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having a baby alone

42 replies

Rachel1969 · 27/03/2001 10:48

I'm researching an article looking at the reality of being a single parent for women today - I need to talk to professional women who were married for several years and then found themselves on their own with child/children.
I want to talk about how they juggle their career with being a single parent.
If you're interested please email me at [email protected]

OP posts:

Emzie · 29/03/2001 19:07

Croppy/ Cc et al....All you NOT single mums out there who have friends who wanna go out and meet a man/have fun I do too...I am a trendy,very attractive, lively, spirited single mum with a gorgeous two-year-old boy my ex-partner walked out when our baby son was 4-months (bastard)we have tried about 3/4 times to salvage the relationship but it simply doesn't work. He is too selfish, too underachieving mean and lazy, I feel I deserve better and I would dearly love a brother or sister for my darling son. I hate the idea of hanging out in bars but it is one answer to at least meeting some new men, I work in a male dominated enviroment but they're married or just plain revolting... I'd like a list of the city places to go on THursdays or to meet up with like-minded 30 somethings - practically all my friends are in relationships/marriages with young kids or ones on the way. I have a live-in nanny which means I am very stretched financially but its worth every penny since I can go out at night and play! My ex doesn't really give two hoots about me and sees our son Sundays only its easy for him to have a life but not for us girls .HELP.


Croppy · 30/03/2001 07:10

Emzie, a bit busy at the mo but wll come back to you later - I promise!


Cherrian · 30/03/2001 22:48

Emzie, I too am a single mum by default - my husband walked out on our 12 year relationship (married 7 years) and our 5 year old daughter last year to be with someone else, and I am left in my mid forties (parenthood came late) feeling too young to give up on any hope of meeting someone else but too old to go clubbing etc. Even if I wanted to, getting out is hard. I think you've done the right thing to get live in help. I wish I could afford to, especially as I don't have a particularly strong support network to call on - most of my friends have children of their own and can't come round to look after mine, even if they wanted to, so I spend most evenings at home feeling shattered and frequently pretty resentful that I am carrying the emotional burden and all the responsiblity for our daughter. I would love to go out and have a good time, but after so long being with part of a couple, I have rather lost touch with how to do that on my own. I really miss the companionship and support of him being there in the morning and at night and that feeling of being able to let go now because someone else is there who cares just as much as you do about your child. One of the more painful things, leaving aside my own feelings of being rejected in favour of someone else, has been to see him turn from a really devoted father into a rather self centred person who doesn't seem able to put her needs before his own. School holidays are a particular challenge because school offers a structure and some respite from the ongoing intensity of a one on one child/parent relationship. I find I have to plan ahead far more than I did before, to be sure we get lots of company to make up for the lack of anyone else to bounce things off at home. Is anyone else out there in a similar situation I wonder. How do you cope? Any good ideas. I find going on the net helpful, although I would prefer a real flesh and blood person to talk to! And I read a lot and talk on the phone to friends. But I find that people don't invite me to dinners - it's as if I've become a bit of a social pariah. And if I am invited to anything, it is usually by a girlfriend when her husband is away. This is all a bit jumbled, but would be glad to hear other people's experiences.


Theresa847 · 01/04/2001 16:39

I am a single mother of a 3 yr old beautiful litte boy. I had been with my partner for 2 yrs when I just found out last week i am 7 weeks pregnant again. My partner has left me stating he doesnt want anything to do with me or the baby. i havent heard from him since, nor do I think, I am likely too.

I am ecstatic that I am pregnant as I was an only child and didnt want Lewis to be brought up on his own, and I feel very content with things as they are now (i think!!)

I would like to hear from ANYONE who shares a similar experience - and survived.


Emzie · 01/04/2001 22:00

I am still optimistic despite my negative feelings at the moment, especially for my ex-partner who is in Sri Lanka for the 'cricket' probably drinking himself stupid (doesn't take much!)Cherrian - there IS light at the end of the tunnel whatever age you are..I strongly believe it, in all cases its a question of getting out there regularly even if you don't feel like and I don' I have virtually zilch single 'up for it' girlfriends, which is why I was VERY interested in CROPPY's ideas (still waiting) to get us single mums together for going out and being supportive and having a laugh too. My unsociable working hours at National newspaper don't help either, plus lousy male colleagues and not brilliant connections. I know what you mean about being the 'odd' one out and I am even dreading a friend's wedding NEXT summer since I feel so unworthy - itrs crap because I loook good and DESERVE someone much better than I had, we all do.Perhaps I may take up my own advice now...


Croppy · 02/04/2001 13:02

Right Emzie. Thursday evening is the night to go out, any time after about 6 - 6.30pm. For general drinking haunts, good bets are Corney and Barrow and Brasserie Rocque in Broadgate Circle (right next to Liverpool Street Station), the Slug and Lettuce on Cornhill and also the corner of Walbrook and Queen Victoria Street and the Tao bar at 11 Bow Lane EC4. If you would like to go more upmarket, you are best off trying the Champagne Bar at the Conran owned Great Eastern Hotel (again next to Liverpool St Station), or the bar at the Conran owned Coq D'Argent (No. 1 Poulty). The Poet at Aldgate is also likely to provide good pickings.

Good Luck!


Emzie · 02/04/2001 15:47

Thanks Croppy - I will report back with anything of interest. By the way you may ( or indeed anyone else reading this )like to pass your friend or others my email address [email protected] since I am researching this predicament further with another journalist friend for a feature with a view to a forum/meeting - this is for thirtysomething/early forties women with or without kids not married/never been married/live alone/independent/financially secure/been single for as long as they can bear to remember/contemplating motherhood alone/sick of asking literally anyone if they know any nice unattached 'normal' blokes and are sick of hearing about others' successes i.e. despair of ever finding the right man blah blah usual swan song. And thanks again!


Jayc · 03/04/2001 11:29

I've been longing for some more single mums to join these discussions. And now I feel a bit at a loss for words! Maybe its all a bit close. It ain't easy is it? Like Emzie, I really don't feel like going out to bars, but I can't seem to think of good alternatives. And like Cherrian, I too often end up at home, shattered and watching bad T.V. and trying to fight those crippling feelings of isolation and resentment. One thing I've found is that the whole experience of being a mother is such a radical change that its difficult to reconcile it with the social being I was before my daughter was born. I'm afraid I've forgotten how to do the whole dating thing, how to meet new men, maybe even how to be attractive to the opposite sex! I can't really picture it at all. I guess the only solution to this is to try it but the stakes seem so much higher. It was one thing to bring totally inappropriate, confused and very self-centered men into my life before, its an entirely different proposition now. Then again maybe the challenge is to believe that there are decent men out there to meet. I'm sure a positive attitude and confidence are key (I sound like Bridgit Jones - I'll be advocating inner poise any minute now!)
Theresa847 it sounds like one thing you do have is a positive outlook. You sound so thrilled to be pregnant and that is wonderful and makes me sure that you will find a way through and come out kicking (and smiling).
Has anyone tried Gingerbread? Do they do social things? Should we try and organise outings?


Perempuan · 04/04/2001 07:53

Hello everyone,I am new in the whole internet things.

I am married in 95, in late 97 I have my only child and somewhere in june 99 I am seperated from my husband.It is particularly hard for me financially
since I depended on my husband 100%.

However I am much happier as I do not feel oppressed any more.My husband is a good man but he is the typical traditional kind.My child who was a baby at that time used to cry up to 2 hrs with very little stopping in between,I remember my husband getting very angry and ask me to make
our baby stop crying,whenever I fail this he will
told me what a lousy mother I am. And a lot of others suppressing experiences I had.

Now I am happy we are seperated. However I am also a traditional person myself mybe not in everything,but I guess I am still traditional.I am not happy being single and I am not happy being married to my husband either.

I am no longer in love with my husband but I still care for him after all he is the father of our child.

I know that if I want to find another husband I have to divorce my husband, but I still want our
present relationship to carry on,that is every weekend me,our child and my husband are a family
he still do not spend as much time with our child
as I would like him to,the longest he play with my
child is 2 hrs and that with me around, our child will cried when he is left with my husband and my
husband can't stand this,he would ask me to take over the care or play.

I can see that our child is very happy when we are all together,our child is also happy when he is just with me during the weekdays but, if I miss
one weekend our child start to ask for my husband.

I think I want to leave my husband for good,that is divorce but our child will be sad, my husband will be upset and I am not happy too.

I do not know how to date or how to find a date,our marriage is a arranged marriage,I did love my husband before. so to cherrian and all single mothers in mumsnet who want to find a new
relationship ,where do you start? any tip?

And who going to look after the child if you can't afford childcare or nanny during the weekend? I went to school on weekdays monday to thursday and friday is me and my child day, my budget is tight.

My be I should stay where my relationship at now until I can stand on my own financially,but that is not fair to my husband he should know now,I want to tell him but I afraid he will be angry,hate me and refused to see our child ,then I will really be alone.


Maika · 04/04/2001 10:17

Actually there is a lot to be said of single mother hood, if you haven't found the man of your dreams and you are closing in on the age of 36, I think you have quite the right to start contemplating about doing it alone, , what is the point of living with a boring man and making yourself unhappy just to have children , I have a ten yr. old boy , his father who is a scruffy irresponsible creature, sometimes sleeps on my coach and I try my best to get on with it: You do need some money power, some good friends
surrounding you and you do not have to be afraid to ask for help ; I think women have amazing capabilities in all fields especially this one, lets face it!!! The joy of having a child is really a wonderful adventure, it makes you become less selfcentered and a child yourself.
I have throughly enjoyed the experience ! I live in Italy and you would be amazed how many single mother friends I have, I am not burdened with guilt because I see so many unhappy married woman struggling to get along with their companions!!Without seeming to be superficial !I say "go for it"and enjoy !


Hedgehog · 04/04/2001 12:38

Hi, I am a working 38 year old mother of 4 young children, ranging from 2 to 8 years of age. I am presently in the process of divorcing from an abusive, violent, alcoholic, work-shy husband. I am extremely lucky to be financially independant and to have found a fantastic au-pair.

I must say that life as a single, working mother is extremely tough, I never get a second to myself as I always put my children's interests first. I cannot afford a horde of cleaning ladies, especially as my husband has left me a mountain of debts, and my evenings, after having put the children to bed, consist of washing and cleaning.

In spite of the utter exhaustion, I absolutely adore my children and wouldn't miss them for the world, however there are times when I really feel in need of a holiday far away from children.

I personally feel that I am much better off bringing up my children on my own, with a sensible work-ethic, rather than subjecting them to the corrosive example given by a permanently drunken, lazy, deliberately out of work father. I do feel that children need both female and male examples, so, in order to balance the family and to show my children that not all men are bad, I took a male au-pair, who so far has proved to be excellent.

I believe that there are decent, responsible men out there somewhere but I personally am too afraid of repeating the experience of my catastrophic marriage.


Lizzer · 04/04/2001 15:55

I think you are an inspiration to every mother and what a fantastic idea taking on a male au-pair to strike a balance within your new, improved family! I am a single Mum myself and left my 3 yr relationship with my daughter's father when I was 7 months pregnant. He too had all the qualities (bad word) that your husband possessed and I toyed with the whole 'but maybe he'll change' theory for a while, finally making the (right) desicion that me and baby would be better off without him. So daunted as I was at the prospect of becoming a 25yr old single parent I moved back to my parent's house and out of the area when my maternity leave started. I can honestly say that it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I did not return to my boring, minimum wage job but recently started training for voluntary work with the NSPCC. Having my daughter ( now 15 months and absolutely thriving ) has motivated me to start an open uni course and my life is back on track away from the terrible abusive relationship me and my daughter would now be in. I can't believe there are still people who think that it is 'simply awful' to be a single parent family, when a double parent family would really have been the worst choice for me and many, many others....
But Hedgehog my hat is off to you with FOUR children in tow, you really deserve a medal!!


Croppy · 04/04/2001 16:07

Hedgehog and Lizzer, you are obviously both very brave and strong women. Hats off to you for remaining positive!


Tigermoth · 04/04/2001 16:14

Hedgehog, I, too, was very moved by what you wrote. Sounds like very hard work, but as you imply, worth evey minute to have the love of four children and not have to suffer a loveless marriage.

Very glad your male au pair arrangment is working out for you. If you have a spare hour or two (probaly not, I should imagine) you may want to check out the childminder v nursery message board under the Going Back To Work topic, where the issue of male children's carers was discussed at great length.


Lizzer · 04/04/2001 17:39

Many thanks Croppy for your kind words, I don't think I've been called brave or strong before, (the words dizzy and blonde do crop up quite frequently though!! ) I was touched, funny how it's easier to write things down for all to read rather than saying them out loud isn't it?! Anyway, thanks that was lovely to read, made my day!! ( Still reckon hedgehog deserves far more praise with the 4 kids theory!! )


Hedgehog · 05/04/2001 06:57

Thank you Lizzer, Croppy and Tigermoth for your praise, it is so nice to hear some encouragement!

I am still a bundle of nerves at the moment but fortunately I live in mainland Europe and my husband is back in England. Thankfully the childcare provisions in this country are fantastic, an example that Tony Blair could learn from!!! and the au-pair picks the children up after school / pre-school / crèche.

After years of effectively being a prisoner in my own home, I am now slowly starting to make contact with old friends and have even managed to go out twice! After years of desperately trying to see the "good" in my husband, after years of hoping in vain that he would change, something finally snapped when he became violent, I threw him out and obtained a barring order. I have lost far too much weight in the process but the sense of relief is enormous. I can finally start being ME again instead of living in fear of a vodka bottle. It is so wonderful!!!

Thankfully my children are all very bright and healthy (I put it down to having breast fed them all for a long period of time!) and are slowly recovering from the trauma. They had to witness some very unpleasant scenes, so all I can say to anyone in a similar situation is that a loving single mother is MUCH better than a fearful, anxious, stressed wraith of a mother desperately trying to keep a disasterous, abusive marriage together. Unfortunately I did not realise how much of a wraith of my former self I had become until I had finally taken the step of throwing out my husband. I was so tired, fearful and worn down, and, to a certain extent, the drunken abuse had become my "normality". So, anyone in that situation, GET OUT NOW before you and your children are made to suffer as much as we were. Life without a man can be great too!


Croppy · 05/04/2001 07:29

Yet again Hedgehog you message highlights how important access to good quality affordable childcare is. Oh how I wish our government would focus on this rather than tweaking around with SMP and so on....


Sml · 05/04/2001 08:45

You raise a lot of points in your message, and it sounds as though you really aren't sure what to do next? You sound very much alone - is it possible to talk to your family?
A few things occurred to me reading your posting:
your child must be quite young. Actually, I think 2 hours at a stretch is not an unreasonable amount of time for your husband to spend with a child of 3, if he is genuinely interested in and doing things with the child in this period. Of course, it would be better if he spent longer with his child, but maybe he will find it more rewarding as his child gets older.
I too got criticised by my husband when I couldn't stop the babies crying - do they think we've got a special switch to turn them off then?? But since I've got more experience of being married and being a mum, I've got more confident. I think some men do have very high expectations that we can't fulfil in the early days of marriage when we are still learning things that perhaps our mothers should have trained us in better! They remember their mother from when they were older, and she was more experienced - they didn't see their mothers making a mess of things in the early days! But it's important to keep it in perspective; it does get better. Being married is quite hard work sometimes!
It is difficult to see from your message just why you want to divorce, so I guess maybe there is a lot more that you don't feel able to talk about on the internet.
If you do decide on divorce, do you really think your husband is bad enough to refuse to see his child or contribute any money again? If you really have good grounds for thinking this, then I wouldn't feel guilty about not telling him until the time was right if it was me, because you are acting in the child's best interests after all.
But from what you have said (though I appreciate there may be a lot more), I have to say that I personally would give it another go for the sake of your child. Stop thinking about how your husband doesn't live up to your expectations, and think about how you can live up to his. Have lots of children, and when they're grown up, do your own thing.
Apologies if this sounds a bit prescriptive - it's not a universal declaration against divorce, there are lots of things I wouldn't put up with in a marriage, eg alcohol.


Jayc · 05/04/2001 09:23

Yes, hats off to Lizzer and Hedgehog. You really sound inspirational (although I bet sometimes you don't feel like it!). The male au-pair is a great idea. I also really liked the posting from Maika. Maika, you're right, the kids are wonderful and we always need to remember how lucky we are to have them, and how lucky some of us are to be able to make choices about having them on our own or in couples.


Lizzer · 05/04/2001 09:27

Yes, I so agree with what you're saying Hedgehog as far as the 'living in fear of the bottle' goes. It totally rules your life as well as their's. I too was a shadow of my former self and lost contact with all my former friends, you just don't have time when you're dealing with a man like that, plus the jealous accusations that usually occur when you do try and have a bit of 'me' time, it's just not worth it. They are just plain bullies and I'd encourage any woman not to stand for it however hard it is to go, you are right when you say it just becomes your view of what 'normal' is. They are domineering and make it seem like you wouldn't have a life at all if you didn't have them. This is, of course, rubbish and I have such a good life now. I am now back in touch with old college friends and met loads of new ones along the way. My life is so varied and exciting which I'm sure helps my little girl's confidence and imagination ( I too breast fed for quite a while (1yr) which I hope has helped her development )yet has a great stability which I'm certain could not have been achieved in a destructive relationship. We have not got a great income for ourselves, but with the love and support in her extented family- we live not only with my Mum and Dad ( who are great) but also my 7 yr old sister who is so close to my little girl they are more like sisters - I feel once I get my degree and on the right career path I will be both mother and father to her. Some might say this is impossible and that children need a male role model but she has my dad and my 21yr old brother to fulfill that role, like you have your au-pair. They have much more to offer than her own father, who incidently stopping visiting when she was just 4 months old and did not even buy so much as a a card for her 1st birthday. Although I will not stop him seeing her should he wish to, his choice. No, it's not what I expected from life aged 25, but it's much better than the life I was leading....
Oh, and I'm due to have a night out too, in June! The 1st time I will have ever left her with someone overnight, scary.....!!

Right then, this turned into a bit of an essay didn't it, luckily the shape-sorter was holding her interest ( I was only meant to be checking my emails - this site's addictive!! )Mother and baby swimming group beckons......


Perempuan · 10/04/2001 05:23

Thankyou Sml for replying.I will continue reading all the messages in mumschat,without much input from me.I have a lot to think.Why don't I love my husband anymore?I think I want what I imagined you have, a husband who is also your friend,who constributed not only financially,but also in child care and houseworks.In return I will also constributed financially to our household,eventhough financially,we would be better off if it is only my husband working.But for the happiness of the family,for the mother to be happy in this family,is for me to work,part-time as ,as much as I love our child I want to do something for myself,I cannot stand being full time housewife & mother.I have to get out of the house.That why I trade my unhappy marriage to seperation and studying.If only my husband can accept this,he doesn't,he told me so.I have to decided to remained where I am or move,at the moment I remained,but I also decided to tell my husband.


Sml · 10/04/2001 10:10

Why do some men want their wives to under achieve? It is a very difficult situation for you. I do know some women from traditional families who manage to make money at home - but inevitably, if you are studying in the UK, you'll be going out to work eventually. What a dreadful shame that your husband is against that, when he could be proud to be married to someone with that initiative.
Unfortunately, like Tigermoth, I can't really talk about my husband - he is great, though not quite the angel you describe!
One thing from my experience - don't be afraid to be alone. Statistics suggest that you will meet new people, but don't rush into spending time with people you don't really like just because you are afraid of being alone. Meeting new people is such a lottery in the UK, there is no system, and it's difficult to know where to start looking. I never figured out how to "just get chatting" myself! Maybe a dating agency? they go through all your "requirements" as well as everything you can offer, to try to match you up with someone who is compatible with you.
Has anyone out there used a dating agency? if so, what was your experience of it?


Gumsy · 30/07/2001 21:11

hi, i know nothing's been posted here for some time - but being new and all that didn't know where to start - also no idea why i'm doing this. everyone sounds so sure of what they're doing -choosing to stay at home - go back to work etc. like i know!! that's what puts me off nct groups - everything's so perfect and easy. so here i am alone. my baby is 6 months old - he's fat and fantastic. my baby's dad is also great - he's not abusive or unsupportive or an alcoholic - he just doesn't want a full time commitment! i'm absolutely floundering - caught between half a relationship and half single mum - it has advantages - a meal when i pick babe up from his dad, for instance, but that doesn't seem to be enough for me. is there anyhting i can do to get a social life which doesn't involve dumping my son with anyone who's willing for a night out, or sitting around talking about babies - CHRIST i sound miserable!!!am i being overly negative. if so, is this normal for a non-superwoman such as I? go on tell us a joke....shall i post this?? here goes....


Bugsy · 31/07/2001 09:59

Hi Gumsy, I don't really know what to advise for your social life predicament as I'm not a single mum in the true sense. I am alone with my son 5 days a week but only because my husband works away from home. Obviously, I'm not looking for another relationship but I do get lonely. Things that help me are asking people to come over in the evenings. Organising a baby sitter about once a month and going out with some girl friends. I also work part-time, which means I get to enjoy some non-baby adult conversations.
Anyhow, welcome to Mumsnet and I hope that someone else will have some better suggestions for you!


Tigermoth · 02/08/2001 14:13

Hi Gumsy, having a baby and a social life is not easy is it. Massive understatement here.
I hope the following long view, based on my own experience, won't depress you too much - it does get easier. Your 'baby' gets more and more independent all the time. First it becomes easier to leave them with trusted babysitters for a few hours, then to contemplate going away for a weekend alone (see other mumsnet boards), then by the time they're 4 - ish, if you're lucky, they won't need constant supervising, so you can relax more when you're in social groups. Then from 5-ish, they start sleepovers (so you can try to have a reciprocal arrangement with a friend so you both get some free time on weekend evenings in exchange for hosting sleepovers) and, when you visit other adults with children, they tend to disappear off to play in another room while the adults talk.
Many of my single parent friends say their lives got much easier around the time their children were 5 or 6 years.

I suppose this all seems a long, long way away right now. But the time does go surprisingly quickly. Just keep hanging on in there!

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