A personal account about being a single parent.
I will never forget the day I found out I was pregnant. At 21 years old, that was hardly the plan. I feigned a great deal of indifference as I walked into the doctor’s office and said, “I’d like to take a pregnancy test,” with the tone of one who suggested she had better things to do with her time and they had better get on with it. I pulled out my “Tale of Two Cities” which I was rereading for the zillionth time, stared quite intently at it, all the while seeing nothing but the very real possibility that that stick just might come out blue. “The test is positive, you’re pregnant,”the doctor casually said, presumably taking on my casual stance on the matter. Those words would change my life eternally.
As I think about my now 6 year-old son, so many thoughts go through my mind. There has been joy, sorrow, anger, ecstasy and everything in between. The nagging question always comes-a-calling: how would my life have played out if I hadn’t had him? In some ways, it would have been a lot less complicated. In most other ways, it would have denied me of so much that comes from being a single parent.
- It awakens the fighter instinct
At 21 years old, I felt quite certain I was a very driven person, unstoppable even. Yet in hindsight, I realize that sometimes, it is the parental instinct to protect, provide and by all means not fail one’s offspring that actually births an extraordinary fighting spirit. It is almost as if we don’t fear failing ourselves, half as much as we fear failing those that the universe, in one way or another, has entrusted unto us. When you’re a single parent, you don’t have the benefit of presuming that someone else will pick up the slack. You’re the Alpha and the Omega to this child, you have no choice but to dig deep. I think if I had to make decisions less factoring in a child and his future, I would no doubt make lazier decisions, settle a lot more and not push as hard.
- It gradually molds a deep sense of selflessness
Perhaps the hardest thing I faced as a single mom to-date was how little my son seemed to realize that I wanted to sleep at night. As a newborn, like many others, he felt that night time was exactly the right time to be throwing fits of the loudest kind. Many times, my mother found me sitting on the floor, mother and child both in tears, and she would without a word take him out of my arms and tell me to go to sleep. My mother’s selflessness in dealing with me would eventually rub off on me. As years went on, I would learn that I would have to sacrifice more than just my sleep. I would sacrifices my needs. Eventually, I would sacrifice even a relationship because that relationship required I make decisions that would negatively impact my son’s happiness. In an egotistic materialistic world, I have to say having acquired such a deep sense of selflessness is rather a gift to be treasured than a burden to be shunned.
Published in: Family