It felt like a curse or some kind of nasty disease when it happened.
Everyone was pointing their finger at me and making derogatory comments about me. I felt so conflicted; it was the happiest and saddest time of my life.
I was seventeen when it happened and alone. After meeting Paul and dating for about six months I got pregnant.
I was scared, but at the same time that same year my parents got divorced, my brothers and sisters were in another part of the country and I was happy to have this child to keep me company. The pregnancy went well and in September 1985 my daughter was born.
It was hard to make ends meet. I definitely lacked some skills to get by but love was always there.
I struggled every step of the way, working my ass off and missing out on going out with friends, dating or pursuing my education. At one point I thought that my daughter would be better off with two parents. She was six years old and I was sinking financially and battling an addiction when I got her involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
She ended up getting a nice young couple who would pick her up once a week and do things with her I couldn’t afford. As I watched how happy she was, it was hard for me to selfishly want her to stay with me and miss out on so many things I couldn’t afford to give her.
I said to her one day after one of these visits that if she wanted to have a mommy and daddy it was OK and that I wanted her to be happy. She turned to me and said, “Mommy, we’re a team.” I never questioned where she belonged after that!!!
I wasn’t alone in my struggle and I had a reason to hope for a better life. She was my reason for wanting more.
My Daughter and I spent Christmas driving around one year. I didn’t have money and couldn’t afford to buy her gifts so we drove around looking at all the lights on the homes, I made it fun for her as we sang songs along the way.
When she lost her tooth and I didn’t have money to put under her pillow, I told her the tooth fairy was all the way in Vancouver and didn’t make it back in time. The next day my father came over and put money under her pillow and on her bed posts. Being a single mom is doing a double job, it’s about filling two roles, not forsaking one.
When I read statistics on single mothers, the only question I have is if we raise criminals and drug addicts is this not the father’s fault? the fault of the one who choose to walk away? I agree a child needs two parents, but Single Mothers did not make children out of thin air, no matter if it was done during a one night stand or through a long-term relationship.
The mother should be hailed as a hero for the responsibility she is willing to take and does to the best of her abilities.
Next time you meet a single mom on the bus, subway or streetcar, give her a smile or your seat or help with the stroller. It will go a long way to supporting her continuous effort. We are not perfect, but I didn’t raise a criminal or drug addict and 99.9% of the people I know who are Single Moms have kids who are educated and part of the working force.
I think the statistics should choke on THAT.
I will be walking in October for Humewood House Association a place that truly helps young pregnant and parenting teens get the support they need.
If you would like to donate please do so here: Support $$ Gail to help Support Humewood House
Today I not only have a beautiful amazing daughter but a fantastic grand-daughter as well