Rapper Da Brat, whose real name is Shawntae Harris-Dupart, has announced that she and her wife Jesseca are expecting their first child together. The news comes over a year after there was speculation the couple was pregnant, but their teasing post from last year was in regards to a collaboration instead of pregnancy. But this year, the news is official and the rapper is 18 weeks pregnant. “BLESSINGS all 2023.”

“It started as a joke,” the 48-year-old rapper explained to PEOPLE, referring to a post teasing a partnership between the couple. In a joint Instagram post on January 31, 2022, the couple shared an image of Da Brat holding Jesseca’s stomach alongside the caption, “We are EXTENDING the family.” The extension was referring to Jesseca’s brand Kaleidoscope Hair Products, which was set to launch a new line inspired by Da Brat and her iconic braids and protective hairstyles. Da Brat has now explained, “We got a huge response. It was like, ‘Oh my God do we want to actually have kids, and if we do, girl, we better hurry up!'”

Of growing their family, Da Brat shared, “It’s been quite a journey. There’s a lot of stuff we learned about women over the age of 40.” The “What’Chu Like” singer never thought children was part of her path. “I never thought I was going to have kids. I just thought it wasn’t in the cards for me. I’ve had a great career, a full life. I felt like, because I didn’t get pregnant earlier on, then it just wasn’t going to happen for me.” Her thoughts changed after being in a relationship with Jesseca, who already has three children. “I started looking at life so differently. I was like, I want a little me with you. Something special from the both of us that we can share and raise and love unconditionally.”

When it came time to decide who would carry their little one, the rapper was not keen on the idea. “I was like, nothing’s gonna come out of me!” Eventually, her wife was able to convince her to embark on the journey. “We had a little tug-o-war in the beginning,” Jesseca shared with PEOPLE. “I felt like she should have the experience. She is so nurturing.”

Congratulations to Da Brat and Jesseca on the news of their first child together! We wish them all the best as they prepare to add a bundle of joy to their family.

Kate Fann (she/her) is the BabyNames.com celebrity blogger, as well as an established content writer, aspiring author, and social media expert. She has been featured in online publications such as Bolde, ManoByte, Medium, The Social Observer, and more. Kate has ghostwritten numerous romance novels and is currently working on publishing her own works in the Young Adult genre.

Kate lives in East Tennessee with her husband Casey and her two sons, Quinn and Noah. When she's not writing or scrolling Instagram, Kate can be found tasting delicious wines, playing with make-up, baking yummy treats, or hiking the beautiful Smoky Mountains.