Happy new year beautiful people!

This year starts off on an honourable note for me. Being here contributing to Teakisi is an honour. I never imagined a platform like this would be available for someone like me to voice my thoughts. Cheers to Teakisi for building a safe space for the African woman to say what needs to be said. My name is Tikia with Grace, the story to the name is long, so I will not go there. I am 27 and a mother to a beautiful two year old. I am not married. Yes. I am a mom who is single, and not ‘single’ of things did not work out, but single of he walked out on me simply because he was not ready to be a father. His words not mine. That is the story of many a woman today. Not just in Africa but worldwide.

When I was accepted into the Teakisi Creative Residency, I thought deep and hard on what I wanted to use this platform for. I finally zeroed down on telling the stories of the single mom – our fears, pains, ups and downs. I find myself passionate about the possibility of living your best life regardless of what life serves you, even when it’s the sweet pain of being a single mom. I call it sweet pain because I have never been more aware of self as I am now as a single mother. Pain because it hurts to be rejected by the person you gave yourself to and made an amazing human with. It hurts that they don’t recognise the beauty of life that sprung from the love that was made. That’s my story. Some moms are single by choice and others by circumstance. The struggles are surely not the same. But I am not here to measure the pain threshold for being a single mom. I will just tell the stories as they come. I know the word ‘single mom’ carries a weight with it. But jokes on you. We have happy stories too.

Today share with you one of the good things motherhood came with for me. Just like most young girls, the dream was babies after marriage. It’s the order we know, any other way is an abomination. I found myself pregnant and single at 25. Around that time I was on a journey of intentional self-discovery and that probably helped with the grace in which I handled my ‘situationship’. I was in a place in my life where my worth was no longer defined by a man or anyone for that matter. However, that’s not the case for most young girls and women and that’s why you will find most women will get lost in the pain and forget to live. They have no idea how much essence flows from with in them. Sad.

The first thing I did when I accepted my situation was make sure I was happy for the sake of the life that was growing inside me. I believe we are spiritual beings and I knew my baby would sense the pain I was feeling. So, I chose to be happy. Yes. Being happy is a choice but it was not easy. Some days I did break down but most days I was happy. I will proudly say that making the choice to be peaceful in the face of adversity was the best thing I ever did for my child. I like to think the smile on her face every day was because I decided to validate her existence by celebrating her from the time she was in my womb to every other day since. I want to believe her personality that is confident stems from some of the choices I have made to pursue forgiveness, healing and joy.

I remember when her 1st birthday was around the corner, I could not afford to buy her a birthday cake. I was so stressed as the day drew closer and there was no sign of any “celebration” for her. On the eve of her birthday I was so sad coming back from work, thinking how terrible of a mum I was. I got into the home compound and there she was with her breath-taking smile eager to give her mama a hug. And all the burden was lifted. It dawned on me that what mattered and what has always mattered is that I chose her. Everything else was/ is good but not the definition of my love for her. And I was set free from the pressure to impress. I have since realised that she is happy when I am happy, so every day I am working to be a better version of myself, to be more aware of who I am.

And that my friend, is one of the good things that have come with being a mom who is single. See you again on my next story. It gets deep.