Recently, I went to the movies with some friends who had also invited another girl. I had heard about this gal, that she was a single mother, too. Turns out that she was either getting married or had just married the baby's father. She said to me, "Yeah, I tried the whole single mom thing for a year," and then trailed off. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be proud of her or feel sorry for her. She was in the middle of packing up her entire life to move far away to live with the guy--was it love? or was it the need to connect with someone? I will never know, of course. She's gone for good.
The past eight months have been very lonely for me. I have moved away from my friends in order to be closer to my family, but with no job and no resources (like money!), it's been hard to find satisfying interaction with others like me. I've briefly spoken with some women at the library during story hour for babies, but most of them are military wives. And other single moms? I have a great friend who lives thousands of miles away, but none here who are like me. I'm even afraid to talk about it for fear of seeing "the look". It's the one that people give you when they feel sorry for you.
The only times I've ever felt sorry for myself were right after Katie was born and I had no one to take care of me despite an excruciatingly painful episiotomy and the sleepless nights that followed for weeks. The other tough times have occurred when friends asked me to go out and then were offended I had to say no...and then when friends just stopped calling. Otherwise, I've got my beautiful daughter to keep me company. And now with my job prospects looking better every day, I know things will get back to normal. Soon, I'll have the resources to meet other moms at the local indoor playground. Maybe I'll go on a date or two. Maybe one day I'll have sex again, just maybe--although I will have ample forms of protection. My biggest hope, though, is that I'll be able to provide a good example for Katie as a woman who can balance work, family, AND friends while taking full responsibility for my destiny. A mother who defines herself solely through her children --that was my mother. When we left, she had no identity and she blamed us. I do not want to fall into that trap.
Would I marry Katie's dad just because I'd "tried the whole single mom thing" and it was too hard? Nope. Marriage should be about some kind of meaningful partnership based on at least respect, friendship would be better. Love would only be icing on the cake. But just because I'm lonely? Good Lord, no. I have too much self-respect for that.