Friday, June 02, 2006


A commenter on a post a few days ago - Dream mom - suggested I write a post about a "good" single mother, because, I think, I've complained enough about other single mothers. So I will, and then I'll lay off the topic of single moms for a little while.

"Lorraine" was 23 when she got married and started having babies shortly thereafter. She was mostly a stay at home mom, but sometimes worked part time as a secretary because her husband didn't make much money. Her husband died when she was 44, leaving her with 5 children, ages 7 through 20, and very little life insurance money. She went back to work, coming home every evening to cook supper for her family and negotiate disputes between her kids. Although she had one or two "dates" with guys, she never really again had a significant relationship with a man, nor did she engage in any relationship with casual sex. Her family was her life, but without a companion in life she was lonely and at times depressed. Her children turned out fine, and she enjoyed many grandchildren before she died at age 78.

Perhaps some of you have guessed that I'm talking about my mother. She was a single mother, and I know that there are many other good single mothers out there, single for all kinds of reasons, and that we shouldn't paint all single moms with the same critical brush. I also know that single moms who are young and not attached to their baby's father can be good moms. Currently we have two moms whose 24 weeker babies are across from each other in the same room. One is a 19 year old with her first baby and the other a 26 year old with her third baby, and it has been a delight to work with them and their babies. They are bright and involved and appreciative.

We also have a baby whose mother is 22 years old. This is her fourth baby after her seventh pregnancy. She now has two kids under the age of one year who are not twins. She also seems pretty nice, but what can I say? Do I have to explain my sadness at this situation? I doubt that any of her kids will say that they wish they had never been born, but still....can't she just use some birth control?


Blogger Cathy said...

Neonatal Doc. That was a beautiful post. Your mother must have done a wonderful job. A single mom who raised a doctor. I'm sure there were many hard times for her, but she must have been very proud of you for your accomplishments.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Ex Utero said...

Nice post NeoDoc.

I think you should have posted in on May 14th.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Dream Mom said...

That was a beautiful post. I'll agree with Cathy and say that your mother did a wonderful job and she would have been proud.

I do understand and agree with your frustration on unwed teenage and unwed mothers in general. I too wish they would use birth control and wish for a different and better life for them and their children. I doubt that I would have much sympathy either, seeing the scenario repeated even once, let alone with multiple pregnancies. Good post.

11:31 PM  
Anonymous armchair ethicist said...

Doc, nice to see your post about your Mom. Single mothers are the *bedrock* of many segments of our society and they deserve praise when they do well. They also need encouragement as they live out the very demanding course they have chosen for themselves and their children (if they did choose it, and especially if they didn't).

It is a mystery to me, though, why you wouldn't wish that they wouldn't engage in unmarried sex at all. You are more concerned about "birth control" as though the only thing to worry about is having another child. When these moms take back propriety of their bodies and their very souls, they can be better moms to their children and better in charge of their own lives.

IOW, it's short-sighted of you to simply wish they would use birth control. Having babies is not the problem. The problem is people telling them that they can have sex without expecting that they may have a baby, even if and when they use birth control. The problem is people telling them that they can sleep with someone they haven't married and expect that everything will turn out just fine. Sometimes it does. But usually, it doesn't.

Just food for thought.

Worried about moralizing? Well, is it any less a "moral judgment" that someone should or shouldn't be using birth control than it is that they should or shouldn't be sleeping with someone?

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Kim said...

My husband is from a large,Irish, Catholic family.

When two kids are born ten months apart we call them "Irish twins"!

11:37 PM  
Blogger neonataldoc said...

Thanks everyone. Armchair ethicist, please see my syphilis post.

8:42 PM  

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