We were in this together. From the moment I handed him the positive pregnancy test to the day I pushed out our beautiful baby girl, he stood by my side. He attended every doctor’s appointment and helped pick out items for my baby shower registry. He proudly placed his hands on my bulging belly and smiled brightly at our maternity photo shoot. Supported me anytime I felt depressed or stressed out. He was there, wiping tears and kissing my forehead. If I could rewrite my pregnancy story, that’s how it would read. But that’s not my story. My pregnancy story reads more like heartache. At least it did, then… 

Joy Henderson single mom personal essay on going from heartache to letting go.


The moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew I would go on this journey alone. My daughter’s dad didn’t exactly celebrate when he heard the news. Initially, he tried to be supportive, but it never came out that way. I believe our relationship only lasted as long as it did because I was pregnant. I tried to have faith and make the best of the situation, but there were many signs early on that I wouldn’t get the help or support I needed,

For instance, I would tell my daughter’s dad about doctor’s appointments. He would agree to attend but then would cancel on the day. The day we were supposed to find out the sex of the baby, he never showed up. I called and called, but there was no answer. A few hours later, he gave me some excuse that was too weak to remember years later. I think he couldn’t find the office. Perhaps he couldn’t find his phone either. In all, he made it to one appointment.


At six months pregnant, I felt so alone and stressed that even the smallest things would bother me. I remember we got into an argument that I couldn’t even tell you what it was about at the time. I stopped talking to my child’s father and blocked him on social media. We didn’t speak for six weeks. When we finally talked again, we decided to fix our relationship. So I set out on a mission to get him excited about our daughter’s pending arrival, but everything I tried failed miserably. We eventually broke up for good, and I continued to do everything to get ready for my daughter by myself. I never had a baby shower. Took my maternity photos alone, but you could tell I was miserable. I spent the last three months of my pregnancy alone. When I wasn’t at work or school, I was home in my room.

Not having someone who wanted to be there was the most hurtful situation I had ever been through. When you think of pregnancy, you think of all the love and support people show. And even though I did have the support of my family, I didn’t have the support of the person who mattered the most to me then. That broke my heart to pieces. I would have done anything to keep our family together, trying everything I could think of to try and bring us together. Made myself available to him when he needed me. He could see how much I loved him. I told him thousands of times how much I loved him, wrote letters, and I sent long texts. A year after my daughter was born, he needed a place to stay. I offered my home. I tried moving heaven and earth for him, and no matter what I did, it was never enough. 

Joy shares her motherhood story of going from heartache to letting go. Her daughter said "My mom is pretty."

Then I Let Go

I eventually became exhausted from always giving and never receiving, not even an ounce of love, care, or help. Then, I finally decided to let go of him, release the heartache, and get help. When my daughter’s dad lived with me, there came a time when I didn’t feel comfortable in my own home. I remember walking home after a long day at work, and the closer I got to my apartment, the more my anxiety would build up. If he was there, I felt like I had to walk on eggshells, but if he wasn’t, I could breathe easily. With the help of a therapist, I was able to let go of him and the situation and move on with my life. And all of the love I wish he would have given me, I give back to my daughter daily.

Being a single mom is hard, but all the amazing moments you experience with your child make it worth it. Enjoy life as it comes to you. Don’t let heartache break you. Turn that into love. For yourself and for your child. My definition of a single mom is a way maker. We will always make a way.