New Life as a Single Mother

Alek Ferguson holding her baby daughter, Aurora Ferguson, in their home.
Alek Ferguson holding her baby daughter, Aurora Ferguson, in their home. (Photo by Rachel Garcia)

Alek Ferguson is a first-time single parent living in a small apartment in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Earlier this year, Alek and her husband found out they were pregnant, and within the first three months, her husband decided he was not ready for the responsibilities of having a child, so he moved out leaving Alek to go through the pregnancy alone.

Alek Ferguson getting Aurora dressed for afternoon errands.
Alek Ferguson getting Aurora dressed for afternoon errands. (Photo by Rachel Garcia)

During this time, Alek had to relocate to a more affordable home and limit her physical time as a masseuse to prepare for the change. The pregnancy was not only stressful and emotional, but was also very hard on her body which resulted in giving birth to her daughter, Aurora, five weeks before her scheduled due date.

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Alek Ferguson pumping breast milk for future use while giving Aurora a pacifier. (Photo by Rachel Garcia)

Now, two months later, Alek spends most of her days at home with Aurora and relies mostly on child support from her soon-to-be ex-husband until she can get back to work. Time spent at home usually consists of sitting on the couch breastfeeding Aurora, pumping milk for times when she is not able to breastfeed, changing diapers, and being on her laptop.

Alek Ferguson looking at a food stamp pamphlet after having nursed Aurora.
Alek Ferguson looking at a food stamp pamphlet after having nursed Aurora. (Photo by Rachel Garcia)

Alek has completely taken on the responsibility of hiring a lawyer for their divorce, filing paperwork for healthcare plans and food stamps, making time for clients within her limited availability, and maintaining the responsibilities of a new mother.

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Alek Ferguson changing Aurora’s diaper in their bedroom. (Photo by Rachel Garcia)

She still often struggles with the loss of a husband and father for her child, and feels that the separation took away some of the joy and excitement of having a baby for the first-time. However, despite the heartache, exhaustion and stress, Alek does not regret having her daughter and every day it gets a little easier to develop their routine.

Alek Ferguson nursing Aurora late at night in an empty house.
Alek Ferguson nursing Aurora late at night in an empty house. (Photo by Rachel Garcia)

Baby Aurora continues to bring Alek more joy and love, which makes all the responsibilities worth it at the end of the day. Alek says that Aurora is the thing she is most grateful for this year, and has been part of the biggest trial and hardship she has ever come up against.

Alek Ferguson giving Aurora a kiss on the cheek to let her know she is loved.
Alek Ferguson giving Aurora a kiss on the cheek to let her know she is loved. (Photo by Rachel Garcia)

About the Storyteller

Rachel Garcia.
Rachel Garcia

New Life as a Single Mother was photographed and written by Rachel Garcia. This story was created in COMM 3700, Photojournalism 1, during the Fall 2017 semester.

Rachel Garcia is majoring in Communications and minoring in Psychology and expects to graduate from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with her Bachelor’s degree in May 2018.

Copyright 2017, Rachel Garcia, all rights reserved.

One thought on “New Life as a Single Mother”

  1. This is a very poorly written article. What’s the actual point of this story and why would you have someone pose to look at a food stamp pamphlet? That’s not photojournalism.
    Also, the father didn’t leave her because he wasn’t ready for the responsibilities of having a child. He left her because she is an unbearable human being to cohabitate/coexist with. You wouldn’t know that though from just butting your nose into other people’s business without getting both sides of the story.
    Your COMM 3700 professor needs a reevaluation if he actually thinks this is a good article. I hope you’re able to create better material than this for the rest of your time as a communications major. Best of luck to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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