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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
About the Storyteller
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.