Independent Mother Series: Introducing Chantelle
Following the success of my last series, I decided that I wanted to share the stories of other inspirational Independent Mothers. I know that there are so many strong Independent Mothers in the world with an incredible story to tell and that many people could benefit from hearing their stories.
I am hoping that this series will help you to realise that you are not alone, you are much stronger than you think and that you will be able to navigate through this chapter in your life. It takes strength, perseverance and courage to get through, but I believe that you possess these qualities and much more!
I love to connect with Independent Mothers and to read everyone comments and stories about their own experiences with Motherhood.
If you would like to be involved in my Independent Mother series, please feel free to contact me at: email@example.com.
Chantelle is a Mother, author, business owner and the founder of Bold Belles. Despite facing domestic abuse Chantelle has always been determined to rise not just for herself, but her son and now for her family. Later in life Chantelle met her fiancé Femi and they both had a beautiful baby girl. They share fun, relatable and informative content over on their YouTube channel discussing their experiences with co-parenting and being a step-parent.
How did you become an Independent Mum?
There were so many red flags prior to me becoming an independent mother. However; I did not want to be another statistic (a young teen Independent Mum). I stayed hoping my child’s father would evolve and craved the family unit I wanted for us like I did. Unfortunately, I stayed for much longer than I should have. It took me almost losing my life with my son watching to say enough is enough and walked away for good.
I found out I was going to be a mum at 19, it didn’t occur to me at the time I would have been a single mum. I was high on creating a little family unit that was mine. As time went on, situations started to unravel, the reality of me becoming an Independent Mum started to look likely. However, I held on to hope that it wouldn’t succumb to that but I’ve learnt in life sometimes the things you want most are the things your best living without.
How did you settle into your new role as an Independent Mum?
Becoming an Independent Mother was a roller coaster. I would tell myself; “I am fine”, “I can do this” and got on with my new role each day but come night time I would curl up and cry myself to sleep. This happened for a while. When reality hit that I was an Independent Mother I felt like I had failed my son by not providing him something he was entitled to.
I had the support of my family to help with my son physically which made things a bit easier, but emotionally it was a strain.
What are your thoughts on co-parenting?
I am currently co-parenting. It is certainly not what I envisioned. When I thought of co-parenting it seemed more whimsical in my thoughts, I thought communication channels between us would have been solid, that we’d make decisions regarding our child’s wellbeing and future together and in general just have a mutual respect for each other to make co-parenting a smooth sailing journey together. It did not play out this way for me.
My advice to Independent Mothers co-parenting is to always put the child's needs first. Try not to let whatever caused the breakdown in the previous relationship or in some cases the other parents immature behaviour to affect/create an unhealthy relationship which then has an adverse effect in how a bond or lack thereof between the other parent and child is formed.
From your perspective, what are the joys and lows of being an Independent Mum?
One of the biggest joys for me is watching the young man I raise each day growing into a respectable, kind smart and caring young man who I witnessed started his juice business at the age of 7 because he saw what I was doing. There’s no greater joy than knowing the way I have raised him has left such a positive mark on his mind set at such an early age.
Lows: Having to manage so many roles by myself. Before getting into a good career and starting my businesses the financial strain of trying to make ends meet but I got it done. With everything comes low points but with resilience and faith we will overcome them.
Please tell us about your eBook Freedom of The Phoenix
My eBook Freedom of the phoenix was written from my encounter with domestic abuse. The purpose of the book was to use my testimony to give hope to victims of domestic abuse, who may feel like there’s no escape, no rebirth after going through something both physically and psychologically draining/damaging that we can in fact create and become a force to be reckoned with by using the pain we’ve experienced and turning it into power.
I am so sorry to hear about your experience with domestic abuse. I am happy that you have been able to get away from that situation and that your future is bright and promising. How did you overcome domestic abuse?
If I am honest, psychologically I don’t think I may overcome domestic abuse. It has been 5 years since my encounter and I still have days where I get emotional all over again. So for me personally psychologically it’s something I am still working through by seeking therapy. Therapy has been helping but I still have a lot of work to go in this regard.
At the beginning of trying to overcome domestic abuse, physically I threw myself into work, which helped me to build a growing business. This helped to shift my focus elsewhere, it gave me something to look forward to, something I enjoyed doing. My business was my life line besides my son.
Do you feel that there is enough support for Independent Mothers?
At the time when I was going through my Independent Mother journey, I wasn’t aware of much services to help me, and if there was, it wasn’t made visible or easily accessible.
Who have been your biggest supporters?
My Family has been my rock. My mother helped with my son so I could go back and finish my studies. She’d take days off work just to ensure I didn’t miss a day of class. My brother and sister I can really talk with and cry when I need to release. They all play an incredible role to me becoming who I am today.
What stereotypes did you face as an Independent Mother?
The stereotypes of being just another statistic “just another young black girl with the child’s father not around”. This one was a hard pill for me. It’s like people expected me to say I was an Independent Mum and when I did it was “I’m not even surprised." So on one occasion I told a little white lie and said I was with the father of my child. The response was “really? Good on you." I always felt each time I walked with my baby boy with the father not beside me it was expected and that made me feel devalued.
What advice would you give to other women who have just become Independent Mothers?
Embrace this season. This is a journey you did not choose, but it’s one that will teach you a lesson about yourself that you didn’t know you needed. Take all the lessons that comes with it and grow from them. You are writing your story. Stand bold, seasons change you’re on a fruitful journey.
What did your season of being an Independent Mother teach you about yourself?
I always thought I was just a stubborn selfish young girl but in my season of being an Independent Mother. the transition to this butterfly of a woman that stands before me today is something I revel in. I took all the lessons as a caterpillar and slowly transformed into a butterfly.
I am not a failure. I stand firmly in my truth. I am resilient. I am patient, I am understanding. I am always evolving. I am accountable. People can only treat me how I allow them to.
How did you know that you found the one?
When we first started dating and I told him he’d have to wait at least a year before meeting my son and he genuinely replied “how can I fully get to know you, when I don’t get to meet the other half of you”. He would call or message every day and always asked; “how my son’s day was”, not just talk about us. The cherry on top was when he eventually met my son. A few months later; I told him it was over between us due to a misunderstanding. A few weeks later he called my mother directly to ask me, if it’s still ok for him to go to my mum’s home to spend some time with my son. We are now engaged.
What were your initial thoughts on introducing your son to your fiancé?
I was apprehensive, I wasn’t sure what the right time frame was to do something like this, and I didn’t want my son to think I was trying to replace his dad. I was experiencing a range of emotions before their initial meeting.
I introduced Femi as a friend firstly, as my son was only 3 at the time and didn’t want to make it complex by saying boyfriend. They met at a park to make it more relaxed. After introductions and some time with all of us together, I left Femi and my son to play together, whilst my sister and I watched from a very small distance. They got on well from the get go. We were all nervous but 6 years later we have created family of 4 now together.
We also discuss this in a previous episode on our YouTube channel in more detail.
How has your fiancé embraced being a stepfather?
He has accepted Treiveon as his own flesh and blood. It was a natural occurrence from both of them, which has led to them forming a loving bond.
What advice would you give to other Independent Mothers on dating?
Please do not think because you have a child there isn’t someone who will accept you and see your child wholeheartedly as their own.
Take time to work on you first, most times we miss companionship and dive into the next “situation” because we haven’t fully taken time to deal with our hurt, take time to know ourselves and what we want in the next relationship therefore just accepting anything. Be open, sometimes your “type” isn’t what you need.
What have you learnt about marriage along your dating journey?
We aren’t officially married as of yet. However, from witnessing other married couples in our circle and being guided by some of them, we have learnt so far that; patience, mutual respect, date nights, open communication and being willing to try and understand your significant others perspective even though you may not fully agree are some key components in marriage.
How do you juggle your career/studying/personal life, raising your children and being a fiancée all at the same time?
It has been strenuous, and I came to realise when you have so much going on that one of them will eventually take a back seat to the others, which is why I decided to hang up my healthcare worker badge and focus mainly on my business and studies for now. Education to me is highly important and I want to lead as an example to my children.
Being Femi’s fiancée is easy, there’s no added pressure to that “title”. He is extremely supportive, understanding and knows the goal of why I am so proactive. He sees my vision, believes in it and has been my biggest support system.
I always make time for fun, there’s no life of the party without Ms Chantelle. Even if its once a week or twice every two weeks a time out for myself is always top priority.
Please tell us more about Bold Belles
Bold Belles was previously called Le Treiveon Boutique (named after my son) as a drive to rebuild and find myself after losing myself in a toxic relationship. The change to Bold Belles represent me standing Bold in who I am. I believe fashion is an expressive tool. Our aim is to encourage children to be bold in who they are, to feel beautiful and empowered as individuals despite what that looks like to others.
What motivates you in difficult times?
The fact that I took the leap to work for myself, and if I don’t work, both my family and I are at risk of losing all we have built.
Please tell us more about your platform
My platform MsChantelle is used to motivate Independent Mothers or women in general who has faced adversity and lost themselves. I want to use my platform to live unapologetically and authentically in my truth, and in doing this I’m showing others that we can rise above the waves of the sea sent to drown us.
My fiancé Femi and I YouTube channel (Ms Chantelle) was created for parents who are in a similar situation to us. Parents who are co-parenting or well trying to co-parent, and for step parents like my partner Femi. We are in a generation where separated families have become common. We thought we'd create a channel showing our journey, for divided families to see that just because you are separated from the biological father doesn't mean you can't be a "family" with someone else. So often we read stories about "the evil step-parents" that we decided sharing our story will inspire Independent Mothers who are going through separation, that there are men out there, that will genuinely take your child as his own, nurture them, actively be in their lives and have a positive impact in your child'/ children's life. The channel is also for Femi and I to learn along the way from other step parents and individuals co-parenting too.
How do you ensure that your children feel empowered?
We have open communication and family meetings once a week. We embrace our eldest which is 9 years old to express himself to us if he does not necessarily agree with what we have to say (in a respectable way). We let our children know their voices matter, and always we try to include them in certain big decisions we have to make too.
What do you enjoy doing as a family?
Our family enjoy outdoor activities. Things such as water play, picnics, long walks (especially nature walks).
Finally, please tell us where we can find you on the internet
Instagram pages: Ms Chantelle_ | Boldbelles |
Youtube: Ms Chantelle
Thank you Chantelle for sharing your story with us. I admire your passion for your family, your business and life. Despite everything you have faced you continue to be a fabulous woman and Mother - you are amazing. Always be encouraged!
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