Being a single mom is tough. Whether you chose to be a single parent, the father is completely un-involved or if you’re married in a long distance relationship, single parenting is an emotional roller coaster – especially when you encounter rude or unnecessary comments.
I was embarrassed to be unmarried and labeled a single mom. I grew up around marriages, so my ideal pregnancy included foot rubs, late-night ice cream runs, and a home without judgment. But it didn’t line up that way for me.
When I was pregnant, I was living about 4-hours from my unborn child’s father. We were together, but the distance made everything feel incomplete. In addition to not having him by my side during the pregnancy, my joy was squashed because I didn’t know how much I was allowed to be “happy” and celebrate my pregnancy.
My biggest fears involved the questions I knew would come from being around people. People at church or places like the waiting room of my OB-GYN’s office and I didn’t want to face these situations alone. BUT I DID. And while the task and preparation to be a single mom was overbearing, some comments would either lift me up, but more often than not – bring me down. I had to learn to speak my mind and I also had to learn that most people speak before they think.
If you discover a mom is going at it alone…
Here’s a list of things you SHOULDN’T say to a single mom
1. “At least the family helps out.”
This is so true, and I thank God for their communication and visits because there are some mothers who have been abandoned completely. However extreme fears, lonely nights and the suffocation single mothers face just can’t be filled by a grandmother and grandfather.
2. (If her man is still in the picture) “Do you think he is going to leave you?”
At this point for the mothers still in a relationship, long distance or unmarried, what a terrible fear to put on someone’s mind! You might want to be ready for a pause and confused look. This is just being nosey and honestly something no one wants to start or end their day with.
3. “My guy does everything for me. I don’t see how you do it.”
I’m tempted to say, “Congratulations!” or “Can I borrow him?”. Never rub what you have in someone’s face who does not have it. Instead simply offer a hand or mention you understand the difficulties and how it could be difficult to do without an extra hand.
4. “Are you still going to follow your dreams?”
People think a child takes the voice away from a woman and that her strength is weakened. I have to be totally honest and say that this question is extremely hurtful and inconsiderate. It states that you’re implying her baby is a burden and that her life has now ended or taken the wrong turn.
5. “I would say congratulations but you’re not married.”
Perhaps you’ve grown up with religious beliefs about marriage, but this is probably the most hurtful comment to make. It’s almost like saying, “I would say you look good but you’re overweight or have bags under your eyes.” Your personal beliefs can be checked at the door.
6. “Are you embarrassed?”
Beating a person up over the past is useless. People learn to forgive themselves for all of the awkward moments or mistakes made throughout life and that should be the goal for any circumstance.
“Being a single mother is twice the work, twice the stress, and twice the tears, but also twice the hugs, twice the love, and twice the pride.”
7. “Are you going to have a baby shower?”
EVERY mom deserves a baby shower! It shouldn’t be taken away because of unmarried or single parenting. A shower is a way to celebrate the expected baby by presenting gifts to the mother.
8. “Can your baby be baptized?”
I believe all children are God’s children and welcome to baptism. This is a commitment from parents to raise a child the way they should and follow the Christian faith. I would pray that people with Christian values would understand that in life, choices are made – not all good and not all bad. I would hope that the church would be willing to not only love on and your child, but your situation and offer assistance in facilitating your child’s baptism and any other areas of your life to demonstrate God’s love.
It’s going on two years that my child’s father and I have been in a long distance relationship, and even though we make ends meet and I have a supportive family, the lonely long nights, early mornings and short conversations all seem like an overload. In the beginning I remember convincing myself I could move around after my c-section and attempted to be this super mom until my stitches started to reopen. No mother should be afraid to ask for help. We all need to seek help especially if we are about to lose our sanity. I had to learn how to accept extra help.
Once I accepted that life is what you make it, and happiness is based on how you view it, my challenges of single parenting allowed me to see just how strong mentally, physically and spiritually I was. It allowed me to see the places that needed mending.
YOU have a voice and YOU have to remember YOU are much stronger than what YOU feel like or what YOU may think.
Single mothers take a stand and know that you are strong. You don’t need anyone else to validate your existence. If you are in a situation where the father is completely un-involved, your story doesn’t stop at HOW you went into the situation, but how you’re coming out. You are and should continue to be your child’s hero.
Do not blame the children for the choices you made or the obstacles that will be ahead of you. Take ownership of the obstacles you have to overcome. Don’t be embarrassed because your situation doesn’t look like everyone else. If you continue to compare your life with others you will never reach internal happiness. Find out what your happy is and what truly fulfills you.
I have a new level of respect for single mothers. I am a living testimony that despite being single, despite being unprepared, God still works in the midst of your test, trials and tribulations. Make the best out of your situation and be the best parent you can be.