“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; The fruit of the womb is a reward.” - Psalm 127:3
Almost a year ago, my daughter was born. I fell in love with her from the moment I knew she existed. Every time I saw her on the sonogram (usually in the middle of her trying to suck on her hand or foot), feel her swift kicks to my ribs, or even just think about her – I felt as if this small family of ours was meant to be. If you have read my story, you also know that nearly two years ago my son Prince was murdered. Though I have lived through one of the worst tragedies I can imagine, part of honoring my son is knowing that I must also continue to choose love and happiness. My decision to have my daughter was one of the first steps I took on my personal journey, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. Many reading this have also been through tragic experiences of all types – ranging from domestic violence, child abuse, and the terrors of Family Court. Tragedy should make us stronger, but it shouldn’t define us or take away our ability to choose love despite the hate.
Sharing the news of my baby girl was a positive experience, and I have received overwhelming support from my readers. Many readers reached out with private messages thanking me for telling my news, and wished my daughter and me the best. One reader in particular mentioned that she, too, had thought about being a single mother by choice. She worried, however, about the judgments she would receive from negative and bigoted people – some of who were in her own family. Before responding to her, I thought a lot about what she said and how I felt about mine and my daughter’s own future given the society we live in.
I made the decision to have my daughter knowing that not everyone would accept our alternative family. For me, the most important part of my decision was making sure that my daughter would come into this world with a lot of love and support. After thinking this reality over for a significant amount of time, I realized that I had grown up the child of an “alternative” family. My parents got married in the late 1970s. Since my parents are not of the same race, their marriage wasn’t even legal in all 50 states. And many times, even though it was legal didn’t mean it was socially accepted. I distinctly remember classmates of mine who asked me why I hadn’t come out with spots since my mother was white and my father was black.
I will never forget the day when I first realized my family was different. The girl next door and I were good friends. We were both five years old and attended the same school. She was having a birthday party where everyone had planned to bring their own cabbage patch doll. We were both excited about this party and had talked about it for months. On the day of the party, I ran out of the house with my doll and proudly marched up to her garage with the rest of the children. As I went to walk through the door, my friend stopped me and said, “My mom said you cannot come to the party because you are black and black people steal things. You are not allowed in my house.” While the rest of the kids went inside, I stood on the sidewalk alone with my doll.
After that incident, I ran home and told my parents about what had happened. “But I am brown Mommy! My skin isn’t even black,” I explained with clear confusion. I remember seeing the anger and pain in my parent’s eyes as they attempted to explain racism and bigotry to their innocent five -year old daughter. I am pretty sure the reality still didn’t sink in that day; however, over the years my parents did a wonderful job explaining to me that being different wasn’t a bad thing. I learned to embrace my unique background and the reality that I would often be forced to be an ambassador for my race and my unique experience.
My daughter was born into a family that is different, and not everyone will always accept the path that I have chosen. She will likely encounter many bigoted people throughout her life. It is my job as her mother to teach her that her unique story is a blessing, and an opportunity to change the world for the better. For the reader who was contemplating having another child, and for the many others who believe that an alternative family (be it two moms, two dads, one mom, one dad, etc) is the best choice for their family, my advice is as follows:
Children are a blessing. They deserve to be showered with love from a strong community of people – regardless of gender, race, or whatever particular label you happen to be using at the moment. Don’t ever let narrow mindedness, bigotry, or hate factor into your decision to have a child.
And for those of you who are trying to rebuild your lives after tragedy (even if you are still in the tragedy of Family Court), choose to live with happiness and don’t let this tragedy rob you or your children of your lives, happiness, and future.