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I'm a single mom.
When I found out I was pregnant, I didn’t anticipate being a single mom. I'd been with the same person for years and had faith in our relationship. After the initial shock of finding out we were to be parents, I believed we would be a family… and for a while, my daughter's father seemed excited about becoming a family, too.
I won’t go into the details of what happened between us that prevented us from working out, but during my pregnancy, I did my best to hide from the world, because “single mom” was a phrase I was embarrassed to be associated with. It wasn't long before I became aware of the negative connotations surrounding single motherhood. I quickly found that people made assumptions about me, both as a mother and as a woman, based on that title. Worst of all, being an unmarried mother made me the center of inappropriate and invasive questioning, touching on a number of personal subjects that would not have been the topic of discussion had I sported a ring on my finger.
"Who is the father?"
Essentially translating to "who got you pregnant," this was by far the most asinine question I was asked in the months that I carried my daughter. To make matters worse, it was always asked by people who had no business knowing the answer to that question. Before going public with the news of my pregnancy, I had dated the same person for years. If a person didn't know me well enough to know who I had been spending my time with the past few years, that said person had no business inquiring about the whereabouts of my daughter's father and my involvement with him. That's just plain nosy.
"Are you excited?"
A married couple would never be asked this. Expecting a child as a single mother isn't a walk in the park by any means, but it also doesn't need to be met with pity or dread. My child's worth was not determined by a man's role in my life—it wasn't then, and it won't ever be. Besides, becoming a first-time parent is terrifying no matter what situation you're in. As a new mother, I went through an inexplicable amount of emotions and physical changes that I had never experienced before... but just because it was terrifying doesn't mean it wasn't exciting. It was both, at the same time.
"So are you getting on government aid, then?"
When did asking about a person's financial situation become acceptable? Again, this was always asked by people who had no involvement in my life. If you had no idea about what field of work I was in, you had no business inquiring about whether or not I made enough money to support a child without government assistance. Not to mention, the tone of this question was always condescending in an almost snarky way, insinuating that, as a single mom, I would be either too lazy, or unable to work hard enough to make enough money on my own... as if I assumed that tax-payers would "pick up the slack."
"What are you going to do now?"
I'm going to the same thing any pregnant woman would do. I'm going to be a mom.
A year and a half after giving birth to my beautiful daughter, I’m proud to say that I'm the single mother of a happy, healthy girl. She loves Hot Wheels, Flaming Hot Cheetos (which absolutely stuns me), dancing, and her “woof-woofs” (dogs). I still work full-time, and I’m fortunate enough to have my family, as well as friends from church and work, to help with childcare. Being her mom is not always easy, but it's always worth it. What matters most to me is doing my absolute best to give my baby girl a life full of love. As long as she's happy, I'll know I've done right by her.
Check out #NikAndVee on Instagram to see our adventures.