We find war heroes in history books, celebrities on social media, role models from different walks of life and yet we forget our own mothers or sisters who play a role and make a difference every day. Their role or job doesn’t stop at the end of the day; but theirs is a lifetime responsibility that very few acknowledge. Motherhood in itself is a challenge but having to go through the changes alone makes it even harder. You wake up one day and your life has completely changed. You are no longer an individual doing life on your own but you have a whole other life to support. A helpless being who depends on you for everything. Regardless of how you became a single mother, the road is never easy.
Statistics in South Africa show that 64% of births per year have no record of the fathers. Those are shocking numbers, numbers that show you how many times in a day you brush shoulders with legends. Why do I keep calling them heroes? Why do I think they deserve so much recognition? It’s pretty simple really, on top of the usual adult issues faced by every human being, they still have to deal with the following as well:
Loneliness – a sense of “I’m in this alone”. This feeling creeps in regardless of the amount of support you get from your family or friends. There’s going to be a day you need to pick up a child from school and don’t make it in time and that sense of “I’m alone in this” will haunt you again. Small incidents like that can be a cause of so much pain.
Guilt – When you think of your child and wonder if they ever wish they had both parents around. You start second guessing your decision of leaving him or letting him walk away depending on your personal circumstances
Anxiety – Will my child turn out ok with just me? My child needs a father figure to have a functional childhood. What if I’m not enough, is my love enough? Will my child lack confidence? Will they be insecure? Will my child compare him/herself to others whose parents are together? Will they need therapy and if so how much?!
Financial burden – This one is on top of everyone’s list. One salary opposed to two having to support a child. School fees, food, entertainment, clothes, medical bills….. the list is endless. All this shouldered by one individual.
Undesirable – She may feel unattractive because of the post pregnancy symptoms. Men in this world don’t make it easy for single mothers as they do not want the extra responsibility that comes with dating the woman. This is completely unrealistic and unacceptable. The women feel this type of rejection and it affects them in such a negative way. Some see themselves as damaged goods and unfortunately society is not too friendly about it too.
Need to over compensate – Besides the financial needs of a child, there are other aspects that come in to play. Emotional needs have to be met. Single mothers may feel the need to exert a lot of love and support to a child to compensate for the gap the father left. This usually ends up being excessive and damaging to the child. But the gap is there, the weight of it all falls on the mother
Topics of this nature always have a heated argument to accompany them. This is brought about by how the woman came to be a Single Mother. I still maintain that no matter what the circumstances or road leading to this scenario, the implications and struggles thereafter are still the same. Having said that I have found some interesting literature online that leaves me intrigued as to how the human mind works. One lady wrote
“We need to stop having babies with men who don’t want to be fathers. We have so many single mothers in our generation because we give our bodies to men who don’t want to be nothing more than just another guy who slept with you. Truth hurts. It breaks my heart seeing young women claiming to be proud mothers at a young age, with no careers, no family foundation and no stable relationships. I’m glad I’m saying this, I am a mother myself, who made wrong choices as a young woman and learned a lot from them. Having a child is no walk in the park and to raise one alone with no father support is no child’s play”
This extract is highly dependant on the situation but for those who can relate to this, I’m hoping this can be food for thought
Most men are completely oblivious and somewhat detached to the needs and troubles mothers go through. The moment you become paternal instead of maternal, certain instincts escape you. If I am to address a man who has a child out there that his not supporting, what is your excuse? Who is playing the role that you are meant to play. Lets go back to the basics, do you even care? To those who are playing their part well-done. By playing your part, you are making a huge difference.
A fact to remember for all Is that financial help is a necessity, but that’s not all a child needs. A child needs love and support, a foundation and upbringing that entails a male figure in their lives. Do not neglect your children regardless of what the mother has or has not done, these are innocent children who need you. The little help that you can offer your child and the mother goes a long way for both
How can we help
As a society, we each need to pay a role. I grew up in a community where a child is brought up and raised by all. When caught doing something wrong by a neighbour, that same neighbour will take it upon him/herself to correct my mistake then report me to my mother. As women in society, we can see the needs of others, the needs of our fellow sisters. Land a helping hand where you can, offer to babysit on the occasion. Bake a few muffins and share. You have no idea how far that goes in someone else’s life, not just the tangible things but knowing someone has your back and voids are being filled. Men have a job to do as well. Interact with the boy child, do not build a wall around yourself and play the ignorance card. Society needs you. But instead we find people are doing the opposite. Passing judgement is on top of the list. You who is passing judgement was born from a female, raised by a female and loved by a female and yet you don’t feel the need to help the female?