Writer’s Name: Charlotte Marshall Templeman
Title: When Motherhood goes wrong
For many, being a mother is the greatest and most special gift they will ever receive. From the time of conception to delivery most mothers are already bonding with their children. They are talking to them, reading to them, preparing their home for them and loving them. It is a great feeling to know that once their child is born they will have the job of caring for another human being - one who depends on them for all of their needs. It is one of the most important and gratifying jobs a woman can have. However, for some the thought of having a child is a nuisance. For some women it can be a strain on them financially, mentally and emotionally. It is then that the child who should be looked upon as a blessing becomes a burden.
Recently in the news we the learned of the Camden, New Jersey single mother who murdered and decapitated her two year old son. After calling 911 she took her own life. According to the news report the mother had mental issues along with a drug addiction. At one point the child was taken away from her by authorities but later returned to her care. The end result was the murder of an innocent child and an apparent woman with problems. Who’s to blame for this tragedy? Is it the child welfare system who knew the mother was unstable but gave the child back to her? Is it the drug dealer who sold her drugs to use at her leisure? Or is it a mental health system who knew she was mentally unstable but possibly gave limited care? No one will ever know for sure but what we do know is a mother and child is dead.
Being a single mother can cause unwanted stress on the parent. Depending on whether or not a mother has a good job with adequate health insurance for her child and self, a stable home to live in, functioning appliances, food to eat and working electricity, water and gas, these can be just some of the hardships she has to encounter if she is not able to have those things. There are programs available for low income families but the paperwork and all that is required can become tedious to the point where a person becomes impatient and does not follow through. Whatever the reasons being, we as a society have to get better with helping those in needs. Some may say, “Well you have to help yourself first” but what if a person does not know where to begin? There are many factors that can play into a person not seeking help and following through. It can mean a difference between someone who can read and someone who cannot. Normally a person with limited education will feel inferior when having to speak to someone in authority. They may do it but not like it. Once again, this can be the cause of some single mothers seeking assistance versus those who do not.
We all know that single parents have been around since the beginning of time. Throughout our history single mothers have raised numerous children and have done a great job. They had children, went back to work and continued to do what was needed to provide. The difference from then until now is the help single mothers received from the community. If she was hungry, a neighbor fed them. If they needed clothes or shoes, a neighbor clothed them. If she needed someone to care for her child while she worked, a neighbor did that as well. Communities were more like family and everyone had a hand in helping someone in need. The burden of raising and caring for a child was eased because of the help received. Unfortunately today, people are more concerned with looking out for themselves. Some single mothers have the task of solely caring for their child on their own. If you are faced with limited funds, education and basic resources this becomes a strain and other outside factors begin to surface- for example drugs.
While the mother is self-medicating herself from the pain she feels her child is left alone to care for themselves and the once beautiful dream of having a child becomes a nightmare. So once again, who is to blame for this? I believe we all have to take some accountability. First, fathers who are not taking an active role in the raising of their child should. Making a baby but not providing it with the love and support it needs to grow effectively makes you a male, not a man. Dead beat dads need to understand that their presence in the life of their child is more valuable than not.
Secondly, communities have to become just that, communities. If we know of a woman who is having difficulty in raising her child, we have to step in and offer any type of information or resources that will help her become a better parent.
Thirdly, we have to take a serious look at mental health and not ignore it. If we know of a mother who is mentally ill we have to once again provide her with the resources to get her the help she needs. If she refuses, our main priority should be getting the child the help they need for a safer and stable environment. And finally the woman has to take accountability as well. If she is continuing to have children by a man who is not ready for fatherhood or she herself is not ready for motherhood based on various reasons, she needs to protect herself from pregnancy. The worst thing a woman can do is have a child knowing she is unable to care for it.
Motherhood can be a wonderful experience. You get to be responsible for another life which can grow into such a success. The sky is the limit for a child when they are raised with love and all the support they need. There is nothing they cannot accomplish. However, before a woman takes on the role of motherhood she has to also be emotionally, mentally and financially capable as best she can because when motherhood goes wrong and a child’s life is lost, we all lose too.