Jill Scott Says Single Motherhood is 'Tough'

06/26/2009 at 06:00 PM ET
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.”

Source: Essence

– Anya

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Showing 27 comments

Nicole on

Amazing, amazing, amazing woman. Such a pillar of strength when women at their most vulnerable (post-partum.) I hope that child’s father continues to play an active role in his life, but if he doesn’t, I think they’ll be ok.

Anon on

If a man is present in his childs life I don’t see how that’s single parenthood. I don’t think that Jill, would appreciate her ex referring to himself as a single-father not if they’re working together to raise their child. I’m not trying to be critical, I like Jill a lot but how broad is the term single mother going to be?

Perigee on

A million blessings on Jill and Jett! A strong, talented, open-hearted woman like Jill is sure to raise an amazing son. I admire her commitment to working with Jett’s father. After being left single so soon after giving birth, that cannot be an easy thing emotionally. I cannot imagine that I would be as kind to the father and brave about the situation as Jill is.

Perigee on

Not that it matters, but I do think that Jill is a single mother. I doubt that Jill and her ex- live together, which means that each parent is alone with the child when they are parenting. Although they may make decisions together (co-parenting) they each do the hands-on work of parenting alone. In contrast, Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts are “single” in the sense of not being legally married, but live together and are together with their children on a daily basis. I do not consider them single parents. But when Jett wakes up at 3 am, there is only going to be one parent there to care for him. That is single parenting, regardless of how the legal duties are split up.

N on

Perigee – I completely agree with you. If a woman or man is no longer with their partner, then they are a single parent. My mother and father split when I was VERY young and to honest, I’m glad they did. They are the best of friends now and my father has never missed a mother’s day, but they did not belong together. However, I was raised by a single mother, even though my dad was actively involved… she was still single.

kel on

I agree~ Jill is a single parent. When people end a relationahip, they start referring to themselves as a single woman/man. Just because the ex’s seem to be behaving in a healthy, supportive manner does not mean that they are not both single individuals. Lets applaude for responsible parenting, but not take away from the extra challenge one faces when they are in a household running it alone. And that goes for single men and women!

gaia's mommadukes on

My parents divorced when I was a toddler. My dad was always apart of my life and did an equal amount of parenting. While they’re both still ‘single’ they raised me together and my mom never referred to herself as a single mom. Single mom, single dad phrases that imply that you’re parenting alone, not whether you’re married or if the other parent resides with you imo. One can be legally married and still very much doing it on their own.

kourtnei on

Yea I disagree with Anon, I feel like most have stated, regardless if a ex is still in the picture, she is a single mom. They are not married nor co existing in the ssame household. I love her music and from her interviews she seems to have a very warm and gentle spirit sbout her. Little Jett is blessed to have such a talented mom. I am so looking forward to that issue when it comes out, but I hate to hear that the two of them broke up! She seemed so happy. Atleast she is taking it all in stride, maybe their only real purpose in life together was to create their son. At anyrate I wish them the best, I remember those new mom months lol. I also love how she “zoned out of birth,” lol it really isn’t much of a picnic….but the end rewards are so worth it and MORE. =)

Jane on

Completely agree with everyone else! Jill is a single mother, as she is parenting her son alone. While his father is still a part of his life, she is living with her son in her house alone, therefore a single parent. She seems to have much strength within her, and I hope she and her son have many happy days ahead of them!

em on

It seems fine to me for her to be called a single mother or to say she’s a single mother…that said, there IS truly a world of difference between a single mother whose children do see their father, who has the father there to share some responsibilities, to even discuss things about the children on the phone, and a single mother who does not have any of that and her children have no father in their life either.

Anon on

I googled it and what you guys said is the definition of a single parent so i must concede to the definition.

But I still feel like that definition is too broad. Maybe its just my logic, but if someone is doing something together/ co-parenting and the responsibilities are delegated amongst the two I don’t see how its single parenting. So if she gets married to another man she’ll no longer be a single parent, but getting married to another man doesn’t mean that he’ll necessarily parent the child. Considering her ex has been co-parenting since the childs birth. I dunno too much grey for my taste, but whatever. Did you guys consider Tom Brady a single dad?

martina on

Why would anyone consider Tom Brady a “single dad”? His son lives with his mother, who’s his primary caretaker. On the other hand the boy’s mother, Bridget Moynahan is a single mother. Jill also has the primary responsibility for her son. While the father is in the picture, unless the load is shared pretty equally I would without a doubt call her a single parent. To put it bluntly, if one parent has to worry about making child care arrangement when he/she needs to go to a doctor while the other doesn’t – that is a single parent.

Nika on

Just because the father is still in the child’s life, doesn’t mean that jill, or anyone else in the same situation is not a single parent.

Nobody but those two knows how actually involved the father is in raising the child with Jill.

A father can be in a childs life simply by taking the child every weekend or every other weekend.
That could be as far as it goes.
They may not be involved in important decision making such as what school the child should go to or whether to vaccinate them.

It would be nice to believe that once a relationship has broken down, everything is just split down the middle in terms of the parenting of the child/ren. But unfortunately (and more often than not from what i’ve seen)that is’nt always the case.

There are a lot of “weekend dads” out there who believe that all they need to do is spend some time with their child and pay a bit of money and thats their job done!
Sad but true.

They leave everything else up to the mother.

Hence in my opinion making these women (or men where it is vice versa) single parents.

Like a poster previously said, there is only ONE parent there at night when the child awakes and is crying.

I’ve heard/seen situations where the child is ill and the father simply says “let me know what the doctor/hospital says”!!!!
As if it only requires one parent to be there.
But thats how it is sometimes due to these “ex-spouses” maybe deciding that the father remain in the childs life but the parents have minimal contact.

It doesn’t take away from women/men that are parenting completely without the participaton of the other parent, as single parents.

I’m curious Anon, if you wouldn’t refer to that as a single parent, what would you call it?

Christina Bledsoe on

That’s awesome. Jill Scott sounds like a wonderful mother.

lulumay on

She is one of my idols. And she IS a single mom. The baby lives with her & it sounds like dad will be there but ultimately SHE will be the main caregiver. Either way this child is lucky to have Jill as his mom. She is woman enough to be 4 parents! xoxo

taegan on

LoL I thought she was engaged? What happened?

me on

Anon,when you are a parent that is not in a relationship you are a single parent even if the father\mother is also in the picture.

Teresa on

awww, jill seems like a really good mother.
and i think jett was born on the same day as me! (april 20! well i was born in 1995 not 2009 lol)

Jessica on

While i could care less about her, or any celeb’s personal life (That’s why it’s called personal), it’s refreshing to see someone being honest, open and real about giving birth as well as pregnancy. Pregnancy can be and is an amazing experiance, to simply know that you are carrying another human life that is every changing gives you a feeling that nothing else can. But just because that is amazing does not mean that the morning sickness, and 30 hour labors are exactly wonderful and or life altering. And the constant care you must take of yourself after birth is not amazing. It’s so refreshing to see someone be real about their pregnancy. Stars need to realize just because they are “celebs” their bodies are no different than us hard working individuals and no money in the world can buy enough to stop the pain of labor or of a 10 pound child shooting out of you!

sdfsd on

I really dislike it when celebs use the word “co-parenting.” It means the same thing as parenting, so why add the co? Instead of saying “we are co-parenting,” why not say “we are parenting”? Why does the media have to invent unneccesary words?

Golda on

My Grandmother told me that she felt close to death during child birth.

dj on

Jill Scott is a single parent raising a child with the father helping to raise the child. This is a single parent home-DUH. If the father is raising the child it is still a single parent home. My daughter was raised in a single parent home, my husband and I separated when she was less than a year old.

Terri on

Taegan, if you read the story you’ll see that she and her fiance broke up shortly after Jett’s birth.

I’m glad that Jill was able to have a baby, when she never thought she could. Jett is a miracle and she is a strong woman. I’m glad that the father is committed to being in his son’s life as well.

Benigna Marko on

Congrats. Enjoy your baby.
Benigna Marko

FC on

I loved the part where she mentioned dancing with Jett to Marvin Gaye and how he seemed to snuggle in closer, tighter to his mother. That’s just a beautiful scene. :)

Joy on

I think it is cruel for doctors to put a woman thruogh so many hours of labor. I tried to push for 2 hours; then had a ‘emergency C Section. My son was 10 and a half pounds. Too big for me to have naturally. He is now 25 years old!

Barbara Albin on

It is Ms. Scott’s business as to what she wants to call herself. I call her and Jett a miracle. I am sure that is just the way she feels. Delivery is painful (mine were a very long time ago), but I have learned never to tell anyone going into delivery that it is easy or hard, it is an experience every woman will have to go through on her own. I am sorry Jill had to suffer so long, seems a little too long. I would love to see a picture of her little boy, he must be beautiful. I hope you will let us see him soon.

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