Why My Child Is Not Less Than Your Child
In the short 9.5 months since my daughter was brought into the world, I’ve learned that people pity her for what she came into. They pity that she has no visible father, that she is in a single parent home--basically that she “lacks” in some way. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that being a single parent isn’t easy (believe me, I live it every day), but there isn’t anything wrong with it. When people hear “single parent”, they often stereotype and think of a woman in particular, typically who has multiple children, lives in poverty in a run down apartment, is unsuccessful, etc. They think of a child who does poorly in school, who isn’t well taken care of, and is basically not well provided for. Being in a single parent home doesn’t necessarily mean we are struggling, that my child isn’t being fed, or that I’m out looking for a replacement for my baby’s father. Any one of these things could be true or false about me or any other single parent you see.
I want to get something straight before I continue. No person can take the place of an absent parent, but I have a God who is powerful enough to override that void. He is not an in and out Father or an absent Father. He will never disappoint us like every single one of us has already done and will surely do again.
Yes, being a single parent is difficult. I work 60-70 hours a week at two jobs to provide for us, I am the only parent my baby girl sees, but I am also the only one she knows. What bothers me is the bias of negativity attributed to not just single mothers, but their children. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the phrase, “but, it would be better if Adelaide had a father”. It places a bastardization on my daughter in the legal system, in the school system, and with her peers. In the Christian community, there aren’t really that many of us who are single parents. It’s almost like we, along with our children, are singled out-unintentionally so. The church is completely unprepared to deal with single parent homes. While God intended for there to be a godly man and woman raising a child, we live in a broken world where that is most certainly not the case anymore.
Why does our society see my child as one in lack or one who is less than? She is happy, provided for, and loved beyond measure. She has family all around her that stand in the gap. Why does it matter if they are not blood related? My Adelaide will see the strength, tenacity, and unwavering faith it takes to be a single parent, and it will show her that she can do anything. It will teach her to be strong, even when she feels like she can’t go on, that she has family all around her, and one missing person doesn’t need to make a difference. That societal norms are not all that normal anymore, and that's okay. I believe that Adelaide starting out in a single parent home has already given her an incredible strength. She is so patient with me, and smiles at me when I’m stressed, and gives me hugs and kisses when I definitely don’t deserve them. She is the kindest person I have ever met in my entire life.
For months after my ex-husband’s affair, I blamed myself for him leaving. How could I do this to my daughter? I’m already such a horrible mother, and she isn’t even here yet. Clearly, this is all my fault. All I could hear was Tyra from America’s Next Top Model shouting “we were all rooting for you!" I let everyone down, but most importantly my daughter. One day, someone at church told me something profound and powerful, and I’ve held onto it every day since: “Adelaide will be so much stronger for this, and she’s going to brag to all of her friends when she grows up because your struggles gave her strength.” I would do it all over again for you, darling.
I will no longer apologize for mine and my daughter’s story because it makes you feel uncomfortable. My baby doesn’t need her biological father to be whole, she doesn’t need someone who would teach her the coward’s way out, and she sure doesn’t need anyone who doesn’t see what an extraordinary human being she is. She deserves a father who loves her and shows her how much her Heavenly Father loves and values her as His Daughter, but until that time comes...
Adelaide has already learned a most valuable lesson in her young age:
Quality over quantity.