I am a 23-year-old single mother. My baby’s father abandoned me during my second trimester. He has refused to take care of his son, so I have decided to sue him for child support although I do not know his whereabouts.
His rejection, among other rejections I’ve faced in the last few years, has had a negative toll on me.
I regret the fact that I started dating at 17 because I now bear many scars that hold me back from living a fulfilling life. I don’t know what to do. I’ve been told by a relative that I need counselling.
I don’t have the money to seek counselling, though. What advice would you give me?
Having a baby at such a young age without the support of a partner is not easy. The fact that you realise that dating at such a young age was not a good decision shows that you are a sober-minded young woman. Also, your desire to raise your child despite the challenges and difficulties you have faced is commendable. Being such a young inexperienced young mother has sent some girls into depression. The fact that you have decided to talk about it is a great start.
I assume that you have had several boyfriends, since you started dating at just 17. At your age, this is bound to leave you wounded. The situation that you find yourself in can be troubling for many, particularly where one is carrying with them a lot of baggage from the past. I advise you not to focus on the pain and mistakes of your past; pain has a way of preventing us from moving forward. Forgiving yourself and those who have wounded and scared you will be part of what you need to do on your journey towards healing.
Something else you need to consider is the fact that you have a child who looks up to you for everything. You need to acknowledge the fact that you are the only person your son might ever have to make it in life. Also, bear in mind that there are many other single parents who are amazing parents to their children. You are not an incomplete parent just because your son’s father abandoned you. I believe God can give you the wisdom and grace you need to navigate through this period.
You did not mention whether your studies or career have been affected by what is going on in your life – with the future in mind, it is necessary that you become financially self-reliant. Having a career or running a business will help to provide for you and your son and build a stable future for both of you. This means that even as you sue your ex for child support, don’t rely on his support – such dependency might compromise what you desire for yourself and your child.
Also important is to get a positive father figure for your child. It could be a brother or an uncle you’re close to. Do you have a male relative who could take up this role? In addition, you need a woman to play a mentor’s role, a person you can talk to and get solid advice from whenever you need it. She should be mature, someone you look you look up to, and who identifies with your situation. If no one like this comes to mind, a professional counsellor will be good for this role.
In a nutshell, you need to ensure that you are stable emotionally, financially and socially. Be strong at heart, and embrace the responsibility of looking after your child wholeheartedly. Finally, remember that sometimes we are forced to take a step back in life so that we can move forward with a much clearer vision. Take courage in the fact that you can still realise your dreams and fulfill your purpose in life while taking care of your child.