The single mother’s dilemma begins during pregnancy. The questions about the future that she is not able to answer for herself, the doctor’s appointments, and preparing the maternity suitcase. But I never had this dilemma, my son’s godfather was with me at the first ultrasound, the nurse scolded me when I laughed at him for crying when we heard André’s heart for the first time, “He has the right to get emotional” she said. Many of my friends and family supported me when I decided I wasn’t going to get married, I remember my aunt listing everyone in the family who got pregnant early and that I shouldn’t be too sorry. My parents went with me to buy some clothes baby and for me, just enough for us, apart from the gifts I got.
The single mother’s dilemma hits hard when trying to return or enter the job market and she doesn’t know how to respond when the interviewer asks who will take care of her child when they get sick. I took up a public position 4 months after André was born, I had no one to leave him with and he went to daycare from a very early age. When I moved to Goiânia, I don’t know how many interviews I heard the same question, but I always had my mother by my side, who worked from home and had she could help me in an emergency.
The single mother’s dilemma is that she ends up forgetting about herself because now she can only see herself as a mother. There is no time left, going to the beauty salon for more than 40 minutes seems like a very distant luxury, the clothing budget ends up going all to her child, and there is no time to meet friends or talk about matters that are not related to motherhood. There’s a lot of love left for her son, but there’s little left for herself.
Okay, maybe this isn’t just a single mom dilemma, I bet if you ask about the last piece of clothing a mom bought because she wanted it and not because she needed to, maybe she won’t remember, but the last thing she bought for the son she will surely know.
I lived with my parents and my son for almost 10 years, I did my best not to abuse the privilege of living with them, but without a doubt, I could go places with the peace of mind that my son was under the best care.
The single mother’s dilemma is having to pass up opportunities, after all, who will stay with them when she has a business trip, a late meeting, or an extra Sunday of work so she can show her boss that you deserve the promotion? As a teacher my schedule was always messy, I had classes at night, on Saturday. When I told my parents that I had the opportunity to work in China, they supported me and took care of my son. I could never have the life I have today without their help.
The single mother’s dilemma is having no one to share the responsibility with. Being a mother is tiring, love is not enough, it takes energy and there’s a time that it all ends. Patience ends, doubts begin, and crying continues. My mother stayed awake with me at dawn when André had colic. As much as we disagree on many things, it was important to know that there was someone who cared (and still cares) as much as I do about my son’s growth.
The single mother’s dilemma is not having a male figure in a child’s life. This has nothing to do with a flag, simply because it provides the opportunity to have good examples not only from one gender. Nobody listens to just one person in life, nobody grows up admiring a single person in the world and if you are able to present good role models for your child, you are able to generate a greater positive influence in their life. But André always had my father, my brother, my friends.
Once, while we were living in China, I mentioned to some friends that André was afraid of sleeping alone and of the dark. Sometime later we went out to dinner, I had even forgotten that I had told them, my friend started telling a personal story from when he was younger, just like André, and that he was also afraid of the dark. In the end, he was very direct, advising, and being very honest about the fear he felt at the time and how he dealt with it.
I come from a generation where divorced parents and children raised only by mothers or grandmothers were something to be pitied. Therefore, when I decided that I wasn’t going to get married and that I was going to take care of André with the help of my parents, I had to update the definitions of family that I had inside me.
My mom and I weren’t always close, but being a mom made me realize and appreciate the wonderful person who raised me. André is responsible for a huge transformation process in my life and I know that I am a much better person because of him. Not because I am a single mother who has faced all obstacles alone, but because I have always been surrounded by my family and friends who have unconditionally supported and advised me many times.
So, to everyone who helped me on this fifteen-year journey and for the many years and challenges that will still come, thank you very much, to the borrowed uncles and aunts that André encountered over the years. To the friends who treated André with great affection and who care about him to this day, asking how he is doing. To the family members that all the students call, send a message, ask about him. This mother, who would never be the mother she is by herself, sincerely thanks everyone who took part in this journey!