There is nothing in this world like welcoming a new life into your family.
And while every labor and delivery story is special, giving birth in the middle of a global pandemic, well that’s a completely different experience.
With so many unknowns, what should be a joyous milestone can easily turn into a stressful and scary reality.
Whether you’re a first time or an experienced mom. Whether you’ll be delivering vaginally or via C-Section. Whether alone or with your support system. We can all find comfort in knowing God is not panicked or unprepared for this next chapter of our stories.
This may not have been a part of your original birthing plans, but there’s still a beautiful, indescribable ending waiting for you.
Soon you’ll be able to hear and touch and see God’s goodness perfectly packaged in your arms.
So if fear and doubt tries to creep into your heart, remind yourself that the same God who saw it fit to bless you with a child in this season, is the same God who will continually be by your side.
I’ll be honest. I did not always enjoy being a single parent.
For the first few years I constantly asked myself “why did I have a baby with him?”
It was never a question about my love for my daughter. I just wished there was a way I could have her without dealing with the drama and heartache of a failed relationship.
I’m sure I am not the only single parent that’s felt that way.
With close to 12 million single parent families in the United States, co-parenting is becoming the new “norm”. Whether never married, divorced, or separated, more and more Americans are having to learn how to coexist for the sake of their children.
Take it from someone who’s living it firsthand, it is not always easy!
Figuring out how to co-parent can be one of the toughest challenges any newly single mom (or dad) will face.
It was a Sunday afternoon this group of women would not soon forget.
They gathered at the invitation of Onika Mars, the owner of ELONIS International, a booming men’s and women’s fashion boutique.
But it wasn’t the clothes or fashion that brought them together that day.
These women were all there to discuss the damaging impact of domestic violence.
It had been almost eight years since Onika left her abuser, though this would be the first time she’d host an event to share about her journey.
Her idea, “Come Sit and Chat with Onika” would be the first of its kind in a community where many abuse victims are forced to cope with their pain alone.
For most of the women in attendance, this was the very first time they were able to speak about what they endured.
It was a night to talk, laugh, pray, but more importantly it was a night to release the burden they’d been carrying alone for so many years.
It was a night to not only see but hear that they were not the only ones abused by a loved one.
And since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I asked Onika to share more about her story so we can continue to break the cycle of suffering in silence.
I’m a planner! A serious and dedicated planner.
I planned the birth of my first child…before I even had a mate.
I also planned my role on the PTA before that child was born.
I planned my career path, my type of husband, and I even planned where I would live. (Hey, go hard or go home! Right?)
Fortunately, none of these events unfolded the way I planned:
My first child was born ahead of my timeline. My husband’s daily life is not what I anticipated. I have lived in some interesting places, and the list goes on and on.
I knew there would be no coming back from this. I was about to break the cardinal rule and forever change the dynamics of our relationship.
Sitting in the waiting room, I quietly filled out my paperwork, while trying to drown out the nervous chatter racing through my head:
“You’re doing the right thing.”
“He’s left you with no other choice.”
“This is in the best interest of your child.”
It took some more self-convincing, but I finally walked towards the clerk to submit my forms.
And after what felt like a few quick glances and a stamp of her seal, it was official. My ex would now be responsible for paying a court mandated child support order.
For reasons I’ve yet to fully understand, when a custodial parent (which in most cases is typically a woman) files a petition for support, it can be seen as a declaration of war…or at the very least, an unforgivable betrayal.