All Articles Tagged "single motherhood"
‘I’m Co-Parenting With Somebody Who Got Engaged When I Was 5 Months Pregnant:’ Ebony Editor Speaks On Single Motherhood
Ebony’s digital news and lifestyle editor, Jamliah Lemieux, admits that she never wanted to be a single mother.
“I had an informal list of things I wanted to accomplish before becoming a mother,” she told Mater Mea. “I really wanted to purge myself of all my selfishness, travel the world and be married.”
But as fate would have it, things didn’t quite work out that way. During a tumultuous ending of a two-year relationship, she found out that she was pregnant with her first child.
“At the time I was incredibly in love with this person who was no longer in love with me,” Jamilah says. “There was a lot of shame because I was going into single motherhood — it wasn’t that I was in a relationship that ended during the pregnancy, or right after the pregnancy, or two years later.”
“I always thought being a single mother was the absolute last thing in the world that I would ever, ever, ever want to be.”
After doing a little soul searching, Jamilah decided to follow through with her pregnancy. However, 5 months in, her ex proposed to another woman. She later gave birth to her daughter, Naima Freedom Lemieux-Giles.
“I’m co-parenting with somebody who got engaged to another woman that he started dating the week we conceived, got engaged to when I was five months pregnant, and married when we had a 2 month old.”
Though the co-parenting situation is not ideal between Jamliah and Naima’s dad, she admits that in the end, it’s all worth it.
“We’re both committed to raising a strong and healthy girl,” Lemieux says. “I’m very happy that she has a great relationship with her dad. I may hate the man, but I don’t hate the dad.”
“I am not OK with the situation, but if I have to sacrifice my personal comfort for the sake of my child and her relationship with her father, then that’s something I will do gladly.”
All in all, Jamliah admits that she’s happy that she decided to follow through with her pregnancy
“This child in this moment is supposed to be here. I’m lucky that for the situation that we have, I got the child that I needed.”
“Being a single parent, in a lot of ways, requires a level of self-sacrifice that I did not want to make. I see a lot of women who I feel had to live for their children and sacrifice everything, and it just seemed that there’s nothing left for them. I have a mother who pretty much gave up her life in a lot of ways — her pursuits and some of the things she wanted to do personally and professionally — to just become a mom. That’s not to say that’s not enough and it can’t be fulfilling, but it’s not what I want for myself and it’s not the sort of relationship I want to have with my daughter. I think that she’ll be happy that we’ll get to experience a lot of cool things together — and if I do have other children in the future the same goes for them — because I haven’t put the brakes on everything that makes me me just to be a mom.”
What are your thoughts on Jamliah’s story?
I don’t know how familiar you all were with the TVOne show “Black Men Revealed,” but I loved it! It only ran for two seasons, and the first season was hosted by David A. Arnold, while the second season was hosted by the Stewart Brothers. The show featured a myriad of men, usually three sitting back, drinking, (playing dominoes, first season) and being very candid about their views on life, society, women, and relationships. Well, during one episode the men began to address single mothers and whether or not they’d date one. The comments varied but one of the participants addressed how some men (and society) will tend to look down on a single woman who has kids, even if she’s being responsible and taking care of them, but don’t address the women who’ve had abortions.
That comment came back to my mind when Clarke Gail Baines wrote an article at the beginning of this year addressing how some women would rather use abortions as a form birth control and bragging about it.
Now, before you get mad and sound off in the comment section before you’re finished reading this, this article is not about downing women who have chosen the very difficult decision to have an abortion. I understand that sometimes people are just not ready for the change that your life will face the moment you have a child, and for those single mothers (like myself) having a child means having to completely reshape your life while attempting to reach your goals. Things are still do-able, but like Solange Knowles addressed, it’s a lot of “saying no,” strict scheduling and having support and help.
When you’re in a certain situation, you do find yourself more sensitive to things. Comments that you might not have noticed people saying, you’re now very in tune to them. So when I finally decided to watch “Love and Hip Hop” New York, (I don’t think I’m ready to handle all of that ATL-drama past a few episodes), I caught the episode where Raqi and Rashidah get into an argument at a charity event. While the two threw verbal jabs at each other, Rashidah said: “…with no kids, living in a high rise above the water…” Now granted, when people argue and fight, you expect it to get ugly, and people are going to hit below the belt to make sure that you hurt so you know your place. I understand that. I also understand the comments that you make to a particular person doesn’t represent how you feel about a full representation of a certain population. Rashidah’s comments could just be geared toward the ever so messy Raqi, and not how she feels about single mothers, however, there did seem to be a connotation of ‘I have no kids, I’m fabulous, what about you?’
When a woman is a celebrity and she’s a single mother, there’s seems to be more sympathy allowed to her. First, you’re allowed more of her story. You know if she’s been married and as much of the circumstances that she and her PR team will allow to be known. She’s seen as a super woman who can be incredibly successful and do things on her own. She’s seen as someone who inspires. But sometimes I feel like with the average single mother, we’re seen as lazy, promiscuous, and deserving to be in the situation that we’re in. I hear people brag to their friends about how they feel as though they’re better than another woman because, “I don’t got no kids!” I know that people should be proud about the fact they don’t have as much “baggage” as the woman they are beefing with, but using a person’s child as a means to hit below the belt is a little petty. Especially if the woman is trying to raise a child on her own. No one realizes how hard it is, but to feel as though you’re better than someone else due to that woman choosing to have that child is mean spirited. The same way how it would be mean spirited for me to look down on those who have dealt with that difficult decision of terminating a pregnancy.
But for those single mothers, you too can be fabulous in life, succeed, and get your own high-rise. It’ll take some work, saying a few nos to things, and engaging in being strict with your time, but don’t let anyone ever make you feel like your child is a hindrance to your success, or the success that you’re trying to obtain.
On any given Monday, the foolery I witness on “Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta” is mindless entertainment I can delete from my thoughts by 9:01. And then there are times when the situations get a little too real and you begin to really feel for the participants who you are reminded aren’t just characters, like Stevie J and Joseline, but people with real feelings.
Watching Kirk and Rasheeda’s interaction at her photo shoot during last night’s episode was infuriating, disappointing, and frankly, just plain sad. As Rasheeda sat explaining why she was doing a photo shoot before gaining a ton of pregnancy weight, it was baffling to hear her husband of 13 years refer to their unborn child as a “that,” insinuate she was cheating and demand a blood test, and then suggest that she “X that out the picture” — again the “that” being their unborn child. I’ve written before about the right I believe any unmarried man has to request a DNA test to prove a child is his, but when that demand comes from a spouse of many years who has no reason to doubt paternity other than his own conscious, the idea of it all is preposterous and reeks of mid-life crisis and new fame.
As if it wasn’t bad enough to allow himself to be seen on camera telling his wife to get an abortion, Kirk one-upped himself when Rasheeda told him he needs to be a supportive husband, and he retorted, “I don’t wanna be a husband right now, for what?” For what? Maybe because you are a husband, even if you don’t feel like it, and because, even though you’d like to deny it, your wife is pregnant and you will have a son or daughter within the next nine months. Is that not reason enough?
As is often the case with reality TV couples, the cameras can once again be chalked up as the outside culprit contributing to the breakdown of this relationship. No, I don’t believe Kirk was putting on for the cameras — although I wish that were the case — I think he’s gotten a taste of the shine that comes with being a reality TV star (because of his wife’s fame, mind you) and now he wants more. That’s why we see this man taking Instagram shots like the one above in t-shirts that say “almost single,” as if bragging about divorcing your pregnant wife is something to be proud of. Or we see other photos of him surrounded by women who are not his wife and being grabbed in areas one who is married shouldn’t be. He’s starting to believe his own hype and is willing to sacrifice his family just to make sure he lives out every 15 minutes of fame allotted to him.
The situation isn’t new. We all probably know a husband of a friend or relative who bailed when responsibilities increased at home because his career was suddenly soaring, or someone new was paying him a little mind. It’s the basic principle of the 80/20 rule. You sacrifice the 80% of your needs that are being fulfilled to get the 20% you never had before. After all, what man wouldn’t want to hang out poolside with a bunch of half-unclothed women when his wife is at home gaining weight carrying someone that is going to be a financial burden and additional responsibility? Well I can name one type of person who wouldn’t — a man of integrity.
So what’s Rasheeda to do? The obvious answer is she will go on and have her child and be the mother she should be, with or without Kirk’s support. But that’s the simple, cookie cutter response. What’s a woman really to do when she falls into single motherhood rather than chooses it? No, Rasheeda isn’t innocent in the breakdown of the couple’s marriage. We all witnessed her inability to properly communicate her wants and needs with her husband and their struggle to separate business from the personal last season, but there’s something very startling about being in a union where support from your partner in a time like this is expected, but isn’t given, and the adjustment period won’t be easy.
In post-production interviews, both Rasheeda and Kirk have been coy about the true state of their union, but unless Kirk comes to a point of valuing family over fame, I can’t say I expect a happy ending by the season 2 reunion. In the end though, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kirk was the one left more wounded than his potentially soon-to-be ex-wife.
Check out footage of Kirk and Rasheeda’s argument in the video below. What do you think about their situation?
‘I Have To Say No To A Lot Of Things:’ Solange Opens Up To ‘Brooklyn Magazine’ About The Challenges Of Being A Single, Working Mother
Solange Knowles has a lot on her plate. In addition to her singing career, she’s a part-time DJ and actress. The 26-year-old songbird is also quite the businesswoman. Earlier this month she excitedly announced the launch of her new record label, Saint Records.
“It is through SAINT RECORDS that I will be releasing my full length album, and also future music projects that I’m excited about sharing! Through Saint Records I will have 100% creative/artistic control & continue to passionately pursue my footing in this new musical movement,” the “Losing You” singer announced via Twitter.
But, out of all of the different roles that she assumes in her life, she revealed during a recent interview with Brooklyn Magazine that being a single mom is one of the more challenging ones. Check out some of what she had to say below.
On being a single, working mother:
“[Motherhood] is definitely a balancing act, and it is not at all easy. I do the best I can, which involves a lot of saying no to things, actually, and a lot of really organized scheduling and a lot of help, to be honest. That was one of our major incentives to moving here. We were living in LA and I was writing and recording this album literally between the hours of 9am and 3pm every day because that was the time that Julez was in school. We were completely isolated, we didn’t have any family or long-term friends there, and we didn’t have that support system built in there that we have in New York.”
On her son Juelz growing up surrounded by family:
“You know, my parents are here, my sister is here, my cousin is here, all my friends are here. We really wanted Julez to have the experience that we had growing up—being able to drop in on his aunt’s house and being able to hang out with Grandma and see our friends and have that experience of actually having a soccer game and having family show up. It’s such a beautiful feeling, but also having that village is a necessary reality so that I’m able to pursue my passion both outside of motherhood and outside of my career.”
On moving to Brooklyn, New York:
“I’m still a newcomer here, but I feel like because my family moved to New York when I was 17, that I have a longer and deeper connection. And I think about the times when I would come and visit them, and I would always spend a lot of time in Brooklyn. So it feels like an extension of me, living here, because I spent so much time here before.”
Turn the page for more photos from Solo’s funky photo shoot.
Much in the way that married couples are expected to become the minority in America within the coming years, single parenthood has already become the official norm among women under 30, with more than half of these births occurring outside of marriage. The face of the single mother has also changed in some ways too. While stereotypes would have you think only minorities have babies out of wedlock, a New York Times report found that the fastest growth in the last two decades has occurred among white women in their 20s who have some college education but no four-year degree.
While overall, most women are married when they have babies—59 percent, according to 2009 data—the trend among women under 30 foreshadows a transformation that may come with future generations, and one that may not be beneficial. As The NYT points out, “researchers have consistently found that children born outside marriage face elevated risks of falling into poverty, failing in school, or suffering emotional and behavioral problems.”
An educational divide may explain this growing issue, as college graduates as a whole don’t fit the trend. About 92 percent of college-educated women are married when they give birth, compared with 62 percent of women with post-secondary schooling, and 43 percent of women with a high school diploma or less, according to Child Trends, a Washington research group that analyzed government data. Despite the growth among young white women, minority women still constitute a large portion of these births with 73 percent of black children being born outside marriage, compared with 53 percent of Latinos and 29 percent of whites.
Depending on your perspective, this data is either cause for alarm or a testament to changing attitude’s toward marriage and women’s independence. Frank Furstenberg, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, said “Marriage has become a luxury good,” and Teresa Fragoso, 25, a single mother in Lorain, OH, backed up that thinking by saying “Women used to rely on men, but we don’t need to anymore. We support ourselves. We support our kids.”
As the stigma around singlehood and single parenthood continues to lift, it can only be expected that this trend will continue—and the consequences will only be revealed as time goes on.
What do you think about this trend? Is it fine for women to embrace single motherhood or is this more evidence of the breakdown of American families?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Reality shows are known for all things salacious yet lacking the one component it markets itself on representing- reality. On Sunday’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” reunion part two, viewers witnessed a dose of reality that was almost heartbreaking to watch. Even with the ladies supposed status and money, they were not exempt from the harsh reality of single motherhood.
An entire segment was dedicated to the trials of parenting alone as the women discussed how the fathers’ absence has affected the children. All of the women, with the exception of Phaedra, are or have been single mothers. It is unfortunate single parenting had to be addressed on the one season of the Real Housewives franchise with the predominantly Black cast.
The women of Orange County, New York and Beverly Hills are not without their own familial drama: including a son in and out of jail, foreclosure and raising children alone (Kim Richards and Kelly Bensimon). A number of the women from the other seasons have been married more than once and aren’t technically married to the father of their children. But whites are judged individually. Black folks aren’t afforded such luxury. Sadly, the single mothers of RHOA are a replica of what is occurring in our communities. I’m not sold on the idea that single parenting is working for black women or children.
I’m no secret advocate of the No Wedding, No Womb campaign. I actually totally disagree with the premise of NWNW for a number of reasons, but mainly because marriage is a band-aid solution to a problem that needs surgery. But at what point do Black women and men realize the decisions they are making in regards to parenting, or lack thereof, are creating a community of hurt children?
Kandi’s daughter Riley, at seven years old, is numb due her father’s missing presence in her life. Kandi’s heart was broken as she listened to her daughter express that she didn’t care if she had a dad or not. Black men have to do better. Much better. In every shape, form and fashion, deadbeat dads are unacceptable.
However, black women have to take accountability for the outcome of the situations they land themselves in with sorry men. I’m not in the business of vilifying black women for their sexual choices sometimes resulting in an unplanned pregnancy. In fact, I was raised by a single mother and I’m awesome. Thank you very much. I do though find it hard to believe the men impregnating some women showed any promise of being a good father prior to the pregnancy. Something women have to take a long hard look at is why they are having a child by a man who had never proven to be reliable or responsible. This is not to let men off the hook for dropping the ball, but women aren’t complete victims with no control over the choices they make.
As proof marriage does not guarantee a woman the benefit of an involved dad, one needs to look no further than Kim and Sheree, who were both married to the fathers of their children. Being married did nothing to protect them from the scarlet letter of eventually becoming single moms. Cynthia on the other hand is the antithesis of the former wives who struggle to even receive child support. Cynthia was never married to her daughter’s dad, actor Leon, but he has a great relationship with his daughter and Cynthia. You never know which way the dice are going to roll. But black people need to stop gambling with the lives of kids.
Black people have to wake up before the denigration of our communities is signed, sealed and delivered. The dismantling of our family structure certainly is contributing to the other ills plaguing our communities at higher rates than any other group in America. It’s imperative we begin examining the repetitive circumstances we have control over. From where I’m sitting, single parenting is not working for us. The reality is that the highest percentage of black women living in poverty are those raising children alone. And that reality freakin’ sucks.