Ever wondered what it was like being a single mom in an Africa society and indeed our country Nigeria? Well I got one of my single mom friends to share her stories and I must say it was very sad.
This is the first account from; let’s call Melissa.
Being a single mother was a choice I owed myself; a choice I made for myself and my daughter, sometimes I look at my 3 year old and wonder how I am gonna tell her that though her father loves her, he didn’t love himself enough to do what was best for her. That even though he loved her, he couldn’t stop himself from hitting me when she was in my womb, that though he cradled her lovingly and cried when he first met her, that didn’t stop him from getting drunk that same night.
I wonder how I will tell her how her father would stumble home noisily and left her crying in the walker; she’d being asleep in before he woke her with his drunken raucous. How do I tell Claire that her father threatened me so many times I have lost count or how he has failed to send money for her upkeep?
I would like to hide from my daughter the fact that her daddy plays her like a pawn in the chess game that has become our divorce, when he should have treated her like queen she is!
One will never understand what it is like being a single mom, unless you know the real story behind the situation. You see I grew up like most Nigerian girls; in a middle class family, I did all the right things (in my own opinion), made all the right choices, I never had a boyfriend till I was in the four walls of a university. I had made a pact with God that the first man who’d see the whole of me was going to be my husband and in turn He would bless me and grant me my heart desires. And when I met Tony, I thought I had made the right choice when three months into our relationship, I gave myself to him, coincidentally on a Mother’s day. How quaint is that?!
But even after 4 years you can only know a person as much as they let you, we got married months after we met; me 21 and him 33. Now I wake up each morning to my daughter’s voice and wonder what would have become of me if I hadn’t wanted the best for her or if I didn’t want her to grow up happy? Why didn’t I look before I leapt?! That one question has plagued me many nights.
Even though it has sort of caused me to become a pariah, I WOULD NEVER give her up, not even for a few fake friends. I tell young men I have a daughter and they never call back! SMH, not like I care anyways, if you can’t handle my daughter, how can you handle me, we are both one package; an awesome package. My daughter is my crown jewel. I tell girls my age that I walked out on a 2 year marriage and I suddenly lose the invites to hangouts and parties.
Some women I have come across laugh when I say I am in no rush to get married, I mean it is not like the single guys are queued up in a line waiting to ask my hand in marriage! Truth be told I haven’t completely healed from my last travails in marriage and when I am ready, I plan to jump in with both eyes open.
Claire is my primary focus now, for her I will be mother, father, best friend and play mate. I try to prepare myself for the day when she asks why daddy wasn’t around to watch her grow and I am going to smile and tell her with tears in my eyes and tell her how for months I prayed for a child, I will tell her how my in-laws called my barren because I was educated and how the world called me loose because I had male friends. Then I will tell her how on my 22nd birthday, God planted her in a womb they had called barren, in a body called a slut’s. I will tell her how she was my source of joy when the man I loved made me sad; I will tell her how she gave me laughter when all the world had to offer was tears. She was my strength, the reason I wake and smile, the reason behind my desire to succeed, to be better.
Claire my three year old daughter has made me a victor and not a victim in this sordid tale of mine, I am happy because I know my story isn’t the typical Nigerian single mom tale, but it is my triumph over all the obstacles placed in my way that will make mine stand out.