Just one day shy of my 25th birthday, I found myself in a precarious situation. I had just freed myself from a very toxic five-year relationship and began dating a friend from high school. I knew he was trouble, but I enjoyed his company (and other things). Who could predict that one condom slip-off would change the course of my whole life? But I now know my son was meant to be. Of course, I hadn’t considered this would happen since I called myself using protection. The problem was the unknown variable of how the other person’s reaction would affect the outcome. 

My Son Was Meant To Be, Rashawnda Plummers personal essay

My Son Was Meant To Be

So, I was faced with finding out for the first time that I was pregnant. Immediately I became a single parent with no emotional support from my former partner because he didn’t plan on being around. Of course, I couldn’t imagine killing my child. It wasn’t the baby’s fault that we weren’t responsible enough. Sure, I could’ve just gotten Plan B, but I thought he would at least say something about alternative solutions. Even as recently as (2018), I remained conflicted about whether I should’ve regretted not getting the miracle pill anyway. There were a lot of conflicting feelings as the time on the calendar moved day by day. I felt guilty, angry, abandoned, and betrayed. Then, at times I thought I deserved how my ex ignored me. But deep down inside, I knew my baby was meant to be. 

Mommy’s Baby, Daddy’s Maybe

Growing up, my favorite aunt taught my cousin and me that when a woman has a baby, no matter what, she, as the woman, is responsible for that baby. She didn’t say it with a negative connotation. Rather, it was quite matter-of-fact. Although I always remembered what she shared, I didn’t think it would directly apply to my life. I wanted to be married when I had a child. Most of the women in my family were unmarried. I took pride in myself for doing a good job of learning from the mistakes of the ones before me.

I didn’t reveal my pregnancy to most of the people in my life until I was pretty far along. But, eventually, they had to know. After all, you can’t keep a baby a secret forever. Once they found out, I knew they didn’t understand how ashamed I felt to be going through my pregnancy alone. I didn’t think I would ever be in that position, and I didn’t want to be seen in a negative light. Being a single mom isn’t exactly glorified, and I didn’t want to be characterized as a statistic.

I still enjoyed my pregnancy. I had maternity photos done and shopped for clothes and furniture. And I took walks after work because I was pregnant during the spring and summer. I hoped for a girl but discovered a little boy was making his way into the world. I picked out a strong name for him. I’m still unsure if I made the right decision about giving my son his father’s last name. But knowing my son was meant to be his own person, I pressed on. 

I Did My Best Regardless of My Doubts 

From the beginning of this journey, I questioned every decision, afraid to misstep in some way. I desperately tried to convince my son’s father that he should be a part of our son’s life. Unable to accept that he didn’t want to be a part of our child’s life, I persisted. I viewed raising a child in such a black-or-white way, with both parents being involved. I didn’t want this situation for myself, but I did what I thought was “right” and took responsibility for creating a life. A life that didn’t ask to be here. No matter what, I always made sure that I did the best I could as a mother.  

My Son Was Meant To Be Became My Affirmation

My son, born a black man in a world who would not forgive that, plus the complexity too many children feel as they question, “Why doesn’t my father love me?” was more than I could bear. I couldn’t take the level of fear I had just thinking my son would feel inadequate in any way.

Because the internal turmoil I battled was so stressful, I even felt resentment toward my son for a very short time. For my son’s sake and mine, I accepted that I had no control over what my child’s father did. the same feeling I had in the beginning that my son was meant to be, kept me going. 

Rashawnda son says "My mom is love."

My Son Is My Greatest Gift 

It took me years to realize my son would be ok because he was truly meant to be. I saw that I couldn’t worry about the future so much. I decided to let go of all the negative thoughts and the gloomy outlook because it wasn’t helping me to keep dwelling on who or what was absent. Instead, I could only focus on relying on myself and my amazing support system to feel complete. My feeling that my son and I were abandoned went away. The gift I was given outweighed the negativity I experienced.

Giving birth to my son was my destiny. He was meant to be in my life. I am so thankful, and I feel privileged to be the one to guide him. No matter what path I thought I would walk, I discovered the more resistant you are to life, the harder you will find your experience to be. Changing my perspective and altering my expectations has made me much happier and a much better mommy. Now all I look forward to is my son’s bright future, and that’s all that matters to me.

*All thoughts and opinions are RaShawnda Plummer’s. Read more of the Single Mom Personal Essay series