Some reflections on ‘single parenting’ |11 September 2021
According to UN Women, globally, there are more than 100 million mothers, single-handedly raising their children. According to Progress of the World’s Women 2019-2020, many are in their prime working years, aged 25-54, and must somehow manage a full day of work to provide for their children. A smaller number of lone/single mothers are younger than 25 (3.4 per cent), which translates into 3.8 million extremely vulnerable young women – 127,000 of whom are estimated to be under 18 and living alone with their young children. Often, these adolescent mothers face multiple and intersecting inequalities.
In Seychelles from January to June 2021, 64% birth was out of wedlock but acknowledged by father and 15% out of wedlock. 11.8% of all births in the first 6 months of 2021 occurred to women aged less than 20 years.
All these figures bring us to reflect more and more on this model of ‘family unit’. I come from a society where I was not used to seeing single parent unit and moving to Seychelles in 2004, this was my first culture shock. I slowly got to learn about this new culture and the more I got to know the mums or very few dads, my admiration grew. Single mothers have enormous responsibilities, not only to raise their children but to provide for them and educate them. Single moms: you have my dearest and most heartfelt wishes for your success. Let me share with you single mums and dads a quotation I find appropriate: “While they are at your side, love these little ones to the utmost. Forget yourself; serve them; care for them; lavish all your tenderness upon them. Value your good fortune while it is with you and let nothing of their babyhood go unprized. Nor for long will you keep the happiness that now lies in your reach. You will not always walk in the sunshine with a little soft hand nestling in each of yours nor hear little feet pattering beside you, and eager baby voices questioning and prattling of a thousand things with ceaseless excitement. Not always will you see that trusting face upturned to yours, feel those little arms about your neck and those tender lips pressing upon your cheek nor will you have that tiny form to kneel beside you, and murmur baby prayers into your ear. Love them and win their love, and shower on them all the treasures of their heart. Fill up their days with happiness and share with them their mirth and innocent delights. Childhood is but for a day. Ere you are aware it will be gone with all its gifts forever.”