“Liking Kawayan”: Confessions of Single Mothers

55x46-pastel
Painting by Vicente Romero Redondo.

The thought of going through the pregnancy alone frightened me. The thought of being a single mom scared me. But, I asked God that if I was meant to do at least one great deed in my life, let it be me being a mother.                                                                                                

— Belle

Seeing those two red strips ominously appearing on the white panel of the testing stick is nothing short of cataclysmic. I then knew it wouldn’t be a smooth ride henceforth. Being pregnant at seventeen wasn’t exactly a fairy tale — though it seems like the vogue nowadays, you know, teen pregnancy and all. I dreamt of graduating, getting a job, finding Mr. Right, planning a wedding — you know, pre-wedding photoshoots, bridal gowns, honeymoon… all the works — having kids and whatnot. As it turned out, Mr Right — or, at least, he seemed to be back then — came sooner than scheduled. A couple of months after, I was left with a gorgeous baby girl and an uncertain future ahead.

Those two brief months of steamy romance hurt too many. It hurt me. It hurt him. It hurt my parents. And, perhaps, it hurt my daughter even. Being too young to get pregnant, I was scared. Thoughts of terminating the pregnancy were inevitable. My boyfriend’s disappearing act made things worse. I was alone. I could not tell my parents. I could not tell my friends. And, my boyfriend vanished into thin air. How I wished I could undo things and go on my merry way as if nothing happened. The pills presented an easy way out. But, I am glad I didn’t do it. If I did, I couldn’t have forgiven myself.

 

 

Vicente Romero Redondo
Painting by Vicente Romero Redondo.

Have you ever heard about having twice the love, twice the joy and twice the fun? Well, if you haven’t, you may say you heard it first from me. I have two of the best vocations in the world: a father and a mother.

— Anne

Just when you think everything is laid out, suddenly life happens. Or, if you prefer a rather foul mouth, shit happens. It did happen to me. I chose to marry at the right age hoping it would be to the right guy. Less than a year into the marriage, whatever it was we thought to be love burnt too hot and died too quickly.

Honeymoon was brief. There was an even more urgent call than cuddling beneath the sheet. I got pregnant. I was ready. I waited for this. I was until I found myself abandoned.

There is nothing more frustrating than seeing my daughter lying in bed sick, and I can’t seem to do anything about it. Money can get difficult at times and it seems to run out when you badly need it. I can’t believe thinking how many times have I frustrated myself in the mercy of loansharks. I would pawn my soul to the devil if it means giving what my daughter needs.

I grew up in a broken and rather dysfunctional family. I know how difficult it is growing up in one. And, I feel scared for my daughter. I want her to live a normal life. That is why despite what happened between my husband and me, I am still willing to see him fulfill his rights and obligations as a father — if not as a husband. All I want is for my daughter to have the best in life.

I try so hard in everything that I do. I believe you only get one shot at life. You might as well give it everything you’ve got. As a single mom, I have to play both roles: as a father and as a mother. I am not saying being a single parent is nobler than, say, being “regular couple” parents — if there is such a term. What I mean is being a single parent may require one to double her efforts. And, it is not an easy feat. That is why when people say how strong a woman I am, I cannot help but take pride in it. After all, seeing my daughter grow up to be an amazing girl is the greatest pat on my back, you know, saying: Anne, you did a great job.

 

 

81x65-pastel
Painting by Vicente Romero Redondo.

I mean, yes, I did some reckless things in poor judgment back then. But, I am a hundred percent sure I did the right call when I chose to become a mother. I made the right call when I gave my son his chance at life. I made the right call when I did everything to make my son’s life worth the while.  

— Dee

I love to win. I don’t easily back down. I am confident with what I can do and I know I am meant to do great things. So, imagine my fright, my frustration and my disappointment when I learned I was pregnant. I lived a fast-pace life being a corporate slave. I blinked the weekdays away and I drank the weekends down. My relationships were brief and temporary. As they say, I was always “on the go”. The only commitment I kept was with my job and my ambition.

Ironically, my life took a detour as quickly as a quickie. I partied hard one Saturday night, drank one glass too much and got intimate with some random guy at the bar. A month after, I found out I was pregnant. Did I try to look for the guy? Yes, I did. After all, I was scared and I needed somebody to reassure me that things were going to be just fine. Did I ask him to marry me and take responsibility? No, I did not. I knew I could handle things myself. Being at the mercy of somebody simply went against every feministic bone in my body. Did I think of going for an abortion? I can proudly say I did not. I never thought of it. Yes, of course, the pregnancy took me by surprise but the thought of being a mother fulfilled some unknown longing in me. The only regret that I had was the fact that it caught me offguard.

My parents were surprisingly okay with it though. After a couple of days of playing deaf-mute with me, they sat with me and talked about my plans. I laid all my cards on the table. They trusted me and they showed their support all throughout. But, the people around took it rather poorly. They seemed to be disappointed with me and it was very frustrating on my part. Until now, every time they see my son, it is easy for them to remember how I got pregnant. They tend to be oblivious to how I went through the experience gracefully, how happy my parents were when they first cradled their grandson in their arms, how blessed we felt as a family for welcoming a gorgeous little boy.

I felt very sad one time when he came home asking for his father. Apparently, one classmate told him his father got drowned in soup (nalumos sa sabaw). Another called him “anak sa liking kawayan” — which is obviously in reference to the story of Malakas and Maganda. I did not know what to say. I feared that he might be too young to understand. All that I could do was hug him and reassure him that he had a loving family in us — and that being likened to Malakas and Maganda wasn’t exactly bad a bargain.

P.S. The stunning paintings used in this article are done by Vicente Romero Redondo. You may visit his blog here.

 

 

marjodegoro

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24 thoughts on ““Liking Kawayan”: Confessions of Single Mothers

  1. I found you via Roberta and I’m glad. I thought maybe the one word on teh title of the blog was Filipino. I read on.. thanks for posting. It resonates a lot with me.
    I got pregnant in my last year in college, in Manila. My parents didn’t know. They had been living in Africa then. Fortunately, I managrd to graduate. I wrote my final exams 2 weeks before giving birth. Although my boyfriend was an absent father, his father paid for everything. My daughter grew up believing we were sisters as my parents looked after her and made her their own. That’s the short of it…
    I moved to Africa, got married and had another child but the marriage quickly ended in divorce and I was then a single mom, good and proper…
    I’m with my 2nd husband and we have a toddler. It is easier to have someone to help raise a child, thats for sure. I’m older now and I am more chilled so although we have fights, staying together has more advantages and it’s the happier option. We can’t have perfect.
    Regrets? Sometimes… though I love all 3 children of mine. But yes, actions have consequences.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you 🙂 And thank you for sharing.
        Single mothers, especially working ones, have it tough. Some don’t even have a proper support system. Society must be kinder and loving.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful article and beautiful website/blog. I am so pleased to have such talent join me on my website. Sometimes my blogs are deep and exploring of the self…and other times they are simple homemaking advice. There is something for everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

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