I am not the same person I was but I totally love the new me. So as I moved forward with my life without the father of my child, I learned a number of valuable lessons. I learned about the joys and struggles of being a single mother by being there whole heartedly for my child, finding the joy in everything we do and watching my child grow. I’ve learned how to be a better, stronger and more confident woman internally because I know I am the primary example of what a woman should be in the sight of my child. I’ve learned how to balance my career and motherhood by managing my time better. And last, I’ve learned how to be single and extremely happy. How did I do that? By trusting in my Creator for guidance and finding the joy in being a single woman. This was indeed a difficult journey, but it was worth every lesson learned. Now that I look back on that day my relationship ended with the father of my child, I smile. I smile because I realize that if I had not ended our relationship I would probably have tried to continue on with a relationship with him that probably would have been detrimental to my health, his health and the health of our child. Letting go of the feelings I had for my child’s father was not easy, but I’m glad the door was closed on that relationship.
I pushed through depression for my daughter. That’s why depression hit me most at night. During the day, I had someone relying on me completely. There was no other parent waiting in the wings to take over as I worked through my grief. There was no one else to tag in if I was having a bad day.
There was just this little girl, whom I love more than anything or anyone else in this world, counting on me to keep it together. So I did my best. Every day was a battle. I had limited energy for anyone else. But for her, I pushed every ounce of strength I had to the surface. I don’t believe I was the best mom in those months. I was certainly not the mom she deserved. But I forced myself out of bed day after day. I got on the floor and played with her. I took us out on mommy-daughter adventures. I had to look ok for my daughter. In some ways, I think being a single mom might have saved me from the darkness. Her little light was shining brighter and brighter every day, reminding me of why it was so important to fight through the hurt I was feeling.
Each day, it was a fight. Let there be no doubt: there was a fight. There were baby steps, and it was hard. In so many ways it was harder because I was a mom. Time for self-care seemed even more limited than it had been before. But there was also that voice whispering in my head, reminding me that this little girl I am so blessed to call my own was counting on me.
That voice wasn’t always kind. There were moments when my face was soaked in tears and I looked in the mirror only to hear that voice say, “This isn’t strength. This isn’t the woman you want your daughter to see.” Logically, I knew that voice was wrong. I knew that even the best mothers fall apart sometimes, and that it’s OK for our kids to see us struggle. In my heart, however, I just wanted to be better. I wanted to be better for my daughter, because single moms don’t have the luxury of breaking. That voice in my head was always quick to remind me how deeply I was failing in my role each time I allowed those tears to fall. Life is hard. If you had asked me a year ago, I would have told you I had it all figured out. I would have told you that the pieces of my life had come together like the pieces of a puzzle, and that everything was as idyllic as I could have possibly imagined.
But I’m not perfect. I never will be. I’ve experienced anxiety and depression. I fall apart when things get hard. Luckily, I also have the ability to pull myself out of those traps. I’ve done it before. I know that if I’m dragged under again, I’ll do it then, too. I’ll pull myself up for my daughter—for both of us. I’ll do it for our family. Bottom line: I’m a single mom, and I don’t have the luxury of breaking.
I don’t take things personally anymore. This is because I realized it’s not about me. The problem was with him for not being mature enough to handle the situations he created and for not creating time for his daughter. I used to blame myself so much thinking I could have done something wrong. I gave him the option to visit his daughter whenever he wanted, he did not, he had the option to be honest and discuss co- parenting, but he was not receptive to the idea. So really I was beating myself up for nothing. Mom guilt is a b*#ch – that I definitively know. I fight mom guilt on a daily basis. But I chose to not add the extra guilt on myself because I am not in a relationship so his lack of involvement or his lack of interest in being a parent is not my business anymore. Yes, my baby needs a father in her life, and yes, ideally, I would like her actual father to be there, but that’s not the case and so I don’t feel guilty about it. It’s his loss if he doesn’t want to be a part of our child’s life or as engaged as he should be. I can’t beg him to be a part of our child’s life, he has to want to do that on his own. All I had to do on my part was just have to forgive and let it go, and start focusing on what’s most important – my baby girl!
I decided never to let others get to me by what they say or actions they take to try attack me. I chose not to get overly responsive to the negative feelings and provocations if at all the other woman ever choses to contact me again and try to belittle me or if baby daddy decides to make me jealous by trying to prove on how happy his life is despite cutting him off. Because the one thing I care about is how it will affect my daughter in future. The angrier and more responsive I get the more she will pick on the negative on her father. I would not want her to get emotionally unstable because two adults chose to not handle themselves appropriately.
The past is the past. This seems fairly straightforward, but when we can really wrap our head around the fact that we can’t undo the past, the past is done, those things happened, we open ourselves up to more acceptance. Increased acceptance led to the emotional healing I was looking for. At some point, you have to accept that the past has happened and you’ve done everything in your power to amend past mistakes. It’s now time to turn the page and accept those events as part of your story. They’ve all contributed to making you who you are. Being grateful for those experiences allows you to move on and truly forgive yourself.