Being a single mom

I recently read two personal experiences at IHM’s blog. Both were accounts of brave women who fell pregnant while in a live-in relationship and decided to go ahead to become single mothers.

While I do not wish to comment upon their personal choices or circumstances, there is one important reason I had to write this post. The issue of being a single mom. If you have read the posts on IHM’s blog you would have noticed that the men in those stories backed off from their responsibilities of being a parent.

Something very similar happened with me too. The feelings that rose in my heart following my daughter’s birth were polluted with bitter thoughts by what my ex-husband did. It was a planned pregnancy, something for which I had been craving for a while and believed my ex too wanted whole-heartedly.

Yet, when the big moment came when our baby was in front our eyes, in our arms, my husband walked out of our marriage slamming in my face the fate of being a single mom. Though it wasn’t as dramatic as it metaphorically sounds but trust me the impact was nowhere less than the feeling of having a door shut on your face.

I was startled, confused, hurt and sick beyond words. I was unable to comprehend what I should do in such a situation when despite being married for over 5 years, my husband decided to not bother about his wife and few days old daughter. I had heard about men refusing to take up parental responsibilities out of a wed-lock, but this happening to a married couple was something I had never heard or seen before.

If you have been following my blog, you’d be well aware of what followed and I am not going to repeat any of it here.

But, the hurt and raw pain I had felt then is still so fresh in some dungeon of my heart that I can actually re-live it at any given instant. If you are wondering what is the co-relation between my story and the two posts I talked about in the start besides the three of us being single moms, the answer follows.

I wish to take this opportunity to say it loud and clear that shying away from something as big as the responsibility of being a parent isn’t limited to live-in relationships. It can actually happen in a marriage too. I am not talking about the children that grow up with a single parent on account of losing a parent due to death or divorce, for my baby never experienced the love of her biological father despite being born at a time when I was happily married to her father.

This kind of mishap can happen at any point of a relationship whether it has been legally recognised as marriage or is an arrangement by mutual consent of the two partners. So blaming the live-in relationships or the reckless sexual preferences of females is nowhere close to being correct.

A few days ago, a friend of mine who is going through a divorce happened to raise a concern that why is it that all single moms ( in India) whom we have come to know in the past few months are the mothers of daughters and why is it that in our (her and mine) case the fathers of our daughters have never looked back to inquire the well-being of their child.

I must admit, initially I too used to wonder if things would have taken a different course had I given birth to a son instead of a daughter. But, time has helped me understand things better and I now have answers to all these questions.

To begin with, the gender of the baby would in almost 99% cases (including mine) not have changed the course of events that followed in our lives. I say so, because these cases are about issues in the beliefs, conditioning and social upbringing of the men in each story. Though in my case my ex-husband had ulterior motives for marrying me where I or my baby held no importance in his life.

Secondly, it depends on an individual how he/ she perceives his/her responsibilities of being a parent. I have known many cases of co-parenting where couples fail to be good spouses but still both of them turn out to be fabulous, loving and caring parents for their children. It all boils down to individuals in the given scenarios and cannot be blamed alone on the society or commitment phobia.

So the next time you jump on the bandwagon of blaming women for their sexual preferences out of a wedlock or judging single mothers for choosing to land up their children in a situation where they don’t have both parents to love and care for them, please bear in mind that such a situation can arise for anyone who has been married too. I say it from my personal experience, so I know what it means to be ditched into being a single parent.

The song on my mind: Sheesha ho ya dil ho ~ Aasha

48 thoughts on “Being a single mom

  1. In my view, from what I have read and seen, the gender of the child has some impact on the family. It specially impacts the husband and his immediate family whether the new born baby is a male or female. In my view, both male and female are just as blessed as each other, and in the world, God has created a balance between the two. In saying that, only the other day I was reading a new article about a Rickshaw driver in India, who was found to operating his rickshaw and clutching his new born baby girl (literally few days old). His wife had died soon after giving birth, and since there was no one else in the family to look after the only child, he was forced take her to work with him. This story touched me. Now, I’m not saying it’s only because of the sex of the baby that husbands walk out, there are, of course, other reasons too, but if those backward mentality people believe the sex of the child is a good enough reason, then they should be ashamed of themselves and their families, especially when one such father refused to bow down to society, culture and personal greed.

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    1. TBAB this post and my concerns are not for female infanticide. I do not deny the existence of bias and prejudices based on the gender of the infant, but here we are talking about the sexual preferences people, especially women make consensually out of a wed-lock. Trust me when I say every mother wishes that her child gets the love, care and support of both the parents in their life, but we cannot overlook the fact that the single mothers are human beings too.

      When the circumstances go out of control, tough decisions like being a single parent have to be made.

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  2. Carvaka

    Well said. I think your little girl is lucky to have a strong and loving parent like you. It’s better to grow up with one positive influence rather than two potentially negative ones (in case the father is a poor parent and the mother is unable to take a stand).

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  3. well said ME.. this is something that I always fail miserably to understand “co-parenting where couples fail to be good spouses but still both of them turn out to be fabulous, loving and caring parents for their children”.. how is that possible ME? If he/she can be so caring/loving to their offspring why can’t they show 50% or at least 10% of that love and caring to their spouse? what stops them? If its to do with dealing “with people with their own senses” then will these parents change their attitude towards their kid once the kid grows and has its own opinion?

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    1. Ani marriages fail cause of countless reasons and most of these are based on infidelity or difference in beliefs or life choices.

      In all those situations the differences usually arise after the kids are born in due course of time (because if they had existed earlier they wouldn’t have had kids in first place, though there are exceptions too).

      The natural phenomenon is to love one’s child ever since the knowledge of becoming a parent dawns on an individual. It’s a natural instinct in all living beings that makes them emotionally bond to their progeny, so people love their children despite outgrowing of the love they once had with their spouses cause of given circumstances. It’s easy to forget and forgive the mistakes of our kids, but big issues like infidelity or betrayal of trust are hard to forgive in the long run.

      People who fall in above category prove to be good parents despite being divorced/separated. The rest few insensitive people are like my ex who were neither a good spouse nor a loving parent.

      Trust me in the long run divorce is a better option for spouses who cannot resolve their issues not only for their own well-being and sanity but also for their kids. It gives the kids chance to live in a peaceful environment with parents living in different homes rather than living under one roof like strangers or fighting all the time.

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      1. pkj

        100% i m agree with u,Ä°f u can’t give a peaceful life to ur kids then seperation is better option for future.Child is a father of a man and giving them a peaceful life is a primary responcebility of parents .Mother or father,whoever are not sensitive to thr kids ,those r the worst people of our society.Overall is effective writing.
        Sabhi ek Se nahi hote na hi unke soch.we can’t ignore this.

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  4. hmm sometimes a couple together are no good.. but when separated they are such lovely people .. it happens they dont gel together ..

    More and more of the single parent syndrome is catching on , and as you say it is the personal choise of people.. I myself as a person am uncomfortable with it, I still believe in the old theory.. but then thats me .. saying that I dont have anything against anyone , this is what the world is now adays .. So I have accepted people who are into this and are wanting ot live like this .. I personally wont want to do it ..

    I have my best friend here who recetnly got divorced and telling you frankly both , the lady and him are best friends and they are so good to each other.. why they could not be like that when married I dont understand ..

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    1. I’d like to point out Bikram, everyone loves leading a peaceful life with a loving family, especially when we are talking about our children all parents wish the best for them and something as unfortunate as growing up with a single parent is something I wouldn’t wish even on my worst enemy. So that’s not old school, but a universal choice.

      Nevertheless, in real life it becomes all the more important to preserve the well-being and life of the parent who is lovingly and willingly ready to take care of the child rather than pushing the two parents to live together only for the sake of the child. On a day to day basis it is next to impossible to not raise ones’ concerns and act as if you agree to your partner despite the choices they both have come to make.

      I have been there, done that and am living the life such circumstances bring our way, so I know what all goes on in the mind of a single parent.
      As far your friends, trust me there has to be something very serious that pushed them to take this decision which they have been successfully keeping to themselves.

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  5. I understand Era. There might be various reasons why any relationship did not work out. One should not get judgmental.

    I have always believed it is better to part ways to maintain peace than expose the child to an unhealthy environment.

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  6. I have known many cases of co-parenting where couples fail to be good spouses but still both of them turn out to be fabulous, loving and caring parents for their children. It all boils down to individuals in the given scenarios and cannot be blamed alone on the society or commitment phobia.
    I completely agree.

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  7. I agree with you, ME. We get too judgmental. There could be many reasons for different situations and not all are in our control. Your strength and clarity of thought always evoke my respect. Take good care, ME! 😀

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    1. Thank you Debo for being there. It’s tough to be in the situation like mine, but there are real reasons why I am there and my heart knows if I had the control to make things go the other way I would have.

      I will 🙂

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  8. I once came across a couple who broke up after 15 years of marriage, with a 10 year old daughter. The husband wanted to leave, not the father. Of course nobody knew the exact reason. You are right ME, we should not be judgemental. What I do not understand is why people need to know each and everything about an estranged couple/family – married or otherwise. And if they get some half cooked story they will start branding the concerned persons. Life itself is God given, it is meant to be lived and enjoyed and not bounded by societal norms. Which is why I believe, the West may not have ages old culture and tradition, but they sure know how life is meant to be lived and enjoyed – free, in the truest form.

    In our client office overseas, we once got a message that everybody is enjoying a cake cutting ceremony. On asking whose birthday or anniversary it was, what I heard was astonishing – A baby shower in the office for a single, unmarried lady. The partner of that lady had refused to take any kind of responsibility, that did not do anything to dent her willingness and confidence. I was so admiring her that day 🙂

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    1. These issues are pretty complicated and often involve much more than what meets the eye. I try my best to share my personal life to share what all actually goes on in the hearts and minds of people in my shoes.

      The truth is though many people of our generation understand to the futility of the social norms, but going against the beliefs & traditional values or confronting the logic (if any) is something most people try to avoid. We can only hope that things will get better in the days to come 🙂

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  9. I agree with you. I do know of a lady whose husband left her when she was pregnant and has never since seen their child. This kind pf cases exist with marriages too.

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  10. I have seen broken marriages all around me. Not in my family but I have seen some pretty bad examples in my neighbourhood. It is always better to be a single parent instead of tormenting the child with a bad, broken relationship. I think it is much easier on the child.

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    1. It definitely is easier on the child for from the start he/she learns to live life with one parent and atleast normal & peaceful life prevails instead of having two parents but no peace or happiness in the household.

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  11. You know, I honestly don’t buy the premise that it takes two to bring children up successfully- the most common excuse for trying to keep couples together when pregnancy ensues.
    I suspect a lot of ‘happily married’ women secretly feel like single moms, seeing how they end up as the primary caregiver anyway!
    Anyhow, Pari is lucky to grow up with a strong role model like you around!

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    1. It is somewhat true DD. Being a single parent is a difficult situation but is definitely not a handicap neither for the parent nor for the child. It is simpler and better to let go of the person not interested in any form of relationship/ bonding than holding him in the name of duty that he doesn’t even feels obliged to fulfill.
      Thank you dear 🙂

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  12. nst2

    You are so sweet Era.. thanks for the lovely Diwali wishes. Wish you a very Happy Diwali and a prosperous year ahead. Hugss to Pari 🙂

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  13. I have been following your blog. In my opinion, I don’t think the gender of your child would have changed his mind. He started showing hostility to you and your parents even before Pari was born.

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  14. People walk out of marriage because of many reason liked you said . Besides I feel we fall in love with the little one we made over a period of time,I didn’t fall in love with the daughter the day she was born, yes there is a feeling but now that I have been parenting her for 3 years I know how much I love her compared to the first day. I think we don’t fall in love with them rather they makes us fall in love with them. In your husband’s case he never got chance to experience that. I believe the decision you made is right for your situation and Pari and you will benefit out of it on a long run. Just stay calm and happy. Love you..

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    1. I agree with you LF bonding with the baby happens slowly and gradually and usually doesn’t strike us like a bolt of lightening the first time we hold our baby in our hands.

      I am trying my best LF. Love you too 🙂

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  15. Some LOSER Men are so capable of doing that dear era…whether in live-ins or married ones..or even those…who strand their spouse by maneuvering over someone else… they all back offf…the minute they have to shoulder responsibilities…! But I have tremendous respect for all single parents…who raise their child against all odds…hats off to their strength and determination to do so…

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  16. privytrifles

    You know ME I used to also think that gender of the child has to do a lot in such cases until a very close friend of mine gave birth to a baby boy and her husband never came to even meet her till the child was 6 months old!! Though I am happy he left them with peace and no fight happened in the court for the child’ custody but it hurts to see people behave like this towards their own children.

    And yes in this post , I completely agree with you! I truly respect such women who have the strength to say enough and decide not to let their children go through hell in a broken marriage. For I have also seen couples not getting along but staying together for the sake of “society” and children where the children suffer the most seeing their parents fighting like this every day is a torture. It is better to take such a decision and let them grow up in dignity!

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    1. I feel as an adult and as a parent it our duty to find a way to provide a healthy and happy upbringing to our kids. Be it as co-parents or as single parents, if separation/ divorce is the solution, it has to be sought and decided by the adults for it is their responsibility towards their children besides themselves. Our kids can never be happy till we as parents aren’t.

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  17. There are n things that may cause breakup in a relationship. The fact is that, sometimes, we ourself will not have enough points to justify the breakup but it so happens …. We can never blame one person for a breakup in a relationship but we need to offcourse respect the ones who readily accept the responsibilities of that past relationship…
    I have offcourse faced the scenario of Breakup in my life and till now, the world around stand againt me thinking I was the decision maker…. how can I prove to them that it was a joint decision.. When will people reailise that breakup is not a result of a single side decision.. 😥

    ME… I salute you for being a Single Mother!

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    1. People don’t fail to understand the problem actually is they do not want to understand the reason behind the difficult choices people like you and me make.It’s their narrow mindedness that doesn’t allow them to accommodate bigger and broader concerns faced by people suffering separation/ divorce/ single parenthoodin their minds.
      Thank you rubberpal….for being there, it means a lot 🙂

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  18. AKD

    For the life of me, i can’t wonder what you did to piss him off like that and then turning to the internet for acceptance of your actions !, Isn’t it fun this life of denial ! , live it up!

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    1. I don’t need to explain my choices nor do I wish to justify my reasons for the decisions I made in my life.

      I can see you wondering that what could a woman who should have been begging for mercy on her and her little daughter from her Pati-Parmeshwar didn’t run after him pleading him to stop and stay, have done to bring upon herself the wrath of her Parmeshwar.

      But let me warn you, with a mind filled with thoughts like yours there is no room for air or light to allow rational thinking to breathe. Please save your life by not worrying about my choices or my blog.

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