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Living With Pride as a Black Single Mom: Bettye’s Truth

March 19, 2019 | Shapermint Team

This video is part of Shapermint’s #ThisIsMyTruth campaign, launched to spark up an honest-to-heart conversation about our own bodies, through the personal stories of four extraordinary women. Click here to learn more about #ThisIsMyTruth.

Throughout our lives, we’re given a lot of “shoulds”: “your hair should be perfect,” “your body should look like this.” And many of us set aside our own sense of self-worth trying to measure up to those “shoulds.”

As a woman of color, Bettye has spent her entire life confronting the “shoulds” the world tells her, from how her natural hair “should” be straightened to how she “should” act more ladylike. When she got pregnant with her son at 19 years old, she had to face down the biggest “should” of her life: her family insisted that she marry the father of her child, or she would disgrace them all.

She was torn: would she marry someone she didn’t love to win back the approval of her family, or live life on her own terms?

In the end, Bettye found the strength to do what she needed to do, rather than what other people thought she should do. Being a single mom is a hard road to travel, but Bettye refused to allow shame to bring her down, and gained a sense of pride in who she is.

Are you living as who you should be, or who you truly are?

This is her truth.

Discover Bettye’s story in the video below. (No time to watch videos? Find the entire transcript below.)


I was 19 and this was disgracing to our family. ‘My daughter is pregnant and she’s not married and blah blah blah.’ So me being kind of a rebellious person decided that even if this wasn’t planned, it’s what happened, and I would make the best of it. I was going to make them see that I may have been a single mother, but that I was going to be ok. And he was going to be ok.

This is Bettye’s truth. What’s yours?

Share your story of self-love and body confidence using #ThisIsMyTruth on social media. It’s your turn to erase the shame away and inspire all women to let their inner light shine through!

Watch the #ThisIsMyTruth campaign video below:



Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Bettye, I’m from California.

I was kind of a tomboy when I was a little girl. I was always taller than everybody and I was really skinny and everybody else was starting to develop and I was still flat chested and so you just wanted to be like the other girls and I wasn’t and then the other part was I was a girl of color and everybody had long wonderful hair and I had this hair and you just kinda were self conscious kind of.

I have one son and it wasn’t my plan when he was born, but it was just one of those things that happened, and my family was just devastated. I was 19 and they were I mean this was disgracing to our family that here my daughter has gotten, is pregnant and she’s not married and blah blah blah and then they decided I would have to get married, his dad, my son’s father. So I said, I’m not doing it, if you want a wedding you’re gonna have to marry him, becau se I’m not doing it period. Me being kind of a rebellious person decided that, you know, it, this is what happened, it wasn’t what I planned, but it is and I just will make the best of it and so I did.

You know, things happen in people’s lives and it doesn’t make you a bad person, it’s just something that happened and I was just determined that I was going to make them see that I may have been a single mother and a single parent but that I was going to be ok and he was going to be ok. It took me a while because you’re instilled in that process of being self conscious and being, you know, not wanting anybody to know.

We just feel that we have to be perfect, everything, your hair has to be perfect, you have to have the right clothes, you have to have the right makeup and everything. You just get overwhelmed. And finally you get to a point in your life when you realize you are who you are and you’re ok like that and you grow into yourself and you begin to look at yourself and decide maybe I’m not so bad afterall.

You can’t judge yourself by the next person because everyone of us is different. I think that’s kinda where a lot of our problems are, is that women always look at somebody else because they’re always better, they have better clothes, this is better whatever’s better, but they’re not, I mean, we have to stop diminishing ourselves and realize we have a lot to offer as an individual. Sometimes you need to just put on your big girl panties and move on.

I'm Bettye and this is my truth.


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