Being a single parent is difficult, but it’s not impossible. Good support is really important.
Marina & Yvanna, Poitiers, France
When I returned from my December sports holidays in the South I felt pains in my breasts, which I put down to stiffness. However, instinctively I did a pregnancy test all the same and it turned out to be positive. I had so many questions. Why? How? When? I immediately made an appointment with the doctor for an abortion. I had only just begun a relationship with the father and had no idea where it was going. I had no intention of telling him before getting an ultrasound.
I went to see my mother over Christmas to tell her the news and, despite my misgivings, she immediately acted like a grandmother. She was ready to support me in this adventure and confirmed that small voice inside me that kept saying I should keep this child. The decision was made.
I then informed the future father of the news over the phone, which he wasn’t ready to hear as he was in between not wanting to understand and the fear of having to support me (and us) in the future. I didn’t wait for any commitment from him and I felt ready to take on this child alone. As for him, he was not and I haven’t seen him since.
My pregnancy went well from a physical point of view and I remained active until just before the birth. It was tough mentally as I was fairly isolated in Nantes. When I was 7 months pregnant, despite some hesitation, I went home to my parents in Poitiers for the last few weeks. At the age of 22, going back home after having lived away and looked after myself for some years was far from ideal.
The child birth was long, but when my daughter was born the long hours faded to nothing, I was so elated. She was magnificent and so beautiful with her light blue eyes. I was extremely proud.
I apprehended going back home to my parents and the start of this new life, feeling it was important to be self-sufficient and not depend on them. After a week, I was so tired that I found myself asking my mother to help.
Our relationship was fraught during these weeks of living together. I didn’t dare say that I needed help and hoped that she would step in spontaneously. She criticised the way I did things with my daughter and the way I managed daily tasks. Three months after Yvanna was born, my parents asked us to leave the family home and I struggled to find a new home quickly for my family.
The conflict continued with my mother, who didn’t see her granddaughter for several months. On her first birthday, the situation eased up and I have since been working to involve her in the life of my daughter so that she enjoy a real grandmother’s relationship with her.
This first year as a single mother made me tougher. It was up to me to manage everything and there was no one I could look to for help with Yovanna’s crises, health concerns and my own questions. I had to stand up for my own education principles and take on the role of mother and father. It's twice as hard, but when I see that my daughter is now bright, polite and sociable, I am doubly proud.
Yvanna is still too young to understand why she does not have a father. It's a little frustrating for me, since she hears the words “dad & mum” a lot on television and she calls men “dad” without understanding its real meaning.
I chose this situation and I have come to terms with it. I feel that we have found our own form of stability. At present, I am not looking for a partner to act as a “substitute dad”. I can manage this on my own.
Being a single parent is difficult, but it’s not impossible. You have to work hard to come to terms with the situation so that the child doesn’t suffer. Good support is really important.