Having a Baby Alone is the Bravest Choice a Woman Can Make

It’s summertime, and pictures of babies are clogging up everybody’s newsfeeds — sleeping babies, happy babies wearing the latest summer outfit, and babies growing their first teeth or taking their first walks. What isn’t pictured is the struggle endured by single mothers, and the act of bravery women commit when raising children alone. Of the 12.2 million single-parent families in 2012, 84% were headed by females, according to Single Mother Guide.

Source: Single Mother Guide.

These women face the world alone, making sacrifices to put their child first. It can often be extremely scary for mothers; according to the National Women's Law Center, 40.9% of female-headed households are at the poverty level, compared to 21.9% of male-headed households. Mothers tend to work multiple part-time jobs in order to support their children. Up to half of single mothers' wages go to childcare. These women sacrifice playtime, seeing their baby’s “firsts,” and general bonding time in order to support their child financially. Depending on the mother’s circumstances, their jobs may not be gratifying, adding to the amount of stress these women experience.

It takes bravery to face the challenges of working multiple jobs, paying for expensive daycare, and living in poverty. Some women do not have support systems to help during trying times, and must rely on their admirable inner sense of courage. Despite overwork and exhaustion, single mothers put on a brave face to play one more round of patty-cake, sing one more lullaby, or change one more diaper.

I admire my mother for choosing to adopt two babies (my sister from El Salvador, and me from India) as a single mother because she believed that was her purpose in life. I also admire my sister, who is raising my four nephews (a 17-month-old, seven-year-old, and twin eight-year-olds) by herself. All women who raise children by themselves are true heroes.