He was two, I was thirty-two.
I chose to be homeless than to be in a toxic relationship with my childhood-boyfriend-turned-husband. ‘Single parenting’ was a term heard of back then but the meaning was not known. I had never thought that positioning myself as a single mother in the same society among my known people would suddenly become so tough. Moving out, I took shelter at my mother’s place– the same locality where I have been brought up– but suddenly the neighbours, who had known me since my childhood, had developed a different vision and perspective.
Soon, a new journey started with my search for a home for the two of us. A single mother, young and smart, will only spoil this society! So, no one was interested in letting out a property. Finally, I managed to buy a small flat to accommodate the both of us. Meanwhile, my son turned 5. It was time to admit him to a school.
For some reason unknown to me even now, “Father’s Information” is a mandatory requirement. Being left with no option than resorting to false certificates and letters, my father managed to get my son admitted to a school. Now, as my son started getting older, he was cited as an example in class as a single-parented child. Not knowing the meaning and being unable to understand the difference, he broke out into tears. My cooked-up stories could relax him temporarily but could never fill up the void of growing up in a family.
Now he is 12, and I am 42. Both of us have grown into strong, sensible, self-reliant best friends to each other. He now understands the difference between a single parent and a family and respects the social structure. He is busy with all his studies and activities –a topper in his class– and I am enjoying my life on my own terms and conditions.
Maybe I could not give him a luxurious life but the struggles we have fought and overcame together has made us who we are. My son is capable today to look after himself and takes care of me as well.
Single mothers are owed much more respect than they are given. We have taken the pain of single motherhood and turned it into a blessing. We are not sluts. Respect the child brought up by a single mother because the pain felt by them can be understood by no one else.
Society cannot judge a mother for “Being Single” and it’s high time they get their due credit and respect.
Author: Maitreyee Mallick, a Compassionate Educationist, Philanthropist and Social Activist.