THE SINGLE MOM YOU THINK YOU KNOW

(SUBMITTED ANONYMOUSLY. APPRECIATED IMMENSELY. )

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I’m the Queen of Words and I’m the Queen of Broken Hearts. I am the Queen of feeling too much and the Queen of squirrelling away my pain so I appear unbreakable. I know many women like me, but we hide our feelings (and our tears) and put on the masquerade – strong, fiercely independent, we-got-this, don’t-worry-about-me, single mamas.

But do worry about me… Because occasionally I fall to pieces. I end up on my bathroom floor or buried under the covers – not wanting to move, not wanting to even lift my hand to push aside the strands of hair that are stuck to my tear-soaked face.

There is something that happens to the soul of a woman who is left when she is pregnant. I can’t describe it fully – as if something has been cut out? As if something is sitting heavy on the heart? It’s a piercing, stabbing penetration that comes and goes but it comes on so strong it knocks the wind out of us. And this “feeling” – it exists forever. It becomes part of our ethos.

We don’t really talk about how we ended up alone and pregnant. Smart, educated women, with the whole world ahead of us. But here we are. Alone. Scared. Our biggest project ahead of us – and no one to cheer us on, no one to tell us we are beautiful when we have bags under our eyes, no one to feed us when we are under the weather, no thank-yous and no way-to-gos.

We do it all.

The baby cries. We are up.

The laundry needs to be done. We do it.

The fridge is empty. We cart up the kid(s) – jackets, boots and all – for a grocery store adventure.

We are exhausted.

We teach them to tie their shoes.

We hurry to make dinner and clear the table to get to the bath to wash their hair to cuddle and do their home reading.

How was our day? Who asks?

Then the children turn into humans – full fledged beings who ask us about ‘boys’ or ‘girls’; they ask us why people sit on the street and ask for money; they ask where people go when they die … and we rise to the challenge. Not because we feel we can or because we actually believe we know all the answers, but because know we are their everything.

We miss the days of attending yoga classes. We miss slow mornings, sipping coffee, reading a book. We miss late nights with our other friends who are now too far to visit because we had to move to the suburbs so we could afford to live. We miss treating ourselves to that new stylish jacket (because we really should be buying more organic or because there’s that art program the baby would enjoy). We miss the text messages from ‘our person’. But we get by. Everyone admires our strength – from the outside.

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When we do meet someone, we probably all start guarded. Can we really do this again? We are insecure, we have never been “good enough” before, and we’ve lived however long alone, facing one of life’s biggest challenges unassisted… but when our heart opens, it opens.

I think it wants to fill that void – that piece that has been cut out.  That weight? Turns to air. That stab? Stops.

We dream of romance. We dream of feeling special. We dream of mattering to someone. We dream of being someone’s world. We understand wholeheartedly what that really means because the single mom knows exactly what it is to be everything to someone.

We dream of the lessons for our kids. This special person, we slowly open to, becomes an idea of extension of ourselves being everything. They become merged into that thought. They are the role model we see fit for our most cherished possession. This is the abyss of love.

It is not everyone’s dream – to have a lover, a partner in life, one to make memories with, one to think about when we allow ourselves to be distracted from the mundane, to have that friend that holds us up when life’s stresses seem too burdensome, to have that person to kiss us on our forehead goodnight, to have that person that whisper’s I love you in the morning.

But it is my fairy-tale. I believe that the time we have on this planet is our dream – it is what we make of it. I envision my life with colours and love and words and I found a person that made me see it all unfold.

But I’ll warn you that this isn’t the part where I get my happily ever after; it’s the part where I tell you that it’s happened again. I opened my soul – Wide open – and the Universe showed me no mercy, no grace.

Again. In pieces.

So sisters, here’s what I want you to take away from my unfinished fairy tale: That single mom you know – call her. Let her unload. Let her be herself. Let her be lonely. Let her tell you about all the mundane things she thinks no one wants to hear.

I see my power and often stand tall in it… but today I am insecure. I want to cry until my eyes run dry, and let all the words spill out of me, and then, when I am empty, I will begin again to be that sole Goddess who marches forward, finishing her project called life the best way she knows how.

And maybe, hopefully, one day, I will once again be filled with colour, with love, and with words.

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Featured Photo: Donyale Luna, by Charlotte March for Twen Magazine, 1966

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