Our West Coast panel at LOOM rallied together a talk about what being a single mom means: the unique challenges, rewards, and how to best support the single mothers in your life. We were joined by Erica Dickerson, Zoila Darton, Jameela Jackson, and Arista Ilona in Los Angeles.

“There are two births when a woman becomes a mother. There’s the birth of the baby, and there’s the birth of the mother. Just like the baby, the mother needs to be taken care of and needs help. I know we don’t want anybody to see us as weak, but find your tribe. You’ve got to get out of being afraid to ask for help.”—Erica Dickerson

“I am not a single mother myself but I am the product of a single mother. I think it’s important to have open conversations like this, because when we learn about other people’s lives we can have solidarity with them. Upon stepping into motherhood myself, I’ve looked at my own experiences as a daughter of a single mother, and have tried to take as much of the positive while also learning from the negative experiences.”—Zoila Darton

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“I made a decision to separate from my daughter’s father when she was nine months old. In my journey of co-parenting I’m learning how to own my truth. The biggest thing that I ask myself is, How can hold my power in my decisions, especially through the complex challenges?”—Arista Ilona

“The journey as a single mother is ongoing. It’s about using your head and your heart. It’s not necessarily about doing the right thing, it’s about doing the best thing.” —Jameela Jackson

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“Women go through a tremendous identity shift when we become mothers, along with everything else that motherhood throws at us. But we get on with it. We figure it out as we go along. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is the act of letting go. Becoming a mother while going through trauma was a catalyst for this, and has since permeated into all areas of my life. I’ve loosened my grip. As long as my child is healthy, nothing phases me much. I’ve also learned that being a strong woman will not protect you from everything. It gives you an armor but not a shield. No matter how good a person you are, how hard you work or how responsible you are, life will still throw itself at you. It has nothing to do with what you do or don’t deserve. You need to learn how to pick yourself up when this happens.”—Amy Fraser

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“I’m grateful to have had a really strong single mother, along with so many other strong female figures in my life. Of course there are days when we’re overwhelmed and questioning everything… but I think as soon as we look at our kids we just do it. That’s what women do. We just do it.”—Erica Dickerson

“I allow myself to feel what I’m feeling, and to process things how I feel like processing them. I’ve learned to release and to surrender. I can only control myself and my reactions. I cannot control the way somebody else is going to be or act.”—Arista Ilona

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“As a single mom, you don’t have a partner to bounce things off of and to ask, ‘Is this the right thing?’ It’s about figuring it out on a day-to-day basis. We’re walking on water because we don’t have the chance to look down.” —Jameela Jackson

“It’s important to find people to share the milestones and the mundane with. You become so absorbed in their sleeping, feeding and pooping routine and I would go insane if I didn’t have my parents to talk to about this. And to share the joy with.. like when he started rolling over or sitting up. I never want those special moments with my son to feel lonely.”—Amy Fraser

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“We should demystify the idea that being raised by one parent is always negative because it’s not. Kids and parents shouldn’t feel any shame—we need to support each other. At the end of the day, your child is fed. Your child is loved. Your child is taken care of. You’re doing your best.”—Zoila Darton

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“I’ve learned how strong I am, how strong all women are. We push these babies out or get them cut out of our bodies, we feed them, we take on most of the work even when we’re in a relationship. I’m proud of myself.”—Erica Dickerson

“I’ve learned that I am worthy of happiness. Motherhood has made that so clear for me.”—Arista Ilona

“After what we went through while my son was in such a sensitive growth period in my womb, I was so fearful of him being damaged or having a distressed or anxious temperament. But I have the most peaceful, joyful and healthy child. His resilience makes me incredibly proud. I find comfort in thinking that this was the way it was meant to be. I would go through all of that pain a million times over if it meant I would get him.”—Amy Fraser

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Zoila
Zoila Darton
Founder, WORD Agency
@word.agency

Erica
Erica Dickerson
Host Good Moms, Bad Choices
@watcherica

Jameela
Jameela Jackson
Founder, Hustle x Glow & Director, Startup Grind Hollywood
@velvetropelife

Arista
Arista Ilona
Founder, Divine Modern Motherhood
@aristailona




Co-produced by WORD Agency