear as any other voice, God said “you need to be that.”
I did not question who, what, when, or how I was going to get this done. I just followed. I found an accredited school online in which I could obtained a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling. I started attending Capella University, and in 3.5 years I graduated with a Master’s degree, with a 3.7 GPA. And now I am a National Certified Counselor.
During my stent in my program I had become a member of the Chi Sigma Iota, international counseling honor society and a student member of the American Association For Marriage and Family Therapy. When I started my Master’s I knew my education would not stop there. God told me to get a PhD. And now I am done with my PhD. Look at God!
I would love to tell you that everyone in my life was supportive of me being a single mother and going to school and wanting a better life for myself. But they were not. Many of my family and friends told me that I was not going to be able to do it. However, it was up to me to not pay attention to them and change their minds through my actions and doing what God placed on my heart to do, and here I stand.
My journey does not end with my education. As I look back on my life, I now know that some would consider this adversity. Some people would call what I went through strength and perseverance. As I went through it, I did not see it like that.
I just wanted my son to have a better life. I did not want to barely get by or just survive. I want to live the best life I can live, and I want to give my son the same respect.
Through my course of being a single mother I would love to tell you that it was all easy and I was content with being alone. But this was not the case. During the six years I was still going back and forth with my son’s father while he was in prison. There were times that attempted to force a relationship in effort to have a “traditional” family. That was until I found out my son’s father had a girlfriend while he was in prison, one in which he was seeing since I was pregnant. So let’s recap. He had a wife (which I found out when he was in prison) and now he had a girlfriend. There are times in our life where we have to make decisions that are best for us. I could not been in a love triangle, hexagon, octagon, or any of it anymore. When you have a child, your priority shift to what is important. My son was important and me living my life was important.
When, my son’s father got out of prison. He tried to be a “father” for about a month or two before disappearing again. He is only ordered to pay $65 a month in child support which he does not pay. But I do not care. I do not care because I made a life for my son. All the hard work and education that I have gotten paid off and he does not matter to me nor does his money matter. I have to do for my son. As a mother, I do not have a choice. And really I WANT to for him as bad as I WANT to do for myself. And that is what the grace and the peace of God will get you. The ability to let go and live your life and KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that God has your back and He orders your steps. I am happy, my son is happy, and he is a child that I can be proud of. Never have I known unconditional love until I had him (see my blog here). And I am thankful that God knew what I needed to get my life in order and that is my son.
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