“I’m a Mother Too!”: How Society Perceives Single Mothers

Posted on April 7, 2012 in Society

By Shivangi Singh:

From a very tender age, a girl starts nurturing the people or the things in her surroundings. While a boy’s childhood is filled with toys like guns that promote destructive tendencies, a girl plays with her dollhouse, tending to each and every need of all her toys. She nurtures and cares for even her imaginary friends. Fortunately for the world, a girl transforms into a woman with the same thought at core. Top management institutions in India recently took the initiative to reserve 50% seats for women not because of political pressure but due to the realization that in order to truly and phenomenally develop an organization, the presence of the female psyche is highly important. It has been recognized that home management, which for ages has been done predominantly by women, is the most complex and stressful form of management.

Inside every girl is a mother, who nurtures, cares, loves and sees the best in everyone. It’s not uncommon to see a young girl elated at the sight of a baby and a boy of the same age flinching from it. It’s an indicator of their inherent thought process. A woman has the capability to take care of any child as her own. Therefore, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to state that a woman can easily bring up a child without the presence of a man. Globally, 90% of children and teenagers working as baby-sitters are girls, mostly because the parents don’t trust boys with the job. In our society too, if relatives have to leave urgently for some place without their child, they entitle a girl in the house with the duty to take care of the child. Then why do the same people question a strong, independent woman when she seeks to brave everything and bring up a child as her own entirely by herself, is beyond understanding.

In a society that runs more on gossip than facts, the real problem is that the misunderstood lot is forced to remain in their sorry state, because no one lends ears to their pleas. As soon as the myopic society sees an unmarried woman with a child, the gossip mills start churning out the spiciest chunks. The single mother is seen as an easy target. Everything from her character, morality and clothes to her parents are questioned.  The worst part is the social stigma attached to single mothers, condemning them to feel left-out, lonely and even guilty. Single mothers are sinners in the eyes of our society. The same society then organizes a grand function and invites Sushmita Sen for inauguration; she is after all a fine example of a successful woman- highlighting the wide class divide in India. Why can’t the same rules apply to the middle class and the celebrities? Is it really necessary to make a poor, innocent lady’s life miserable in the name of moral policing? Society strongly needs to question itself on this one!

While it’s too strong a dream for an Indian girl from the lower class, an upper middle class single mother is discriminated against and made to suffer awful lot of embarrassment at schools and hospitals refusing to take admissions without the father’s name properly in place. However, the basic problem faced by single mothers is not the society or these institutions but their own parents or families. The relatives question the girl’s moral fabric while the parents take the bitter pill for indecent upbringing. Consequently, unhappy parents constantly demoralise their daughter. All that the parents wish for is to leave their children with a loving family. This purpose can be solved by single motherhood, provided single mothers are given their fair share of rights to live in this society without being stereotyped as outcasts.

The young ladies of India are a powerful and ambitious lot. They are aware of just how capable they are in handling all aspects of life with the perfect balance and with refined education and unmatched financial status; women have definitely proved their mettle. When they chose to assert their freedom and be the mother they always wanted to be and nurture a child single-handedly, they send out a strong message to the sickly male-dominated society that yells out loud that they are individuals with equal rights and capabilities. The reason why the society is so uptight about single mothers and their status is because they are scared of the women power. They fear their traditions would be challenged. The ego that blinds them threatens them to attach the stigma and to stereotype single mothers. The single mothers today are proving them wrong.