Motherhood exposes women to many challenges whose magnitude only those with firsthand experience can comprehend. Challenges of motherhood are more ominous for single mothers, who have to sift through every issue solo. This month’s Mum’s Helpline is inspired by two experiences.
Two months ago, the Real Life Experience column of Parents magazine ran the story of Marita Kwamboka who got pregnant only to be ditched by her boyfriend who claimed the baby was not his. My friend Vicky’s situation was no different, for her boyfriend left her in her hour of need. When she eventually gave birth, Vicky could not stand the sight of her own baby, Leon. All she thought of whenever she saw him was ‘her worst mistake’. She could not even bring herself to breastfeed him. Leon became restless and cried all the time.
With time however, Vicky wanted to look at Leon and hold him. One day, after Vicky’s mother had fed and bathed Leon and he was fast asleep, Vicky held him, and the chemistry between them was instant. She just sat in the bedroom rocking him with tears rolling down her cheeks. She now confesses that the one thing she will do forever is love her baby more than anything.
No matter how much you dislike the circumstances surrounding the conception of your baby, you will not help falling in love with him the moment he is born. Most mothers who face rejection from their partners upon falling pregnant tend to transfer the rejection to their babies. They do not want to think of how they will nurture the pregnancy or raise the baby on their own. They blame the baby for the broken relationship, making comments like, “If it were not for you, Adam and I would still be together…”
The reality is that Adam too did not want to have a baby, and unlike you, he did not have to be tied down by the accidental pregnancy. Wake up and stop blaming your baby. He is actually the only person who has made no mistake. The sooner you realise that, the faster you can move on. It is up to you to take up your role as a single mother and love your baby. Most of all, offer him protection and security. A baby who is nurtured with love from the mother grows into a healthy, happy and clever child. Some ways of coping with single motherhood include: