They say it takes a village to raise a child. From sending them to school, to teaching them good habits, to protecting them from harm or danger, it is an all-consuming, full-time job. But in today’s world, nobody has a village at their disposal. As nuclear families have become the norm, it is often only the parents who have to shoulder the responsibilities that raising a child entails. And when families break–as they sometimes do–the situation gets more difficult.
Women are often forced to leave bad marriages with nothing but their children and the clothes on their back. Sometimes, it is the death, or estrangement from the spouse that leaves them to fend for themselves. Whatever be the case, they build their lives–and those of their little ones–from rock bottom, with little to no support from a disapproving society. These women wear the hats of both the parents and do their absolute best to raise their little ones into healthy, happy, responsible adults. All this, while also building their own dreams and careers.
“A child needs a father,” “Women cannot have it all,” are among the things we commonly hear. But all around us are inspiring examples set by single mothers who indeed have it all and do it all. In their courage and resilience, there is a lesson for all of us. This Single Parents’ Day, Soulveda speaks to single mothers about their journey, the challenges they have faced, and how they have evolved as individuals.
Walking the spiritual path
I have raised two children–one with special needs–more or less on my own, for the past nine years. My former husband fell in love with another woman and left us out of the blue one day. All of a sudden, I was left to fend for myself. I was in debt, confused about whether or not he was coming back, and struggling to raise two toddlers. Years of financial, emotional and social turmoil later, I have finally decided that enough is enough. I have adopted the path of spirituality, and I have stopped expecting anything from anyone. Now, I have learnt to be content and self-sufficient. This has helped me attain the ideal state of mind to raise my daughters at this point in time. – Vinitha Kusalavan, homemaker
One happy parent is better than two miserable ones
I was a university topper when I graduated with an MBA in finance. Right after that, I married the man I had fallen in love with. At the age of 28, I quit a cushy bank job to raise our baby daughter. The signs were there and people warned me. But it wasn’t until much later that I faced the fact that my husband was a philanderer. His disloyalty to me was so apparent that our daughter knew about it. The knowledge sent her into severe depression and she developed fibromyalgia! It was then, that I realised I had to remove us from the toxic relationship, and I did. And it has made our lives infinitely better. My daughter has overcome her illness and become her cheerful, energetic self once again. And I have started pursuing a master’s degree in psychology. Today, I have realised that one happy parent is better for a child than two miserable ones. – Angeline Babu, entrepreneur
One of the first things I told my daughter when we separated from my husband and moved into a one-bedroom apartment was, “We are not going to cry anymore. From here onwards, we will only smile.”