Single Mothers: The Silent Struggle
We meet them every day but no one ever cares to know whether they are coping. We throw shade at them without ever considering how much physical and emotional pain they go through everyday whilst trying to work for their survival. Trying through trying times to guarantee their children brighter futures. They are single and they are mothers, and contrary to popular belief, they keep this nation together.
Statistics say that 70% of women in Zimbabwe experience at least one episode of being a single mother before the age of 45. Meaning more than half of the women in their youth in Zimbabwe may be a single mother. That’s scary! Lets take the current Zimbabwean situation into context. A single mother is expected to take care of her children and also make sure that she herself lives a comfortable life too.
Lets break this down to Monalisa* a 22 year old single mother with no tertiary education but only an O’ Level certificate to her name. She has to take care of her 5 year old son who was the result of a one night stand at a party with a married guy who refused to condomize. Now she has to struggle, selling vegetables at a street corner in the same neighbourhood she grew up in. Every guy who used to want to court her now looks at her with disgust. She is used as an example by her neighbours when they tell their children about the evils of premarital sex. She is now an outcast, only because she has the child now. Her son is now in Nursery school and he has had a father figure at all. He is called names by his fellows and he has never had the answer to the question, “Where is your father?”
Single mothers are treated like a problem. Either they are a ‘loose’ woman for falling pregnant or they are stupid to not have used protection. They are labelled as being the cause of the father not sticking around. They become a stain to society and no man wants to touch them, “Handiinga roore mvana (I can’t marry a woman with children.)”, is the anthem my fellow brothers preach. Most guys think that every single mother is looking for a father for their child. One single mother, Pamela* had this to say,
“A single mother is usually only ever empowered by another single mother who understands the struggle of being a mother and father to a child you did not make on your own. Hollywood’s portrayal of single motherhood as being fun is not true to Africa. It’s not how life rolls in these streets and other women are the quickest to scoff and breakdown a single mother.”
It’s sad and very unforgivable to view another human as lesser AT ANY MOMENT. We should take time to appreciate how many stars and achievers have been raised by single mothers. These ladies break their backs everyday to provide for their children whilst we belittle them and pull them down by labelling them as failures.
Take time to applaud them today.
*not their real names