Single Mama by Choice

My daughter is almost 5 years old now and I’ve been a single mom for 4 ½ of those 5 years. Her father, and boyfriend at that time, was a Marine. He was gone for the entire second and third trimester of my pregnancy. He only came home four days before I went into labor. In those months of lonely pregnancy, I began my transformation from teenage girl to teenage mother. My life changed in so many ways and even my thought processes were altered. Life was different. I knew I had to get myself ready for this child and I did.

When he left, I was still the skinny, fun, teenage girlfriend. When he came back, I was the 40 weeks pregnant, 40 lbs heavier, tired, hungry, swollen, cranky, can-we-please-build-this-crib-now girlfriend. Since he was away, he didn’t go through the transformation with me, he didn’t gain sympathy weight, nor did he watch my belly grow. We kept in contact through letters and sometimes a phone call here and there. Our contact was minimal and his mind was not changing like mine.

After my daughter was born, it didn’t take long for me to realize that he wasn’t ready to be a parent. Heck! I wasn’t ready to be a parent but once you make that decision, there’s no turning back. Responsibility is just that. It was a horrible experience to bring a child into a world with someone who did not want to be a father. The fighting was regular and it got to the point where I realized I didn’t want my child to grow up seeing this type of relationship. I didn’t want my child to grow up in a household of constant fighting – like I did.

I no longer wanted to be a teenager, but he still did. My very first New Year’s Eve as a parent – 5 days after my child was born – was spent alone in my bedroom while he partied until the next morning. After dealing with the stress for too long, I made the decision to be a single mother and escape back into the world with a fresh start. I’ve built my life from the ground up and started from scratch. I could have lived an easier life with a man who was willing to pay the bills and support us but it didn’t feel right for my child or me. He didn’t want us to go, but it didn’t feel right to live with a man because we once had something that no longer exists; it wouldn’t be fair to my hopes and dreams.

Five years later and finally her father agrees to (occasionally) spend weekends with his daughter. It was a hard battle for me to get him involved. There were months where I wouldn’t even hear from him and he would hide that he had a daughter from people and live life without parental responsibility. I never pressured him to be apart of her life because I would rather he want to see her and enjoy the time than force him to be with her and be unhappy. There is only so much one can do. She loves him and jumps for joy when she sees him and that’s all I’ve ever wanted for her. 

I guess deep down inside, I knew I would be raising this child alone. I just let go and maintained peace in any way possible. I wanted to end the vicious cycle in my family of father-haters. My mother constantly spoke of how awful my father was and that only hurt us as kids. I promised I would never say one bad word about her father to, near or around my child. If I have to lie and cover-up for him when he doesn’t show up on a Sunday morning so she won’t think he is a bad person, I will. Even if it means glorifying a man who doesn’t deserve it, I will. I hope that one day, they have an amazing father-daughter relationship. If they don’t, at least she’ll have better memories. As a mother, part of my job is to ensure her happiness; not persuade her to favor me over him. 

Comments

Thank you for that. I've read several of your blog posts and I think this one is by far my favorite. Not to say that the others were bad, of course :P just this one struck a chord with me. It introduced something new that I've never really ...thought about. The changes that women undergo throughout pregnancy not only physically, but the effects it has on the woman psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. are grand. But in the same token, when the father (or other person) is there to witness those changes, they themselves begin to change and grow in relation to the woman's change and growth. And when the father/other person is absent from those experiences, they develop in a way like they've never been there or exposed to it. That is really important though. I really enjoyed when you wrote, "I promised I would never say one bad word about her father to, near or around my child. If I have to lie and cover-up for him when he doesn’t show up on a Sunday morning so she won’t think he is a bad person, I will. Even if it means glorifying a man who doesn’t deserve it, I will. I hope that one day, they have an amazing father-daughter relationship." This would not just influence the relationship your daughter has with her father but the relationship your daughter has with the men in her life. I think too many times women carry with them the negative experiences they've had with men in their life and this in turn influences how their children grow up viewing men. As they say, the relationship that a daughter has with her father influences the relationships that daughter will engage in with other men throughout her life (male friends, boyfriends, etc.). It's important to think positive here because then those perspectives create beliefs and those beliefs become things people live by and once you have your set values, beliefs, and ideas, it's hard to change them. I was left asking one question though. The title "Single Mama by Choice" had me curious about whether or not you meant raising your daughter independent from the father or whether you meant single in terms of, "I choose to no longer date/be involved with other men moving forward"? I ask because it's one thing to be single and separate from the father but if you become involved in a relationship at some point in your life, you'd no longer be a single mother. Thank you though. Sorry about the long responses, I just type incredibly fast.

from a male perspective I believe men should read these blogs so they can understand that it is important to be there while the woman is pregnant b/c it does have an effect in some ways. Some men feel like it isnt important but I do believe it is. Once a fetus is in the belly you have to talk to the baby so they can get use to the voice and also become attached to the father as much as the mother. I can keep going on with reasons why the father should be around. & I wouldn't blame your Babydaddy for not being around b/c it wasnt like he was just out being a dead-beat b/c he was in the Marines but I believe that he should've been there thru the process with you b/c it's something a pregnant mother needs & also something the child needs.

I love this post too Natasha. Being a young mum often involves making really hard decisions, and then of course standing by them and remembering why you made them: that it is no longer about you, but about doing the best you can for this little person. It sounds like you have your head screwed on and your daughter will be fine. Bitter resentment/man-hating is so unfashionable! xxx

I have yet to become a father and when I do, I can only hope to be the father that my dad was and still is. After reading your story, I can only hope, no matter what happens between the mother and I, that she will be even half the mother you seem to be. I hope you and your daughter have a wonderful and long life together.

I really love your post.. esp. the last part.. I am going through the same thing. Im a single MOTHER by choice :) and I totally agree with you that our job as a mother is to ensure our child´s happiness.. I know this too shall pass and i strongly believe that God has a better plan for me.. and For all of us!

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