Thursday, March 02, 2006

Some things I never thought I'd do


February 9, 2006


Deidre – 22
Los Angeles, CA
1 daughter (3 mo)


I am having so much fun being a mother. Leah is a wonderful baby. It’s everything outside of my relationship with her that frustrates me.

I always knew I would have children and a family but I never pictured myself as a single mom -maybe a divorce down the line (although hopefully not) but never starting out by myself.

Now here I am with my little angel wondering why her father, who was so excited about her coming into this world, is too busy to see her.

I know there are a lot of single mothers and I know I can take care of Leah by myself, but no matter how strong I may seem, I am so hurt inside.

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Make no mistake about it, single parenting is a hurting thing. So have one last cry and get over it!

Because when you stop focusing on yourself as a "single sistah", you can start focusing on yourself as "mama to Leah". That is a wonderful part of your life, separate and apart from your relationship with her dad.

You and Leah are a subset of the family as a "whole" unit. Leah and her dad are a subset; You and Leah's dad are another subset.
So focus on and strengthen the subset (you & Leah) right now, and work on strengthening the rest of that family unit when it comes together. (I pray it will).

Sometimes new fathers, especially those who don't live in the same house with the baby, distance themselves. I can assure you that as soon as you get energized and get that "figure" back and start fixin' your hair and dressing you and Leah up and going places, her father will do a "double-take".
Not only that, you will feel good about yourself and radiate this inner warmth and calm to Leah who will relect it back to you in hugs and smiles and kisses and coos. She is so precious and innocent right now that she will share this radiance with perfect strangers who stare into her face.
So stop crying about this man (I know you love him), and start generating the radiance and beauty that only a new mama can.

Don't make the mistake of missing out on these early months of watching and learning about this little girl named Leah. These months pass all to quickly.

From one single mom to another, it gets better, so hang in there.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous schunetta burns-wilson said...

All I can say is WOW just when I t hought I had it bad... My prayer for you mis Diedre is to let go & let god have is way so that you can be the mom that he would have you to be.... I am sure there is a lonely space there but take it from me with a hsband and step children....Sometimes they still arent really there but I will say his absence makes your heart grow fonder of LEAH...Love her & U

4:12 PM  
Blogger The Sonflower said...

I don’t really have a comment on the post, but rather a comment on something that was said by anonymous.

I think that it is complete B.S. that you are telling this woman that the father of her child will become interested in being a father if she “get her ‘figure’ back and start fixin’ your hair and dressing you and Leah up and going places.”

None of that has anything to do with a man being a father to his child, because that is what this is about. Who wants a man that is only interested in coming around when everything looks and smells rosy? She isn’t looking for a date to the prom, she is looking for a man to take care of his responsibilities…you know adult stuff.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous sunnlover said...

I feel your pain. I too, didn't see myself raising my daughter alone. This is not something you just "get over". Especially when blindsided--"he was excited about her coming into this world..."
Trust me I know. I've had some big girl tantrums!

I have a great relationship with her father, and he is VERY active in her life. Including "Daddy Daycare" while I work. However, when she won't go to sleep at night or has a tantrum because she can't find her favorite doll, I'm alone to deal with it.

On top of adjusting to motherhood (major metamorphosis) this young mom will have to come to grips with her new reality of doing it alone. It's a process.

Damn the Black Superwoman myth! Let's embrace her with some sensitive, real advice, and even more listening.
(((hugs Diedre)))

6:57 AM  
Blogger Miss Ahmad said...

Damn the Black Superwoman myth!

that right there is the most powerful thing i've heard/read all day.

the myth that we as black women can do it all, should do it all because we can, is just that a myth! we do what we must, but we're not superwomen, just women who perform superbly under pressure!

that alone is why i chose not to be a single mother!

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment is supporting what anonymous said about getting your figure back and getting your hair done.
As much as we hate to admit it, our black men (and I suppose other men too) can be "that shallow". To the extent that he "digs the mama", that is the extent to which he will come around the child(if they are not married.)If he is on bad terms with the mama, he will not come and see his child. If he and the baby's mama "got it going on", he's loving the baby and spending lots of time with the baby. If you think about it, that is an everyday occurrence in our communities, which are full of single moms and single dads. I don't know how many kids can't tell you the last time they had a visit or phone call from their father, and yet the man lives nearby, has another woman that he is doing (of course,this one woman doesn't have his baby).

I know you have friends and family too, that as soon as sister so and so gets paid, gets a new car, wins a settlement, meets another brother, buys a house, etc., her baby's daddy starts coming around again. It's sad, but it is true.

So don't hate anonymous because she's telling Deidre to appeal to the "shallow" side of her baby's daddy since Deidre really wants him to come back.

I say do what it takes, if you want him that bad. If the two of you can work it out, it can truly be a wonderful thing. There's nothing like a beautiful black family intact.

And for the brothers who will read this blog and think I'm mad at you, I'm not. But if you have a "shallow" homey, tell him to "get his $@#% together".

4:31 PM  
Anonymous jasai said...

I think this speaks directly to the question of what we value, as women and as mothers. It is important that at some point we break the bad cycles referred to in the above comment. Fatherhood is essential in the lifecycle of our families and we can not give the impression that we are willing to tolerate behavior based upon “shallow motives” because again, we teach acceptance of this bad behavior to our children.

For both daughters and sons this is a detrimental lesson. It gives boys the impression that unless they like what they “see” they don’t have to own their responsibilities and it falsely informs girls that if you are not attractive at every moment and every stage in their lives, they are unworthy. That is unrealistic. Every woman who has had a child knows that bodies change, people change, and priorities change. At some point we need to begin to set examples of appropriate behavior and believe me, you do not have a beautiful in-tact black family if the father is only there as long as the mama is looking good to him.

Deidre, know that you are valuable and that the task before you is a great one. A partner for you is wonderful – so be open to one when he shows himself worthy – but this may not be Leah’s father. And that will be his loss to reconcile.


P.S. I am not sure that Deidre wants him to come back so that he can occupy space in her life. What I hope/imagine is that she wants him to be present so that his daughter does not miss out on the great gift of a father’s daily care.

6:04 PM  
Blogger The Sonflower said...

I agree completely with Miss Jasai.

I think that if we are going to make a change in the way that we deal with one another, we must change the way that we think. Black men especially need to be held accountable as fathers. This process is not based on surface and ‘shallow motives’.

As a father to a young girl myself, I want her to know that she does not have to “sell” herself to a man that might be sub par from the beginning. And just as Jasai has said this is a cycle. You teach our boys that they do not have to stay with their children, especially if the mother isn’t looking her best. And the lessons that you are inadvertently teaching our girls is endless and harmful.

I think that this is why this website works. Even though the focus is on mothers of black babies, it is an open forum about raising black boys and girls so that we can all get right in the end.

1:38 PM  
Blogger upwords said...

Deidre,

First of all, congratulations on the birth of your daughter. Second of all, I'm sorry. I apologize for the inability of your daughter's father (and probably some other folks too) to embrace his own child. However, do not think there is any deficiency in you or your child to make him act this way. Sometimes people give what they have and it just isn't enough. Sometimes only God himself can make up the difference. And even then, scars remain. Peanut butter and jelly and little girl kisses make a good salve though. Enjoy your princess. Tell her everyday that she is precious and powerful. Tell yourself too. I'm proud of you.
mary

7:12 PM  
Anonymous angel said...

Whoa. Wow. Whoa.

Before I add my two cents I really feel the need to give thanks to the Creator for Leah and for this young sister/mother who chose to bring this precious life into the world. And I want to offer up what can only be a cyber-hug to this young 22 year-old sister with a three month old child, about to embark on the most serious, the most sacred, and the most challenging journey a person will ever experience in life. I know I could not have been the parent I wanted to be at 22.

The idea that a person can or should "take one last cry and get over it," is amazing to me. That a person can or should "stop focusing on themself" and "start focusing on being a mama," is amazing as well. We are whole people with feelings and hurts and pains and joys and sorrows that are not easily erased (nor magically erased) when we become parents. If it were that easy to just "get over" things the world would indeed be a better place and I venture to believe that Iraq wouldn't be in the shape that it's in. Get over it sounds good on paper but we are adults here....

In my humble opinion, I do think we need to define what the issue is here: are we talking about a woman who wants to get a man back in her life or are we talking about a mother who wants this man to be a father to his child? If we are simply talking about "getting a man back" then I would suppose that "getting dressed up" and "getting a figure back" and "fixin up hair" would be useful advice for the kind of women who are interested in having those kinds of shallow men that want that kind of 24-7/365 maintenance. (And some sage advice in that regard: what you do to get him is what you'll need to do to keep him until another sister comes along who can do it better than you can. And believe me, there will be another sister....).

If, on the other hand, we are talking about a mother who understands the travail of raising a child in this society and economy on her own (which I'm supposing is the case here) and wants her child's father to BE a father, then I think that warrants a different discussion -- one that has absolutely nothing to do with getting "dressed up" and "looking fine" because the truth is this: parenting is ugly and it is beautiful. It is roses and it is thorns. It is creamy smooth and it is tough as nails. Parenting is not about appealing to "shallow sides"; parenting is down-in-the-muck WORK, especially as children get older.

I am in full agreement with those here who have posted about what a real father is (and let me define that a father is not necessarily nor exclusively the person who helped create the baby). A father and a mother are the two people who have the very best intentions, hopes, and dreams for that child; who actualize a love for that child and each other that goes beyond surface appeal (a love that is life-affirming); who stand in the gap when the other one can't -- to teach, to dress, to cook for, to scold, to mold, to shape, to encourage, to discourage, to pray with and to pray for in the sunshine and in the rain. A true father will stroke those stretch marks just as lovingly as he strokes the sides of her cheek because he knows and understands and appreciates the process of giving birth and he knows that the likelihood of popping back to Barbie only happens in fairy tales. A true father understands that in the course of one day, his child's mother may have packed a lunch, ironed a dress, talked to ten teachers, signed four permission slips, made two trips back and forth to the school because a homework assignment was left on the table, walked a dog, fed a fish, ran errands, worked a job and still came home to cook dinner -- and she may be too damn tired to even think about "looking good." A true father, and let me clarify, a true BLACK father, understands that the world is too dangerous a place, too competitive of a place, too cynical of a place to allow OUR black children to grow up without the benefit of having both masculine and feminine strengths instilled within them. Our children, above and beyond any other race of children, need and deserve a mother AND a father. The last thing they need is the kind of feel good love that is gone out the door when the going gets tough and the pretty hair turns nappy.

And lastly, for full disclosure, I am the sixth child of a single parent who worked two jobs in New York City for as long as I can remember to keep her children out of the ghetto and sorry men out of her and her life. All six went to college so I am not inferring that it can't be done. What I am saying is that it is not easy and it's made all the more difficult when the focus is on having a man, not a father.

Deidre: acknowledge your pain, your sorrow and your hurt. Journal about it. Talk about it. Get it moving so that it doesn't transfer itself to your beautiful baby girl or to your experience as a mother. Be the best parent that you can be. Be open. Be honest. And let Leah's father come to terms in his space and in his time.

Be at Peace.

(Jasai: hope you forgive the long post).

8:13 PM  
Anonymous jasai said...

Angel,

You could have taken up a whole evening and an entire next day if it would have meant getting that word to these women. Bless you mama!

8:34 PM  
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