When I asked Mimi to write her story and be a featured guest on the blog, she said YES, with no hesitation and shared a post she had been working on for herself, sort of like a daily journal where she kept her thoughts and prayers. Reading that, made me realize that she had to tell her story in her own words instead of responding to my questions, and that's how this blog came to life! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have! I hope you can feel the love she has for her son through her words the way I did and I pray that you take away something big from her message.
Mimi is my best friend, we grew up together and have been friends through all the heart aches and the joyful moments. Seeing her as a mother brings so much joy to my heart and sharing her with you today makes me PROUD!
Here is her motherhood story in her words....
When I got pregnant it was clear to me that I was going to have to be a single mom. I chose to kick the man to the curb and keep my baby. That was the scariest thing I had to do but the only choice for me.
I always wanted to be a mother. I wasn’t the little girl that dreamt of having a big wedding; I skipped right to having a big family. I wanted to be like my mother and thought she was the best mom anyone could ask for; she was stylish, cool & loved to have fun. I felt so proud when she’d come to pick me up from school looking fly every day. I loved the idea of being a housewife and having a big family just like mom did. I just never envisioned doing it solo.
In our habesha culture, it’s engrained in our minds that we should first get married and then have a baby. So realizing my reality was going to be different was a hard pill to swallow. On one end,I was so happy that I was finally going to be a mother; and at the same time, I did not like how it was happening.
I couldn’t believe he did not want to step up and raise his child with me.
Also, like many people, my views on being a single mother were so negative and aligned with society’s stereotypes. My thoughts swirled around being a “baby mama” and fed into all the portrayals of struggle and being “less than”. All these thoughts were running through my head, like how did I let this happen? I waited this long to find the right partner, and this is how I become a mom? I get knocked up?! I was so critical of myself and blamed myself for everything. I anticipated what people would say when they found out I was pregnant and didn’t have a man by my side. That’s why we have a lot of shotgun weddings; so I know it’s not just me feeling this way.
I was googling articles to see how single moms were doing it, I guess, in hopes of preparing myself mentally, but what I read mostly talked about divorced women. I could not relate, and my thoughts of “this isn’t how it’s supposed to happen” got validated. I couldn’t enjoy the pregnancy at first because I was so stuck on the idea that I was becoming a mom in a way I never saw coming. I spent the first couple of months saying, “Oh shit!!” During the time when I should have been my happiest, I was feeling sad, confused and that I let myself down.
Whenever life throws me a curve ball, I lean on my faith. My relationship with God got stronger after I lost my dad 8 years ago. Understanding that He is in control and trusting His way is better than mine has given me peace over the years. I traded my 2-door coupe for an SUV 4 years ago to show God that I’m not playing. I wanted Him to know I was ready for a baby and that I was putting actions behind my faith. Since it was a new car, it came with Sirius XM which led me to non-stop messages from Joel Osteen. This car served dual purpose, 1) as my mobile church and 2) as a ride for my baby! God is always adding a bonus! Won’t He do it?!
By reading the Bible, going to church and hearing the Word in my car, I was able to gain a new perspective. Feeding my mind with these messages, I was constantly reminded to focus on what I received vs. what I lost. I didn’t want to dwell on the fact that I didn’t have a man and a father to my son. Instead, I chose to focus on what empowered me. I started quoting verses when those negatives thoughts crept up like I was a pastor.
“This mother f***** played me” – “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.”
“Is this a mistake?” – “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.”
“How am I going to do this?” – “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
Can we say Amen?
If I did not deal with these thoughts and feel secure in my choice, people’s intrusive comments or questions would’ve offended me. When people saw me walking around with my bump, they’d say “oh, how come I didn’t get invited to the wedding?” or “oh, I didn’t know you were married?” I was able to simply answer, “there was no wedding” or “I’m single”, and they did not know want to do with that information. It was kind of funny to see the awkwardness they felt for asking.
Once I had the baby, new emotions set in - I felt like I had to prove to myself that I really can do it on my own. For instance, I would fight my mom to put the car seat in the car even though I had a c-section and was instructed not to pick up anything heavy. She would quickly get someone to help with the baby when we arrived anywhere, and it used to drive me nuts.
Immanuel’s first doctor’s appointment was pretty funny. My brother drove us there since it was a few days after delivery and his kids go to the same doctor. We get there and as I was filling out the basic new patient information, I kept putting my name and my brother had to keep reminding me that they were talking about Immanuel. I don’t know if it was the drugs or my new role, but I was completely lost. Then we finally see the doctor and she says “mom and dad, bring him over”. My brother at this point looks mortified and says “no, no, no, that’s my sister”. The funny part was that the doctor recognized him from bringing his own kids with his wife, but she did not want to be judgmental (if he had a whole side family). We all laughed at how relieved she was that I was his sister.
On the ride back, I suddenly start crying, not because of the mix up but because I felt like a burden. My brother had his own family, and he didn’t need to be doing this. He didn’t see it that way, thankfully, and let me know that he was glad he could be there. Another challenge I had was at home; it was hard seeing my mom work so hard during the day ensuring Immanuel and I were taken care of and then waking up with me throughout the night to help with the baby. I felt like it wasn’t fair that she had to do all that after raising me, and it made me sad. All these were new experiences - I had to adjust and know that I could let people contribute and that it didn’t make me inferior.
I recognized I was letting my thoughts of feeling like a burden to my family, worrying about the effects of an absent parent, and not knowing what it looked like to raise a boy without a father consume me. I had to check myself and see that my inner thoughts and views were clouding what was really going on. The truth is, we don’t know how things will turn out, and so there is no point in worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. All we have to do is enjoy life one day at a time.
As a new mom, I’m loving this tiny human that’s taking up all the space in my head and heart. Although, it’s not the way I imagined it, I have accepted my new family dynamics and wouldn’t change a thing because Immanuel is so perfect and a gift from God.
I’m so blessed to be surrounded by people who love me. From my workplace, church, friends and family…there is no way I can feel like I’m doing this solo. My mom has been by my side since day one! Her encouragement, love and good cooking made the whole process a breeze. You had to see my mom in Lamaze class…we were the only “same-sex couple” there…good times! My best friends & family never wanted to me to feel alone so they made sure they were ALL involved in every way possible throughout my pregnancy… and now motherhood. I also had my best friend, Luwam, with me at every single appointment. She showed us how to give him a bath and cut his nails the first few weeks (Mom and I were too scared). It was fun seeing Betsy and Luwam have a friendly competition to be the Godmother (they really wanted me to have a girl lol) by bringing me different things like planners & all kinds of junk food that I love.
Thanks to my childhood friend, Dagim, encouraging me to have a gender reveal party, I now have an unforgettable memory of finding out I was blessed with a baby boy. My best friend, Mimi, is always providing great advice all the way from Vegas and even gave Immanuel a bath when she was in town. My best friend, AZ, stepped up to be the Godfather without hesitation. My little sister, Sam, did not let distance get in the way and made it to all of the events and planned a very creative pregnancy shoot including all the women of the family. My brother, Anteneh helped get the house ready with my crazy “nesting” demands and till this day, shows up to assemble things. Let’s not forget the best baby shower ever - I was showered with everyone’s love, including those traveling from all over to be there. Not to be outdone, my coworkers planned a gender reveal and a baby shower and kept the celebration going! My two best friends, my sister and mom were all there when I gave birth and saw everything! My brother came by to say good luck but didn’t stay, and thank God for that! Then I was told I had to do an emergency c-section! What? All that pushing for nothing? Not cool! Once again, life doesn’t always go as planned lol.
This would a much longer post if I mentioned everyone, but I’m grateful to all my friends and family that were so happy I was going to be a mom, collectively said forget him and encouraged me that all would be well along the way. I’m forever grateful for the abundance of love and support around me - I know Immanuel is going to grow up just fine.
My hope is that we change the narrative of being a single mom, starting right here with us.
Things happen that are not in the“norm”, and it’s okay! In our community, we do a lot of things because of the “wha twill they say” mentality, and I say “don’t compromise your authenticity for the culture”. At the end of the day, you have to live with the choices you make. Things aren’t as bad as you think they’re going to be, so check your thoughts – having awareness of the inner thoughts vs. reality is key to freedom. Life is about choices. You can choose to get stuck on what’s missing, or realize all you got. I choose what I got…a wonderful baby boy, a solid support system, a good government job and above all,God leading the way!
I hope you enjoyed reading all about Mimi's journey to Motherhood and how she learned to forgive and move on, to think positive and put her faith in GOD, that he will move her in the right direction. I hope it helps you or someone you know.
As always, I'd love to hear from you, leave your feedback in the comments section below.