CHOICE SINGLE MOMS: THE NIGERIAN FACTOR.
It is one thing to become a single mom after ending a relationship or a marriage with a partner, but choosing to be a single mom from the start either by pregnancy or adoption is something entirely different, but becoming single mothers by choice is something fast becoming a fad in more advanced societies.
Here in Nigeria, I have met a good number of single moms who became so by circumstance, whether due to the breakup of a marriage or serious relationship, death or abscondment of a partner or an unplanned pregnancy; but I have not met, at least face to face with any Nigerian woman who decided to be a single mom from the onset, I have heard of some though. But like any other thing that is trending in more advanced societies, be sure it will soon be something people flaunt here in Nigeria without any remorse or regret.
Relationship dynamics are growing by the day, these days you find people who want to get married but do not want to have children, some people who want children but would rather adopt than conceive, some who prefer an anonymous sperm donor to having a man come back later to claim the child/children, and so many other variation one can think about. In Nigeria today, so many things that were seeing as alien to us before now, are comfortably gaining grounds now, but while I think there might be a couple of Nigerian choice single moms out there, I do not totally believe they made that choice just for the sake of it, something must have happened, something must have pushed them down the path of just resigning to fate and deciding to stay a happy mom and single.
Long before now, especially in Africa, marriage for most women simply means transiting from one level of dependency to another; it was a common belief that every of their need would be met by their husbands and not anymore by their parents. In Africa traditional society, getting pregnant without being married was close to a taboo, though it wasn’t exactly one, but the stigma surrounding it would make any woman think twice before embarking on such. And once a woman is married, she is expected to have severed every dependency on her parents, for example there is an old concept in Yoruba culture named ‘Dalemosu’ the concept refers to a woman who has been married but couldn’t stay under her husband’s roof for one reason or the other, the term is derogatory at its best as these set of women are often used as bad examples when advising young girls in the house or compound as they were being prepared for marriage; no one would really care about what was going on with the woman and her husband, or why she had to come back to her parents’ house as the belief then was, once you are married off to a man, you have to make it work somehow, and you no longer have a space/room in your father’s house. So, for that reason, a lot of women could not afford to be single moms as they were not equipped to live on their own or provide for their own needs.
But you will agree with me that things have changed and improved drastically even in Nigeria, we now have even single young women doing great things, breaking new grounds, starting up genuine businesses, and holding down top positions in the corporate world through their own capabilities and nothing else. These women have gone to challenge the status quo; they don’t have to depend on any man or on their parents for survival, whenever they want anything, they simply make it happen for themselves; and as a result of that, we now have women who can take care of themselves even if their husbands are not willing and these kind of women don’t go back to their parents’ houses when things go sour in their marriages, and by extension, the become choice single moms who are now steadily on the rise.
So why are choice single moms on the rise in Nigeria? Well my simple answer would be; most times, we guys are the cause, because many of us are ‘dicks’ sometimes. (Pardon my French). I have a friend who will never date a single girl with a child, no matter how young and well-mannered she is, another believes he could only date one out of pity or for some beneficial reason but he would never be committed to her; I always let them know they are both wrong and have no right to judge in that manner as they might not know the background story. Truth is, I haven’t met a 20 year old Nigerian lady who would initially plan out her life to be a single mom; every young girl wants to fall in love and get married because love is a beautiful thing and marriage is even more beautiful. But then, this young woman of 20 falls in love with a guy and three years down the lane she gets pregnant by him without planning for it, then, the once loving and doting boyfriend denies the girl and her pregnancy; the girl bears the shame from friends, parents sometimes, the church, and the society at large. She becomes a single mom but still has not given up on her education and love afterall, she is still young. As times goes on guys start taking interest again but once she tells them she has a son/daughter without a father at home, they judge her in their minds and stylishly step back. The one who doesn’t step back is actually staying because he feels he is doing her a favour or she happens to be his next meal ticket, as she’s not supposed to expect a commitment from any single guy because she is not all that ‘single’, the girl finds out, she is heartbroken and the cycle continues till she is 33, and then she decides to stay single to avoid any further heartbreak.
The scenario above is one out of many reasons why more Nigerian women are choosing to be single moms, and come to think of it, it seems that many Nigerian men are hypocrites when it comes to love, or what makes a single woman who has a child so different that she cannot expect to receive love? A man could have four children with three different women and he is still looked at as a prime catch for any woman, but women who have just one child can’t do the same and be looked at in the light of being someone’s wife. This is a double standard that we have inflicted on ourselves, one that we need to work on changing.
So, do you have a story to share, someone’s experience or a totally different take on this issue? Just drop them in the comment section. Stay blessed!