|George Holz for PEOPLE for use on CBB|
Motherhood for Jill Scott has brought its fair share of surprises; Fortunately, the newly single actress is taking it all in stride. In a new interview with Essence, the 37-year-old admits that the stories she was told of smooth, pain-free labors were far from the truth in her case. “I know my experience isn’t everyone’s but I believe people need to be realistic when sharing their stories about their pregnancies and births,” she states.
For Jill, a 36-hour labor filled with severe pain had her checking out — at least mentally! “During labor I felt like I needed to put the fire out,” she recalls. “Everybody kept telling me the pain wasn’t going to last forever, but after 20 hours of it, I left the building. I felt like I was on the ceiling, looking down at myself like, ‘[Dang], girl, you still in labor?'” Noting that the “pain continued … for at least three weeks,” Jill and her baby boy Jett Hamilton — named after a black gemstone “because I thought my beautiful baby is a gem” — celebrated the big homecoming with some much-deserved rest.
“When he arrived I held him in my arms for about an hour and then went to sleep because I was simply exhausted.”
Placing a positive spin on the delivery, Jill now finds the ordeal to be her main motivation in life. “After that experience, anytime I have reservations and think I can’t do anything, I remind myself that I survived the birth of my child,” she laughs.
Sadly, shortly after welcoming their first child, Jill and Lil John Roberts called off their engagement of one year. “He was there and for a couple of days afterwards while I stayed in the hospital, but John and I are no longer together,” she shares. “When you have a baby you’re dealing with a lot of emotions and I don’t know how much of it had to do with us breaking up, but it happens.” That said, the two are completely committed to Jett and plan to raise him together.
“We definitely love our son and we are co-parenting and working on being friends. I have hopes for [Jett] and I’m sure his father will do his part as well.”
Accepting that “it is what it is,” Jill, who was raised in a single-parent household, admits she often seeks strength from her close friends, actress Mo’Nique and singer Erykah Badu. “My heart and prayers go out to all single moms because it’s tough, and I can’t imagine any teenager dealing with a baby and all those hormones raging,” says Jill. “I can afford to have this child at 37 because I have a support system and I can talk to my girls … but I don’t understand how any mother does it alone.”
Click below to read about Jill’s favorite moments with her son, and to see if she’d like more children.
While she did not suffer from postpartum “because I didn’t feel depressed,” Jill wholeheartedly understands new mothers who simply “lose it” after welcoming baby. The new addition to her family has not gone without some hard lessons, however, as Jett has questioned virtues Jill once believed she had mastered. “I thought I was grown and patient, but I was neither until now,” she explains.
“Even when I hold him and dance with him to his favorite song, Marvin Gaye‘s ‘Come Live With Me,’ and he holds me tighter and then relaxes, I realize that I never knew unconditional love like this before, and I’m looking forward to watching and helping him grow.”
Despite her single mother status, Jill is not giving up on the idea of more children. “I truly loved being pregnant and feeling what was going on inside my body and watching it change,” she says. “It’s difficult to recoup, but still amazing nonetheless. I would have another one.”