Purchase your autographed copy of "My Life Isn't Perfect But Thank God My Baby Is" by Malonda Richard.

In My Life Isn't Perfect But Thank God My Baby Is, Malonda Richard invites her audience to act as chief witness to every aspect of her unplanned pregnancy, from the everyday activities to her innermost thoughts. Determined to bring only her most positive, loving, and evolved energy to the spirit of her growing child, Malonda steps outside herself to tell her story as an honest observer, expressing honor in having been chosen to carry what she believes will be an extraordinary human being. Lifting her eyes to appreciate the simple blessings in her life, Malonda exhibits firm determination to triumph over potentially cataclysmic life changes. Malonda's resolve to see only the best for the sake of her child provides an inspiring example for her readers, proving that there is indeed both beauty and exultation in what many would perceive as imperfection.

Motherhood. It is what so many women want, but nothing they expect. Motherhood is a daunting unknown, and an unanticipated equalizer. It strengthens character by constantly tugging at heartstrings and shredding patience. It builds unbelievable mounds of courage, resistance, and multi-tasking skills. It embraces our most endearing, challenging, memorable, heart-wrenching, humorous, tiresome, and unpredictable moments.

Pregnancy is no different. It, too, envelops endearing, challenging, memorable, heart-wrenching, humorous, tiresome, and unpredictable moments, paired with dreams, hopes, wishes and fears of what may lie ahead.

"My Life Isn't Perfect But Thank God My Baby Is", poignantly illustrates one woman's journey into motherhood through her intimate, emotional, loving and brutally honest journal entries. The fascinating, but frightening journey into motherhood is paved with happiness and varying levels of frustration for all women, many also face the reality of a broken heart and single parenthood. These overwhelming realities, if allowed, can become insurmountable. Malonda Richard faced these challenges, and others, as well.

Rather than crumbling under the pressure, Malonda prevailed over adversity by gleaning strength to focus her energy on creating a life that offered her most precious gift  her first born child - an environment filled with love, creativity and growth. She parlayed both her struggles and triumphs into a life that offered her endless opportunities to excel as a mother and a woman.

Through "My Life Isn't Perfect But Thank God My Baby Is", Malonda easily becomes a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, and a friend to rely upon during pregnancy, motherhood, and life. Her chronicle of candid collections and prose gives not only Malonda a powerful voice to illustrate the complexities of pregnancy, but also gives a voice to the silent women who feel vulnerable and alone as they transition to motherhood and womanhood.

"My Life Isn't Perfect But Thank God My Baby Is", provides an empathetic connection for, not only single moms, but all moms. It provides a connection that celebrates our common threads and our diversity. It helps to engender a sense of community based on motherhood and womanhood - a community filled with strength, endurance love and acceptance. And, as Malonda would say, a community also filled with peace and respect.

With inspiration and imagination,

Julie Watson Smith
Founder, Inspired Imaginations and Mommy Hullabaloo

On April 24, 2003 at 6:20 A.M., I gave birth to the love of my life, a beautiful, healthy baby girl named Ameerah Christine. Despite the fact that my original birthing plan included a Jacuzzi, candles and music, Ameerah was born in the front seat of her father's car in the emergency dock at the Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. Her magical arrival launched a completely new chapter in my life. My new roles -- mother and single parent -- came with their own set of blessings and challenges. I was ready and willing to wholeheartedly embrace these roles, but definitely not prepared for them. But from the moment I held Ameerah in my arms, I immediately acknowledged her as a blessing, and not a burden. It was evident to me she was my gift from God. Her birth was a physical manifestation of positive affirmations and God's grace. Every single thing I affirmed and prayed for during my pregnancy came true when she was born.

The months leading up to my transition from jubilant anticipation to motherhood had been full of positive, negative and conflicted emotions that I regularly recorded in my pregnancy journals. This book is a collection of excerpts from those journals.

Although I've been journaling for the past thirteen years, I never imagined I'd let anyone read them, at least not while I was still living. I write to capture time, and to discover why my life has unfolded the way it has. In the past I would write entries, close the journal and lock it away without ever reading what I had written. The idea was that once I left this earth, my thoughts would be documented for my children and my children's children. Through my words they could celebrate my life, and hopefully learn from my mistakes. It wasn't until I decided to read the entries written during this tumultuous time, that I began to realize that my words could reverberate with others experiencing the same things.

I was raised with the philosophy that "you should never air your dirty laundry." Therefore, it was hard for me to write about some of the experiences, choices, and mistakes that have made up my thirty-something years on this earth. I have been a perfectionist for as long as I can remember -- a person with high expectations for not only for myself, but also for those around me. Despite the fact that I was raised in a single-parent household in one of the roughest housing projects in Washington, DC, I was convinced I could have the perfect life. People often warned me that there is no such thing as perfection in this life, but that didn't stop me from working hard to make all of my dreams come true exactly as I envisioned them.

Those dreams took me from the mean streets of Washington, DC to the serene mountains of New Mexico, where I earned my bachelor's degree with honors from the College of Santa Fe. Before the age of thirty, I had traveled all over the United States and Europe and become the first person in my family to earn a master's degree. I had also worked in several positions at Black Entertainment Television (BET) including on-air host for two innovative music shows. I interviewed celebrities, received citations from Congressional Black Caucus of Frederick, MD and the mayor of Columbus, Ohio, modeled at Fashion Week in Miami, and spoke at Lauryn Hill's Refugee Camp graduation ceremony. I was well on my way.

Before I realized that my life had spun off in a direction I hadn't planned, my on-air contract with BET wasn't renewed, my savings was depleted, and my love life took me to hell and back. As a result, I withdrew from the entertainment industry and started a small business in the comfort and privacy of my home. Then I became pregnant at the age of thirty. It was only then that I truly understood I wasn't going to have the "perfect life" I'd always anticipated. I had always wanted to be a mother, but being pregnant without the consistent support of a committed partner was one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced in my life, especially since I never thought I would be a single mother. I'd seen my mom and countless other single mothers sacrifice their dreams because they were raising children on their own. My mother is an amazing single mother and although she is my role model, I always believed I'd be married to the father of my children. Even during my childhood, I told anyone who'd listen that I was going to get married before I had kids.

As a child, I always felt that half of me was missing because I didn't grow up with my father. I didn't want my children to go through life carrying that same heartache. While I knew a few amazing fathers, there were too many absentee or deadbeat fathers in the projects where I grew up, and I wanted a different life for my children. I wanted them to have a stable, loving, caring man to guide them through the pitfalls of life. I also wanted a friend and husband to accept and love me unconditionally. My mother always believed I should have a better life than she had, and I was determined to do just that. I would find my soul mate and get married before I had children. However, I unexpectedly found myself among the millions of women around the world who are doing it on their own. I now know that being a single mother can be a blessing as well as a challenge. I receive unconditional love and support from my daughter on a daily basis. Her life has brought so much joy and clarity to my life and she has inspired me to accept and celebrate the life I have in order to receive the life I desire.

In honor of my decision to have my child, I decided to publish my pregnancy journals in celebration of the wonderful evolution that motherhood has created in me. Reading these journals after my daughter was born had an intense effect on me, because I'd unconsciously erased many of the memories from my mind in order to escape the pain they caused. Though I felt that I had a wonderful pregnancy, my journals told a mixed story of both happiness and intense sadness. Initially I was very upset with myself for some of the choices I made during that time, but then something magical happened. I began to forgive those who had knowingly or unknowingly hurt me, and I began to forgive myself. I actually began to heal from the pain by recognizing that my life had unfolded exactly the way the Creator had intended.

This book was born in order to give life to new ways of thinking about single motherhood. It is my way of forgiving myself for allowing my life to go "off track," because it has materialized better than I could have imagined. It is my way of thanking my beautiful daughter Ameerah for choosing me as her mother. It's also a wake-up call to encourage all single women to love themselves before they attempt to be loved by anyone else. I wrote this book in support of the women who have yet to tell their stories in a society that mutes their voices because they are not married, because they do not live in cookie cutter houses in the suburbs, and because they are not what the status quo says they should be. It is my way of baring my naked self before millions to proclaim that I am proud of the person I am.

I am so thankful that you have decided to travel with me and I hope you will be inspired by the journey.

Peace and Love,

Malonda Richard

She stood NAKED
With a pink fluorescent X carved into her chest
Right there on the corner of Canal and P Street

Taller than those around her
Her arms seemed to be frozen with fear
AND the multi-colored Afro that she used to don
no longer houses the squirrels or the birds

Their melodies no longer encourage her to dance
...Softly swinging her body from side to side

I loved to watch her dance
Watching her dance made my soul sing
Made me want to travel OUTSIDE of this maze

But the season had changed
Her seeds had grown more than they EXPECTED
She was too CREATIVE for the dirt
Too determined to live her life to the fullest

She was tired of this place
She had witnessed too many killings
that would never be solved...
too many people being denied their basic freedoms
too many babies being murdered for sport
too many CROOKED cops

Dreams of heaven kidnapped her soul
So her branches had to grow
But the more she grew...

The more she saw...
Her thoughts were TOO WILD to contain
too wild for them to comprehend

I still can't
Be Leaf
How they BUTCHERED her

How they

She used to dance

Until her branches grew in the wrong direction
What crime had she witnessed this time?

What had she seen in that place?
That could have made them cut her down

I wish they WOULD HAVE GROWN with her
But they were

Too numb to

Too blind to

Too dumb to know

Purchase your autographed copy of "My Life Isn't Perfect But Thank God My Baby Is" by Malonda Richard today.