On Being a Single Mother
My good friend, Taylor, approached me a couple of weeks ago with a prompt for her blog. She was interested in interviewing a single mother who did not use her single parenting as a crutch. I was so humbled and excited to try. Here is my essay that was featured on her blog, Mamabithell. This essay is available to read on her internet space as well, but I felt like I should share it here. Please go check out her blog - she writes some wonderful essays on motherhood as well!
I was standing at an airport terminal, waiting to board a flight back to Houston to gather the remaining contents of my bedroom before I started my freshman year of college. My hand rested lightly on the space just below my belly button, where a tiny baby grew. My phone buzzed repeatedly in my pant’s pocket with texts in equal numbers from my mother and my boyfriend, who I had known since I was thirteen-years-old. He was questioning our entire lives: where we would live, how we would make money, if we should still go to school. I had already decided what I wanted. It wasn’t more than two days later that I knew where we both stood. He wanted to go to school, and I wanted to carry our baby. There were choice words expressed. Things like, “You’re faking a pregnancy to get out of going to school” and “You have no proof that you’re pregnant. You probably got the photo of the test off of the internet.” In the end, he told me to never speak to him again, and I obeyed his wishes. I haven’t spoken to him since.
The initial question for this story was: When did you officially know you were alone, and how has it affected you? I will say that throughout this journey, I have never been alone. There has been more support for my lifestyle than I could have ever imagined. In a way, I feel I have an even more special family because I have gotten to handpick who they are. However, the answer to that initial question is this: My son was six-months-old. We had gone back to our hometown for its annual fall festival, and we happened to run into his father. We stood about ten feet apart, looking at each other directly for about 30 seconds. Then he walked away, and I knew that I was alone. That sounds so serious and heavy! The best part about this story is that I am living with the happiest feelings I have ever felt. That’s not saying a lot because I’m only 20 - what do I know yet, but I look at other people my age who are going through their second and third years of college and they hate it. They have no idea what their purpose is yet, and I have had my purpose. I made my purpose with my body.
The most noticeable affect single motherhood has had on me is my confidence. I now feel that I am a woman, an incredible, powerful woman. Nothing makes me beam more with pride than when I think of my son, and that I am the one that he calls mother. I get it now, as do all parents. You create your children, and they, in turn, create you. I love my body now. Some days, not so much. I look at the stress acne on my forehead, the bags under my eyes, the unnecessary amount of stretch marks on my belly, butt, and thighs, and I sigh wondering if it will ever be the way it once was. But that quickly goes away. I don’t worry about it anymore because I have better things to do with my time. My image is so much more than the way I look, the way others perceive me. I want them now to think of my willpower and gentleness, my love for books and herbs; I want them to think of the colors white and green, and smell earth when they see me. I want to become a character and not ever be called “pretty” ever again. Motherhood has shown me who I truly want to emulate, who I want to show to my son, who I am.
Above all things, I fear the future. What will I tell my boy when he asks where his father is? How could I ever tell him that the man who helped create him never wanted him? It’s something that I lie awake at night wondering about, only to quickly shove it back into the corners of my mind. I fear the day that I marry, that I have another child. I fear the day that my first born enters young adulthood and blames me for his father not being around. I fear the day he asks me if I still love his father, if we will ever see him again. I don’t know all of the answers to these questions; I hope someday that I do.
I will never be the person to complain about raising my child without a partner. It is something that has always been, in my mind, and we are now lucky enough to have the choice of who we let into our lives. I am stronger and weaker than I once knew; this lifestyle is almost one that I can hardly stand to give up. I am learning everyday to let the possibility of a new man love my child and myself with the same abandon I feel for my son. It’s hard, but it’s not a crutch. Far from it.