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Friday, June 5, 2009

Single moms

Although I was cranky and irritable this morning my mood improved considerably after blogging (see my last post) and a long-distance phone call from a friend. It is amazing how the sense of connection with others, the sharing and the talking can lift my spirits.

My friend is a new mom. I have known her since graduate school back in Winnipeg. Since then we have both moved but, thankfully, stayed in touch. I am so happy to be part of her life right now.

When my friend's daughter was born almost six months ago she was married. Now she is a single mom, living far away from her family but surrounded by awesome friends who have stepped in to help. She and her husband had been together for a decade. Like every couple there were ups and downs. For whatever reason, and I don't think anyone can truly ever understand, her husband decided after the baby was born that the life they were leading wasn't the one he wanted.

I have been thinking a lot about how a new dad could decide to leave his wife and kids. This friend is not the only one I know who has been left by her husband in the first year of a baby's life. What I don't understand is what changes between when the baby is conceived and the birth or six months, eight months, a year later. Is life with a baby such a shock for these new dads? Are they not willing or able to step up to the challenge?

I don't have any answers. What I do know is that these friends doing it on their own are amazing. They figure out how to deal with their exs, love their children and build new lives for themselves. I can't always understand the challenges they are going through but I am happy to listen.


  1. Wow. Super harsh. I feel for your friend. My sister has been a single mom for a very good part of her daughter's 11 years. She told me you just do it, because you have no choice. But with a few years under her belt, she feels pretty proud of her little family, indeed.

  2. Being a mom is the hardest job ever - WITH the support of a husband and extended family. Doing it alone - being a single mom - must be 100% harder. I think single moms are truly amazing for what they do. Truly amazing.

  3. I can't imagine, and with a baby so young.

    Motherhood gives you superpowers I think...

  4. Parenthood comes as a shock to everyone. Or at least it did to my husband and I. When everyone's tired and overwhelmed it's easy to be snappy with each other.

    But so much changes in that first year. You wonder if this dad had stuck around, if he might have gotten over the initial adjustment period and been OK.

    And I agree, single moms are amazing. They are my superheroes! :)

  5. It's so sad that the marriage didn't make it through a newborn, because we all know that you aren't a sane person during that time.

    Great post. My sister was a single mom for a LONG time, this make me love her even more.

  6. There's a great book on the subject by Hilary Hoge called, "Women's Stories of Divorce at Childbirth: When the Baby Rocks the Cradle." It examines why this particular time is so hard on couples.