Going Solo: Single Parenthood, Preggers

A Letter to my Daughter

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ~Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

Dear Daughter,

Today I had my ultrasound. Today I found out you are a girl! I don’t want to forget a single moment of this, so I decided to write you a letter. To begin with, I want you to know that although this is not a traditional pregnancy where a father and mother are celebrating together, I am not alone in my celebration of you. There is always someone willing to go with me to appointments and there is always someone there to help me when I need it.

Today, on the day when I feel like I first met you, your Aunt Courtney was there with me. You need to know who she is to me. Courtney was a good friend in High School. We both went to college and went our separate ways. Then, my father died. It was the worst thing that ever happened in my life. I loved him so much and was not ready to lose him. After not seeing her for more than a decade, Courtney came to the funeral. A friend like that is a true friend. When things are really hard in your life, your real friends will be the ones who are there for you and with you. This is something I learned as an adult, but I want you to know that now. Also, if you think you’ve lost a friend because your lives go in different directions, they will come back at just the right time. Courtney came back when I lost my dad and has been at my side throughout my pregnancy. I pray you find a friend like her.

Courtney filmed much of the ultrasound, so I will be sure you see that video someday. Seeing you was breathtaking. By the time you read this letter, you will know me well enough to know that I talk a lot. Apparently, God has sent the cure because you make me speechless. I thought I would be crying through the whole thing, but I could barely breathe or blink. Your little toes and feet and legs and hands are all so perfect and inside me right now. I cannot believe you are in there moving around and stretching out and becoming this amazing person. At one point, you pressed your face against the ultrasound and peeked at us. I saw your little nose and eyelids and mouth. That is when the tears welled up. It was like you were saying, “here I am, mommy. I can’t wait to meet you!” I’m going to be totally corny and just tell you that you had me at hello. I am so in love with you right now that I can’t even stand myself.

The rest of the day I felt like I was high. I know you need more time to grow, but I don’t even want to wait for the next five months. I am not sure how I am going to contain myself or focus on anything important. I want to write this now because I know there will come a time in about 15 or 16 years when you think I hate you and want to ruin your life. I know, because I have been there with my own mother (It will be this one little phase and we will get through it and be crazy about each other again). The fact is that I cannot think of one thing on this entire planet that could ever make me not love you. I cannot think of one person who I love as much as I love you. I can’t even explain the feelings that I am feeling right now except to say that I feel whole and complete for the first time in a long time. This letter will be ongoing and I will add many other letters to it. I want to start writing down the things I want to teach you about life.

For now, however, I want to promise you that I will always always love you. You will mess up and make mistakes and I will still love you.  You will hurt my feelings, but I will still love you. You will make decisions about your life that I don’t agree with, but I will still love you. You came into my life when I least expected it and you filled an empty space. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for knowing when I needed you and coming at just the right moment. I love you.



“And I thank you for choosing me

To come through unto life to be

A beautiful reflection of his grace

For I know that a gift so great

Is only one God could create”

~Lauryn Hill, To Zion



I had my first positive pregnancy test on September 24th, 2012. I took my 11th test on the 27th: this is when I finally called my doctor and the father of my child. This is when I finally kind of believed this was happening. The doctor made me wait three more weeks until she would see me. Three weeks of worrying. Three weeks of conversations and arguments about what we were going to do. Three weeks of not being able to talk about it. Three weeks of pretending this wasn’t happening. Three weeks of praying my period would come and realizing this was just a big mistake. Three weeks of searching the internet for other causes of positive pregnancy tests. This couldn’t really be happening, so I figured there must be some other reason the tests were positive. Maybe I had some rare form of cancer that caused this to happen. There was just no way in my mind that I could be pregnant. Not now and not under these circumstances.

Those three weeks were torture. I could not think of anything else. I kept thinking this was some kind of test that the doctors gave mothers to see if they could handle the stress. I sat waiting in the reception room. I am sure it was only a few minutes, but it felt like a lifetime. Though he said he would be there, the father did not show up and I walked into that stark cold room alone. I was shaking as I filled out the forms and praying that this was not happening. The doctor confirmed I was pregnant, told me to take vitamins, and gave me a due date. The nurse gave me a huge bag full of samples, reading materials, and even more papers to fill out. I went out to my car, texted the father to let him know about the appointment, and sat in the parking lot and cried.

I had agreed with the father that I would give the baby up for adoption. I had agreed to this only 5 days after I told him about the baby. Somehow hearing the doctor confirm the fact that I was pregnant changed everything. Suddenly I felt an overwhelming sense of protection and connection to this child. I knew that I was supposed to have this baby and that there was no way I would ever give him up.  Suddenly, I didn’t care what my friends or family thought, I didn’t care what people at work would think about me, and I didn’t care how angry the father would be with me. This baby happened for a reason and he had a purpose. Everything else would eventually work itself out and everything would be ok.

It has now been 12 weeks since that day. In the last twelve weeks, I told my family, my friends, my job, and announced this pregnancy to the world. I switched doctors and am now going to a place where all the rooms are warm and welcoming and the staff are helpful and friendly. I have gone from hiding this pregnancy and being ashamed of it to celebrating it and talking about it. I have gone from wondering if there really is a baby inside me to feeling him move every day. I have gone from being angry at the father to hating him to realizing that anger and hatred only hurt me. Now, I am just thankful to him for giving me such an amazing gift. In the last twelve weeks, my belly has grown and my skin has started to glow. In the last twelve weeks, a future that first seemed bleak and depressing now seems exciting, new, and hopeful.

Now I wait again. This time I wait for my second and last ultrasound. In less than 48 hours, I will see my baby once again and find out if he is a he or a she. I will be able to decide on a name and start to have an even more personal connection with my child. The next day and a half is going to drag on forever, but it is happier and feels so much better than the first time I had to wait.



I am officially 20 weeks pregnant. I am finally half way there! I have 20 weeks to go till I meet my little bean. I have learned so much about myself, about other people, and about grace in the last 20 weeks. The people who I thought would be mad at me showed that they loved me and opened their arms to me. People I haven’t spoken to in years have written me, called me, and taken me out for lunch in a show of support. People I don’t know that well have offered me gifts to use for the baby. I am a mother. I am happy. I am blessed.

In 20 weeks my life is going to change for the better and it will never be the same again. In 20 weeks, I will be faced with the biggest challenges of my life. I have walked into a Guatemalan prison and been surrounded by more than 100 tattoo covered gang members who have killed, raped, and hurt others. That was challenging. That was scary, but I survived. For me, parenthood is more terrifying than a Guatemalan prison. I am going to mess up. I am going to make huge mistakes. I’m going to constantly wonder if I am worthy of being the mother to this miraculous little child. I am going to hope every day that my love will be enough. I will ceaselessly worry.

Here is the thing though: There is a human being growing inside me. I am and always have been nothing more than a clay pot full of soil. I have waited for something to grow, but have remained empty. Now, I can feel the seed. I can feel the sense that something is missing slowly fading away. I can feel the small roots wiggling their way to the top. And, in 20 weeks, I will see the flower sprout forth and I will watch as it blooms and grows. That, my friends, is what life is all about.


The Man

I live with a man. He is not the father of my child, but I have to say a little something about him. I have said that I am doing this alone, but I’m not alone; not completely. I have met and heard from so many women in the last few months who were really truly alone in their pregnancies. These women have told me about having to go home to an empty apartment or house, go to doctor’s appointments alone, and deal with the daily ins and outs of pregnancy.

The thing is that I have to recognize and appreciate the fact that I have lucked out with an amazing roommate. He patiently listens to me talk endlessly about being pregnant, he cleans the dishes, he helps me with my dog, and both he and his boyfriend have taken me out to eat and spoiled me a little during this pregnancy. We watch TV together, go out from time to time, and sometimes have little dance sessions in the living room. I am not alone and though I know that both of us will move on from this time in our lives, I will never forget his and his boyfriend’s kindness, patience, acceptance, and love when I needed it the most. I am a lucky girl to have them in my life and I guess I just feel like they deserve recognition and a bit of a shout out.



So this post might end up being more of a rant and I know many of my friends are going to disagree with me on this one, but we all have the right to our own opinions and our own way of raising a child. As soon as the word was out that I was pregnant, other mothers started giving me all sorts of advice. I also started getting emails from companies and started reading apps that gave me daily advice. There are so many choices to make when you are pregnant that it blows my mind. Doing it alone has it’s good and bad side. Yes, I don’t have a partner in this, but that also means I get to make all of my own decisions. I don’t have to fight anyone on anything. I don’t even have to accept a name I don’t like. On the other hand, I have to make a lot of decisions on my own. It is somewhat terrifying. I am now half way through this pregnancy and I figure I will share a couple things I find important.

First of all is the nursery. I’ve had friends ask what my theme will be and if they can help me design it. The truth is, I haven’t thought of a theme or setting up a nursery because I never imagined having one. Don’t get me wrong, I have a spare bedroom in my house that would make a wonderful nursery, but that won’t happen. I have spent too much time in third world countries seeing how the rest of the world lives to be ok with spending a large amount of money redecorating a room for a child who isn’t even going to appreciate it. I’d rather put that money into a college fund or towards designing a room for my toddler who will actually use it. To top it off, I wouldn’t want my child in a separate room from me. I had a friend tell me not to let my baby sleep in my room because I will never be able to get him out. The thing is that I don’t want my baby to leave my room for a while, so I don’t have a problem with that. When it is time, he will learn to sleep in his own room.

I worked with children in Kenya and I adored them. They grew up with nothing, appreciate everything, and are full of genuine happiness. Many of them live in one or two room houses or apartments. They share this small space with their parents and their siblings and often even their extended family. When I visited the house of one of my students the first time, I had an American perspective. I saw what they had materially and assumed they have nothing and assumed they must hate this life. However, my classroom was full of children with smiling faces and laughter. Not only were they kind, generous, and respectful, they enjoyed life and lived each day to the fullest. I want my child to have that joy and I am pretty sure he will not get it as a result of me buying everything Babies R Us tells me I must have. My child will be well fed, loved immensely, clothed, educated, and safe. I am pretty sure he will learn to forgive me for not having a nursery for him.