Updated: Oct 3, 2018
Single motherhood should not be wrought with stigmatization and stereotypes. It should be viewed as a viable family unit in need of additional supports so to be healthy and successful.
Stop pitying and instead start empowering female led families. Teach them that it's fine to stand on their own two feet and provide them with the tools and resources to do so. In this, we will in turn create strong and adaptable generations who know how to handle adversity and share responsibility.
“I didn't set out to be a single mom... I set out to be the best mom I can be... and that hasn't changed.”
A young mom recently reached out to me to share her hurt over how she is being treated by society at large. To build a good life for herself and daughter, she is working very hard to upgrade her education yet believes that there are many out there who expect and perhaps even want to see her fail. She is consistently faced with rude questions regarding her age and the heritage of her baby. Judged on where she lives or where she came from before having a chance to prove herself. Written off per se based on the color of her skin and current economic status even though she has proven to be an amazing and selfless mother.
You know what? This made me sad because experience tells me that this is most likely just the beginning of her struggles with the community at large.
Having been a mom myself at 16 years old, I have plenty of not-so-happy memories of either myself or daughter being judged for no fault of our own. The sting of watching parents pull their children closer and away from her on her first day of preschool. Learning throughout kindergarten and grade one that some were not allowed to play with her 'just because' and wiping away tears when she was consistently left off those oh-so-important birthday party invite lists and couldn't understand why. I became accustomed to seeing judgement in most people's eyes when we would first meet and can share with you that it lasted all the way through to her high school graduation and beyond. It wasn't fair back then and certainly not fair now, so why do we keep doing so?
In 2018, one would think that society has finally recognized (and accepted) that there is not only one correct way to do 'family'. Experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and being a young single mother or a naïve pregnant teenager does not automatically doom one to failure, but it does necessitate a strong support system being in place to help both mom and child reach their full potential.
As a collective, we should be mentoring and bestowing support onto ambitious young parents, not our judgement. We also need to recognize that the wee ones belonging to those parents are facing adversity and judgement through no fault of their own.
For measurable and long-term progress to happen for all families, we really do need to step in to be part of that infamous 'village' raising happy and healthy children together regardless of whom they were born to. Let's put away the judgement or preconceptions and step up to make a difference for these future generations.
'Every mother and child thriving in a safe and productive home' is our vision. Instilling confidence and pride into young mothers regardless of their age or background will also be one of our daily goals. I hope that you can see the value in this and will choose to come join us as we create our vibrant community for young mothers in need.
Help shape strong futures. Help build the nest!