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”Yes, I’m pregnant. Yes, I’m a pastor. No, I’m not married and not ashamed.” Desiree Allen Tells Her Story.

”Yes, I’m pregnant. Yes, I’m a pastor. No, I’m not married and not ashamed.” Desiree Allen Tells Her Story.

Pregnant unmarried pastor Desiree Allen, who serves as the pastor of arts and spiritual formation of First Corinthian Baptist Church in New York City as well as the director of Harlem’s The Dream Center, has open up about the criticisms and negativity trailing her situation.

In an article on her blog, the pastor, who is expecting a set of twins with her fiance, Tony Elder, wrote that she cannot carry the weight of people’s Judgment about her pregnancy and that she refuses to be shamed out of the Pulpit.

Pastor Desireé Allen and her fiancé Tony Elder at a recent event.
Pastor Desireé Allen and her fiancé Tony Elder at a recent event.

She wrote:

”I found out I was pregnant at the happiest place on earth. It was Mother’s Day and I was on vacation at Disney World. Go figure. I noticed my normally regular period hadn’t come which is usually no biggie. I would chalk it up to stress. Except now, thanks to acupuncture, I was used to it coming like clockwork. It’s only day one I told myself. It’ll come tomorrow. And it did, but only stopped by for a brief visit before disappearing into the abyss. I waited for her to come back. She never did. The next day, I did what any normal sane woman would do. Scoured the resort for pregnancy tests like a madwoman.

I was pregnant. My immediate reaction was shock. This was not planned. Yes, I know it’s a potential consequence of having sex, but not one readily expected. With the exception of living a pretty much celibate lifestyle in my twenties I had been having sex on and off since I was 15 and had never been pregnant. In fact, I assumed when I was ready it would be very hard for me to conceive. Boy did I miscalculate that,” she wrote.

She explained that despite the sudden nature of her unplanned pregnancy, she was happy about the prospect of having a baby. She dreaded the idea, however, of going public with the news as an unmarried pastor.

After the initial shock was joy. Yet, underneath something else was lingering. Anger? No. Disappointment? No. It was pure and utter dread. Not at being pregnant. Not at whether or not I would be a good mother. What had my stomach turning, other than nausea, was me being pregnant AND a pastor. Let’s face it. The church has not had a good track record of accepting unmarried women who got pregnant. If you’ve been in church for any period of time you’ve heard or witnessed the aftermath.

Shunning, slut shaming, being sat down from your position, having to go up in front of the church and confess your sin, etc. etc. No one can be naïve enough to say this type of stuff doesn’t happen in church. An ugly truth is people in church leadership have sex outside of marriage, affairs, do drugs, drink, so on and so forth. Generally, these are not considered acceptable acts. BUT I have seen many churches turn a blind eye to this behavior, because it can be hidden. Don’t ask. Don’t tell. To be pregnant is a very visible indication of a private act and for some reason provides people with more of a need to respond.

You may as well Scarlet Letter it up and place a big ole S on your chest for sex Hester Prynne style. “The church” is already harsher on women for their “crimes,” but being a pastor also meant that both me and my fiancé were going to go through this publicly. I didn’t know what that meant, how it would affect my job and if I was prepared to deal with it.

Pregnancy already inherently diminishes some anonymity as people feel it their right to invade your personal space, offer up unsolicited advice and ask you private questions. Pastorship inherently makes some feel your personal life is their public business as you lose some sense of individuality for the sake of belonging to the church. As a pretty private person I had always struggled with the latter. Adding pregnancy seemed like my worse nightmare.

It was not as if I had a blueprint for this in my church. My pastors had been very open about having their first child while unmarried in college. That was more than 20 years ago. They were young. None of us were there. They were not pastors then. It was in the past enough to be hazy memory and turn into a testimony. Many of us know the struggles we have had in the past. For many, it’s what brought us to church. Yet, as soon as we get far enough away from our struggles to label them “redeemable” or for them not to be in the forefront of our minds it becomes much easier to give someone else the side eye for behavior we don’t agree with.

It is often easier to NOT afford others the grace we were so freely offered. I had experienced people judge everything from my clothing to social media posts fully aware that if it had been another pastor they would’ve gotten a pass. My apprehension was not unwarranted and although privately excited I was concerned about public persona. I did a lot of wrestling that week. I came to grips with the reality that part of the monster in my head was created by me. My past. My upbringing. What I was taught about the bible.

I realized I had some baggage and I wanted to deal with this pregnancy on my own terms regardless of how people felt or responded. In those first few months I decided I couldn’t carry the weight of others’ opinions and judgments including my own. I also had to confront the ways in which I judged others based on their decisions and actions. I decided I was going to walk with my head held high, because I was proud and excited to be pregnant. Often, when people think you’ve done something wrong or have sinned they want you to walk around with your head low in guilt.

Otherwise, how would THEY know you were sorry? Well, I wasn’t sorry or ashamed. Shame and happiness cannot reside in the same place. I decided to only surround myself with those who had positive energy. I knew there would be rough days, but I also knew the good would outweigh the bad. So when the first comment was made about my pregnancy being an abomination I wasn’t bothered, because it wasn’t MY truth. Plus who uses abomination anyway? Can we say antiquated?

I had a choice on how to define my own happy and write my own story. I thought about the women who were belittled in their churches for being pregnant. The women who felt abortion was a better option than humiliation. The girl or young women of a pastor forced into abortion, because the family couldn’t handle the shame. The woman who left the church permanently because the members couldn’t accept her child.

The woman who watched the same people who loved her each Sunday avoid her like a plague. The woman who would give up everything to be pregnant regardless of the circumstances and still finds her womb bare. So many women who may have made a different choice if they understood the power they had. If someone had told them, it was ok to make the best choice for them ignoring the outside voices. It would get better. They could outlive this. I understood what some people thought, what some scriptures said, but also the validity of my own experience.

At three months I revealed my pregnancy to the staff at my church. It wasn’t planned. It was at our annual staff retreat. If you could see inside my mind you would have seen the warring back and forth. It kind of looked like this:

See Also

“Do it now.”
“What? Are you crazy? This is not the time.”
“It may not be your timing, but it IS the perfect time.”
“Can’t I wait? Or tell them one by one?”
“Well if you wanted to wait you shouldn’t have worn that dress. Come on. It will be like pulling off a Band-Aid. Have this conversation once and you won’t have to have it again.”
“I’m nervous.”
“You’ll be fine. The outcome will be better than expected.”

The words kind of fell out of my mouth in front of everyone. I explained my joy and the importance this did not undo and diminish all the work and dedication I had put in for six years. I felt empowered. I shared what I wanted to share, how I wanted to share, own my own terms. I wasn’t responding to anyone or defending myself. I was standing in my truth.

In a moment I will never forget, our executive pastor had the staff encircle around me and they begin to pray. A noise that can only be described as a wail left my mouth and I broke. To the point of needing a chair to sit in. I broke in the most beautiful way possible. In the breaking I was free.

That ugly Jesus cry released every anxiety, fear and worry holding me down.

They promised to protect me and support me. In that moment I saw God. It was a moment that transcended boundaries or judgment. It was pure love. I felt free.

One of my favorite lines from The Scarlet Letter is: “She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.” I was carrying a lot of weight and baggage. The weight of what if. The weight of my upbringing. The weight of others’ opinions. The weight of judgment. It was heavy and I did the hard work of dropping that weight. I have no plans of picking it back up.

So no, I cannot carry your weight about MY situation. Whoever you are. I have my own beautiful, amazing and miraculous weight to carry for the next few months and a lifetime”.

According to information gathered on Allen’s Facebook page, her due date is on January 16.

Photo credit: Instagram/Facebook

View Comments (23)
  • It’s difficult when you have people(especially youths) look up to you as a role model. Anyway thank God your close people accepted you any other opinion doesn’t count

  • Pls let d babies be.its normal for pple to comment cus u ve done rung buh madam,no1 s gonna crucify happy for u dt despite shame,u didn’t lie abt it n u had decided to keep dem .I wish u n ur babies well.

  • This is not about judging someone, you are supposed to be a role model, definitely you have been preaching something else and doing the opposite. Many young people look up to you and what will be your advice to them now? Or do you call this a mistake?

  • Well this is absurd , you can’t be a real pastor if you do not preach holiness, marriage before sex, fonication etc. now the people are going to judge you by what you preached. This is the problem, Christianity is a practical thing, not theories. Could she and her fiancé not afford the costs of getting properly married before engaging in romantics ? For a pastor, it is not just a shame, it is atrocious

  • GOD Bless you sister and if there is anyone without sin let them cast the first stone , some people think we as ministers and pastors in leadership are free from sin we are only mouthpieces for GOD we are not GOD and if people would only grasp that concept the suicidal in leaders would come down thank you for sharing and may the fruit of your womb be blessed too!

    • Both of you remind us that we are in the last days, instead of supporting her to hell, why not tell her the truth. She should be apologetic to God for denting the pulpit and to men for not living by what she preaches, except she has never found issues with furnication, or any sort of sin, remember the letter killeth… As much as abortion is not an option, this is not the best for a pastor who is supposed to be someone’s mentor. What will you teach your flocks? That you are a pastor and you can take in, can you also differentiate, between you and the young lady, who is not married and takes in therefore aborting? Selah

    • So,because none is without sin,should we now flaunt and celebrate sin even from the pulpit? She was even trying to condemn some scriptural injuctions,in a veiled way.

    • What happens to the words of God that says flee from fonicaction ,hmm anyway her righteousness is of God…. He will handle her Case

  • End times. Its got nothing to do with judging! The scripture is clear, when a beiliever falls into sin, u repent, face church discipline and later be addmited back into the fold. You cannot fall into sin and remain on the pulpit! It is not the billical standard. You might have repented before the lor d, yes and not opted for abortion yes. But it is more important that you do not lead others to sin and condemnation cos their souls will be required of you. My late Dad was a Pastor when it was digjified. Now the pulpit is being desicreted. Its a high calling requiring certain standards! Noone stops you from being a regular christian and stumbling and repenting, but if you must lead the flock you must be an example. And by God if you do fall, show example of true repentance, not acting like its normal!

  • ????I am laughing cos…. There is a breed of people who are reducing the image and authority of a powerful God to nothing….. I can’t believe what I just read…….. You go get pregnant outside marriage and you want to justify it by playing the victim….what kind of pastor lowers the standards of God to please herself and some portions of society.. An you write this? To what end? so that others can feel good about doing the wrong thing….please do not twist the truths and principles of God as some have died trying to do so…. I pray u ask Jesus to forgive you and turn to the truth

  • it seems to me that the person in question has be engaging in frequent sex (fornication). then suddenly this one “met at it”. LORD HELP US ALL

  • All her rationalisation and attempts to shame the Church into accepting her errors by accusing it of intolerance and closed mindedness won’t work. Fact remains that she chose to willfully engage in sex out of marriage with her fiancé knowing the Bible frowns on it. Then she tries to sermonise it away. In other words, she is saying, the Bible’s restrictions on sex are obsolete, she and others like her have free written the programme and the Church must get with the (new) programme.


    We sin, we acknowledge our sin, we cry to God for forgiveness, and we forbear. We don’t insist our wrong lifestyle becomes the norm…

    The Bible has a word file people such as this:

    “Concerning this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull and sluggish in [your spiritual] hearing and disinclined to listen. For though by this time you ought to be teachers [because of the time you have had to learn these truths], you actually need someone to teach you again the elementary principles of God’s word [from the beginning], and you have come to be continually in need of milk, not solid food. For everyone who lives on milk is [doctrinally inexperienced and] unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a spiritual infant. But solid food is for the [spiritually] mature, whose senses are trained by practice to distinguish between what is morally good and what is evil.” HEB 5:11‭-‬14 AMP

  • The missing principle in this pastors argument is repentance….God will not tolerate this proud declaration of joy in sinning……. This pastor is allowing herself to be an instrument of the devil….

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