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Single & Pregnant: Telling My Story

Before I was married with kids, I was single and pregnant.

I’ve committed my life to talking about having a "fabulous" and powerful pregnancy, but there was nothing fabulous about how my pregnancy journey began.  

It was the summer right before I was to begin the Knight Bagehot Fellowship and do my Master’s at Columbia University and I went to London to spend the summer with my girlfriends and my new British boyfriend. Well, let’s just say I came home with more than just a hankering for tea and biscuits.  

We were both shocked and it was a heavy burden for a relatively new relationship. When I told my parents, my father cried. Even though I was 28, on my own and with a successful career, it was a big family disappointment for where others saw my life going. When you are put on a pedestal, any fall is always a harder fall.

To complicate things further, (for those of you who don’t know me personally) I was raised as and had been an active Jehovah’s Witness, so I was disfellowshipped (or excommunicated, in some parlances). The majority of my friends were also in that world and none of them could talk to me. My own mother severed most communication and I was not allowed to sleepover in my parents’ home.

Then I got the phone call. Weeks after coming to New York for my first prenatal visit, my baby-daddy (who, just to keep you confused, I later married and am now divorcing) called to say that he couldn’t deal (as a Jehovah’s Witness, he was also disfellowshipped in London), he was confused, yadda yadda yadda… he’s out of there. The next time I would see him, Kayla was 11 months old. 

At this point in my life, I redefined loneliness. I had lost my deepest friendships, I had been abandoned by my child’s father, my mother was not able to support me, and I was in one of the most challenging fellowship programs there is. I cried every day for weeks. No seriously, every day. 

And because I suffer from "Strong Black Woman" syndrome and like many of you, wear the reputation of the entire black race on my back, I refused to tell any of the truly wonderful people in my fellowship program that I had become another black statistic: Unwed mother. Absent father. Instead, I launched a black male PR campaign full of stories of his involvement, excitement, and "sorry, you just missed him" visits. Geesh!! (Btw, when I finally came clean with them several months later, they were the most supportive bunch ever!)

My sister said that as a "student" I could probably income qualify for WIC to help with the high prices of healthy food in New York City. And I will never, ever forget the day I walked to 125th Street and into that Harlem office and got WIC. (That is another blog!)    

But I knew this baby only had me. And I was scared as hell. I knew I had pretty much no one to count on to help me through this pregnancy but myself. And so I began to research everything. In my researching to save my sanity and help my baby, I stumbled upon the sobering statistics about black women and pregnancy that inspired me to write The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy years later. 

With the help of some great new friends, a few old ones, my sister and a lot of prayer, I survived the darkest period of my life and still had a "fabulous" pregnancy. Having a "fabulous" pregnancy is all about your mind set and nothing about your circumstance. I finished my coursework early, delivered Kayla on schedule and walked down the aisle with her in my arms to receive my Master’s Degree a few weeks later. I was able to have a successful freelance career, buy a new car, get a great apartment and stay home with my little one. And I never asked for a dime (or pence) from her father. She is still my Triumph Baby. 

So when my husband walked out on us a little while ago after six years of marriage and now two kids, (should have seen that one comin’, huh??), I have actually been comforted by my experience of being alone and pregnant. If I survived that, I KNOW I will get through this. And even when that man, father of my two children, in a heated exchange told me to my face that he would "break" me.  I thought to myself with a grin, Didn’t you already try that? And I’m still standing. Negro please!! 

My business is my new triumph "baby" and I’m giving it the same 3000% that I gave my first and second babies. 

Given how my pregnancy journey began, I am honored to have a new blog on Babycenter.com (they have over 6 million visitors a month!!) speaking about pregnancy and motherhood for black women as Mocha Manual Mom. College educated black women have the same poor birth outcome statistics as our less-advantaged sisters, and to have a platform like BabyCenter to have this conversation and more is a true blessing. Please have a look and post a comment, so we can show BabyCenter that this is important. That our perspective is important. 

And thank you for listening to my story.  

24 Responses to “Single & Pregnant: Telling My Story”
  1. V says:

    You will always be one of the most phenomenal writers in the world to me. Geesh, you have an incredible talent and your story is amazing. Can’t wait to read more of your work.
    – V

  2. Tara says:

    That was such a powerful story. Incredible, really. You inspire me so much.

    I wanted to leave a long comment, but those three sentences (okay, two and a half) pretty much sum it up. Thank you for being YOU and letting us know how YOU came to be.

  3. What an absolutely beautiful, introspective testimony, Kimberly. I’m so proud of you! Keep doing what you do…

  4. Reta says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story. Reading about your struggles with your first pregnancy has given me strength. I am 27 years old and 9 months pregnant with my first child. I am college educated with two advanced degrees and like you my parents (especially my father) put me on a pedestal. I know that this pregnancy has disappointed them tremendously though they will never let me know it. I have been very blessed to have a supportive and understanding family and set of friends. My biggest obstacle has been the father of my child. We seperated two weeks before I found out I was pregnant. I was so thankful that he was out of my life and it was a slap in the face when I found out I was pregnant. That’s how I felt then, but now I know that this child is a blessing and is here for a purpose. My ex and I tried to work things out, but I am better off with out him. He has caused me nothing but pain throughout my pregnancy and like you I don’t plan on asking him for a penny. I’m am fortunate to have a career that allows me to support myself and my child and at this point I don’t need him. I cry for my child though because he deserves to have his father in his life, but I won’t beg an adult to be a man. With all of that said, thanks for giving me hope!

  5. Nicole says:

    This reminds me very much of people in my family! We too were raised for the most part as Jehovah’s Witness. Some have gone on to get baptized others like myself have not.

    Your story resonates with me because I have family members “In the Truth” going through a similar situation.

    Glad your situation turned out for the good!

  6. eisa says:

    what honesty! thank you for sharing such a powerful and personal story with us, sister. thank you for your truth. i’m sure this blog wsill strengthen many other women in relationships with men who want to “break” them.



  7. k n the nyc n ham says:

    Thank you for your honesty.
    Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter MLK Jr.


    I too had my son at an early age and was pretty much written off by family. Virtually no help from my son’s father, but I managed through God’s grace, loving friends and a whole lot of determination to acquire an advanced degree, reach my professional goals, and have a satisfying life. Kudos to you, and for my sisters out there going through the struggle, hang in there, stay strong, find your support network and reach for the stars. Remember God love you!

  9. BECKY says:

    Great Story and best of luck with life, family and your business. Remember to love and life is a beautifull thing.

  10. Courtney says:

    I loved your story! I’m so glad my friend gave me the link and had me come read it. My father’s side of the family have never been close. My son was his pride and joy even though he just passed this April. My mother’s side of the family are Jehovah Witnesses. I was raised as one but now attend church. My mother hasn’t shunned me or anything but she is no support at all which is why I chose to move to another state on my own. I have no support from my son’s father. He hasn’t seen or even asked about him once since his conception. Being a single mother isn’t what I wanted for myself, but it has made me a much stronger person and I push even harder for my son. Like a previous post said, I feel bad for my son that he doesn’t have a father figure in his life, but I know a better, more positive male influence will come into his life eventually.

    Thanks again for sharing and congrats on your success!

    • Kimberly says:

      Thank you for your kind words. Please know that there are thousands of other single mothers just like you, myself included, who are trying to do our best for our children whether or not we have the ideal family or marital situations or not. It certainly isn’t easy, but we can support each other to make it. Thankfully, my mother is very supportive and I can’t imagine how i would manage without her. Please keep in touch and I wish you nothing but the blessings and happiness for you and your son!!

  11. humpsNbump says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is so similar to my own experience in many ways, and its encouraging to read about your positivity in the face of it all. You really are an inspiration for so many of us.

    Best of luck with Babycenter. I will definitely check you out there.

    ~ humps

  12. Kimberly Seals Allers says:

    Thank you guys so much for your support and kind words. As you can imagine, it took a few extra minutes to click the “Publish” button on that one. There is one thing I have to say, at the end of the day my mother was right there in the delivery room with me. And I’m grateful for the experience which strengthened my faith and my character.
    @ Reta: never give up hope. hold on to it, even if just for the sake of your baby.
    @K n nyc: I LOVE that quote!
    Thanks again to everyone.

  13. ybf2009 says:

    wow behind every success story there is a journey … i admire your strength and wish u the best in your future. thanks for sharing 🙂

  14. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself in this posting. What a bold and giving thing to do. As crazy as this sounds, I love this blog even though I have no children but I love following, reading and supporting my fellow “doin it for themselves” sisters and I’ve been fascinated by your story ever since a WHITE friend of mine recommended your Turning your Passion into Profit book! I finished in one night and passed it only to other hopeful entrepreneurs in my friendship circle. She was inspired by it and thought I would be too.

    Thank you for sharing your gifts with the world!

  15. Madison says:

    wow I never knew there was someone in my shoes. I am a 23 yr old college graduate.(with my nursing degree) who was also disfellowship from my kingdom hall and lord knows what my baby’s father is doing right now. Only the lord knows what I have been through and only He was the one to bring me out of it. At this point the only thing that has helped me through this dark period in my life is knowing my daughter only has me to count on,my friends and family who are not witnesses and a whole lot of prayer. I am so thankful to see your success story which had a beginning similar to mine…Reading your story has given me more hope I will make it and my daughter and I will be GREAT….thanks again for sharing….

  16. Lisa says:

    Your story is inspiring and I thank you and applaud you for sharing so honestly! I am passing on this blog to my sisterfriends. You exemplify the strength needed by all to get through our most difficult times in our lives…The times when we think we just cant make it, we perservere and before you know it look back and wonder how we made it through!

  17. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is so similar to my own experience in many ways, and its encouraging to read about your positivity in the face of it all. You really are an inspiration for so many of us.
    Thanks again

  18. Tee says:


    Last year in 2008 my brother-in-law purchased your Mocha Manual DVD and I went out and bought your book once he learned of my pregnancy. Like you I was single and pregnant and by God’s grace and all the wonderful people he placed in my life never felt alone one day during that time. My daughter’s name is also Kayla and she is the love of my life. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I enjoy reading your blog. God Bless You!

  19. Joann says:

    Hi Kimberly,

    You are such a inspiration to single moms out there. I’m just discovering your site this year. Though I’m a single mom, I’m not a “young” one like you were, I had my daughter Maya at age 34. I was blessed to have the support of family and friends to help me through my pregancy. Maya’s dad is in our lives in a consistent basis and the pregnancy was a difficult one (emotionally, not necessarily physically). Though he’s part of our lives, during my pregancy he wasn’t always there emotionally, which is where I needed him most. We had a long history with one another, and becoming pregant and making the decision to keep our daughter was difficult, but the right thing to do. It was the straw that broke the camels back in regards to our relationship.

    After reading about what you went through, I was so inspired, even today even though my daughter is about to turn 5 years old this month. Thank you for sharing your story and letting all of us “single moms” out there know that we can get through any situation we are put in, no matter the circumstances. It’s all about our frame of mind.

  20. sena says:

    It amazes me when I read this story about how many people think., especially so called Christians, and people who claim to love God/Jehovah/ whatever you call Him. God bless the writer of this story for such honesty and just the will power to share this with the world. I ask myself what kind of a God will ask you to turn your back on your very own CHILD!!! especially in time of need!!! Show me that quote in the bible, or a place where Jesus/God/Jehovah has ordered this to happen!!! People are being led like sheep, literally brainwashed by so called ministers, Im not bashing religion, this has nothing to do with religion, you turn your back on your on flesh and blood and go to church the next day, or are on the streets to tell people about Jehovahs peace and how He loves them???? how about you tey that with family first!!! GOD help us!!!

  21. Kal says:

    35, pregnant, and denied by my child’s father. Actually workin on my own blog now too. Just like u I have an MA and am a woman of color and battle with now being a statistic after i was supposed to be “rhe one to break the cycle.” But now because of success stories like yours, my child and I are about to make this happen! Ty!

  22. Simone says:

    I read your book and had no idea you were single and pregnant. I am currently single, 37 y.o. and pregnant. The baby’s father is verbally and emotionally abusive so I would rather not be bothered with him until he gets help. He cursed at me on several occasions even sent my mother some nasty texts filled with curses. I am scared but every day I know that with my family and God we will be ok.

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