March 21, 2021
Today is National Single Parent day. While we are single parents every day, many don’t know there’s a day recognizing single parents – we certainly didn’t. So, we’re choosing to use this day to reflect on why we built this platform and how we got here.
We created our podcast, and the accompanying virtual platform, to center blackness – add Black voices to the conversations surrounding the Single Mother by Choice movement – and to change the overwhelmingly negative narrative around single Black motherhood to one of positivity and empowerment.
We plan to achieve our mission by providing Black women with the information they need to take their fertility into their own hands, choose healthy relationships, and have the family of their dreams on their own time table. Our community also offers a safe space for women to connect with each other, learn about parenting hacks, and receive support of a community as they pursue this non-traditional parenting path.
Blackness isn’t monolithic, and neither is Black single motherhood. We each arrive at this path for different stories and from all walks of life. For years, women have come to our virtual platform looking for community, sisterhood, and to listen and share as we all collectively gain the knowledge we need to create our families. Some arrive hopeful and empowered, others arrive with a sadness as they mourn the traditional family society tells us we should want. Our community is diverse in age with some women starting their journey fresh out of college or trade school, some mid to senior level career women, and others nearing retirement when they realize this path could be for them.
In addition to first time mothers, we also have single mothers by chance (a woman who never intended to parent alone but finds herself doing it anyway) looking to grow her family by going the SMC route. In order to change the narrative, we need to continue to tell our stories.
Aisha: Aisha became an SMC almost ten years after an amicable divorce.
I married young, at 24 yrs old and with rose-colored glasses on and full of romantic idealism. I believed that two, young college graduates trying to make their way in the world, could beat the odds and be each other’s “till death do us part”. I was naive. It’s hard to blend two lives together and we weren’t prepared for the challenges that faced our young marriage. One of the straws that eventually broke the camel’s back was my biological clock. I was ready for babies and the man I married wasn’t.
My marriage did not work out as planned and I found myself divorced at 29 yrs old. I mourned being so close to the traditional: married w/ two kids, a house and a dog – a vision that’s often drilled into the head of every girl from birth. I was told there was a “right way” and a “wrong way” to have a family. When the right way failed me, I found myself adrift. I dated for almost 5 years chasing the traditional. While I had casual fun, I also encountered a lot of disappointment and frustration while looking for THE ONE and waiting for him to find me. Toward the end, I felt like I was allowing other people to determine if I’d ever become a mother. And I needed to change that or else motherhood would slip through my fingers.
All my life I’d been a by-the-book rules girl, but I secretly knew my power came through knowing when to step off the traditional path and do the thing most wouldn’t dare. One day I told my sixty seven year old, very Christian step mother that I wanted children and was frustrated that I wasn’t finding the right partner. To my surprise, she told me to “go have a baby” just like Halle Berry did.
Her words got me thinking about what it would be like to separate motherhood from a relationship. What if I decided to become a mother on my own? I was an educated woman in my mid thirties with a stable and satisfying career. I owned my own home, had lived the cosmopolitan single girl life, and I was ready to settle down. I could actually do this. I tried…I succeeded… and I am a mother to two wonderful children.
I feel as if I’ve stolen joy and I am going to hold on to it for dear life. I am so happy and proud to be a Black Single Mother by Choice. Today I celebrate me and my village.
Hera: Hera became an SMC after tragically losing her first child, with whom she was a Single Mother by Chance.
Like Aisha, I’d also learned from an early age that there was a “right way” to have a family and a “wrong way”. This antiquated thinking contributed to the most horrifying years of my life. Approaching my thirties, I ignored red flags and was hell bent on achieving the perfect, nuclear family with two parents. This dream came crashing down when my son was two weeks old and I was fleeing an abusive relationship with his father. My son’s father held a loaded gun to my head, as I held my newborn son in my arms and begged him to let us leave alive.
I spent fifteen months begging family courts to help me protect my son from his violent father. My son learned to say “ball” the week his father killed him.
When you become a mother, it’s impossible to stop being one. You think about your children all the time – look everywhere for them. My mind just wouldn’t stop mommying. I knew I wanted more children, but this time I wasn’t going to let my desire to mother rush me into making more bad relationship decisions. I also knew that I never wanted my future children to suffer like my son had, and the only way I knew to ensure that was to have them alone.
When I first told my family and friends about my decision to have a child via donor, many people thought it was the grief talking. “Don’t you want to just wait for Mr. Right,” was the question that appeared to be on loop. Yes, I wanted Mr. Right and I still do – but I didn’t want to wait for him in order to be a mother. I knew that any man I met would need to accept me as a single mother because I was already a single mother.
After my son’s father was in prison, and the immediate threat he posed gone, I pursued my new dream of becoming a Single Mother by Choice. My oldest daughter was born a little over a year after my son died. The moment my daughter was born, the world became so much brighter. She saved my life and being her mother gave me back my purpose. I’ve been able to advocate for the protection of other children in large part because I know I will not ever have to go back to family court with my children.
Regardless of whether a woman chooses this path, knowing its an option can empower women to choose healthier relationships. If you want to be a mother, don’t settle for a man who you know deep down isn’t going to be a good parent. Know that if you don’t find the one – you can still have your perfect family. The relationship can wait – but your fertility might not.
We wish all of single parents (however you became one) a happy and joy filled National Single Parent’s day. We hope you get to sleep in, drink your coffee while it’s still hot, and get extra cuddles from your children. You’ve earned it!