Becoming a Single Mom

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This is my story on how I became a single mom.

At the age of 24, I felt like my life was pretty much figured out.  I finally had my own apartment without roommates and a decent job working as a CNA. I felt like what I had learned in life had prepared me for whatever trials I would face. I just knew I would be able to conquer trials in my life. I didn’t have a carefree childhood. I grew up in a chaotic home with my grandparents. There was someone who was addicted to drugs who lived with us. I wasn’t taught how to drive, but I learned to navigate by public transportation.  I was being an adult by paying my bills and doing well at my job as a CNA. Life was great, but I still felt like something was missing. I was unable to hang out with my friends or go out. I thought a dating website would be a great way to tell the difference between a guy who was a fit for my life and the wrong guy.

Two weeks into having the dating profile I had received a message from a guy that was a handsome “country” guy. I was excited. He also seemed to live for the Lord. A few weeks of talking to him I decided to meet him. He was just as pleasant in person as he was online. We hit it off and became an official couple.

As time went on things were still great, we were spending lots of time together, and he practically moved in with me. The only slight change I noticed was an afternoon as I was coming home from work, he had asked me to pick up his favorite pizza. So, I stopped at the local store and grabbed it from the frozen food section. I arrived home, and as I walked in, I was greeted by a clean house. Wow is this guy for real? I was so happy with him. I handed him the pizza to place it in the oven, his facial expression changed. He directly looked at me and asked, "Are you stupid?" I was shocked and looked down not knowing what I did wrong. He said, "This is not pepperoni! This is cheese didn’t you read it?" I apologized and asked if I could take it back and get the right type of pizza. He smiled told me no, it’s okay. I was very hurt, but I didn’t say anything. He later apologized.

More time passed I realized that he started to have a “not good enough” attitude towards us. After a few months, I was met with an ultimatum that I either I had a child with him, or he was going to leave me. I told him I really want to be married first and this was sudden. I asked him to let me think about it, and he agreed. The next day I called a couple of family members and friends asking for their opinions. Everyone was shocked by his demands. Even after the advice, I have been given I was sure he must want a family because he loved me that much. I agreed, and we decided to try for a child.

A couple of months later I was expecting. The joy I had for my baby overshadowed my doubts, and he seemed very excited. He called his family and told them about the baby. His family was shocked but happy, and I was welcomed into his family.  I felt how close to them and admired how relaxed around each other they were. It made me desire, even more, to do what I could to make him happy.

In 2014, I was scheduled to be at the hospital, so I can be induced, I was nervous by that time, and I felt as big as a double-wide trailer. I have always been a nervous person as long as I could remember. He was comforting none the less to me. The waiting area for the delivery room seemed calmer then what I expected it to be. The faces of family members, husbands, or boyfriends didn’t alarm me; I felt excited and ready. As I went back, I knew he would be in the room, and he wanted to be a part of it every step of the way!

After arriving in my room, the first thing I noticed was the little baby carrier for after delivery, the smell of the hospital was familiar and comforting because of my work in the medical field. After being all setup, we were in for a long night. It seemed close to forever before Pitocin was given. A few hours later I thought I was going to die the contractions were awful. He snapped, "It can’t hurt that bad you’re being a baby!" I looked at him and cried. I asked for a nurse and a short time later a nurse arrived, I asked for an epidural. After many hours of labor and 4 hours of pushing my healthy baby girl was born.

He wasn’t very helpful for the two days we remained in the hospital. The nurses came in to take my little girl for her vaccinations, and they offered to take longer so I could rest. I smiled and slept for a while. The last day we were there we were packing to leave I lost my daughter's personalized binky. I was panicking, and he scolded me when the nurse walked in and abruptly interrupted him and offered to help look. His attitude changed. He said, "We will get another one."

We arrived home, and our plans changed, I had to quit my job, and we were to move closer to his family in a nearby town. I agreed, so we packed and moved a few months later.  When we lived in our new house, we had a lot of time with his family, and my daughter was growing more beautiful by the day. I was happy regardless. Being a stay at home mom was going to be okay. I couldn’t drive anyway, and I would be loving on her all the time.

A year later, he was very little help with her, but he reminded me that he worked, and I didn’t. I didn’t fuss at him, and I allowed him not to help. He was gone more frequently, and his absence lasted well into the nights. Even shopping at the local store was an issue because I was too slow, and he accused me of looking at other men. I was tired of being talked down to. I met him with an ultimatum of him leaving for the night, or the baby and I were going. He shoved me in a corner and took my phone. He said, "If you are to leave then say you won’t make me pay child support."  I reflected back on every evening I anticipated him coming home, I always had the house clean, and dinner sat at the table. My daughter was in my arms now I was crying. I agreed, and he left then I did too.

I was faced with uncertainty, where do I go? We were without a home. I didn’t pack much because I was thinking it would blow over. I thought things would be normal again. I stayed with my grandma for a while. Things downward spiraled. He was not only cheating on me with multiple women, but he also had numerous profiles on dating sites. He had also created a fake Facebook to hide that he even had a “family.” I was so hurt and confused, we planned this baby together. I did everything he wanted, and all I wanted was for him to be home. Time went on, and things got worse between us. After a failed attempt to get my daughters belongings and mine, we had nothing. Not even a bed. I was on the lease of the apartment, and he lured me there saying he couldn’t stand seeing her stuff and said come to get it. I was met by him and his family, and they tried taking my daughter. The police came to keep me, and my little one safe.  Come to find out, he moved in with a woman and her two kids in they were occupying our beds and had used our belongings.

We were homeless couch surfers. The home my daughter knew was taken from her. I left my friends and moved in with my father. At my father's house, I broke down. I had worked this whole time, and I couldn’t stay with people long because I didn’t know how to drive. I begged God to tell me whether I should take my daughter back and give her to him? He’s more financially stable, I’d probably never see her again. I sobbed and begged. The next morning, I received a message on Facebook. 

The message was from my old school teacher, and it was so comforting because she offered to help us. She helped my daughter, and I find a place to live. This woman and her church even furnished this house. We had a bed, a bathtub for my little girl to play in, and she had toys. I bawled and thanked the Lord for this. During the next few months, I worked and took a taxi every day. I could pay my bills again. The church came by to helped with lawn work, and they even brought us essentials like toilet paper and laundry soap. I never felt so much love before! 

It wasn’t easy. The taxis were expensive every day I’d carry my daughter, her car seat, and our bags everywhere we had to go. We went to daycare, dr appointments, grocery store. Rain, snow, ice or sunny we did it. I worked from 3 pm to 11 pm or to midnight. Then I switched jobs, and I worked 12-14 hour shifts. I was so exhausted from all of this.

I recently moved back to the apartments I lived in when I met my daughter's dad. I paid a Driver's Ed guy to teach me to drive. I obtained my driver's license, and my old teacher helped get me a car. I paid off my debt to go to college, and now I work for the school district. I did this in 4 months! I have worked so hard. I promise to all of you broken, lost, damaged, uncertain single moms that anything is possible! Work hard and take care of your babies (P.S. after the one visit with my daughter's dad he hasn’t contacted us in two years) I had some help, but I’ve done all the work! Anything is possible ladies!

Anonymous 

Warriorz-Recap from 7th Annual Valentine’s Banquet

On Sunday evening, February 17th, 2019, SingleMomzRock in partnership with Victory Mission + Ministry held our 7th Annual Valentine’s Banquet at a new location, Doubletree by Hilton Springfield.  Over 200 single moms were treated to a glamorous evening of fun and fellowship created just for them! 

The evening started off by the moms being escorted to their tables by gentlemen in tuxes and roses in hand. Delores Albers Photography, as well as CRNewell Photography, was on hand to take snapshots of the moms all glammed up, dinner was catered, and they were treated to live music by two local choirs that joined forces to bring the house down. It’s truly become the largest event in our area for single moms. It was such an inspiring night.

Our theme this year was “Warriorz.” When thinking of a theme each year, we try to find something that will resonate with our single moms. Struggles they go through. Considering all the battles we fight every single day, and how we truly are warriors, it was a natural fit to choose this theme. Moms were treated with bracelets that matched the theme. 

Our featured speaker, Jennifer Maggio, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of The Life of a Single Mom out of Baton Rouge, LA. Like I mentioned that night, for us to even be able to pull off having her among us was confirmation that we are doing something right! She is well renowned in the single mom circuit and sought out all throughout the year for speaking engagements. She told her story of living in poverty, dealing with abuse of all kinds, teenage pregnancy, abandonment of family, going to college while raising two babies, securing a job in a Fortune 500 company and ending that successful career to start a single mom’s ministry. She is proof that you still get to work towards the calling God has placed on your life it may take a lot more work than you thought it would but being obedient will also bless that path! There was not a dry eye in the house after she spoke, our moms were encouraged!

Daniel Ogunyemi was the first male speaker EVER to come and talk to our moms. He let them know that they are strong, loved and to never give up. Anastasia Phelps performed a special spoken word for our moms. Titled “Rise Up,” Anastasia brought intensity and passion to her words. Check out here facebook page, Beautiful Not Broken

And did I mention THAT CHOIR? Sanctuary of Praise and Urban Praise Choirs joined to bring three songs full of hope, praise, and encouragement in the house. We got to worship together, pray together and encourage each other. It was a moment I will never forget, you could feel the movement that was taking place!

We brought back the element of having women community leaders come to the banquet to be table hosts. We had over 80 women leaders come and sit amongst our moms and pour into them, some even brought extra goodies for their tables.  We also brought back our SMR Ambassador program, where we chose three moms who we knew had been working very hard this past year to make very positive changes to better them and their children’s lives. We were able to present these three moms with $100 gas cards on behalf of Victory Mission + Ministry as well as a “shield” pin that was specially designed for this year’s banquet. 

To be able to host the banquet this year at the DoubleTree was very special for all of us. We had their largest ballroom space, and it was beautiful. After six years of using a church space, for us to be able to host it in a lavish venue just amazes me.  IT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER!

Thank you to all that pour your heart into this event each year in order for it to happen. We are very blessed indeed to have such strong support from our community and churches. I don’t know how we will top next year…but I’m already thinking of ways ☺


Janelle Reed

Founder, SingleMomzRock

Finding Me

Someone asked me to explain what this picture meant to me. 

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I thought long and hard about it. Why this particular picture means so much to me. Throughout the years I've always been somebody's sister somebody's best friend. It's never been something about me in particular. It was always somebody else's worth that defined who I was as a person. I had a friend told me once that they had known me for years but didn't really know who I was because of me always talking about other people and never actually about myself. That really struck me hard, but I didn't know how to fix it because that's who I always had always been. 

Then I met my ex-husband and slowly even the little bits of who I was taken from me. Instead, he tried to put what his version of me was in my head. That I was obsessive because I wanted to know where he was when he disappeared for days on end. That I was crazy when in reality he was just projecting his own issues onto me. 

Once I left him, I realized that I had no idea who I was anymore and I've spent the last almost 6 years trying to figure that out. Finding new names for myself that don't include somebody else's name to show my worth.

Like:

Survivor

Loved

Accepted

Important

Never in a million years would I have foreseen where I am today 6 years ago. I was in an abusive marriage and scared for my life. Terrified of what would happen if I would leave. Always on the brink of financial ruin. I’ve been homeless. I’ve been on every state assistance I could get. I’ve had my power shut off multiple times. I’ve not had a vehicle and had to figure out where I was going to find the money to ride the bus to work. I’ve been unemployed and 7 months pregnant where no one would hire me. I’ve dealt with a drug-addicted, cheating, abusive husband.

 

Earlier this year I was asked to be part of the leadership staff for a ministry that I hold very dear to my heart. Ladies in this group have become my dear friends. They have pushed me out of my comfort zone many times. I’ve become more involved with mentoring people. Something I told people I would never feel confident enough to do. Pushing myself outside of myself has been trying at times, but very rewarding.

I love to take pictures of things just for fun. When Janelle suggested that I take pictures and try to sell them, I laughed at her. But, I’ve been trying this year to live with more purpose, so I decided, “why not.” I never imagined I would get the response that I’ve had. That I actually might sell some of my pictures was completely ludicrous to me. But I have. 

I have slowly come to realize who I am and who I was meant to be. The process is never easy, and sometimes it’s been downright painful, but coming to realize that I have worth as a person by myself without having to associate myself with someone else is means more than I could put into words.

So, that’s what this picture represents to me. It’s a declaration of myself. That there is beauty on the other side of the pain. That there is hope even when you can’t see your next step for the darkness surrounding you. You will come through on the other side. 

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-3

Joy