Kym Whitley had an hour to decide if she wanted a baby. The actress/comedian mentored young women and when one of them got pregnant she decided that Kym would make a better mother than she would. That’s how Kym Whitley became a mother, a journey documented in the new OWN show “Raising Whitley,” debuting Saturday night at 10 p.m. Kym’ s son Joshua is now 2. Since she was single, Whitley decided that she would put together a village of friends and family to help her raise her new son. We caught up with Whitley recently and she told us how having a child has changed her for the better.
BLACK AMERICA WEB: So Kym, you have a new show and a new baby. Tell us how all of that happened.
KYM WHITLEY: I was mentoring a young lady and she had a child and she gave my name at the hospital and I got a phone call one day and the hospital staff said Come get your baby. I was like Haha, figuring it was one of my girlfriends and they said No, you really have to come get your baby and I was like I”ll call you back in a week and they said No, you have an hour. That’s pretty much how that happened?
BAW: So this was a young woman you mentored and she thought you’d be a good person to donate your baby to?
Kym: That’s hilarious. Yeah, she obviously didn’t really know me. (Laughs). She knew me as a good person but she didn’t really know my life was as crazy as it is. They told me I had an hour to make a decision, that’s the crazy part. BAW: What has the transition been like for you becoming a mother at age…we don’t know.
Kym: At a later age. (Laughs) I was just partying and doing what I wanted to do. I traveled a lot. I did stand up. You cannot do that. I would leave my dog because he has a doggy door. Well, you can t leave a doggy door with a baby. I’m tired, but I love it.
BAW: Did you want a baby? Or did you think the time had passed?
Kym: I didn’t even think the time had passed. You know I think I’m 22. I was like I want a man, I want a baby, I want a family but I say that all the time. I guess God said Look here, I’m going to take care of this. When the decision happened my Mom said this has always been on your heart, you always talked about having a baby, what is wrong with you, you cant commit to nothing. So I was like, you’re right and I just jumped. BAW: So did you get a man or just the baby and the family?
Kym: Really, you’re going to bring that up? Did I get a man? No, I got a little man, his name is Joshua. I actually am dating and you’ll see that on the show, so I’m working on it.
BAW: But you did get a family. You found friends and family to create a village for Joshua since you realized you couldn’t do it alone.
Kym: Well, you’re absolutely right. Since I don’t have a man, I needed another parent. So I took all my friends and created a village and they are the other parents. You will see that on the show. BAW: Despite this interesting scenario, why should we watch another reality show?
Kym: Well it’s not a reality show, it’s a documentary. With my show, you are going to see the real. So I’m not going to let them fake a story. “Raising Whitley” is going to be like a sitcom. They’re going to laugh, but they’re also going to learn. It’s for people who are sitting back on Saturday night and just want to have a good time but also people who are thinking about adopting or just getting a village.
BAW: Who’s actually being raised here? Kym: OK! I’m growing up. Joshua has matured me. I don’t go out or date as many people as I was dating. It is raising me up. I am doing different things. I read books at night to my son. My daddy laughed at me about that because I wouldn’t read a book. So it has changed me a lot.
BAW: There is a poignant moment when your mother comes to L.A. to help you with Joshua and then dies soon after. Kym: My mom was with me for three months. And they never stayed out in L.A. more than 2 weeks, they stayed with Joshua for three months. They went back to Cleveland and then she had a stroke. I rushed back and she passed and so, umm, it just made me look at life a little differently. I believe how God had it planned is that I wouldn’t be able to make it with her leaving so he bought me Joshua. So I was OK. Everytime I heard him cry, I was like I gotta put my big girl panties on. I can do this. For the next year after that I felt her presence.
Because of Joshua’s allergies, Whitley came up with an idea to create a T-shirt called “Don’t Feed Me” which checks off a child’s allergies when he’s away from a parent. You can buy the T-shirts here.