I was a big fan of Snow White when I was a child. My mind had probably been wired to hope for that one man who would sweep me off my feet and bring me to his castle.
We'd have beautiful children so we could play games without worries in the world-nothing but plenty of food, laughter and love.
Then I grew up.
Fast-forward many years after, and I find myself a single mom by separation. I married at 26, but it didn't turn out well.
This happened when my youngest was still a newborn. Since then, not a few times have I been asked, "Are you affected by how other people perceive single mothers?"
"Honestly, not really," I would say. "Or rather, I just didn't mind it. I was too busy surviving."
Would I have answered differently if I was unmarried, considered too young to marry, financially dependent or had gotten pregnant for failure to use contraception? I wouldn't know, but other women may have also dealt with this question.
Single parenting arises from bravely choosing to become one, or out of separation and annulment of marriage. There is no definitive story that will explain the reasons for being, the challenges, and the social stigma a single mom goes through, because there are as many stories as there are single moms in our country.
In the first few years of becoming a single mom, I experienced how it was to be seen in a different light once people found out about my marital status. As if I didn't know they were sizing me up, they would ask me what my plans were, what I did for a living, if the father was contributing financially, what my family thought of what happened, if I had a boyfriend, if he had a girlfriend, and so on.
I very rarely went into details. I just thought it wouldn't really change anything. I had a choice between being affected or not, and chose the latter.
In time I started wondering how difficult it could be for single moms to be directly or indirectly judged.
There are common notions that equate single moms with disgrace, dishonor and humiliation for a family, and that includes the belief that single moms are promiscuous, unconventional and an easier catch than single non-parents.
My mom was very conservative, but she brought me up with a liberal thinking. My father, the greatest love of her life, passed away when my brothers and I were barely teenagers. I surmise that bringing up four children on her own has brought her much wisdom.
When my marriage failed, mom and the family had nothing but love and support for my decision.
I went through self-pity, resentment, vulnerability and lack of self-esteem. I eventually learned many lessons, and I didn't take a long time to get back on my feet.