This is Kristen’s story. I met Kirsten online after accepting a Brand Ambassador role for her small online business ‘Blackberry Stationary’ in the U.SA. She reached out to me a few weeks back wanting to share her story. From the bottom of my heart Kristen thank you for having the courage to pet pen to paper and write about your experiences.
THE SINGLE MUM
Where to start? Is the question I asked myself when I first sat down to put this all on paper. It’s been almost five years since my journey took a left turn. Crazy to think about really, it seems like with every year I let more of it go. But we're here to relive it, just for a bit, to hopefully empower other women to be strong, to know they can do it too, and hopefully find self-worth.
So, here’s the breakdown. I got pregnant and I took care of the baby without the father. How did I get to that point? And how did I handle being a single mom? Let's take a look.
First of all, I was twenty five and head over heels for this scrawny boy (we were not adults, as I see now what it truly means to be an adult) He was not head over heels for me, and after six months just walked off, returning to his ex-girlfriend, and saying to me that he didn’t like who I was as a person. It hurt, a lot because I gave this boy my world, and he hated it. I hated myself after that. I had no self-esteem, no care for my wellbeing, I felt worthless. So, what does a girl do when she feels like this, and lives in a tiny town? I talked to the only other guy I knew, his older brother. (Great idea, I know.) but I was looking for someone to care about me, to think I was pretty and to like me for who I was. And he did. But he himself wasn’t worth much, an ex-con (red flag me), we were with each other for a while before it happened. I got pregnant. I was scared, he was excited, I wanted to keep the baby. But it didn’t take long to realize he wasn’t really invested. We had been staying with my parents for a while, and he didn’t really have a job or any ambition to find a new place. But I had a baby on the way, and I wanted to take care of him. (I had a boy) So my parents kicked him out, and I moved in with my grandmother (I needed to get away from the memories of him and I) while I looked for a new place. All while working as a Personal Support Worker for young women with disabilities. (And pregnant)
It only took me a month to have enough money to put a down payment on a small single wide mobile home in a genuinely nice mobile home park, owned by my childhood babysitter. (She loves me) The house had two rooms, one bathroom, a living area, and a kitchen, plus a small yard and a bunch of quiet neighbors that kept to themselves. My mom and I went to Habitat for Humanity, a resale shop, that uses the money to build new homes for families in need. We were able to find a rocking couch (perfect for a future baby) a headboard and frame for my bed, a table and chairs for the kitchen, and my mom had an old movable island for more counter space. Before I moved in, my family got together, and painted the walls white, (it was a nasty tan color when I bought it). Once that was done, everyone helped me move in. So, while I was finding a new home, working, and going to doctor appointments. My baby daddy was nowhere to be seen. He was mad at me for finding my own place, without him, and figured the best course was to not talk to me.
My mom went with me to my doctor appointments, to take me to buy maternity clothes, to the birthing class, and to many other things that come with pregnancy. Three months from birth I had been encouraged to get on a dating app and look for a few new friends. I was nervous. Who wants to be anywhere near a pregnant woman? I met my current boyfriend, and the love of my life there, during that time. At first neither of us were interested in more than being friends. He was getting out of a rough abusive relationship with his baby momma. (She never worked, never cleaned, never cooked, and never took care of the babies) So he finally left.
We stayed friends over the last three months of my pregnancy and talked through giving birth. (He watched my house for me while I was at the hospital) My mom, sister and best friend were my team through my birth. It was exceptionally long, excruciatingly painful, 25 hours before my cutie was born. Then we had to stay in the hospital because I had gotten sick from exhaustion and blood loss. At this time, the baby daddy showed up to “meet his son” Not in a clear head I agreed as long as my mom was with him. The nursing staff could tell this was hard for me and made sure he left promptly. At this point I made the decision to keep him off the birth certificate. This meant that if he wanted to be involved in my son's life, he would have to go through the court to do so. (Unless I approved and arranged a meet up) Once we were finally discharged from the hospital, it was just me and my baby. I met with baby daddy a few times a month for him to see the baby. I got a new more stable job at a Glassblowing Studio as a cashier and my mom would babysit for me.
Almost done, I promise. About six months in, the baby daddy started to engage less and less. It would go multiple weeks without contact, and that turned to months until I finally told him he was no longer welcome and if he wanted in my son's life he would have to go through the courts and pay child support. I have not seen or heard from him since. My current boyfriend moved in a few months shy of my son's first birthday and has become his father. My son doesn’t know any different and someday we’ll tell him and explain how everything happened. But until then we are a happy family. We had another baby with each other a year previous of writing this. My three and half year old is brilliant and creative and such a character. I get to be a stay at home mom now, I’m planning to homeschool and have already begun kindergarten skills with my eldest. And, because I get to be a stay at home mom, I recently opened my own art business! Blackberry Stationary is where I create and sell animal stickers, bookmarks, and other stationery. I feel so privileged to have a man in my life who encourages me to do my own thing, is proud of how far my shop has grown, and happy that I’m happy being able to create.
I hope that by reading this, you feel empowered, you know that you can do this too! If you're in a similar situation, or even if it isn’t similar, but just as difficult, know that you are strong! You are brave! You can change your life, work hard to get somewhere you want to be, no matter what falls in your path.
Thank you so much for this opportunity Natalie,
Kristen of Blackberry Stationary