It was the winter before I started graduate school and I was in the first term of my pregnancy. Between waiting to hear back from prospective campuses and working a full time job that paid below a living wage, I was spent. Many women face this decision with fear of what others might think. This piece is my story about my journey to choice.
I could not arrive at a reasonable plan to make it through my first year of graduate school as a single mother. The programs I had applied to were full time, elitist and predominantly white. How would my classmates treat a single pregnant woman? Higher education already posed a series of ubiquitous challenges. Adding a newborn to the scenario was going to be exponentially trying. During my only ultrasound, I sang a childhood melody to my baby. After many tears, embraces, conversations and prayers, I decided to bid my farewell.
To this day, I don’t know what my father looks like. In 24 years I have had no contact with my biological father; it is more likely that someone reading this post has more information on him than I do. Despite my complete disconnect from “that” side of my family, I’ve always known I was half white. And for as long as I’ve been aware of my mixed ethnic heritage, I’ve identified as a black girl, unequivocally. How could I possibly pledge allegiance to a culture I didn’t know? To people I’d never talked to or even seen?
Over 24 million children in the U.S. live without their biological fathers. These children are, on average, two to three times more likely to experience education, behavioral, health and emotional problems, use drugs, be poor, engage in criminal activity or be victims of child abuse than their peers residing with two (married) parents.