People have had mixed reactions to the hit WE TV show, Pregnant & Dating—some love it, some loathe it.
Melissa Meister, whose story was featured throughout the first season, opens up in an exclusive interview with OKMagazine.com about the negativity surrounding the show, what her experience of dating while expecting her first baby was like, and how she wants to show women that they can have it all!
The stunning model-turned-stylist, who gave birth to son Arrow back in January, says she has found reaction to the show to be pretty much split down the middle—50-50 negative and positive—and that it usually comes down to whether people have actually watched it!
“The only negative comments I’ve had are from people who don’t watch the show and are just making a judgment from the title, because it is a provocative title,” Melissa says. “And you know… that’s what the show was really about—to try and get rid of that stigma.. of what it is to be a single mom.
“The paradigm shift of what it is to be a traditional family—well there is no traditional family anymore—what families look like today… it’s single moms, it’s single dads, it’s divorced families. I never thought I’d be a single mom, I was in a committed relationship for three years and right from the start I talked about having a baby with him.
“So, people who actually watch the show, they see that—they see the depth and the struggles, and the triumphs that we have from the joy of becoming a mom and also, from being a single parent. So I think the people that watch the show understand that and the haters are the ones judging the show, purely from the title.”
As OKMagazine.com previously reported, Melissa was left to go it alone as a single mom after her partner confessed he had met another woman—and although he was initially around during the time of Arrow’s birth, Melissa is unsure at this point of what part he will play in his son’s life going forward.
“I really hope [he will be in Arrow's life],” Melissa says. “I’ll always hold an open space for him.
Initially, after I gave birth he definitely was around and we’re just kind of working out how our relationship works from here on going forward.”
So, what was it like dating while pregnant? Is Melissa finding it easier to date now she has actually had the baby, or is she just too exhausted to even try, now she has a newborn to care for on her own?!!
“I’m actually getting back on my feet so I’m not as exhausted as I was initially,” Melissa says. “There’s no way I could have dated when the baby was first born.. it would have been impossible.
“But dating while pregnant—I actually enjoyed it! Because, I knew I wasn’t looking for a replacement father for my child. I really wanted to take time to ask the questions that were important to me, and to my child. Before, when I wasn’t pregnant I didn’t feel secure enough to ask… but while I was pregnant I felt confident and I had this shield around me—so I would think ‘are you a good enough person to be around this wonderful child?'”
And, Melissa wants to use her time in the spotlight to help other women going through the same experience, and to assure them that they really can have it all.
“I really want to take on a role to inspire women that they can have it all,” she says. “People are always like ‘you know you should be at home with your feet up’ and not thinking about someone else, about dating and building your life—and it’s really interesting how its’ 2013 and so many people still think that way.
“I guess they think I should be pregnant and bare foot in the kitchen! People have reached out to me via Twitter and I’ve let them know that I’m here to chat anytime they want to—on Twitter or on my Facebook page or whatever it is.
“I definitely want women to know it’s a very courageous decision to go forward with a pregnancy on their own, whatever their situation in life is—be they an older career woman and they’ve decided to adopt or have in-vitro or they’re a younger woman and they don’t have a partner.
“Being a mom is the most difficult yet rewarding thing you could ever do..and you know, get rid of the guilt and the shame and actually feel beautiful.”
Meanwhile, after a lifetime of picking Mr. Wrongs, it seems Melissa may have finally found her Mr. Right!
The thirty-something mom has been quietly dating Eric Joseph, an aspiring actor, and by all appearances, he’s a keeper!
So….. no more bad guys?
“I have a broken picker!” Melissa says laughing. “I’ve had lots of luck in my life, but my luck in love has not been so great! I’m really hoping that now… that’s why I say, I liked dating while pregnant because I got to see what was important and now that I have a family it’s not just about attraction, but also about strong moral values and about wanting the same things in life—and it doesn’t have to be—boring.
“I’m very adventurous, I love to travel and go out to dinner, but I definitely need somebody who’s responsible, and that’s the biggest thing, I’m looking for someone that really means what they say and if that changes they just communicate it.”
To see more of Melissa tune in to Pregnant & Dating, on WE TV, Saturday at 9/8 c.
What do you think about dating while pregnant? Sound off in comments below and tweet us @OKMagazine.