‘Being a single parent is not a life full of struggles, but a journey for the strong’- Meg Lourey.
My journey into motherhood began at the age of 25. I must admit that it was quite a confusing and difficult time, considering that I was unmarried, a church girl and in the choir.
As the first born and having grown up in a Christian family, the thought of breaking news of my pregnancy to my parents was truly a Herculean task! So, I didn’t. I kept the ‘secret’ to myself (or so I thought) until the very last day. Imagine being in denial for nine months!
Due to my denial, heavy drinking and smoking, my going into labor caught me by surprise, considering I had never attended any prenatal appointments. With no idea when my Expected Date of Delivery (EDD) was, it was quite a shocker when on one particular night, I couldn’t sleep. My back was in unbearable pain. By this point, my belly was all out. I couldn’t hide my pregnancy anymore.
That night, I remember my mom coming into my bedroom and asking me if I was pregnant, only for me to answer in the negative! You see, denial and alcoholism make good bedfellows. She simply laughed and walked out.
My dad’s shock was the greatest. He was given the duty of taking me to the nearest clinic at that ungodly hour. Little did he know what lay ahead for him.
The doctor quickly told him: “Congratulations! You are about to be a grandfather. Your daughter is dilating.” From the next room, I could hear the confusion in his voice.
“Me? Grandfather? What do you mean? Grandfather to what or who?”
A few minutes later he got into his car and drove home. He found my mom seated on their bed and told her, “Congratulations, you are going to be a grandma.” Then he slept very peacefully.
Labour was very intense. Due to the amount of alcohol in my body, I laboured for 26 hours. My son and I almost didn’t make it through. However, I give all the glory to God for we are here today alive and very well.
My daughter’s pregnancy, on the other hand, was rather smooth. It was a happy pregnancy. Hence the happy girl she is today.
M. Russell Ballard said that “the joy in motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times, but amid the challenges there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction.”
Single parenting, according to me, isn’t for the faint hearted. It takes an inner strength beyond ordinary strength. It takes courage that is uncommon to many.
When I think about it, the reality of being a single parent hit home in November of 2016. I had ended a very toxic and physically abusive relationship with my daughter’s dad.
As much as I knew that this was bound to happen, the reality of living without him and the reality of raising my kids alone led to a season of severe panic attacks, depression, anxiety and intense drinking. I, for sure, was not ready to be a single parent. If women were to be honest, many would admit the same.
Due to my history with alcohol, the uncertainty of what lay ahead as a single mum led me through a dangerous downward spiral resulting in my rehabilitation. In retrospect, I believe that this worked for my good.
My time away from everything I had become accustomed to gave me time to reflect on my life soberly. I was able to deliberately decide the kind of life I desired my children. I was able to forgive and let go of the bitterness, the anger, the pain, the rejection and resentment I had held on to and carried for years on end (ever since conceiving my first born). It has not been an easy journey. There have been many ups and downs. However, I’m grateful to God for the blessing of my two amazing children. I didn’t set out to be a single mom. I set out to be the best mom I could be and that hasn’t changed.
Caroline Kagia is a certified addictions professional, inspirational speaker and wellness Coach. She is the founder of Caroline Kagia Wellness Initiative, an initiative whose aim is to help those struggling with both chemical and process addictions.