Thursday, April 02, 2009

A Southern blogger shares strength of community

I discovered this blog recently, Single Mothering Southern Style, by Amy Hudock, and thought it was an eloquent reminder of how important it is for women to become aware of the Choice Mom/Single Mother by Choice community and what we can offer to each other:

Today, Choice Moms™ launched the "Choosing Single Motherhood" radio show, hosted by Choice Moms founder Mikki Morrissette. The one-hour weekly talk radio show is specifically designed for the thousands of single women who proactively decide to build a family on their own.

The show will air every Wednesday from 1-2 p.m. PST and 4-5 p.m. EST on VoiceAmerica's Variety Channel. The first show airs on Wednesday, April 1, 2009, with special guest Jane Mattes, founder of the Single Mothers by Choice organization.

I'm not a single mom by choice, by the strictest definition. But when I read Mary Pols' book Accidentally on Purpose, where she talks about getting pregnant by accident but turning it into a new purpose for her life, I identified. Told that I would never have children, I was more than surprised to find myself at 36 and pregnant and single. When I told the father of my child, he proposed marriage, then changed his mind and offered me a large payment to, essentially, go away.

I thought that I would raise this child alone, and I was scared. I wondered if I could do it. But then my mother said: "Amy, here is your miracle child. You wanted a child, didn't think you would have one, and now is your chance." Miracle child. Yes, she was. So I decided to become a single mother. By choice. She became my purpose.

But I was derailed by my own self-doubt. Her father (though Jewish) spoke to a priest who convinced him that while a child might not be convenient, he couldn't simply tell me to walk away. He decided he wanted us to be a family -- and I wanted to do the right thing as well. And I was afraid to go it alone. So we married. Of course, it didn't last.

I wish I had seen more support for the choice to become a single mom back then, like this radio show. Perhaps I would have had more confidence in myself than to enter into a bad marriage situation. Perhaps I would have made a different choice. I found out that I can be a great mom while single -- and that knowledge can help any mother who becomes single -- by choice, by divorce, or by being widowed. So even though I am not a mother by choice in the same way as these mothers, I still support their work in encouraging women to believe in themselves enough to become the mothers they can be -- regardless of their relationship status.