I never wanted to be a single parent.
I was raised in a single-parent home, and there was nothing glamorous about my mother always being gone, or tired, or depressed and withdrawn. There was no financial cushion, no stability in the successive string of relationships that followed her first divorce.
Thus, I grew up awaiting my fairy-tale marriage. A handsome older gentleman would sweep me off my feet, kiss me awake from the hazy dream which had been life before us meeting, and we would love each other passionately forever after. When I met my charming, gallant, blond-haired, blue-eyed, six-foot five dream guy, a few weeks after my nineteenth birthday, I was immediately enraptured.
Eight years, one mortgage, two daughters, and a baby-on-the-way later, my prince turned out to be a man who needed more saving than me, and although I tried everything, my love would never be enough to keep him from abusing us. I never would’ve thought that I’d live the life I’m living. I prided myself on my roles as a steadfast wife and model mother. But what good role model allows herself and her daughters to submit to a man treating them in such disrespectful ways? What becomes of the steadfast wife who doesn’t leave, but breaks a little more every day?
I never wanted to be a single parent, but it wasn’t my intention to marry an abusive man.
Beginning this journey (51 days ago) was intimidating. Could I go to the police? Would they even believe me? Was he going to kill me? How would I get through the first week? How could I keep life balanced for my young family? I didn’t know that I was pregnant with Baby # 3 until day 16 of the separation, and trying to figure things out was already terrifying.
More than anything, I wanted my children to suffer the least. One of the best things about being a mother is the bravery you inherit from birthing. You aren’t afraid of killing spiders when one is crawling near your sleeping baby. You aren’t afraid of the dark (but you admittedly used to be) when your toddler is sleep training. You are no longer afraid of the unknown, but eager to explore it with your babies once they are ready. I was afraid to leave, and I am unsure of our future, but I am showing my children the courageous side of me.
I’m giving my children the best life that I can now. I will not have the comfort that comes with raising them in the same household as their father, but I will not have the discomforts either. My attitude toward them will remain respectful, the discipline gentle, their individuality valued unconditionally. We’ll certainly pinch pennies, upcycle more frequently, continuously enhance our ecological sustainability, and there will be some major changes after the birth of Baby # 3 (EDD 2.11.13), but we will get through this as a team.
I never wanted to be a single parent, but I didn’t know that it’d make me indomitable.