HIV-Positive Single Mother
Being HIV-positive is already hard enough, right? Well picture this: try being positive and a single mother at the same time. My name is Antoinette and I'm HIV-positive and I have an 11-year-old daughter who is, by the grace of God, negative.
I contracted the virus 6 months after she was born. Through the years I struggled to keep my family together so I really had no time to grasp the fact that I was positive. I was only 16 at the time. I was on my own and my mother had taken my daughter away from me. But through all of that I regained my rights back and I got my daughter back.
But that was the least of my problems. See, my daughter is really smart and she began to ask questions (those of you who have kids you know about that question stage). She asked questions that a two and three year old wouldn't normally ask. She began to ask me why I was sick all of the time and why I had to take medicine all of the time. She wanted to know why the doctor had to keep sticking me with sharp pointy things every time I went to see them.
How do you answer that? A lot of people told me she was too young to know what mommy was going through, that she was too young to understand, but they really didn't know my daughter. Like I said before, my daughter is a smart little girl. When she knew of my status, she was three years of age. She'd ask questions and I'd answer them as best as I could.
You see, it's hard to tell your child that you're living with a disease that may kill you one day. And there are a lot of people who can’t even tell their kids because they feel like they may be too young, but what is too young?
My fear for my child is not that she will contract the virus because she is aware of it. It's the stigma she will have to go through in life because she has a positive mother. See, we don't talk about what our children have to go through when one or maybe both of their parents have the virus. How do you cope with that? It's hard enough as is to have to wake up in the morning and pop two or three pills and pray you don't throw them up, make lunch, get your kids ready for school, and keep a smiling face all at the same time.
Now that my daughter is older we talk more and it's a lot easier now then it was those years back. She understands a lot better and she's on my case a lot more. By me telling my daughter my status she has become my little advocate. She speaks with other kids her age who have a positive family member. She's my spirit. So, you see, being HIV-positive was almost the end of the world for me, but because I have that little girl I'm a fighter and I'm fighting harder and harder each day to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS.