I have two kids, and being a single mom, it is tough. The father is in a different state, and while he sends support, it is not enough. I still have to spend on these two since their dad can only do so much. Finances are much more difficult now that there is a pandemic. In March, businesses shut down and closed because of virus fear. How can people eat and pay for their bills without work?
The 2019 Conference About Happiness sealed the deal for me. It was as if I was meant to be there and to think, my sister just tagged me along. She was the one who needed to be in that type of conference for her work. It was a necessity for her, but for me, at that time I thought – What the heck did I get myself into? But then again, fate was unfolding for me. I had to accept it as it is because I deserve it.
For most individuals, they find it useless to complain about their hardships during this time of the pandemic. That is understandably one of the bravest things a person can do because, honestly, no one wants this. No one expects that this global health crisis will become an individual’s terrifying reality. But for single moms, this situation is crippling. It leaves them on pause, and there seems to be no way out of it. Everything is exhausting and depressing.
The Number One Struggle (Financial Strain)
Since a lot of companies are closed during this time, single moms can’t have something on the table. That is the reality in most countries. Well, they certainly understand every business’s decisions because these industries do not want to risk other people from getting infected. But the emotional and financial damage for single moms is unbearable. Single moms need their incomes, especially in times like this. But no one can promise that because no company is willing to pay any employee a full salary because it will financially strain the business. Sadly, it is a hopeless situation for both.
All single moms are hopeful. They are waiting to go back to their lives so they can have something for their family. These individuals are eager to become productive again because they know they only have themselves. They understand the struggle of raising kids alone, and this situation is discouraging them in finding ways to survive. Most of these single moms are confused, terrified, and worried about the financial devastation that this pandemic offers them in this period. But what else can they do?
In some unfortunate instances, these singles parents are more than willing to go to work regardless of the whole pandemic crisis. They somehow do not care to risk their lives only to provide for their children. They do not hesitate to expose themselves outside even if there is only a little chance they can receive financial assistance. These single parents understand that they can’t afford to get sick. But due to this pandemic lockdown, every hour of work they miss becomes too much. With all the rent, utility bills, food, and other necessities, a “no work, no pay” company policy is like a living hell.
Societal Judgment Based On Perceived Unfairness
For other people who don’t understand these single moms’ situation, they somehow easily conclude that these individuals are being entitled. That is because most governments in the countries around the world care to prioritize single parents’ needs at some point. And by that, other people complain and look at them as entitled individuals. But are they?
For most people with a stable and high paying salary, one can assume that they probably have savings. At some point, they do not care to worry about paying bills for the next couple of months. Perhaps they don’t struggle on a day to day basis because they already managed to prepare their necessities right after the announcement of the lockdown. But for some unfortunate single parents, every day is a struggle even before the pandemic begins. Just imagine their life right now that there is no guarantee of getting stable financial assistance. It is very tragic.
Realizations In Times Like This
Since there are lots of people in the world who live their lives nearly from paycheck to paycheck, we can assume that this global health crisis only worsens them. For single moms or those individuals who are barely making ends meet, this pandemic situation makes them emotionally and mentally unstable. Therefore, we can never blame these single parents’ cry for immediate financial assistance.
Being a mom to one child is difficult – so imagine having two kids without a husband; this is why I joined the 2018 Single mom Conference. I had to learn more about how to raise my kids since they are multi-racial, one of the many topics in the conference.
My first pregnancy was an unplanned one, and we were both in shock to learn that I was already on the way. We were planning to have a baby after three years, but it seemed God had another plan for giving us the baby early.
I recently gave birth to my only baby boy, and I somehow felt everything change after that. Instead of feeling excited and happy about the life ahead, I immediately felt extreme sadness, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings. Though my doctor told me that it was normal to have baby blues, I‘m entirely sure it wasn’t like that because the emotional dilemma took longer than expected. There’s something about my condition that told me that my depression wasn’t going anywhere.
What Is Postpartum Depression?
Science explains postpartum depression, also known as postnatal depression, as a condition that comes from hormonal changes, fatigue, and psychological adjustment that relates to motherhood. It gives new moms like me low energy that causes a long-term type of depression. The symptoms of the mental condition include feeling sad, tearful, worried, anxious, and stressed.
How PPD Affected Me
Postpartum depression affected me in a way that I found myself having trouble connecting with my newborn child. It was not that I didn’t want to be with him or anything. It just felt like I have this guilt of not going to be a good mom. I am sure I was ready to experience motherhood, but the emotional and psychological states I have right now tells me it was different. Though I was informed that postpartum depression could potentially escalate into something like suicide or have thoughts of hurting my baby, I’m pretty sure I haven’t reached that stage either.
After birth, primary care is mostly focused on the baby’s health. Well infant visits are more frequent than a mother’s postpartum visit to the obstetrician. To address this gap, Maria Muzik, MD, MSC, and co-authors emphasized the role of the pediatrician in screening postpartum depression: “Implementing a standard PPD screening using EPDS (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Screen) is very feasible in a busy pediatric primary care practice if local and online resources are identified and a clinic workflow is established ahead of implementation.”
How PPD Affects My Relationship
After I gave birth, I felt like I was also losing the relationship I had with my husband because he didn’t seem to understand my situation. There was this one time that he told me to snap out of it, but how was I supposed to? I would want to get out of this condition as much as he wanted me to, but I couldn’t. Our relationship was drifting apart, and all I can think of was getting divorced. It was the most straining times of our marriage because there was anger, confusion, guilt, arguments, and uncertainties. Due to my irrational thoughts, I also lost my interest in intimacy. It was not just about sex, but rather all those small connections we had such as touch, hugs, and kisses.
How My Husband Assisted Me With My PPD
After I went to seek help from a therapist, my husband and I fully understood what postpartum depression was all about. Due to the diagnosis, my relationship experienced a drastic change, and my husband became so considerate of my situation. He started to avoid putting additional pressure on my emotional and psychological condition. He avoided giving unsolicited advice and managed to gather the right things to say. He became so gentle in delivering his words and maintained calm actions. It was an inspiring moment that I encouraged myself to get better, not only for my husband but my newborn baby as well.
Even men are at risk of postpartum depression. Janice H. Goodman, PhD, RN, CS, finds that a “strong correlation of paternal postpartum depression with maternal postpartum depression has important implications for family health and well‐being.”
A study by Dr. O’Hara, Gorman, PhD, and co-authors suggest that “IPT is an efficacious treatment for postpartum depression. Interpersonal psychotherapy reduced depressive symptoms and improved social adjustment, and represents an alternative to pharmacotherapy, particularly for women who are breastfeeding.”
My mental condition was a traumatic experience where I came to the point of giving up. But with the love and understanding that my husband gave me, I managed to flip the other side of its story.
I did not lie, I just choose not to talk about it, but I never thought that it would haunt me.
It was the best day of my life, the day I gave birth to Aleya. I never thought that my nightmares would start haunting me that very same day. I began to feel fearful and suspicious people around me, even with my own husband at times. I thought it was just typical for a new mom to worry about her firstborn. I never thought that what I was experiencing was paranoia.
“There’s so much stigma about postpartum depression,” says Susan Hatters Friedman, MD, a psychiatrist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. “As a society, we expect it to be the happiest time of a woman’s life. A lot of women don’t report if they’re having symptoms.”
Marriage for me is a serious thing, so it was never an easy decision to make when I decided to marry someone with bipolar illness.
Problems pile up when a mental health condition tries to steal the scene. The idea that it is a lifelong condition and a life-threatening one at that is undoubtedly overwhelming and poses a severe threat to any relationship.
Motherhood brings a lot of happiness and a ton of pressure. You start to worry about much stuff, such as the baby should always be in perfect shape, the sweats, the diapers, the milk, the smell – everything should have to be perfect. Trying to be the perfect mom makes motherhood a crazy journey.