Single motherhood in my part of the world is…to say frowned upon is a HUGE understatement! The passing years have made people more courteous about it these days; she is not scorned in the face; they do so behind her back. She is applauded for the courage to take on the responsibility alone; but criticized and blacklisted to anyone who would listen. She is hailed by religious neighbours for not terminating the pregnancy but also insulted for not knowing better and getting pregnant in the first place.
Why the double face, I have no idea. Even religious leaders who overtly speak against prejudice in their congregations would find such a woman an unsuitable partner for their sons. But I doubt single fathers would be viewed the same way. They would rather be admired and be given the podium to encourage fellow men in same circumstances. I thought I had a fair idea of the ‘average’ prejudicial thoughts running through the mind of the Ghanaian which are harsh just to say the least until I heard an outspoken counsellor on TV say children born out wedlock being demonic. I was appalled! Really? Even Jesus was born out of wedlock but even the atheist would think twice to make such a pronouncement. But everyone is entitled to his opinion so we leave it at that.
It’s rather unfortunate that when an unmarried woman takes seed, she suffers the shame alone with the evidence protruding for all to see whiles the seed-planter goes about his duties as if nothing has happened. If she is lucky to get married, then the shame goes away but if not, the only defensive mechanism she has is to put on the “I-don’t-care-what-other-people-think” attitude to survive the never-ending social ostracism.
The world is hard to live in as it is and such external pressure is too much topping for one person to swallow. Most single mothers would swear that they don’t have regrets having their children and if they were to relive their lives, they would make the same choices they made in this life but I am sure there are also some out there who wished they had waited. But everyone makes mistakes and it is not fair to punish someone for their mistakes throughout their lifetime by the ‘born one’ stigma.
It could happen to you, your sister, your friend or relative and the fact that it didn’t doesn’t make you any better than the woman next door with no baby daddy. She is a woman, delicate like any other, who grew up with dreams of living with a complete home to run but life happened. So instead of wasting time judging her, show her love. She needs it just as you do.
Let’s make an effort to make life a little more comfortable for the socially disfavoured and we will be making this world a better place, one person at a time.