In recent times society has become more at ease with “Single Motherhood”. However, beyond the glam that is now being added to it, is a harsh reality. And the reality of a single mother is different from the reality of a married mother.
My name is Gladys, I am inviting you to join me on this journey. I am going to try my best to make you walk in the shoes of a single Mum experiencing her reality from her struggles to her fears and the stigmatization. No sugar coating, not the perfect story but the plain truth.
When a woman gets to a certain age there is a lot of pressure on her to get married. If she doesn’t get a man she wants to settle down with on time the pressure shifts from getting married to having children. That is when you hear the “biological clock is ticking poem”. If you will agree with me I think our society is gradually beginning to embrace women having their eggs frozen till they are ready to be mothers or having children through surrogacy.
But this same society isn’t being fair to those who became single mothers by circumstances, talk about “double standards”.
Either one becomes a single mother by chance or by choice one is faced with some challenges.
In this column, I am going to be sharing some real stories…..
THIS WEEK WE KICK OFF WITH OYINDA’S STORY
Oyinda and her husband David had been married for 10 years and were blessed with 2 children. David had temperament issues; once he got into those moods he would throw things, and break things, this was a part of him Oyinda did not see until a few months after marriage. Initially, she would try to calm him down but she got hurt a lot of times. So once he got into those moods, she would simply take her children into their room and lock the door. This went on for years till David got worse, he stopped throwing things and started hitting her and then the children.
She spoke to her mother-in-law who assured her she would talk to her son but still, there was no improvement. She did not want to tell her parents because she was scared of their reaction would be, so she decided to leave home. She got her annual leave and travelled out of town with her children. By the second day, David was everywhere looking for her. She did not pick up his calls or his mum’s calls. David went to see their pastor and that was the first time any outsider would hear about it. The pastor advised that she should tell her parents about it. Her parents agreed to separation till David got help, they were upset she did not let them in on the matter on time.
David refused to get help and instead filed for divorce. Once the divorce case started Oyinda started noticing that she was no longer given assignments in the church. She had been one of the lead vocalists for years. At least she led worship three to four times a month. She noticed that the choir director no longer picked her, she was no longer part of the backup singers, initially, she told herself she was just overthinking things but one day during rehearsals she said she had a song and the choir director Mr Alfred said “Sister Oyin, I need to see you after rehearsals “ that was the moment she knew something was wrong. After rehearsals, Mr Alfred told her that there was an instruction that she shouldn’t be allowed to lead the worship for some time. She kept asking him what she had done wrong, but he honestly did not have any answer. The next mid-week service they had, she went to see the pastor before service started and fortunately she met the pastor’s wife. It was the pastor’s wife who told her that God hates divorce and it wouldn’t give a good representation if someone who is in the middle of her divorce was leading in the church. That evening Oyinda left without attending the service.
She called her best friend who was also her chief bridesmaid when she got married and explained what just happened to her. She was in tears, she was asking a lot of questions, and her chief bridesmaid told her to calm down and that she would stop by on her way from work. She waited for her bestie but she did not come only for her to call to say that she would see her the next day. Oyinda went to bed moody. After this, her so-called bestie “ghosted” her.
Things got worse, her married friends started acting up. They stopped their normal weekly hangouts, and everyone came up with excuses, after a while she got the message. There was a particular friend of hers whose only child was in her daughter’s class. Oyinda normally picks the girl from school alongside her children and then her friend picks her up later. She noticed that the lady had started picking up her daughter by herself. One Saturday morning her daughter walks up to her and asks “Mummy, is it true that because Daddy is no longer with us we can’t be good children?” Oyinda was shocked, where did that come from she asked. Her daughter replied that it was Peace who told her that “my daddy told my mummy that I should not be coming to your house again that you will be bad children now that you don’t have a daddy anymore”……….
We will continue from here in the next edition.
Some single mothers have experienced what Oyinda experienced, some are experiencing it and some will still experience it. When a woman is going through this stage the first thing one should be bothered about is the person’s wellbeing.
•“ How are you?”, •“How are you coping?”, •“Do you want to talk?”, •“Do you need help?”
A woman who has been married is suddenly going to be single, that is a totally different feeling. Let me quickly add that the feeling of being separated is totally different from the feeling of being divorced. When you are separated, there is still a bit of hope no matter how little that things may still work out fine. There is a lot of fear at this stage. A lot of women in this phase of life are mostly scared but even more scared to admit that they are scared. In this season they tend to have a lot of flashbacks, trying to see if there was something they could have done better. They carry a bag of guilt around. They feel judged, and sometimes feel like they have failed their children and for the religious ones, they feel they have failed God. Do you have a single mother around you?
Reach out to her and ask her the above questions and mean them, if you won’t mean them then don’t ask.