For many, the college experience is filled with going to classes and sorority parties, but for Nadirah Kalifah it was defined by an unexpected pregnancy. Based on a True Story is the memoir of a pregnant college student trying to deal with the many stresses that were in her path and how she overcame them.
What inspired you to write the book?
Just living my life inspired me to write Based on a True Story. It originally began as a journal documenting what was happening in my life while I was pregnant with my son, Heru (who was born in 2011). Things started to get interesting and I realized that my story might be something that other people would be interested in.
How long did it take you to write the book?
It took about nine months to write the book, which was the length of my pregnancy. It was written in real time, which made it easy to document the events that were going on. The next six months were spent concluding the book, editing it and making it nice and shiny for publication.
Was it difficult to write about yourself?
Not at all! The hard part came when I made the decision to publish the book. In the book, I kept it real about the drama I went through, the decisions that I made (good and bad!), and the relationship that I had with my child’s father. Most of these things are stuff that most women keep to themselves. I put it all on the table.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
Not a thing. I learned from my experiences and I am on a great path in my life now. I probably wouldn’t be where I am now if it were not for the events in my book.
What is the message you want young women to come away with after reading your book?
There are several messages. I’ll be honest; I made a lot of mistakes. I was in college and wasting tuition (expensive!) by spending time doing things other than going to class. I got pregnant. I love my son more than life itself and I do not consider him to be a mistake… BUT, more than anything I just lost focus. I want young women to keep their goals in focus and not to go astray as I did.
However, I know that life is full of unexpected events and setbacks. Everyone has those moments in their life when they do not know how they will make it through. Well, I made it through and you can to.
The moment that you find out you are pregnant is the moment that you become a mom. Motherhood is extremely important and every decision that you make should be made from the perspective of being a mom. I know it is tough to be pregnant when the situation is not ideal but it will be okay. Put the health of you and your child at the head of every decision that you make and you’ll make it through.
It’s never too late to improve and become a better person.
What’s next for you?
Next up, I’m working on completing the second part to my short story, The Run. I’m also looking forward to having some book signings for Based on a True Story at the end of the summer in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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